Thursday, November 29, 2018

Lunch At Osteria Del Teatro, Cortona

  When we are staying in Umbria, we always need to take the short drive to Cortona, in nearby Tuscany. There is a wonderful book/art supply store where Johnny enjoys buying some of the art supplies needed for each visit.

 For me the visit to Cortona means lunch somewhere, usually Dardano, which I've blogged about before. It's our 'go to' place in Cortona, and we do love it (can you say flash fried porcini?). We get into a routine pretty quick, I guess, and we wanted to try someplace different.

  We had been talking to local Panicale restauranteurs, Simone and Lorena (Il Gallo Nel Pozzo), and they said they had enjoyed lunch at Osteria del Teatro, below.

  We have strolled pass this place many times, but have never stopped. It's hard to miss, with the sweet terrace outside, and all the plants, etc. It's always packed, too, so I made a reservation to make certain we could eat outside. It was a very warm September afternoon and there was a nice breeze.   Perfection.

  We were brought menus, ordered water and settled down to decide. I spied a couple of interesting starters, and after making certain they were vegetarian, we ordered. 
  The waiter was a trip...old school with white gloves. It sort of put me off at first, but he was a true professional, taking his job seriously, while still being fun to work with. 

  After ordering our starters and main dishes, we found a nice wine to try.
  Now it was time to sit back and indulge.

A beautiful way to start our meal...

Eggplant 'tortino'' with burrata cream and tomato with red pepper puree.
Packed with flavor and texture. I didn't want to share, but I did...

Johnny chose ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers, baked
then served with a fresh pea and basil purée. So glad Johnny wanted to share!

We slowly enjoyed sipping whilst eating, of course.
I almost forgot to take a photo of this wine.
We love a good Ribolla Gialla, and this was perfect, chilled, on a warm day.

  As we enjoyed the great people watching, the kitchen was busy working on our pasta course...

Johnny picked buratta stuffed pasta with parmesan cream and truffles.
These are called cappellacci, 'little hats'. Very good, and the pasta was perfectly cooked.

I couldn't resist the ravioli stuffed with pecorino and pear.
Again, so glad we are good about sharing!
These two really complimented each other, as well.


  As vegetarians, we sometimes order 'contorni' (vegetable side dishes) as our next course. Most often, we just get pasta and share a veg...on this day, we splurged and ordered lots.
  It all sounded so good!

Onions roasted slowly in their own juices.

The grilled vegetables were quite good, and included leeks and radicchio.

  To end this most delicious meal, we shared a tiramisu. I loved this updated version!

Good flavors of espresso, mascarpone and chocolate.
It all came through.

We were in dire need of a long walk...better yet, a long nap...
The walk won out, but the nap was soon to follow!

Try Osteria del Teatro next time you want to splurge a bit in Cortona!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Last Morning Walk, Umbria 2018

  Well, it's late...almost midnight...and I wanted to post this tonight because we leave Umbria tomorrow to head back to California.
  Yesterday the weather was brutal, but we were lucky to get in a last morning walk today. 
  These are just some highlights of the walk. 
  Beautiful scenes after the massive rain and winds...

Everyone who lives here knows this place...

The view of the valley below town.

Our walk starts and ends here...

Johnny checking out the scene.

A 'Caki" tree. We call them persimmons.

It was lovely light this morning.

The weather was perfect for a walk.

I love the early morning light on the olive trees...

Johnny is a happy guy, enjoying the colors of autumn.

A favorite scene...

More autumn color.

Heading back up the hill...

We'll be back before we know it!
Ciao, Umbria..See you soon...!

October Rain Storm

  And then sometimes it's like this...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Olive Harvest At The Nut

  All around the area we stay in here in Umbria, you can see and hear the olive harvest going on. 
  For the last two weeks or so, it's gotten busy. We watch trailers full of olives go by, on the way to the mill...we watch folks picking by hand or machine...young and old. It's fascinating!

  Here at The Nut, we had a long, hard day of picking ourselves. Fifteen trees in about seven hours. Carlo our landlord, Johnny and I worked our fannies off! There were moments when I wanted to call it a day and quit, but we just pushed on until sunset. 

  First, you have to drag these massive nets and arrange them under the trees to catch all the olives...

Me on one end, Carlo on the other...

  Once the nets are laid, we started picking. Johnny and Carlo took turns with the electric 'shaking machine'....I just picked by hand or with  rastrello, the small stiff hand rake you comb through the branches. 

 It was a lot of hard work, with some frustrating moments, but tons of fun, too.

Carlo with the shaking machine.

Johnny with the rastrello. See all the olives in the net?

Johnny taking his turn with the shaking machine.
I tried, but quickly realized it would not be good for my neck or shoulders!

Go, Johnny, GO!

Watching the guys work from the terrace after lunch.
Then back to it for me, too.

In the end, we had ten or eleven crates full.

A couple of days later, we met Carlo at the local mill to watch the olives get mashed and turned into oil. I'm so glad we saw this part of the process!
  We were in line to have ours done at about eight o'clock at night. It's a busy time at the mill, and they run very late, trying to get everyone's oil done asap.

The mashing machine. It spins around, squishing the olives into a paste.
Then the paste is run through a machine that gets all the excess water out.
Centrifuge, I am told.

Next, we watched as our oil slowly came out!

Carlo was so happy to fill his beautiful container!

It smelled so good in there!

Pure 'Green Gold"!

It was a pretty good haul, I think.

2018 oil tucked away to be enjoyed for the next year.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Antiques, Art, And The Beauty Of Umbria

  Every time we trip over here to Umbria, we try to make certain that we visit one of the several antique markets that pop up around the area. These markets can be a lot of fun for us now, as we collect this and that for our apartment here, lovingly dubbed.... 'The Nut'.

  Before, we would see something that we would fall in love with, but had nowhere to keep it here, and it's such a hassle to get something home on the plane. So now we have started acquiring 'stuff' here, as we try to get rid of 'stuff' back in California. Geez. 

  Luckily, 'The Nut' is a small place, so we can't really do too much harm...
  For instance, these wonderful bikes and motor bikes are pretty much out of the question:

Really fun to look at, though!

15 euro? Hmmmmm...

Tempting, tempting...One for me, one for him...

An interesting group here.

  I always love looking at the tables and tables and tables of old tools. Some of the guys, always guys... take loving care of these beauties. They are cleaned and waxed. Others are just dumped into a cardboard box on the ground.


You'll never know what you'll find, that's for sure.

Johnny would love these in his studio!

I, of course, loved these!
These guys are everywhere...

I always enjoy old light fixtures and lamps.

  This particular market goes on forever, and midway through, there are some ruins that Johnny always enjoys visiting. A small break from the 'stuff' is always good.

  We did score big on this visit. We found a beautiful old oval mirror in a walnut frame that will work perfectly here at The Nut. We have been looking for a small scale full length mirror, and we now have one. Beveled glass, and all! It's really heavy, though, so for now we are 'leaning it'...

A good day at the market.
It will be hung eventually.

  After spending the morning at the market, we decided to stop into Trevi, a gorgeous hill town located on the way back home.
  We've stopped here a few times before, and love it. On this day, the clouds wanted to rain, but really didn't. It was perfect for this high drama shot....

The stunning Trevi, in all her glory.

 We had to stop into the church, "Madonna delle Lagrime" to see this fresco by one of the local art stars, Perugino. It's a real beauty...

"Adoration of the Magi"

  After a sweep through Trevi, we headed home and the late afternoon light was just amazing. I almost was hit by at least two cars trying to get these landscape shots, below.

  I think it was well worth it! Umbria at her finest....

  That's it for now. I'll try to post more soon, as we are getting ready to head back hoo.