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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Ready Steady Cook & The Amazing Race!

Sitting in the picturesque mountains in Tagliolo in Piedmont typing my blog…so lovely in fact that as I look out of the shuttered windows I half expect Heidi and her goats to come yodelling down the hill J

On the train trips from Fano I felt like I was in some crazy scene from the Amazing Race! I was very nervous as the train schedule & bus schedule I had booked was quite tight (only 20 min from one train to the next) I found it really stressful that none of the trains were numbered so you just had to stand on the platform at the right time and hope that was your train!! (can just imaging arriving in France.."um is this Italy? I think I just saw the Eiffel Tower… I might have got on the wrong train..")

So my first train was running 15 min late so that meant 5 min to find out which platform and run for my life !! Only difference between Jen & the Amazing race is that they have fabulous backpacks and I had 40kg of luggage! My suitcase was 30kg (well chaps I'm here for 3 months! Barely room for a bra & a bikini!) and 10kgs on my back (laptop, camera, lipgloss J ) Stairs galore to get to the next platform….NOT GLAMOUROUS & VERY BAD MOOD by the time I got on J and then clearly I thought I was flying Virgin Atlantic First Class "Sir, where is the drinks trolley? I'm in desperate need of a stiff G&T?" Nothing!!!! (Note to self – carry half jack in luggage!) Instead I was handed a bottle of tepid water and a stale sandwich (the very first bad thing to eat in Italy as everything has been fabulous!)

Once I had calmed down however it was beautiful to watch the landscape change from one side of Italy to the other and indeed nearing Genoa and then up into the mountains to Piedmont it was very very beautiful.

I am very fortunate to have Stef's family home to stay in... with loads of history as the house is 500 years old and in fact Stef's mum,Bruna, was born there. (can see from photo above how really old) Amazing to see how sturdy these old stone structures are – we have nothing like this in SA, so again I'm fascinated.

I didn't have much time to enjoy this tho as I was whisked off the following day to the tiny town of Cremolino (population 1000) where I would be staying at Juri Risso's hotel and restaurant for 6 days. Juri is a celebrity chef here in Italy due to his daily cooking program aired on RAI TV called "La Prove Del Cuoco" (The Test of the Cook) – he likens the program to Britain's Ready Steady Cook where often the chefs are at a race for time to cook something delicious in 20 minutes! Juri is very charming & well spoken & I could immediately see why he is so successful on the telly. (you can search for him on You Tube if you would like to have a look) This is a small family run business where we all eat together and there are always young budding chefs in the kitchen as he mentors them (Ricardo & Gabriel shown below) The restaurant décor is simple but so Italian charming (pizza oven set with copper) with a lovely view of the small town – gorgeous to sit outside in the summer!
Once again it was a week of many hours of cooking and scribbling in my inspector notepad as I am learning at lot from Juri. I would just like to mention getting the pizza on that long spade thingie not easy!! J I have renewed respect…mine landed everywhere but not where it should be - However I must say the pizza is heaven here!
Next weeks news … Stef arrives (I could WEEP I'm so happy!!), a visit to a gorgeous biodynamic wine farm (Casa Wallace below) which practices sustainable farming methods & produces top wines ….and Genoa (Italian – Genova)..beautiful, historic and bring me the pesto gnocchi!!! Now, its time for Jen to relax a while with her man. J Till next time xx

1 comment:

  1. I found that taking the train was a challenge for a Canadian. We do not take the train to get from one coast to another. We can but it costs more than a flight which is a shame.
    I too had a heavy suitcase (50+ pounds) and the Italians always looked at me with an odd glare as I tried to find a spot to place my bag in the aisles. I find that the Bologna train station is the most difficult to figure out. I almost missed my train twice! You quickly have to realize that there are two separate platforms for the fast train and the slow trains.
    There were 30 students with me so we all had to run to the slow train platform with only 2 minutes to spare before the train left. It was amazing we all made it!
    I also love the fact that you had the opportunity to stay in a 500 year old residence!!
    The Wanderfull Traveler