Trip 13 keeps us on our toes and Day 8 kept the tricksophobia streak in tact!
Well Day 8, Wednesday, is a day to chill and rest up and relax at the Farmhouses. At least some of my travelers did that. Isabel and I had a busy day ahead. We started with a little coffee and a light breakfast at the house while we watched the fog burn off after sleeping until 9am.
From there a group of us made it down the hill, and through the valley to the town of Umbertide and the local farmer’s market which I always love. I love the sounds, the people and of course the food.
The one thing I really noticed this year was the increase in the Muslim presence – something I never saw 16 years ago when I first came and a marketed increase from just last year. Perhaps twenty percent of the people at the market were Muslim. So things are definitely changing with the events of the world and its changing the makeup and culture of even the small towns and villages here in Italy. Even the restaurants around the town now have Kabab and Halal restaurants obviously catering to the new inhabitants.
But many of the same faces and vendors were in the same spots they have been for the 16 years I have been coming. So I grabbed my favorite porchetta sandwich and a cappuccino and life is good!
From there we made our way past Citta di Costello to the Lacole’ showroom. The Lacole’ http://www.lacolecasaitaliana.com showroom and Porte del Passato http://www.portedelpassato.com are two of my favorite stops. Both businesses are owned and operated by the Belli family whom I have known and done business with for over 16 years. We currently have several projects in the works! Of course they welcomed us in style with a plate of crostinis, fresh fruit, and blood orange juice.
Lacole’ is a spectacular showroom and outdoor yard featuring thousands of antiques, collectibles, and salvaged building materials, from wells, fountains, fireplaces, stone arches, tiles, pavers, furniture, well…..it’s pretty much endless. The showroom and yard are huge and you can easily spend hours here.
Isabel is working with Gabriele Belli on a line of doors from Italy and millwork that she will be carrying at her store Earth and Images. Gabriele is also making a beautiful custom set of doors for a home for one of our clients in Desert Mountain who went on last year’s trip. We are very excited with how our relationship has grown over the years with the Belli family. We had time for a conference call with our client to review details and then it was back to the houses to start our cooking class with Elizabeth Wholey.
The start of the cooking class marks the halfway point of the trip. It’s been a crazy first half and when we got to the house we got word that one of our travelers had twisted her back and it had locked up and she was now unable to move and was bedridden. Seriously….. they got some meds in her and iced her down and so we were down a traveler again.
Well the rest of us carried on and went up to the big Farmhouse to start some cooking. This year we had a surprise as I had my office Fed-ex our newest creation, the Candelaria Collection Pasta Machine and it was going to get its first testing where else but in Italy, on our trip, by true Italian chefs! So we would be making some pasta today!
Add some prosciutto wrapped asparagus, fried pepper bruschettas, grilled pork shoulder, local sausages, and then raviolis with the Candelaria Collection Pasta machine! Elizabeth and her staff guide us through the various dishes and of course the best part is enjoying all the smells and flavors not to mention the camaraderie that occurs when all cooking in these homes. We made a big fire, opened some wine and prosecco, and enjoyed the lovely sunset along with the sounds of laughter and music.
Despite being down one traveler everyone got the aprons on and got into the act. I loved watching the new pasta machine in action and the Italian cooks loved it and gave us the thumbs up – not to mention the ravioli was fantastic!
We all sat down to eat, went around the table and spoke about how and why we came on this trip, and then gradually made our way to dessert, which we also made, and then retired to the porch for a cigar and solved the world’s problems….where what is said and solved in Umbria….. stays in Umbria!