More Food In Italy….

I should have just posted from my journal….although that might have been a bit TMI!

We really ate well…..the food markets are the highlight of the week in town!  Besides the food, lots of people just congregate in the piazzas… and adults on scooters (seems to be the latest craze there), the men while the women shop etc.  The cafes also get crowded with the shoppers stopping for a coffee, or if it’s close enough to noon an aperitif or a glass of wine.  It’s a fun, festive atmosphere.  Parking can be a bit of a challenge though and often rather than trying to get as close as possible we’d just grab the first spot we came hoping that we didn’t have a big hike, or worse still a big uphill hike to get to the market.  Not that the walk didn’t do us good… excuse to be able to eat and drink all that we did!


The house from the driveway….behind us was the olive grove and off in both directions were the hilltowns which at night were so pretty all lit up.


Our house was really well equipped, which is a good thing if you are planning to do a lot of cooking.  We didn’t think we’d eat in quite as much as we did but due to the lack of restaurants in our immediate area.  It was fun though…..we all enjoyed the prepping with our glasses on wine close at hand.  Not sure that it was porcini mushroom season but someone at the market had beautiful ones…..we bought a few and made a great risotto one night.

We’d bought a lot of fruit one day thinking we have it for breakfast every day…..the melons were so delicious and peaches, firm and so flavourful….they even smelled like perfume!  One night Rae, who is the baker of the bunch, used up all our fruit that was slowly starting to ferment and made a great crumble dessert……this was after we’d finally figured out that there was a plug for the gas stove….it was rolled up and tucked under it!  We’d been using matches to light the burners and couldn’t figure out how to get the oven to work!  Just by chance…..dropping something under the stove….did we discover the cord and plug!  Good thing we did because besides the dessert we did a leg of lamb, eggplant parm, bruschetta etc.


Having dinner at home was one of the best times of the day…..just sitting around, chatting, laughing, going over all our adventures for the day and also catching up on phone calls or facetiming home.  One night a friend called, after a few glasses of wine I think….the only problem was it was evening for her and 4AM for us!!

Enough food I think….next I’ll post about places we went.  Le Marche is really a very beautiful and diverse part of Italy.  I would definitely go back again.  Other than it not being touristy in some areas and having the amenities that go along with that…..not a bad thing for us….it made for a great relaxing, laid back part of our vacation.  In hindsight, we should have done our planning so that this part came after our bike trip and the hustle and bustle of Paris.  Something to think about for the next one!

Today though back to reality……looking at the pictures kind of takes you back…those “ah sigh” moments.  The grass needs cutting…..what was I thinking when I put that moss control and turf builder stuff on it????  It’s still a bit sad looking with black patches (dying moss) and bright green new grass popping up in clumps here and there.

I’m surprising myself in that I really don’t mind cutting the grass…..kind of one of those therapeutic type of jobs.  I should have fired my grass guy a long time ago….it would have caused much less aggravation when he didn’t show up when he was supposed too!  Next on my agenda will be weed control…..we’ll see how that works!

I also managed to finish the walkway at the side of the house that I started last year….it’s terribly crooked but oh well….it’s in now with grass seed around it that I’m hoping will sprout soon.  The soil is so dry and dusty I’m not sure it’ll take root.  I’ve had to water it a couple times a day because it’s been so hot and sunny.  We’ll see.  These were never my jobs before and I can’t say I’m doing any of it the right way but it’s getting done and I guess that is what counts.  Being retired certainly has helped in doing all this…..pretty sure this just would never have happened if I’d still been working.



Ah Italy….Some of the Food!

I don’t know why but we seem to eat so differently when we’re away.  Because we’re on vacation I think it’s the concept of keeping the food prep simple and fun.  Often this happens because you don’t have all the same “stuff” in your rental kitchen that you do at home….knives are often the issue.  That wasn’t the case this time which made prepping everything more fun as opposed to fighting with a dull knife or as happened once having only a bread knife period!  You also don’t want to spend half the evening doing clean up either, so the less dishes, pots, pans etc. used the better!

Also because you’re not there for a long time you tend to buy only what you need for a day or two and of course with the markets there everything is farm fresh.  It’s fun to shop at the markets….just looking at the displays of produce, cheese, meats etc. makes you hungry!

One off my favorite things in Italy is the porchetta….it’s the crackling that makes it.  Probably so bad for you but hey…..everything in moderation, right?


There is always at least one porchetta guy at the markets.  Depending on  the space they have it’s usually a whole pig that is on display.  They lop off hunks of it along with a good bit of the crackling…’s absolutely delicious hot or cold, as long as the crackling is crispy.  You throw a few pieces of it into the bun with the pork and it’s fantastic.  That and a salad and some local wine made a great dinner one night.Al

Al fresco dining is great…..during the heat of the day at lunch we’d move the table under the mulberry tree (yes they are trees, not bushes…) and enjoy the food and views.  Not so much the sticky mulberries that would fall off every now and again.  In the evening the house was our shade and again we’d sit an and enjoy the food, the wine, the views and the company!

I have to go to work today 😦  .  I really shouldn’t complain see it’s only a couple of of hours two days a week or so…..but really I’d much prefer to sit here and carry on with our Italy adventure…oh well.  More soon.



How Annoying….

I just finished a big post…..because I haven’t posted for a long time…..and I lost it!!  Argh.

I was using the iPad, which I really don’t like very much.  Not sure what happened to it but oh well… wasn’t a terribly exciting one anyway.

Trying desperately to get back into some sort of a routine around here….it just all seems to fall apart during the summer and when I get back from vacation.  I have a hard time not wasting time!!

I’ve been working more than I planned, but after this week will hopefully get back to just the 2 days a week that I started out with!  It’s only a couple of hours in the morning but I’m pretty useless after that so not much gets accomplished.  I think I’m more productive in the morning and by the time I get home it’s after lunch, so in my head it’s too late to start anything but I’m really getting good at playing solitaire!

The weather had been great.  I do try to get yard work done when it’s not blisteringly hot ( I’m no complaining because I love summers like this) but at the rate I’m going I’ll have my yard done when I’m ready to sell in a few years.  I’m also getting a little obsessed with my grass…..who would have ever thought that!

I’ve been busy but not doing things on my to do lists, which I guess is OK because I am retired…..I keep telling myself that and it’s working since I’m not getting much done.  That excuse does get a bit old though after a few months…..

Had a great visit with my friends over in Sechelt…even did a tour boat trip one afternoon.  Very beautiful up the inlet…..lots of spectacular scenery and gorgeous vacation homes.  Also had a visit with another friend, who has had a place up there for a few years but moved up there permanently in June.  This was the first time that we were able to get together.  Had a great lunch and afternoon catching up and talking about their upcoming trip to Europe in September.  They’ll be spending 3 weeks in Puglia, which is an area I was in a few years ago.

I hope to get back to posting a little more regularly than I have been…..getting back into my usual morning routine….I will, definitely, I will……



There might have to be a few parts to this…..just so much there to talk about!  Food, wine, people, beautiful countryside, beautiful villages and towns….the list just could go on and on!

We tried to find where the local farmers markets were each day and then plan our outings based on that.  Le Marche, the area that we stayed in, is not the tourist mecca like so many other parts of Italy.  As a result it’s kind of a catch-22 situation……you don’t get the touristy type services (ie lots of restaurants) and at the same time because there aren’t that many tourists, there really isn’t the need to have all those restaurants, shops etc.  Not sure this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Their economy does struggle, which worries some people, but then we talked to others who were more than content with their way of life….sometimes a lot of work but so worth it to them to retain.  Very interesting!  Siesta is also a big part of Italian life in Le Marche…..just about everything closes around noon and reopens late afternoon, 4:30-5ish often, depending on where you are restaurants and cafes!  We learned to do our “shopping” earlier then search out one of the restaurants that was open and have a long leisurely lunch!


The Sunday market in Arcevia!  Not many food stands….mostly a market for household goods, clothing (including polka dot bras!!), tools, etc.  They don’t have any of the big box stores nearby so the weekly markets enable people to get what they need without having to drive for miles or hours.  Some of the clothes and shoes were pretty darn nice…..lots of scarves!!

The market in Gubbio (Tuesdays) was the best ever…..we remembered that from our last visit here so made the trek (a good hour or so drive).  It’s a huge market with lots of everything……beautiful fresh produce, the porchetta guy and clothes and shoes galore!

What surprised me more than anything was the number of young people in these towns.  Young as in their 20’s.  A lot of these places have only a few hundred people so it seems incredible to me that so many of the younger people remain.  They work in the shops but more often than not they work on the family farms and vineyards.  On the outskirts of many of the towns there are some large industrial complexes as well (tires, farming/vineyard equipment, cement works)…maybe that too keeps them close to home.  We’d see them in the cafes and bars in the evening (having a glass of wine, not beer!) chatting and visiting with their friends as well as all the oldies that would come out for the evening passagiata.

Little Apes (pronounces aa-pay, which means bee in Italian) , are in abundance and the best way to get around on the many narrow little roads.  We seen a lot of “souped” up ones driven by the young guys racing around in the evenings… Ferraris for them!


lots of little “apes”…..the kids spiff them up with fancy paint jobs and race them around the streets in the evening!



They really do have their priorties right……family is probably the most important, or maybe it’s the food… would be a pretty close second for sure.  Everywhere we went all food, even just a pizza, is served with care.   Most places the servers are very attentive….not for tips, which are not the big thing there like they are here….round up the bill and that’s it.  You never get just a glass of wine or a coffee, it will always come with a little cookie of bowl of nuts or olives…..sometimes a few little pieces of cheese.

The place we stayed was fantastic! Here is the link to the rental through airbnb Huge….especially loved the big kitchen with lots of room…AND the best part, good, sharp knives!!  The white stove at the end of the table has now been replaced by a lovely 6 burner stainless steel gas stove.   The ground floor was still somewhat in it’s original state….the barn.  We had fun looking around down there finding all the old troughs, stables, storage areas etc.

Italy is all about food to me….buying it, preparing it and then the best part….eating it!  I was going to try to get lots of foodie pics but unfortunately often I’d remember the picture halfway through the meal!

Food and cooking…..and wine of course….seemed to be on our mind all the time!!

All of us prepping away for dinner was one of the best times of day…..and then of course eating whatever we’d prepared and sitting around talking about our day.

I could go on and on……and will in the next post.