August 23, 2003

Ferragosto- August summer festivals

August 15th is a biggie in Italy. If you are not already on vacation, you will be!
In anticipation, my food guru Dario Cecchini threw a big party for 1,000 of his closest friends.
He created a new holiday the Festa del Nocciolo, the hazelnut tree party. Of course, August 15th is a big religious holiday, the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but almost all Catholic holidays have pagan roots!
The Festa del Nocciolo is based on the night the witches fly through the sky, with a hazlenut branch in their hands welcoming in August 15th!
Any reason for a party is a good one! There was of course ton's of food and one of my favorite ways to prepare roast beef was served.
Here is the recipe!



In Siena, the famous horserace the Palio is run and finally I went to the Prova , the trials...
Of course we were at the Festa del Nocciolo until around 2am and to see the Prova we had to be in Siena by 8:15am! It was well worth it, we were accompanied by Roberto, our friend from La Torre, his contrada hasn't won in 42 years, but that didn't stop his fevor for the event! The horses came out and ran a small palio but without the whole lining up of the horses that can take forever!

I watched the actual Palio on TV; it is a little to stressful for me. The contrada Bruca won, the caterpillar!
The energy and passion that the Sienese have for this is magical!
I found a new little wine bar I want to go back and try out called Liberamente right in the Piazza, it is owned by the same guy that has Le Logge.

Every time I go to Siena, I want to go back again! It has so much to offer.
My girlfriend Sibel has a shop there, on the same street as Le Logge, the shop is called il Gingillo, stop by and see some of her work! I love her Signor Galli.

August 10, 2003

Too much Tuscan Sun!

It is the feast day of San Lorenzo, St Lawrence, the patron saint of the Central Market in Florence.
He was martyred by being grilled to death!
I feel very much like him today. We have had record breaking temp's for too long... in the 90's and 100's in Florence is way to hot!
Tonight is also the night of the falling stars. when the largest number of falling stars can be seen, but tonight is a full moon which will not help!

For the festival in Florence, the local mercants offer a party to everyone, serving lasagna with meat sauce, which are noodles (the oven baked layered lasagna is called Lasagna al forno) and watermelon.

This is the week everyone leaves for vacation so we are hiding out in the countryside and eating cold things.Tuna and bean salad, big green salads, today a pasta salad with seafood , watermelon, cantelope.. fruit, fruit, fruit and water!!!!!

I hope to go to a pre-palio dinner this week, or at least visit Siena to get some of the energy from the Contrada's. Praying for some rain!!!