Day 5: The barista and the biscotti

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We decided to go for a walk downhill into the village this morning, where Jessie and I shared a cappuccino and couple of croissants  at the local bar/cafe. English-speaking locals are hard to come by, so I attempted enough Italian (supplemented by gestures) to ask the guy at the counter where I could buy some post cards. He said something in Italian before disappearing into the back of the café and returning with a 16×20 framed print of the Carunchio landscape in winter. Smiling, he held it up. I smiled back, confused.

It wasn’t until I heard him say the word “regalo” that I realized he was giving me this enormous picture. He held it out for me to take it, waving away my attempts to offer him a few euros. Perhaps he felt bad that they didn’t actually sell post cards? Maybe he wanted to show us a little hospitality? Whatever the reason, I thanked him for the unexpected gift and we set off to make the half-mile walk back uphill. Sans inhaler. Picture me fanning myself along the way with my new Texas-sized “post card.”

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Polpetinne cacio e uova

Cooking Class

We made it back to the Palazzo Tour d’Eau just in time for our cooking class, where Chef Dino taught us to make polpetinne cacio e uova, a typical vegetarian dish in Abruzzo. The breadcrumby cheese balls  are sauteed in a tomato, onion and bell pepper sauce, and then served over pasta.

We’re told this Medieval concoction is traditionally eaten for breakfast on Easter morning, but I’m pretty sure everyone was very pleased they decided to extend the tradition to our visit. Major crowd favorite. Please try this recipe at home.

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Yours truly rolling the biscotti I can’t even eat. There are tears behind that smile.

After lunch, we watched Dino prepare almond biscotti, starting with homemade dough and then adding raw almonds, among a host of other ingredients. We each took turns rolling the dough into long thick cylinders before it was baked, cut into strips and served for dessert.

I watched longingly as everyone dipped their perfectly crafted biscotti into cups of wine and espresso. Curse you, tree nut allergies. But not to worry. I won’t deny you the recipe.

After lunch, it was back down the hill for a few Peronis with our new friends before The Detox Dinner using mostly ingredients from the Palazzo Tour d’Eau garden.

  • Green salad with apples, arugula, pesto and nettles; greens soufflé; tartines
  • Crepe stuffed with fresh greens and served atop wild potato cream sauce
  •  Almond sponge cake with walnuts filled with white cream and cherry juice topped with pear jam and a pair of borage flowers
  • Warm “Grandma-spiced” digestif  of apple, orange, onion, dried fig, clove, cardamom and cinnamon
  • Limoncello
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