I am back in Ferentino settling in for planning sessions and occasional trips to Rome to run a cooking class. Later in the month I am going to Bologna and Faenza to set up my new March Gourmet adventure which will also include Ravenna. The evenings are now quite cold although the days are warm and sunny. I have a new member of the household – Iffy, or Iphigenia for short! Two days before leaving for the Budapest trip we heard plaintive mews from the street which went on for hours. My grandson, Jamie, went to investigate and came back with a minute, unkempt, grey tabby kitten. It was petrified and scuttled under the furniture, snuffling and wailing. (Photo attached) We had to keep it away from my jealous Tasha who at the great age of 20 brooks no potential rivals The vet came the next morning and said she was about four weeks old and, to my delight, a female. She needed to be fed little and often which was a problem given my imminent departure. In the end I took her to Rome on my way to the airport and left her with my animal-loving doorman who promised to feed her three times a day. I collected her on my way back from Budapest and she is now happily settled in her new home. Tasha will not accept her and she is too small and timid to assert her rights so for the moment she is living in my courtyard room which I am hastily transforming into my study so that she has more company. I always seem to make my life more complicated.
We enjoyed splendid weather in Budapest and explored all aspects of this fascinating city. The gastronomic highlights were the lesson and Chef’s table at the legendary Gundel and the Transylvanian dinner at Taste Hungary. Full details on my website. The trip will be repeated in 2017.
Autumn is the time for the delectable white truffle, one of my great passions. I usually try to plan a trip to Piemonte to indulge, but this year I have discovered Campoli Appennino. This small town, in the province of Frosinone, a short drive from my house, is the centre for locally-found black and white truffles. This Sunday we drove out for lunch and on the way stopped at Sulpizio Tartufi to buy a couple of small white truffles. I always find black truffles disappointing and I am not a fan of truffle cream or oil. Our purchases filled the whole car with the heady truffle aroma and it was inevitable that we all ordered pasta with white truffle for first course. It was so warm and sunny it felt like May and in the afternoon we explored this region which has yet to be discovered by international tourists. The beautiful lake at Posta Fibreno has crystal-clear water and a floating island, known locally as ‘la Rota’ complete with slender poplars and willows. Cicero was born near here and his villa was between Sora and Isola Liri with its lovely waterfalls. I am excited to have only now discovered this region so close to Rome and I going to organize a three-day visit here to be added before of after another one of my Gourmet Adventures where people fly in and out of Rome.
Soon I will be spending more time in Rome and I am looking forward to visiting some of the new, secret bars set up like the speakeasies of the Prohibition era, where you need to be a member or know the password. Rome is always evolving and you have to run fast to keep up. In fact tomorrow in many European airports, including Rome, it is the Giornata Mondiale della Gentilezza’ – the day of kindness. Every passenger will be given a flower and, we hope, not knocked over by passengers in a hurry, as has happened to me twice. One day out of 365 to be kind and polite.
This is a list of Gourmet Adventures for the next 12 months. My website is being re-vamped so forgive me if some parts are not updated. You can always drop me an email.
Gourmet Adventures for 2016
*March 12-19 Bologna, Faenza and Ravenna
April 10-16 Seville
April 16-21 Marrakech
*May 14-21 Puglia
June 4-11 Greece – Peloponnese
*September 17-28 Greece – Crete and Peloponnese
October 1-9 Sicily
*November 5 – 11 Rome and the Ciociaria
*Details not yet available on website Please email for details