November has arrived with it’s many yellow hues. I do miss the brilliant oranges and reds of the maple trees on the east coast of the US. But I can still admire the colors here as well. Buon Autunno a tutti!
Sunday was the last day for the Montefalco Wine Harvest festival. It’s a four day event to celebrate the harvest of the famed Sagrantino grapes among others. We had made reservations for lunch in L’Alchemista for lunch and invited new friends to join us. The weather was perfect. Very fall-like, a bit cool at lunch as we were seated next to a downward tiny street up which a strong, cool breeze was blowing.
Lunch at L’Alchemista was good, as always. They were packed so service was a bit slow. As we sat there crowds started gathering in the piazza and announcements were made from an upper balcony on the Comune building. And a group of costumed women sang folk songs. There was to be a parade of floats pulled by tractors. I love stuff like this. No pretensions.
Down the main street we found the building where they were holding the wine tastings. This was our main reason for going. You pay 10 Euro per person and you get a glass and a little bag to wear around your neck to hold it. Then you can do unlimited tastings. There were a LOT of tables with a LOT of wine. One of our friends concentrated on the Sagrantino while I tried the Montefalco Rosso as well as the Sagrantino and a white made from Grechetto, Vigonier, and Chardonnay. All were very good. The Sagrantini were very dry to the point you felt all your saliva disappear.
Once we’d gotten our fill we headed back up the hill to the piazza where the parade was in full swing. They drive the tractors up another street into the piazza and park them around the edges. The floats, of course are wine oriented and lots of fun to see. Here are some pictures.
It was one of the best Sagre I’ve ever been too. I’d go back!
Storms over Umbertide
A couple of pictures of the major storms we woke up to on Saturday morning. The storms here generally come from the west. Our view is West/Northwest. These storms relentlessly moved from left to right and ever so slowly got closer and closer. Finally they got here but we were spared the brunt of the rain. Later in the day I noticed the Tiber river was swollen with rainwater and brown with mud. All came from up-stream where these massive storms must have dumped copious water!
Today is New Years Eve. We decided to take a ride over to Lago Trasimeno for a lake fish lunch. Really pretty, cold and clear day. All our days are very cold now. Nights even colder. My little lemon tree is safe in the kitchen. Anyway, we visited San Feliciano. A pretty town on the lake. Not much happening there in the winter other than people strolling in the lakeside park. We found a new restaurant called I Bonci. I had the zuppa di anguilla or eel soup. It is the traditional New Year dish. It was good. Served over bread. Luther had the warm seafood salad and lake perch. The views were pretty. Here is from our table through the window to the outside.
Tonight there is a band on the piazza and all the citizens will party. Fireworks at midnight. It will be below freezing at midnight. We will watch from the window if we stay up long enough. I had meant to cook my Cinghale stew today but I decided, since we had lunch, to save it for tomorrow. I’ll take pictures.
We brought the Christmas tree that we bought the first Christmas we were here inside for the season. It lives out on the terrace throughout the year except for December. This is the 2016 tree. it is sitting on the floor.
Today was an exceptionally foggy day. And, unlike many days, it lasted all day. I braved the cold and went out to see what sort of images I could get. I thought they would look better in black and white. Very atmospheric. Here are a few. Click for a larger version.
We are having spectacular weather. Highs in the 80s and cool at night. We have been enjoying it with the occasional Gelato or Aperol Spritz. Last weekend we had the local Vespa club arrive in all their thundering glory.
We also had a great time creating and attending a BBQ at an Agriturismo of friends, Simone and Simona. They are from Milan and now living rough, off the grid on the old family farm of Simone. It was abandoned for many years and they have spent years working mostly on their own to make it into holiday apartments. They first fixed up the old barn for themselves. And have spent a LOT of time just on the structure of the old buildings. It is in an earthquake zone so there are lots of rules for stabilizing and protecting everything. They are now getting ready to finish the first apartment inside. Here are some pictures.
I had initially invited everyone to our house and was going to make the ribs. But Simona wanted us all to come there. So I got up early to prepare the ribs. I wanted it to be all American so I brought spicy guacamole, spicy salsa with the wonderful tomatoes we have now, and my moms potato salad. We found tortilla chips in the store! Everyone was open to the experience and had fun. We also had great, grilled vegetables, and one of their chickens. He was supposed to be grilled but he was deemed too tough so he was stewed. Dessert was a very light cheesecake and cool watermelon. What could be more perfect?
I found CORN!! it is one of the things I miss most about the US. Summer, sweet corn. Alas, it was not to be. Tough as an old shoe. Horses probably wouldn’t touch it! BUT the good news is that I have started volunteering at the Books for Dogs booth at the market. It is run by mostly British women. They take donated books and DVDs and sell them to support several dog sanctuaries. Anyway, one of the ladies also bought corn. Later I asked her if we could plant a few rows next year in her garden. So MAYBE next year we will be able to taste that sweet summer corn!
Finally, we are looking forward to welcoming our next guests, Mary and Lenny! Their first trip to Italy and great old friends of ours. They will be with us for five nights and we will do some lunches, markets, wine tastings and sightseeing. Stay tuned…
On Saturday we drove over to Calagrana where Ely is being held hostage by her son who has broken out in Chicken Pox! She put some of the Olio Nuovo into two small tins for us to try.
My report. It was delizioso!! Peppery and acidic. Nothing like I have ever had in the U.S. Ely tells me it is best used for drizzling on bruschetta, soups, meats, or salads rather than using it for cooking.
We are enjoying a really, really beautiful November here. The temperatures are near 70F every day with bright blue skies. We are so lucky! It has been nothing like the last two years which, the locals say, were very uncommon.