Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back


Not to sound like a broken record but I once again have fallen behind on posting things on this blog. However, I do have a pretty solid defense in the form of our internet connection being cut. As kind of an abbreviation to the story, our apartment HAD internet and now it doesn’t.
Anyway, internet or not (I really don’t care) life goes on. If anything it’s just one less thing keeping us from exploring Italy. On that note, I’ll start this blog with the story of our trip to the open air market last Saturday. Unlike the farmers market I’m accustomed to back in the states this place had EVERYTHING from food to clothes to Porchetta sandwiches—which I unfortunately didn’t eat—to kitchen ware to live chickens (no joke). Obviously, the last of these stands was the most entertaining and for my roommate J.J the most delicious.
 I really wanted one of these porchetta sandwiches. Unfortunately, I ate lunch before going. Lesson learned

Not wanting to miss out on getting some sort of souvenir, I purchased myself a kilogram (that’s 2.2lbs for those of you who don’t speak the metric system)   of local peaches. It cost 1 euro—about $1.25. They were gone the next day so needless to say they were GOOOOOOD.
The next day, Sunday, the school brought us to a local agritourismo at Lake Trasimeno—about 24km west of Perugia. There, we were treated to a breakfast of homemade pastries—all the ingredients were cultivated from the farm itself—a lesson in pasta making—taught by the owner’s elderly mother and her friends—and a tour of the farm. As if that wasn’t enough, it all culminated with a customary Sunday lunch consisting of several courses.
 This was a brick oven which they built on the building adjacent to the kitchen.
 The first course was a few pieces of bread with a variety of spreads (again, all the ingredients were made on the farm). Obviously, a few of the items—such as the olive oil, and eggs—are pretty recognizable. However, notice the one, half eaten piece of bread on the left side of the plate. I’ll give you three guesses as to what it is. Don’t know? Well don’t feel bad, neither did I. It was only upon finishing the entirety of the plate before I asked the server what it was…”Che cosa questo?”  Before answering I could see a grin emerge on his face; “Lardo” he replied.   Yes, you heard me correctly ….lard. Now while you may be cringing in response to that last statement let me just add that it wasn’t all THAT bad. Still, I’m not going to be special ordering it from Whole Foods any time soon.
From there we were treated to an amazing lentil soup (Umbria’s lentils have a reputation for being very good). Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of this course….ate it too fast. Sorry.
 After this came the primi course—the pasta we made earlier with a Bolognese sauce. 
One of many departing pieces of advice my mom gave me back in the States was that I should learn to eat my food slowly and enjoy it. Based on this photo I would say that I’ve come a pretty long way in accomplishing that goal. What do you think, mom?

Following this was a type of meat dish which I wasn’t too wild about. However, the plate of farm grown tomatoes basically with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar was probably my second favorite dish next to the lentils.


By this point I’m about ready to be rolled out of this place and following a few last words by the owners and a many “thank you’s” to the staff we are on our way back to Perugia. Before leaving however I had one last chance to get a shot of the surroundings. I don’t know how people can live here….it’s so ugly.

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