St. Francis and the wolf…redux

Last year we had company, Kaye and Jeff who were very interested in the legend of St. Francis and the wolf. See post for the legend. We had tried to visit the church in Gubbio where a wolf skeleton was found buried beneath the floor but it was closed. Kaye was bummed. So yesterday, with friends of Kaye and Jeff named Shiromi and Steve, we tried again to visit the church and it was open!! We descended into the crypt and found the stone that was covering the grave as well as a stone cut of the wolf and St. Francis. It was very cool.

Stone cutting.

Stone from the grave.

Upstairs in the same church we found a surprise. First I have to tell you that every May Gubbio has an enormous festival/race. The town is divided into three neighborhoods. They compete to carry something called a Cero or candle up from the bottom of Gubbio, to the top of the mountain. The Ceri each weigh around 700 pounds. In the back of the church we found the stored ceri. They are immense. They attach to a frame and are carried upright. They must be very top heavy. The crowds are frighteningly large. We have not gone as we have been warned. Here are the three ceri (sorry for the blur).

It was a hot day and we did some good hill climbing.  I also found a ceramic shop I had been looking for. I will return to buy a thing or two there. Here is an old iron ring to which horses were tethered.


And this one I just thought was pretty.


We had lunch at Ristorante Lupo (Wolf ) at the request of our guests. Here is a picture of Steve’s pretty carpaccio dish. We also got another Buon Ricordo plate while here.


For our breakfasts with Shiromi and Steve I decided to try a new coffee cake. It has been a hit. It is very moist and keeps well getting better as time passes. Shiromi told me I had to share the recipe so here it is.

Marmalade Cake – 8 to 10 servings
Adapted from the Boonville Hotel

1 small to medium orange
1 lemon
6 ounces raw almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
4 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
½ tsp. table salt
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

First, get to work on the citrus. Put the orange and the lemon in a saucepan, and cover with water. (They’ll want to float. Don’t worry about it.) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, and cool.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and set a rack in the middle position. Put the almonds on an ungreased sheet pan, and bake until they look golden and smell warm and toasty, 10 to 15 minutes. (I tend to get nervous about burning them, and consequently, I always try to pull them out of the oven too soon. Don’t do that. Let them really toast.) Set aside to cool completely. When the almonds are cool, pulse them in a food processor until finely ground, the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.

Set the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch round springform pan.

When the citrus is cool, cut the lemon in half, and scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Cut the orange in half, and discard the seeds. Put the lemon rind and orange halves in the food processor – there’s no need to wash it after grinding the almonds – and process to chop finely, almost to a coarse paste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

Combine the eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Fold in the flour mixture. Add the citrus, almonds, and olive oil, and beat on low speed to just incorporate. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the pan. Before serving, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Note: This cake tastes even better on the second – or even third – day, as the flavors meld and mellow. Store it at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap.


Today we took a nice walk, stopped for coffee in the Piazza, and were joined by our friend Michelle. They are also having an antique car show here which we visited as they were setting up. We plan lunch at Calagrana a bit later. It is a pretty day so it will be nice.

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