orWine Tastings in the Comfort of you own villa or B&B while on holiday in Tuscany or Liguria

To book an informative and fun wine tasting whilst holidaying in Italy or arrange for a wild food walk in your area contact me on tuscanytipple at libero dot it or check out my Facebook page

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Sunday, 22 June 2008

Boy, it's hot

Well we had almost forgotten what it’s like, but summer does seem to have finally arrived, so much so that it’s has simply become too hot to do any meaningful work. Yesterday, on mid-summer solstice we set out to our plot full of good intentions. We bought a few tomato plants to replant the ones drowned by the rains and a few cabbage plants. We just about managed to plant these and stake the tomatoes and Susan built a support for the melons that had spontaneously sowed themselves out, although I’m coming to the conclusion that they may be cucumbers. This again is strange, because the ones I deliberately sowed out got drowned as well. Well I’m not complaining, let them grow where they’re happy is what I say. Anyway, after this bit of very light work we were drenched in sweat and it was only 10 o’clock in the morning! Things could only get worse. My outside thermometer is on 40˚C and there is still a lot of humidity in the air. This evening, as the sun dips behind the hill (our land is east facing), we shall resume our watering routine and then go off to La Spezia where there is to be a Sardinian sagra accompanied by folk music. Until then we’ll just vegetate.

In the meantime I have found a new, really useful book, ‘Liguria in arbanella’. Written in Italian, this gives traditional Ligurian recipes for preserving your harvest. Amongst the usual suspects of jams, vegetables under oil or vinegar, salted or dried vegetables etc, there are some really unusual ones that I can’t wait to try out. Amongst the jams and marmalades there is for instance an orange marmalade with chocolate bits and cognac, a chestnut and white bean jam, a dandelion jam and apple and rose petal jam. The fruit under alcohol section features chestnuts under whisky and the section on vegetable preserves includes garlic in honey, aubergine with mint or spicy under oil, spicy olives and garlic, chillies stuffed with anchovy and capers and sweet and sour tomatoes. At the end of the book there are also a few of the classic Ligurian recipes such as Pesto Genovese and Nut Sauce. All in all a great book and I shall look forward to seeing my larder brimming over with homemade delicacies. We started with doing cherries under spirit, ciliegie sotto spirito, the other day, which involves pure alcohol (95%) being poured over cherries, sugar and a few cloves. We’re shaking the mixture daily now and after a month or so it will be ready to be bottled.

Finally, to my great disappointment Holland were knocked out of Euro 2008 last night by no other than Russia who are managed by Dutchman Guus Hiddink. I hope he will now not be allowed back into the country, he should be banished to Siberia! Well, well, life goes on, I suppose I’m going to have to start shouting for Italy now… Me and our next-door neighbour Piero were having shouted conversations throughout the match last night through our open windows. Oh, and the orange T-shirts will finally be retired to cleaning duties.


Anonymous said...


My name is Carrie and I live in Edinburgh in Scotland.
I have been reading your blog on and off for two main reasons;
1) I lived for a while up the road in Bagnone (sure I used to drive past S. Stefano to get to the beach)
2) My boyf. and I are looking to do something similar to you guys. We are travelling over this summer and will be WWOOFing (working on farms) in Emilia, Marche and Abruzzo with a view to finding out more about the areas and farming methods (would love to be back in Tuscany but its just to pricey for us).
Anyhow - looking forward to picking up more farming tips from your blog in the future.


Carriue :)

Heiko said...

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for your comment. We are of course on the Ligurian side of the border and found things still reasonably priced. We came here on a tight budget ourselves. If you're in the area let us know and we can maybe meet up.