Friday, October 07, 2011

Two Days Slid By....

The time is flying by here in Puglia. We learned something of the story of this place, and why it is called Masseria de la Zingara. The family who originally owned it were the people in the photo below. The padrone was a horse trader by profession, with gypsy roots, thus the name He is the man in the center with the curly mustache. This huge building were we are staying is a former barn/home. The family lived upstairs where we stay. The downstairs was full of cows and horses, thus the beautiful niches in the stonework where the cattle and horses were tied up and fed their hay in individual stalls. The place was bought by a British couple, and heavily renovated four years ago. It is now used for art classes, and occasional weddings, and events. It is stunningly beautiful.

Yesterday we went for a walk outside the gates where we saw several farmhouses like this old one just down the road, piles of stone still occupied after probably centuries of use.we picked fresh figs from the trees, and wandered in ancient olive groves with trees so twisted and gnarled that they were surely ancient, but still bursting with olives. It is no wonder that olive oil here is the most common product, and so flavorful and satisfying.

After a spectacular lunch of spaghetti in lemon sauce, prepared here just for us, we drove to a small seacoast town called Monopoli, where we wandered along the cliffs above the Adriatic, and watched families frolicking in the little coves below us.

We walked around in the old town, and drove throughout some of the impossibly narrow little streets, streets not made for cars but for pedestrians and the occasional donkey cart. It was a little hair-raising.

We returned to the Masseria in time for another spectacular meal, a tasty risotto on top of a lentil puree, with a bunch of Italian greens from the garden outside, and some small bread and cheese dumplings fried in oil, fantastic. We spent the evening meeting some of our new students, and putting the finishing touches on the classroom.

Today the class started. We have 5 students, 2 Canadians, one from France, one from England, and one American ex-pat living in Italy. It was a challenging day. With no decent paint, and with palatte heaters that were sporadic at best, Daniella had a rough beginning. But, as always, she showed her immense resourcefulness and pulled it off. Tonight we ate homemade Italian sausages, bruschetta with wild asparagus and cheese, and stuffed peppers from the garden, followed by a homemade gelato made from yellow plums, honey, lemon marmelade, in a mint and agave sauce. We are blown away by this magnificent chef, this gorgeous place, and the happiness of being in Italy, the best place eaver!

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Location:Puglia, Italy

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