Probably one of the most precious moments of the day is sunset. Such a fleeting moment yet can be so inspiring. Winter's grey days and storms often clear to leave us such incredible images.
The hills near our house are all filled with olive groves. Andrea liked this one with a large trunk. In the late 80's Tuscany had a huge snow fall and we lost so many of the older trees and many of the groves now were replanted after the freeze. It is rare to find the original older trees.
It is easy to understand why so many artists came to Italy to paint. THE LIGHT.
Spring is clearly on it's way. My first wild violets are showing their heads and golden dandelion flowers are also popping up. Wonderful wild greens cover the hills and find their way into my kitchen.
Winter is also downtime from work and time to explore and do research for future projects and get inspiration for new recipes. This took us to Lucca last week. I have a thing for walled in cities. Tuscany is filled with them.Walking into a walled city takes you away from today and into a quieter,slower past. Lucca has so many shops which reflect more French feel,with art deco facades.
This is one of my favorite shops, Prospero, just past the San Michele church. It opened in the 1700's and still maintains that old feel. I go for one of the best selections of beans in Tuscany.
Another shop which always catches my attention are the kitchen/hardware stores!
Look at what a fabulous collection of culinary toys!
Of course, no daytrip is complete without sweets and Lucca is full. One of my favorite chocolate shops is Caniparoli, again near the church of San Michele.
But right now, am finishing up projects before leaving on my teaching tour in February.
When I return, my cookbook will finally be ready for sale!
Fabulous way to start the new year- both classic and chinese!
In honor of Chinese new year, I did a little roasted pork belly with a sweet and sour BBQ sauce which was perfect.
This week I make some steamed Pork Buns. I am spending a lot of time experimenting with doughs right now and will blog about the new recipes soon.