Friday, May 18, 2012

Musical chairs

Here in Zagarolo, the weather is perfect, with temperatures in the 70's and a clear blue sky. The climbing jasmine is starting to bloom, the cherries are getting ripe, and there are a handful of green Roma tomatoes on the vine.
Gelsomino (jasmine) in bloom
 There's a field of farro (spelt) down the street that is almost ready for harvest. 

In another field, I've seen three mares with young foals, barely days or weeks old.

This little beauty, an appaloosa, was born a few hours before I saw her yesterday.
The cantina (vineyard) across the street just sent me an invitation to a degustazione next weekend, which will include local food specialties paired with their best wines. Unfortunately, I'll be in Padova!

After the recent visit of my American friends and a trip to Florence last weekend, I had a few days to recover before the next guests arrived from Bologna: Massimo and Sofia, with their daughter Erika. I'm a bit worn out from traipsing around Rome and Florence almost non-stop for 10 days, so my Italian friends are exploring Rome on their own for several days. Then we'll spend a day together in the car, exploring nearby villages.

Sofia brought enough homemade meals and treats to last a week, including fresh pesto, fatto a mano (handmade) to eat with trofie, a pasta I've never tried before. Like pesto, trofie originates in the region of Liguria. She also prepared cannelloni con asparagi (cannelloni with asparagus); several yummy tortes, along with various types of biscotti. Originally from Campania (near Naples), Sofia seems to have mastered both Southern and Northern Italian cooking specialties, and once worked at a pasticerria, so she also has a flair for all kinds of pastries. For their first night here, I made melanzane parmigiana (eggplant parmesan), but I wasn't able to get the buffalo mozzarella that I've used previously, and the cheese was too chewy and less flavorful than anticipated. Massimo and Sofia said it was good, but I beg to differ! Erika is spoiling the cats with ardent attention, and we're all enjoying their visit.

Erika and Massimo spoiling Cocca
In between guests visiting, I've had some work hassles to deal with and the unexpected, 1-month early return of  the woman I'm house-sitting for. Her return has added a lot of drama to my stay, in that basically we are playing "musical chairs" with the house: one of us stays in Zagarolo while the other travels elsewhere. I've been uprooted from the quiet month I anticipated in Zagarolo, but I've had the chance to host some friends here as well as visit others in northern Italy. Next week I'm planning trips to Parma and Padova, then will return to Zagarolo for 10 days while the house's owner goes to Sweden.

I have many stories to share, I just need to find the time and mental space to get to it!


Unknown said...

So wonderful to see you living such an amazing life, Marybeth. Thinking of you this week with your birthday coming up!
Chris and Kimberly

marybeth said...

grazie mille for thinking of me! Hope you'll come to visit sometime!
Back at you, little bro on your birthday this week!