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Archive for the ‘Small group travel Italy’ Category

We took our group to our friend Simona’s house for cooking. We went an hour early so they could sketch for the work they are doing with our teacher – Junelle Jacobsen

The country around Simona’s house is beautiful. A short rain brought is a stunning double rainbow.

We made a ricotta/pear/walnut/pancetta appetizer, pasta, a pumpkin/sausage/fennel flower ragu, and tiramisu.

Sweet dreams!!

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Orvieto is a city with incredible mosaics. The cathedral is particularly stunning and visible to all. But there are others, less visible, like the mosaics under St. Andrea church dating to the Byzantine period, and sitting on top of Roman and Etruscan ruins which are clearly visible. So we were excited to have Pam Goode back a second time to lead a mosaic workshop. She called it Postcards Home because she had her students do a postcard size piece.

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Mosaics are slow. That is one reason it appeals to Pam. And I love the notion in our fast paced world – an art form that requires you to think and be patient and go slow. And so the students started their piece but will finish them at home.

We learned a lot from Pam. She doesn’t like to use grout. Her work is meticulous, the pieces fitting incredibly tightly together – look in the image above. She is also a poet. At our closing she read a stunning piece she composed during the week about why she loves Orvieto and travel and what she will miss. I was in tears because it so beautifully captures what this wonderful town and the gorgeous people we know here do for us and give us. She is working on the poem to get it just right. But when it is done she will send it to us and I’ll post it here. I think it perfectly describes the incredible experience people get on our trips.

Pam is a beautiful soul and you can read a wonderful interview with her here: http://www.lunamosaics.com/pamela-goode.html Visit her website here.

So, pics of the group and it’s work.

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Thank you Pam, Susan, Sharon and Mary. What a wonderful week you gave us!

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Thursday the twice weekly market is in town full of the freshest produce. We went and gathered goodies for a picnic to have in the courtyard.

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In the afternoon we went out to Palazzone vineyard on a beautiful afternoon. It is just incredible as the afternoon progresses how the light gets softer and softer turning the hills into the gentlest velvet.

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A bit of the lawn in front of the locanda built around 1200

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Orvieto in the background

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The view of Orvieto from the terrace where we tasted 4 wines and these delicacies.

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Back on the rock after dinner – an evening stroll.

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Just hard not to love this place!!

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At the end of our first full day we do a wine and food pairing dinner with Graziella, Rita, and Carla. We’ve done this dozens of times and it is always different. Amazing the variety, and the creativity of these powerhouse women.

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This was the appetizer plate. Eggplant flan with a squash puree on top, truffle on bread, arugula pesto and more. This was preceded with bruschetta using Rita and Carla’s unbelievable olive oil.

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Asparagus pasta

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For the secondo we had lamb and a salad. Not pictured was panna cotta with strawberries for dessert. Each course came with a different wine that Graziella helped us taste and appreciate with the food it was paired.

Next night we went to make pasta with Maurizio, followed by dinner on the pasta we had made.

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Emma, Maurizio’s daughter who I have known since she was one, joined us for her first ever pasta making lesson.

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Maurizio had this beautiful machine that rolls out the dough in a heartbeat. Very cool!

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Angel hair, tagliatelle, fettuccine, and papperdelle all coming from the dough we made.

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There are about 230 different pasta shapes in Italy! Maurizio showed us just a few of the possibilities.

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This long one I want to try at home. It holds lots of sauce. Need to go back and get the name of it from him! Then came the dinner.

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The appetizer plate that includes a little omelette, a little quiche, two baby pizzas, and one made with turnips. Mamma Mia!

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The primis. Two pastas – one with a ragu sauce and one with eggplant. In front is risotto made with saffron from his garden. Incredible! And he showed us a new way to get the risotto started I’ll be trying at home.

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The secondi. Wild boar, roast beef, bacon, roasted potato, and look how he made flowers with the veggies!

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Maurizio is a pastry chef by training. This was dessert, all of it delectable.

So that was two nights with of yum. Last night we ate at Cibus. The have a new, beautiful menu.

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A big bowl of mussels and sea bream. Two big, beautiful salads to finish the night.

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Cappuccino at the market before shopping for a picnic lunch. Food in Italy! Buon appetito!!

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We love staying at our convent B&B. It is so nice to have space to spread out, beautiful surroundings, the incredible history dating to 1400, the frescoes, caves, art. How could we ever stay in a normal old hotel? Here are some views of the garden.

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Here’s Kristi in a patch of sun knitting in the quiet.

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Giovanna is a lover of cactuses and has this collection outside the studio in which we have our art workshops.

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Such incredible variety. She also has some planted in the garden. And here’s a view of the marble staircase that leads from the ballroom and our rooms down to the first floor courtyard.

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And from the courtyard up to the patio above. Nice place. Come join us here!

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One of the true joys of our Taste of Orvieto trip is the day we pick olives. Picking olives is quintessentially Italian. Most people have their own collection of trees from which they believe the world’s best oil is found. So to spend a day where we pick, press, and leave with our very own oil is so Italian. And of course our oil is the world’s best!

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Here is our group, olive trees behind us, nets spread out ready to catch our harvest.

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We use small rakes to pull olives off the branches which fall onto the nets from which we gather them up to be taken to the press.

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Beautiful to see the fruit of our labor heading to be cleaned and then sent to be pressed.

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We had to get in line behind this gentleman who brought his olives to the mill for pressing. He watched over every last detail carefully.

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This is his Ape with containers for his oil.

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We have lunch at the mill – Bartolomei. There is nothing quite like fresh oil on bread toasted over open coals.

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Rita about to put the oil on our bread.

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It’s always a fabulous, filling lunch at Bartolomei!

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Our oil begins to flow.

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We help fill our cans.

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A beautiful, tasty memento to take home and enjoy over the winter!

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We spent a delightful, if cold, day visiting a few places with Cristina. We had a pretty drive to Civita.

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View from Civita

Cristina showed us an old escape route under the city. This view let us appreciate how narrow the city really is.

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We’re on one side and you can see the other through the tunnel.

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Soup was perfect for the day

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Bolsena fort

Next was Bolsena where the miracle leading to the building of the Duomo in Orvieto took place. The basilica San Cristina, below, is where the miracle happened.

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The church is actually three, each built at a different time.

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Inside San Cristina

After, we walked down to lake Bolsena for a coffee.

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Thank you Cristina for a beautiful day!!

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