Yes, you can eat your way through Italia! Well, Tuscany & Liguria..

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Some food samples – visual ones. For the actual taste you will have to take a trip to Italy!

IMG_1651In Mercato Centrale in “downtown” as in the historic heart of Florence. Eat your heart out St. Lawrence!

IMG_1578Also in the same market, wood fire pizza made while you wait. A couple of minutes only!

After walking for a couple of hours from San Gimignano and helping ourselves to some delicious grapes growing along the way…

IMG_2393We reach this setting…IMG_2453

And eat this food!

IMG_2455  To end that delicious meal –

IMG_2466Another day, another hike and another fruit!!
IMG_2079The BEST fig ever. I don’t believe I even washed it. Never crossed my mind. Sun warmed and delicious.

IMG_1915Pappardelle with cinghiale (wild boar) ragu. It was delicious!

IMG_3122I had been dreaming of eating this dish! Linguine alle vongole! Yummy!

IMG_3692Pecorino cheese – made with sheep’s milk. I think this is my new favourite.

IMG_3696Yup, onion pizza!! Made with these onions.

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IMG_2832Italians love to do this – a salad that reflects the colours of their flag!

IMG_2902Aperol spritz! Oh my! My friend and hiking buddy had one of these, and of course seeing the brilliant colour, I had to try one. Just as delicious as it looks pretty!

Same story as before.. another day, another long hike….

IMG_3391Food at Agririfugio Molini, a hard to reach tiny place in San Fruttuoso, Parco di Portofino. Bed & Breakfast/Hostel/Restaurant using their own home grown produce!!

IMG_3133THE BEST PISTACHIO GELATO EVER! No contest! In Corniglia, Cinque Terre.

And then there was this!!! In a nice, fancy but family run restaurant uphill from the town of Moneglia. Every table got one or two of these. The giant shrimp were delicious, once you got past their beady eyes.

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Fall is here again!!!

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I think this has been the best Fall in ages! It started slowly and has hung around unlike previous years. And the colours are just amazing. Didn’t have to go far to see them either. I am glad we get to experience and enjoy the four seasons every year.

IMG_20151025_101920-1 IMG_20151025_105658-1 IMG_20151025_101947-1IMG_20151025_101646The famous Cherry Blossom Way, which will be bursting with those gorgeous flowers in a few months. 🙂 Right now it is bursting with Fall colours! Lovely!

Song of the sea and the Secret of Kells – Must see!!!

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Two magical must see movies see if you like animation and simple beautiful movies. Very different kind of animation in both movies, the kind that tells a story slowly and lovingly. Flat and yet complete worlds come alive in them.

I am beginning to realize that I have allowed myself to be influenced by the fast paced, often loud animation Disney movies. No disrespect to Disney, given that my very early exposure to animation was thanks to Disney. I think I still have sketches from an article on Disney cartoons from a long time ago showing various expressions on a cartoon dog. I remember sketching each of them very patiently and feeling thrilled that I could sketch a “cartoon”! The article talked about how many sketches had to be made in order to make a cartoon “move”. The amount of time and effort that went in (and from all accounts still does) creating these amazing imaginary worlds!

Even though they are beautiful to watch, movies like Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells appear almost slow in comparison. Actually they are not. They are just very different in their story telling and worth every minute. La petite sœur told me about Song of the Sea. I have realized over the years to pay attention to her suggestions. Most often than not, I end up loving the recommended movies (and books)! The Secret of Kells I found in a completely unexpected way. While telling my colleague at work about the Song of the Sea movie, we got talking about Irish legends and she started describing the Book of the Kells. Like with everything these days, a Google search ensued and there was the image of the movie. Luckily we have a fantastic library system that carries most movies, so the movie got put on hold and within a couple of days.. taadaa.

A theme running through these two movies and the others I have watched recently is magic and the connection of every living thing. Perfect. There is beautiful imagery, haunting music and the usual suspects of the human experience!

Onions, Cipolle, pyaj, piyaaoo…

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The title of the post says onions in, what we now know, is the language of the Universe (English, in case you were wondering), in Italian (the most delicious sounding language, according to me), in Hindi (national language of India, some think. see note about English) and the last but not least in Konkani (my mother tongue). Explaining that would be another post!

Every now and then, la petite sœur and yours truly are reminded of “India Times”. 🙂 No, not a newspaper, but how things used to be back when. One of the things  we realized was the size of the vegetables we used to get. In particular, the size of the red onion – I don’t recall if we got white or yellow onions in India. The mists of time are now impeding detailed recall. Be that as it maybe… red onions I remember. You could hold at least 4 of them in the palm of your hand. The onions we get here, just one fits in one hand. Cooking a meal with wee little onions was the norm there, but here I will probably freak out wondering how many I should chop to make a simple curry!! The mother has brought a bag of the Indian onions from the local Indian grocery store, so that should be interesting! 🙂

The big red onion shown here is still fairly small compared to some we have seen, bought and consumed. I LOVE onions, especially the red kind. I brought back a big bundle of fresh Spanish onions from Montreal once.. I know, what can I say. The bundle was big, because the onions and their tall green stalks were big…

I recall when the petite sœur had first moved to the True North Cold and Free (that name will change shortly once the weather finally warms up!), she had sent a letter back that said the onions she got here were the size of the coconuts we used to get in India. Needless to say we had trouble believing her. Little did we know….

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L to R – Onion from India, the local red, white and yellow onions. The shadows help too!

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Just to get a sense of perspective!

Summers in Supino and My Father Came From Italy by Maria Coletta Mclean.

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While searching for books on Italy early last year, I came upon “Summers in Supino” by Maria Coletta Mclean with it’s vibrant red cover and lovely image. Got it from the library and could not put it down once I started reading it. I have read the book a couple of times since and have even bought a copy. 🙂 I know, what can I say, it’s so beautifully written I feel like I am visiting Supino and experiencing the entire story with the author each time I read it.

The book starts off with the most beautifully written first pages I have read in a book, with the author describing how the news of her father’s passing away reaches his village of Supino. Brought a lump in my throat but at the same time the words were healing and beautiful.

The author and her husband buy “a house unseen”, as she describes it, to bring her father from his home in Ontario, Canada back one more time to his beloved village of Supino. The story actually starts with “My Father Came From Italy” and then continues in “Summers in Supino”. I just happened find the second book first, but the story fits perfectly even then. No Italian villa or gorgeous market scenes here but plenty of interesting neighbours who embrace the author (and her husband and daughter) into their lives, local festas, frustrations caused while dealing with the local bureaucracy, differences in cultures – Canadian and Italian, lots of delicious food eaten and the everyday comings and goings in the village.

“My Father Came From Italy” is also beautifully written and had me wanting to check the end of the book to make sure the author was be able to bring her father back for one last visit to his beloved home town, Supino. I found myself cheering for the author and her dad every step of the way, wanting their story to end well. I would buy this book as well but unfortunately it is not print.

Two absolutely adorable movies!!

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The petite sœur gave me these two DVDs to watch – “My Neighbor Totoro” and “The Secret World of Arrietty”. I really enjoy animation movies as it amazes me what animation artists are able to create!! Both movies are stunning and the detail in each frame from start to finish is absolutely amazing. They are a bit slow, but really sweet, touching and totally worth it.