The End of Summer

The last of the tomatoes are in, and that – more than anything – means that summer has wound down, and fall is right around the corner.  G used some of those tomatoes, plus an eggplant, some home “grown” honey, and a few other tasty ingredients to make a delicious bruschetta topping. Mmmmm.

You’d think that by the age of “fitty five” I’d have a good feel for the changes in the seasons.  But I grew up in Anaheim, CA… and there summer slipped into fall by way of a change in which grade I was attending at school.

For me (and almost every other kid growing up in Orange County), Main Street was a place in Disneyland.  And although I saw Walt’s upbeat, optimistic, hopeful view of the heart of America through his eyes, the weather there was routinely 72 F, with early morning low clouds giving way to sunshine in the afternoon.

I must be getting old… because I will always hold dear both my childhood take on the heartland, and my middle-aged experience of it.


Lourmarin (That’s in France, Europe)

G and I had the honor and pleasure of attending our friends’ wedding in the south of France.  It was a FANTASTIC wedding and rollicking good time.

Lourmarin is about an hour north of Marseille. The village is very picturesque, and almost all of us were within walking distance of the chateau where the festivities took place.  About 90 folks made the trip all the way from St. Louis… which pretty much means that we took over the entire town.

G and I got lucky, snagging a room at a lovely B&B in the center of the village.  Our host, Christine was very sweet, and our room was beautiful.  She and her husband, Pasquale, have run Côté Lourmarin (+33 6 09 16 91 80) for about three years.  If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend staying there!




G and I made an all-too-short one-night stop in Parma on our way from the farm to a wedding in France.  The town is remarkably easy to enter, and there’s a street chock full of pretty fancy shops. 

There’s a nice green space in front of Palazzo della Pilotta; the night we visited there was free opera in the park.  Lots of people were enjoying the evening and each other… typical Italy!

The highlight of our visit – by far – was a most amazing meal at Ristorante La Greppia (39/A Strada Garibaldi; tel. 39 0521 233-686).  Melt in your mouth prosciutto di parma, an incredible parmigiana “mousse,” two courses of pasta (ravioli and tortellini), and zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta, bread crumbs and cod… it was all absolutely delicious.  And the service was great: very friendly, not fussy, excellent.  You can bet we will be back!



G Gets Her Mulch On

Fewer things make G happier than playing in the dirt.  In fact, the only one of which I can think is laying down a nice layer of bark mulch in a planter. 

G had her chance to be in hog heaven after our friends told us the Italian word for mulch (corteccia), and guided us to the local home improvement center (not) to pick up a bunch of it! 


A Warm Glow

Here’s a glimpse of Tutto Doppio from across the valley, just after sunset.  That big building above us is the Monastero Delle Passioniste.  This is a convent of what we’ve been told are cloistered nuns.  Hopefully they don’t mind our periodic karaoke sessions.

Mimmo did a superb job with the lights… as evidenced by the nice warm glow of our place as seen from across the valley.  Thanks, Mimmo! 


Vines & Trees Strut Their Stuff

The Tutto Doppio vines are slated for their first harvest in the fall of 2014, with the olives following a few years after that.  But in every crowd there’s at least a couple of show-offs. 

As G and I tromped through the vineyards, we spied a few vines that were well on their way.  And the olive trees weren’t wall flowers either — still puny but a fair amount of fruit.

We have our fingers crossed that all of this enthusiasm bodes well for the future!


Fresh Veggies da Stefano

Stefano and his family have a fantastic farm just down the road from TD.  During our recent visit, fava beans, chard, and peas were fresh and ready to go.  All absolutely delicious! 


Don’t Judge

That's just how they roll at the spiaggia in San Benedetto... 

That’s just how they roll at the spiaggia in San Benedetto… 


Don Draper, Bob Nease — Same Thing

It’s official. I have now been recognized by the press as the Don Draper of Italy.

Here’s the (Google Translated) story that came out in the local paper
covering our court appearance earlier this year. Although I am sure I
came across as “disoriented” (in large part because I am generally
disoriented), you’d think that people in glass casas wouldn’t throw
pietre: G is in one sentence described as a tall blonde.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

False allegations and embezzlement

They dreamed of a house in Valley defrauded two American scientists

Although he had a cottage in ‘Ascoli, were found to pay twice. A pair
of scientists in California and appeared in court Tuesday for the cause
of forgery and embezzlement in which two injured party has just begun
the process before the courts hearing Mariani.

The story goes back a couple of years ago, when they decide to buy a
country house near Montrepradone. By e mail for communicating with an
agency, which in turn puts them agreement with a man of communication,
defended by lawyer Pierluigi Acciaccaferri. He finds the cottage, then
invested by the two scientists of a special prosecutor, is responsible
for ‘purchase of’ property. At this point, the two Americans are
beginning to pay bank transfer € 30 000 each, up to a sum of 126 000 €.
But time passes and the deal if they do not do anything. Then the
meeting with the two in Fiumicino, where the man claims to have returned
all the cash: to prove a release signed by the Americans themselves.
But this document is for the prosecution evidence of the crime of
forgery: the man would not only embezzled the money sent to him by
scientists, but have also forged a release. The process was rinivato in
June, and it is not known if the two californani come again in Via Dino
Angelini. What is known, however, and that the couple had bought the
same house. And the two Amercan have monopolized for a couple of hours
the attention of anyone who happened to be passing to the classroom
where the two, a bit confused, tells her story with the help of an
interpreter. She blonde, tall, with black hair and a suit. Him in full.
They seemed to come out of the TV series “Mad Men,” and found themselves
on the set of “The Band of Honest Men.”

BTW, “The Band of Honest Men”  is a 1956 Italian comedy about a bungling group of counterfeiters.