Great to see Salvatore and Sara back home after an intensive month of chestnut picking at Sal’s family farm in the south of Italy. Several kilos of heir plump luscious chestnuts are now sitting in my cellar waiting to be roasted and shared after dinners here at Bellaugello.
Weather forecasts of rain this week have had us rushing to havest the last of the fruit. The rosy ruddy red melograno were picked and now sit on the sunny kitchen windowcill slowly finiishing off the ripening process.
Olive harvest was begun yesterday. I adore the raccolto, it is wonderful to think of thousands of families all over the mediterranean picking olives as we pick them by hand, in the same way they have been picked for thousands of years. It was warm, I was up in the highest branches of the trees, little black olives raining down on the other pickers. Giordano our young neighbour was working the greppo its trees all golden and russets, with his truffle dog Bianca, and came over with a gift of black truffles..
Dinner on saturday night was a wonderful mix of guests an friends. Luca brought white truffle (yes I know white truffle again isn’t life tragic!) and Fabio brought his home-made tagliatelle. An enormous bowl of “maritozzi’ buns were soon devoured. These buns a local speciality spookily resemble the british Bath Bun in all things but the substitution of oil for butter. Strange to think of an ancient link between Gubbio and Bath. I must do some further marketing in the south of England. Gubbio today is overflowing with guests at the annual truffle fair, Perugia with a gigantic craft and food fair, literally flowing down the hill from the centro storico.
Umbria is a sensational holiday destination at this time of year.
Writing this and thinking of all the wonders gifts of nature I am listening to the Today news programme from the BBC. I hear about been dreadful floods in Scotland, and a report from India talks of the receeding glaciers at the source of the Ganges. Something is certainly happening be it man-made or natural.
Here at our gay and heterofriendly bed and breakfast we are conscious of the need to act sensibly and conserve percious resources. I have sitting on my desk a quotation for the wood and pellet fired boiler, together with the solar panels we intend to install here to provide all our heating and hot water. The boiler made in Austria runs on pellets, and will also burn the left over olive stones from the frantoio, and principally the timber from our own woodlands. Solar panels link in to the system and all hot water is gathered into an extremely well insulated storage vessel. It is a wonderful automatic sophisticated scheme, and will ensure our heating and hot water for years to come with minimal carbon impact. The only problem it it costs, boy does it cost. I am going to need to cut back…. diet here I come thank goodness the raccolto is in!