July 30, 2010

Castle Life Is Tough

note: I'm posting this for Robbie because the internet is really expensive in Italy.

I’m at a castle in Tuscany that is also a sustainable organic estate. Almost everything we eat is organic and grown on site. They raise a heritage breed of pig called a cinta senese and the ham, sausage, and bacon they make from them is amazing. Basil is in everything. They make a great organic wine, in red and white. We do wine on the terrace every evening at 7 pm; dinner is at 8. Every dinner is four courses (pasta or soup, meat and vegetable, salad, desert) and every other Wednesday is a seven (approximately, they sort of blend together) course meal (raw vegetable, anti-pasta, pasta, meat and vegetable, salad, desert, liquor and/or cafe) or a pizza night. It’s all a foodie’s dream really. I’ve been taking pictures of all the food and it weirded out all the other guests at first, as we eat all our meals family style with the staff. Now everyone knows not to touch the plates until I’ve taken a picture.

I’m getting a lot of writing done as well as reading some books for pleasure, such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Tender Buttons. If I finish those I’ll likely start reading Brief Interviews With Hideous Men or finish reading Rock Springs, which I started at the beginning of the trip.

Before here I was in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain where I watched the World Cup Final and became obsessed with Kebabs and Patatas Bravas, which are french fries covered with mayo and ketchup.

Kebab + Patatas Bravas = Magic

Next Tuesday I’m taking an Italian cooking class with the estate’s cook, Graziella. She’s been a cook here since she was a child and her mother was the cook before her. Whatever the meal is that I learn to cook, I’ll cook it again when I get back and take pictures. I have a feeling it’s spinach ravioli.
Oh yeah, there’s a pool and a hammock in the shade.

Even though this is great, I’ve been traveling for about a month and have gotten a tad homesick. I composed a list for everyone to enjoy without me.

The things I (in)appropriately miss about America:

Free refills (Europe doesn’t even have fountain drinks)

30 packs (beer is only sold in 4 packs)

Happy Meals (no fast food in rural Italy)

Driving (on Sunday I waited 3 hours for a bus)

Green Chile (duh)

Free Wifi (the wifi here is 6 euro an hour)

Ice Coffee (espresso with every meal is not the same)

Cocktails (I drink a lot of wine and really miss a good G&T)

Tuscan Vineyard

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