International chatter

Caught on camera last night at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy our guests enjoying a convivial dinner on the terrace. It had again been a wonderfully sunny day and the evening brought a cooling breeze, just perfect for dinner ‘al fresco’

A great friend and neighbour had brought me some summer truffles found here in Valdichiascio with the express instructions that I should share them with my guests, so being one to obey I did.

I prepared gnocchi with truffle oil and grated summer valdichiascio truffles as a primo.  For secondo I made my version of Porchetta, the local pork speciality of whole roast pork stuffed with herbs.  The garden is overflowing with herbs, the sage being particularly prolific, so they were chopped and combined with lemon zest and stuffed into the rolled up pork which was slowly roasted.  Stephen had opted for a crostata for pudding this time an apricot flavour.

Guests seated round the table were from Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, we all found common languages and shared our day’s experiences.  Some guys had been cycling to the river, others lazing by the pool, others walking the ancient streets of medieval Gubbio, and others driven from Venice and Le Marche. Stories were compared and prefered towns and art and artists discussed as the local Umbrian wines from Lungarotti, Goretti, and Arnaldo-Caprai were quaffed, a thoroughly enjoyable evening

Tuesday – Market day in Gubbio

I awoke early with the sunrise and got on with the chores.

It has been a spectacularly nice day here at Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse in Valdichiascio, Umbria.  A long chat over breakfast and then off to Gubbio to the market.

The town was really busy, and the market full of goodies, clearly the fruit and vegetable growers had not taken time off over Easter, so produce was abundant and of high quality.  It is so lovely wandering through the stalls with colours and fragrances, stopping to chat with friends and colleagues, and the advantage of a warm sun on your back.

A quick snack of Porchetta, the local spit roast pig stuffed with herbs and crunchy crackling set me up for an aftrernoon of planting.

It was an afternoon when all my neighbours seemed to be out for a walk, so little planting, and much chatting, so much nicer.

Now as I write at the kitchen table the sun is beginning to set, the Apennines are bathed in a soft red-golden light and all about is stillness puncutated only by birdsong, a veritably joyful country day in Umbria.