I’ve been asked “What are your daily meals like?” Well, I am fortunate that Heather loves to cook. Not only that but she cooks only with locally sourced product. Daily. In the morning, the meals are planned and we go to the grocery store in the village to buy the ingredients for the day’s meals.
Mornings meals, around 8am for me, is toast with Heather’s home-made marmalade and espresso with fresh whole milk (yes, from the mechanical cow). Meanwhile, Heather has a hard-boiled egg and some espresso and maybe fruit (must be an English thing).
How we toast bread on the mountain
Lunch, around 1pm, is something medium-weight, like rice with asparagus (risotto) or a dish incorporating any leftovers (like rice with onion and the leftover chick peas and baccala from the sagra). The water used to boil the asparagus is then saved to be used as a broth base for a soup. Tuscans have a long tradition of peasant food cooking… Nothing goes to waste here.
Another lunch was a hearty zuppa (which comes from the term inzuppare – to immerse or drench – there are pieces of stale bread at the bottom) made from some puree’d beans and such, a savory potato tart with some proscuitto and bread. For dessert, Heather introduced me to another dessert dish soon to be my favorite: pears and pecorino cheese with a little glass of Vin Santo. We have also dipped biscotti in Vin Santo and eaten pecorino with chestnut honey as an after dinner dessert. All have been delicious!
Zuppa and Potato tart
pears and pecorino
Dinner is usually a little heavier meal. Wine is always served with dinner in this house as Heather is taking a sommelier course. Last night’s dinner was special as it was my 41st birthday. Heather prepared beef involtini (rolled beef stuffed with pancetta and mortadella) served on potato mash with a side of fresh green fava beans that we slightly boiled, drained, and coated in lots of grated pecorino romano cheese. A simple salad with lettuce and slices of fresh fennel coated in olive oil with white wine vinegar was served at the end of the meal. After dinner, my makeshift birthday cake was a bowl of fresh ricotta with mountain honey and a sicilian strawberry. sooo good!
Another memorable meal was that we purchased sausage from a couple different butchers and grilled them in the fireplace in the kitchen. Of course I grilled them. The sausage here is very simple tasting. not much spice at all… all pork with salt and very very light spice. To the American palate, it would be a bit bland, but I could tell which butcher was proud of his product by the quality of the meat he put in it. It turns out that the one I did like (with the better quality meat and no gristle) was made by the village butcher Renato. He was elated when I, the ‘American Sausage-Maker’, told him I taste-tested some sausage and enjoyed his the most.