Tuesday, February 28

It's Always Sunny at La Tavola Marche - Spring/Summer Workshops & Cooking Classes

Snow may still be falling in your neck of the woods but that doesn't mean you can't be dreaming about fields of sunflowers in Italy!   Its that time of year to start planning your 2017 holiday and why not a return to lovely Le Marche, (especially with loads of cheap international flights)!

We are excited about what's in store at our farmhouse & cooking school 
La Tavola Marche  - just named by the London Sunday Times as one of the 100 BEST Vacations of 2017 From foraging for wild edibles, sausages from scratch and the wood oven class (yes, it's for more than just pizza!) to our new workshop on pickling, preserving & confit - there's always something going on at the farm!

Check out our latest NEWSLETTER: Spring/Summer at La Tavola Marche

WATCH this glimpse of Summer in Le Marche, Italy to get in the holiday mindset

Hope to see you at the farmhouse in 2017!

Sunday, February 26

A Candid Interview on What it's REALLY like to Own a B&B in ITALY

Our friends at Dream of Italy Newsletter recently interviewed us about our April 1-5, 2017 Consulting workshop on Moving to Italy (we've got 1 spot open!!) We tried to answer honestly and candid about that's happened in the last year - from the crazy sale/non-sale/they fled in the middle of the night (that seriously happened!) to the lessons/mistakes we've made and learned from in the past 10 years and what it's like owning and operating a business as a couple.  Plus we look inward and share what inspired us to start this workshop:

DOI: I listened to your podcast about trying to sell your B&B. What were the lessons from that attempted sale? Is that how this course on running a B&B in Italy was born?

AB: Looking back and trying to analyse the situation we can see that we we put on blinders to red-flags since were so excited at the opportunity to sell our business and watch it succeed in anew set of hands. We were also naive and didn’t protect ourselves financially. It was an expensive lesson, but a one we will learned from greatly.
We began to look at the situation from the other side of the table and that’s how the workshop was born! We realized most people are ‘dream drunk’ which can be a wonderful thing but also dangerous if you are ill prepared and don’t really understand what it takes to move and start a new business. Saying you are ready to do this is very different than being mentally, physically (and at times financially) prepared. We wanted to share with others this opportunity to learn from us and our panel, ask all their burning questions and get honest answers. It will be a good dose of reality.

Read the full interview here: So You Want to Own and Run A Bed & Breakfast in Italy?

Friday, February 24

Podcast from Italy: 48 Hours in Venice

The magic hour in Venice -

This week is a doozey! We share with you our honest opion of 48 hours in Venice with a few great recommendations including a truck stop for lunch! We are getting ready for the start of the season and busy working on the vlog & projects around the house.  While trying to support his strong back, Jason is strengthening his mind...with basic algebra and a little music from Tennesse Earnie Ford. And back by popular demand...another excerpt from "The Book" - Chapter 3!
 Thanks for listening!!
All dolled up for the opera! 

Podcast from Italy: #97 - 48 Hours in VENICE & Chapter 3 from "The Book" - Dowload/Stream on iTunesStitcher or Podbean

A few of my favorite photos from Venice ...

A Venitian fishmonger takes a mid morning break before the crowds arrive.
Traffic on the Grand Canal!

Monday, February 20

Vlog from Italy: 002 | Snow & Stuffed Artichokes

It all sounds so romantic; living deep in the Italian countryside that is until it snows & you realize it takes a big part of your day just to leave the house! But we don't mind being stuck at home with plenty to cook/eat. We start a recipe for stuffed artichokes...but we dont'get much further than how to filet an anchovy!

We hope you enjoy Episode 002 of Vlog from Italy:

Be sure to follow & subscribe on YouTunes so you don't miss an episode of what's happening next at our farmhouse by clicking here: Subscribe to Videos by La Tavola Marche

Saturday, February 18

Winter Stews

Outside, away from the warmth of the fire, beyond the steam covered widows, our valley was blanketed with a solid meter deep of snow for over a week (we've just thawed out!) We were prepared with plenty of wood and enough provisions to feed most of the village just in case… Yet Ashley was terrified that we would starve. This wa a perfect time to have something rich, hardy, and stewy on the stove fitting the weather outside ideally.

Most cultures have a staple version of stewed meat and vegetables. These are versatile comfort foods that take advantage of tougher cuts of meat, seasonal vegetables, and typical seasonings cooked slowly to tenderize and bring all the flavors together.

The same simple ingredients with slight variations produce totally different versions of the same dish. Add a bit of cinnamon, cardamon, and coriander and take the dish to North Africa. Rosemary, Juniper white wine and olives brings me back to Italy. Lets’ go to Greece by incorporating instead a squeeze of lemon, dill, and parsley- Its really that simple.
Stewed recipes here in Italy are referred to generally as ‘In Umido’ or that are cooked and served in a sauce usually of their own juices.

Some useful tips for stewed dishes:
1.  Bones! They have marrow and will provide the richness for your stew. If you like a more hands on experience, use meaty bones and serve them. If the bones are not your thing, use boneless stew meat along with stew bones during cooking and then remove the bones before service.

2. Stock. Use good quality or better yet make it yourself!

3. Beware of too many sweet vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, butternut squash etc. are sweet veggies and can overpower everything! Keep this in mind when composing your stew. Love the parsnips and rutabagas; perhaps leave out the carrots…..

4. Grandma was correct in that stews always taste better the next day! Make it over the weekend for dinner during the week.

Here is one of my favorites Sepzzatino di Vitello:

Stewed Veal

1 lb/500 gr of beef for stew (or a mix of both beef & pork)
1 carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
handful of olives
2-3 spoonfuls of capers, drained
1/2 glass of white wine
salt & pepper
flour for dusting
olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
aromatics/herbs - thyme, sage, rosemary
stock, enough to cover the meat
optional: mushrooms

Dredge meat in flour.
In a heavy bottomed pot on medium/high heat, brown meat on all sides.
Remove meat from the pan.
Reduce heat to low, add in vegetables, season with salt & pepper and sweat for 10 minutes.
Add meat back to the pot (as well as the optional mushrooms) with your aromatics.
Deglaze with white wine and lemon juice.
Cover meat with stock.
Toss in capers & olives.
Simmer very slowly for 1.5 - 2 hours until meat is very tender.
Check your seasoning.
Serve over polenta or boiled potatoes.

Sunday, February 12

Podcast from Italy #96: An Excerpt from The Book

After catching you all up on the latest happenings: from ladri in Piobbico to carnevale & citrus season we swtich it up and read an excerpt from the unpublished book Ashley started years ago...

Thanks for listening and send us your comments & quetions to read on an upcoming episode!

Podcast from Italy: #96 - An Excerpt from The Book - Dowload/Stream on iTunesStitcher or Podbean

Friday, February 10

Introducing...the VLOG from ITALY: Episode 001

After 10 years of living in Italy and sharing with you stories and struggles of life, recipes, festivals and everything in-between thru the blog & podcast we are ready to take it to the next level. Introducing the vlog, the video version of the blog! "Vlog from Italy" is the name & we will be posting new videos every Thursday (until we get too busy...)  Here's the first episode (available on Youtube) VLOG from ITALY: 001 Welcome to the Vlog

Wild & Loud (Instrumental) by WILD
Start this Fire by The Royal Foundry
Hipster Licensed from IB Audio www.ibaudio.com

We will keep posting here on the blog as well but be sure to subscribe to our YouTube page to keep up to date with the vlog!
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