Along the mountain track leading to the Murelle natural amphiteatre, you can see “Tavola dei Briganti” (Brigands’ slabs), a bunch of flat stones where in XIX century, bandits used to hide and fight the Savoy army. … Beware, Brigands are back! (I “briganti” son tornati)
At La Grande Quercia, dishes follow season cycle, so menus change according to the produce available. Don’t forget to ask for their signature lamb dish, “agnello incaporchiato” [anyello incaporkiato]. It requires a few ingredients: a leg of lamb, extra-virgin olive oil, white wine, rosemary, a couple of cloves of garlic.
This recipe comes from the old days when people did not have meat very often, so when there was the chance to cook it, they used to put another pot on top (incaporchiato), so that the smell could not go out and tell the neighbours that something good was on the stove. At La Grande Quercia a heavy lid is used instead, and the stewing is perfect.
The true secret is mamma Maria’s cooking mastery – and the weight of the stones…
Read more about La Grande Quercia :: Harvesting time and family recipes
What happens in Bomba, a village of scarcely a thousand people in the Sangro area (Abruzzo), when a big wedding is on the way? Everybody is invited to the “ricevimento”, an informal party for friends and acquaintances to be held before the proper wedding party.
At the ricevimento, among the usual refreshments, a typical local pastry is served: the Pasticciotto. In order to prepare 800+ pieces of this tiny masterpiece, a team of hard-working ladies, busy from dawn to dusk, starts preparing the stuffing and the dough two days in advance.
The main ingredients for pasticciotto are short crust pastry and a filling of almonds, lemon peel and sugar syrup. Their making is a feast of its own, ladies gather around a long table and spend time telling stories, updating each other and, why not, gossipping a little. Activities are shared and scheduled as if on a (sweet and merry) assembly line.
The Pasticciotto “First Lady” (i.e. the groom’s mom) surveys each stage of the “production”: divide the dough, put it into the cake tin, fill it in with the stuffing, cover the tin with some dough, stock the tins on the trays, carry the trays to the local baker’s for cooking.
I took part into the process – as an unskilled labourer, I was assigned menial work, but greatest fun nonetheless – and even though I met these ladies for the first time then, I immediately got involved in their community, I perceived the delightful sensation of being a minuscule part of something “good”. And I am sure that every guest at the ricevimento will enjoy all the love and the fun the Pasticciotto Ladies put into the cakes.
Because when you cook, the first ingredient you need for a great taste is something that you don’t weight with a scale.
In Vino… Venea it’s a 25-acre winery on the hilly backcountry around Fossacesia (Chieti). The name recalls a former Roman temple dedicated to Venus Conciliatrix (“the peace maker”), on whose ruins the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere was built in the IX century A.D.… Italian Flavors :: In Vino… Venea
A festival designed for children, a party to celebrate nature and the forest and all its inhabitants – fairies, elves, fauns, jesters, trolls, giants… Read more: International Festival of the Gnomes… via festadeglignomi.it
“It is frightfully difficult to know much about the fairies, and almost the only thing for certain is that there are fairies wherever there are children.” ~J.M. Barrie
La festa degli gnomi è molto particolare, piena di colori e giochi, un bel modo di far trascorrere a ragazzi di tutte le età del tempo nel verde e nel rispetto dell’ambiente. Il festival si svolge tra Pescocostanzo, Roccaraso e Rivisondoli in località meravigliose come il Bosco di Sant’Antonio uno dei luoghi più belli dove poter incontrare fate, elfi, fauni, giullari, troll, giganti…
To put it bluntly, I don’t like cakes, sweets, pastries and so forth. If I needed a treat, I’d rather go for a slice of pizza, some “pane bruschettato” or some focaccia. But. (There’s always a “but” in a categorical statement as the one above). I didn’t like sweets much until someone (may he be blessed a thousand times) introduced me to a pastry tart called bocconotto.… #PastryNotes :: “Bocconotti di Castelfrentano” A bit of Heaven