Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shoes, oil and a fly swatter

So it's another end to a beautiful relationship...

No, husband hasn't left me for one of these beautiful Italian women who have an ability to ride a scooter with six inch stilleto's with wind-defying hair.

No, it's possibly my last time that I will smile and flirt with ....the gorgeous signs in town that read SALDI. Florence is famous for the start-of-year sales and it did not disappoint me again this year.

This has been my best purchase so far:
Reduced from 100 euro's to 20 euro's people!

You put high heels on and you change. -Manolo Blahnik

Hey I didn't say it was a practical purchase. Or one that is good for my back. Or one that will function on cobblestone Italian roads...ok ok so it was a completly impractical impulse buy...but they are carina (cute) don't you think?

On the other hand husband, who prides himself on never impulse shopping and only buying necessary items, bought this for the same price. What is it you ask?

It's a fly swatter the shape of a hand with a bulls-eye target drawn on it.

As predicted by me, it still has not been used once because we are yet to see a fly in Italy. But if an unfortunate fly happens to appear, Mr. Miyagi will be ready.

The other thing we bought was this cute bottle stopper for our Olive Oil. I remember back in Australia we ate butter or margarine every day. On toast, on bread or on a muffin. Here in Florence, I can't remember the last time I even bought butter. We now have bread drizzled with this olive oil. It is DELICIOUS and so much better for you.

Whenever we go to a new town we try their local olive oils and red wines. We bought this olive oil in Montalcino and so far we can not find anything that even remotely matches the amazing taste this has. Montalcino in Tuscany, is famous for being the region where the Brunello red wine is made. We also bought a bottle of that and were so excited to drink it the other day. Guess what! It was corked and smelled like vinegar. And it cost more than my the motto of the story is. Buy the shoes. Or if you don't like shoes, you can always go for the fly swatter instead.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

An Italian agriturismo

I have been wanting to go to an authentic Italian agriturismo for dinner since we got to Italy. And on Friday night I finally had my chance. My Italian friend Viviana from my local coffee shop organised a group of us to visit her friend's property, Villa Cristina, for dinner 60 km's north of Florence. I can't seem to find a direct translation of agriturismo into English, but basically it's like a homestay property and usually in an old style Italian villa.

As soon as we got there and I saw the table, I knew I should not have worn my jeans and opted for tracksuit pants instead. Or a loose skirt. I suddenly had the urge to un-do my jeans button in preparation of what was to come.

We started off with antipasto of crostini with porcini mushroom, fresh proscuitto, fried bread dough, pate crostini and blue cheese tart. If I know I am dying and have to have one more meal before I die I will request Cristina's porcini mushroom crostini. And until I tasted her secret recipe, my last meal was always going to be a Polish meal. Yes, that's how much I love food. I have already planned my last meal, although with some good luck and health my last meal will hopefully be when I'm 90 and will have to be puree'd pumpkin soup.

I was too busy stuffing my face with the primi (first course) to take a photo of it. It was a wild boar pasta that again was delizioso. Then followed the main dish which after much debate and translation was determined to be wild deer. Again it was amazing and was a perfect combination to the red wine.

Over dinner we all compared stories of our lives which is my most favourite thing to do when meeting new people. Here are some of the ladies in our group...I have no idea why my husband looks so happy in this photo?

We were from all parts of the world including Italy, Australia, Poland, Austria, Albania, Romania, Germany and India. All of us were invited by the staff that work at the Golden View Bar - the coffee shop I go to every morning for my breakfast. All of us have been going to the Golden View Bar for coffee every day for some time and without doubt, we have been there at the same time. So now, we will have an excuse to share our coffee and breakfasts together and remember what a great night we had on Friday.

Who would have thought that going to the same coffee shop every morning would end up in me tasting my most delicous meal in Italy to date. Not to mention that it also ended up in us making some wonderful new friends.