Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Working hard among WONDERFUL people

The past few days here have been phenomenal. Cooking here has been very eye-opening and fun...but also hard work. I am learning so much. In addition I have been going out every night with my friend Giuseppe and his friends. Giuseppe is 28 and is the marketing director at the winery. Part of his job is to sell his wine to restaurants in the surrounding area. He seemingly does an incredible job because everywhere we go people love him and are genuinely excited to see him walk in the door. We have been going to three or four different places each night. Most of them are all over in tons of different small towns in the region of Umbria.

Above is a restaurant we went to in the tiny town of Chia. We walked in the door at about 11:30 pm (normally past my bed time!). They were basically closed with only a couple people left finishing their meals. However, they sat us down and brought us a feast. The people in the picture above are the family who owns and runs the restaurant. The mother on the right is the chef, the son makes the pasta and is the waiter, and the daughter does the books and is the hostess. This is typical of how these restaurants operate.

Wherever we go people always ask Giuseppe who I am. When he tells them I am an Americano they ask in an alarming tone what on earth I am doing here in these small towns going to places and acting like a local. When Giuseppe tells them I am a member of Team USA, they cannot believe it and get really excited. They end up bringing us more food and wine than we know what to do with. (Moderation is key here...make the right choices!)

I get taken in the kitchen everywhere and they pull out special items for us like their personal stashes of homemade prosciutto, rare wines and even specially prepared desserts which are not on the menu. What's even crazier is that most times these restaurant owners won't even let us pay for anything. They treat us like kings...I'll try to remember the feeling at 5:20 on a cold morning this winter when I know Eddie is going to pound me at practice!
Here I am holding a delicious home made fetuccini pasta with wild boar that they hunted themselves. Italians sure know how to eat.

Picking fresh sage in the garden for the dish below which is a thin slice of Chianina beef fillet, sage, and prosciutto... in that order (the sage is on top in the picture so you could tell it was part of the dish...when it gets cooked it is in the center). Molto Buono;)

Working a pizza dough...the pizza here is spectacular. I really need to perfect my techniques so I can attempt to make something half as good when I get home.


Anonymous said...

It's hard work indeed my friend and a single persons life unless you work with your own family. Kinda like swimming for a living.
Great pictures.

maly said...

wow you are so lucky to have this experiance of the italien life.

Tiziana said...

You are so very fortunate to experience this Umbrian cooking life. It looks idyllic, though of course hard work, but something that you'll cherish for years to come. If you enjoy cooking - as you do - I think there's nothing better to soothe and satisfy the soul. Doesn't everything taste sharper and fuller? Some 25 years later, I can still remember the taste of a Florentine apricot picked off a tree overhanging a non-descript back alley...

J said...

Wow, okay Italy looks good with you! Your born natural in the kitchen, what did the wild boar pasta taste like? Or at least a brief description? My cooking adventures don't extend beyond the microwave most nights. Enjoy the "La Dolce Vita"!

Tracy near Annapolis, Maryland said...

Garrett, your blog and food adventures are so delightful! Every foodie's dream what you are doing right now. I am anticipating each entry and every bite!

What dish has been your favorite to prepare thus far? To eat? Favorite wine?


Kait W. said...

Glad ur havin so much fun G!!!! I love waking up in the morning and seeing all ur twitter updates on my phone LOL makes me feel like I'm not stuck in Chicago haha Thanks for keepin us all updated!!!!

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