Saturday morning musings

Grapes
It’s been a funny week, not the usual rhythm, so I apologize for the break in blogging. I think I’ve gone more native than I realize and that the weather is affecting me. Italians, or at least those living by us, in the countryside, are very affected by the weather.  They are also morbidly afraid of drafts and breezes, which to me is almost comical; and they are horrified at my nonchalance! We’ve had cold, rainy weather for the past few days, which is not at all unwelcome, but it means that I’ve had to scramble around to find some warm clothes!
The smell of fireplaces burning in town is becoming more common, and it’s such a cozy smell.

Miss_lola Montone is becoming quieter as the seasonal tourists become scarcer, and all the Rome-Milan dwellers have gone back to their city lives. I’m still missing Miss Lola, a lovely lady dog that has gone back to Milan with Marissa, her owner.
We’ve always been the tourists who touch down, connect and leave, and now it’s a funny thing when the tables have turned, and we are the ones who stay behind. One of the perks of the restaurant is getting to meet all sorts of wonderful, interesting people. We had a group of Australians that ate with us 5 nights of their weeklong stay. Each evening, we would chat with them a little longer as we got to know them better. They went home with a bread recipe and lots of photos…I hope the bread recipe works in Australia. Earlier this week, we met a woman who will be giving up her life in New York, for a life in Seattle. What a challenge. Cindy and John are leaving Montone today, and will spend a few days in Tuscany before heading back to Hawaii. Thanks for sharing that gorgeous bottle of Chianti with us, John!  Andrew Chapman, an Australian photographer, has been to the restaurant a few times, and is staying across the street. Take a look at his photography; he’s got an amazing eye, an ability to tell a story that is quite powerful.  What an honor it is to meet all these people, and share a few moments with them.

Greens
Back in the kitchen, we’re making zucca gnocchi, zucca bread, lots of boiled bitter greens (it shows up on restaurant menus as verdure cotta, which just means cooked vegetables and covers the whole gamut form broccoli rabe, to chicory, to greens that I have no idea what they are called!), we’ve said good-by to basil and pesto and now have a pheasant breast sauce for the malfatti pasta.  I’m waiting for Claudio to go porcini hunting, as the season is upon us, and there has been rain. And next week is the truffle and white potato festival in Pietralunga. I’ve been waiting all year for more of those white potatoes! Yes, and the truffles! But, I can get the truffles anywhere, but I can only get those white potatoes in Pietralunga, that mysterious town, set far back in the Carpini Valley….

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