Wednesday, March 29

The Lambs of Spring

(A post by Jason)

Winters’ grip has loosened and the air has changed . The clocks have been moved back one hour. Ends of the fruit trees have begun to swell in anticipation of the bloom. The familiar hum of high torque, low rpm diesel engines combine with the squeak of metal on mettle as the plough follows dutifully behind the tractors echoes off the hills. Potatoes are in; The garlic and fava beans are up and have already been hoed and fertilized. Spring in our valley has finally arrived.

On the drive into Piobbico just past Il Castello Dei Pecori, on the left hand side, is a great field of grass. At first flat, it follows the terrain up the hillside with the perfect pockmark of trees ever so often as you would imagine. In the distance, far up the hill where the field meets the tree line, grazing peacefully, are several hundred lamb and sheep. Their presence and sheer number give perspective to the enormity of this field and I can barley make out individual shapes with the glare of the sun as I wiz by. They are alway there; each morning. In different locations of the field depending on time of day and where the sun might be shining but never less, heads down, peaceful grazing. They are never alone. The flock has two 55kg chaperones usually lying in the grass meters away. Cane Maremmano - Huge puffy white sheep herding dogs that are very protective of their flock and are not to be tested. They are led by slender man with a straw hat who carries a staff ( I can’t make this up). In the mornings I see him mostly walking almost the animals who don’t seem to pay him much mind. In the afternoons he might be taking some shade under one of the trees; enjoying a cigarette. 

This morning at the end of our road, I made a right hand turn. Just past Il Castello Dei Pecori as I came around the bend looking to my left into that vivid shade of green, the sun and the dew combined to transform every blade of grass into a tiny prism creating a brilliant effect. I scan that picturesque field with curious anticipation of catching a glimpse of the lambs grazing, a ritual now to begin my day. Today I look from the road all the way up to the tree line. No Lambs. I slowdown thinking they must be in the corner that’s hard to see if I go too fast. No big puffy white dogs. I pull over, get out, and look back down the field up into the opposite corner. The slender man with a straw hat and staff is not there. The Lambs are gone. Spring has arrived.

I am not a conflicted omnivore. I understand for what purpose those lambs were in that field. On Easter, like most Italians, I too will enjoy the traditional dishes of the season which will most certainly include Lamb.

I climb back into the dusty Hyundai, drive into Piobbico and do my errands. On the way back passing that field once more I say a silent thanks. I do not weep for the sheep, but rather renew my respect for them. An undeniable connection has been made between what I eat and where it came from so easily overlooked when displayed behind glass or neatly wrapped in styrofoam and plastic. I thank the Lambs and remind myself how lucky I am to live in this beautiful country. With all Her problems, all the craziness and corruption, a life in Italy is full of these little paradoxes all around, if you are willing to slow down and look for the Lambs.

Tuesday, March 21

Podcast from Italy: Ahh the beauracracy, it can come 8 years later and bite ya! + Chapter 4 of The Book

We are in full spring cleaning mode - from painting the guest rooms, working in the garden, planting flowers and taking care of business before the guests arrive in a week and half! That means tieing up loose ends with our immigration and farmer's union as well.... (Photos are from the peanut gallery at Coldiretti - the farmers union!) We find out the hard way that even 8 years later the beauracracy can come back and bite ya if you didn't take care of it properly. Lots of dinner with Gaggi and his totally comedic frustration of a dinner with bread. And Chapter 4 of the untitled, unpublished book about our move to Italy 10 years ago!
Podcast from Italy: #98 - Ahh the beauracracy, it can come 8 years later and bite ya! + Chapter 4 of The Book - Dowload/Stream on iTunesStitcher or Podbean

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Sunday, March 19

VLOG from ITALY: 005 VENICE in 48 Hours

A few weeks ago we slipped away to Venice for 48 hours. After a five hour drive from our farmhouse we quickly decided to take a water taxi to our hotel! Why not?! It's been 10 years since we visited - let's arrive in style!  We weaved our way through the tourists packed canals dodging selfie sticks on every bridge & filmed a ton along the way! Our only plans were the opera - other than that we were left to explore...With all the cities beauty we were weirdly fascinated not by the architecture but the transportation of goods! 


Best Day of My Life, American Authors
Life in Color by One Republic

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Tuesday, March 14

MAY | Spring Foodie Getaways

This spring escape to lovely Le Marche with these fabulous foodie getaway's in Italy! Lush fields of wild greens, crates of overflowing artichokes, handmade meals & a cooking class in the countryside with a professional chef in his rustic kitchen! La Tavola Marche (farm, inn & cooking school)

MAY Getaway, 2 Night Spring Special
(Any two nights in May)

A lovely Spring getaway to the Italian countryside!

Arrive to a five course welcome feast, made by hand with produce from our garden and local traditional recipes. The next day tie up your custom made apron for a half day cooking class including meal prepared by the class and plenty of local wine! Choose from our Pasta & Sauces class or Full Meal Dinner Party class (creating all five courses from scratch!)

Includes: Two nights accommodations in apartment PESCA, welcome dinner with local wine and half day cooking class (with meal, wine and gift apron) for TWO (based on double occupancy.)

You can always stay longer and join us for a mushroom hunt, wine tour or "Feel like a Local Friday" Market Tour/Tasting & Lunch!

D.O.C. Wine Tour, Artisan Meat & Cheese Market Trip, Craft Beer Tasting & 3 Cooking Classes

May 16-21, 2017 (5 Nights) = 928 Euro/person

Celebrating the culinary traditions of Le Marche with a gourmet getaway of five nights with three diverse hands-on cooking classes teaching traditional seasonal recipes of the area, a wine tour and cheese tasting with Marco then feel like a local on Friday with our very special meat market tour & tasting (including a stop for porchetta), a visit to our favorite award winning craft brewery Collesi and then lunch at the Hunter's Hide-away!

Includes 5 nights, welcome five course dinner with local wine, 3 half-day cooking classes with meals and wine, 1 day wine tour with lunch and transportation, Pizza Night Dinner and Apecchio market tour & tasting, beer tasting and lunch at the hunter's hideaway, breakfast daily. Price based on double occupancy.

Visit our farm, inn & cooking school LA TAVOLA MARCHE       

WATCH this video I made of Spring in our Valley:

Sunday, March 12

VLOG from ITALY 004: The Cure

All that porky goodness takes time...Here it is VLOG from ITALY 004: THE CURE - how we make & cure our sausages & salami! *Ask any questions you have for us below in the comments for an upcoming Q&A Vlog!! We'd love to hear from you* Each winter we turn one of our guest apartments into our meat curing room...It's months in the making but worth the wait!

Watch VLOG from ITALY 004: The Cure

Filmed at La Tavola Marche (Farm, Inn & Cooking School) with Dr.Settimio Gaggi!
(PS- Yes, I know I spelled cheek wrong!)

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Friday, March 3

VLOG from ITALY: 003 The Story of Il Capo, Dr. Gaggi

Ohhh boy! This Vlog took us longer than normal because it hits closest to home.  In the third VLOG from Italy we introduce you to our beloved & ever infuriating Italian papa, Dr. Gaggi or Il Capo. Find out why he's "the boss" il capo in the latest episode! If you have visited the farmhouse you probably met him/saw him in the garden, if you listen to the podcast or have followed us in the past, his name will sound familiar as he's part of our everyday life. This self proclaimed child of America, without children of his own has taken us under his wing and taught us how to become Italian.

Watch the latest VLOG from ITALY: 003 The Story of Il Capo

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