It is a rainy day here and we had plans to visit the gardens of a famous villa close by that are only open on Wednesday afternoons. Unfortunately, it is too miserable to get out. (I suspect they are closed anyway.)
We started out the morning by going to the local ceramics shop, Ceramica Montefollonico. The artist, Mariella Spinelli owns the home we are renting and her touches are found in several places like the title work in the bathroom. Her studio and shop are in a frescoed church in Montefollonico. She also offers classes. I found wonderful things in the shop. (I collect pottery.) We ordered some pieces to be custom-made and shipped home when complete. It will take 6-8 weeks, so we might get it for Christmas. I looked at many things and thought of picking up some gifts, but there is no way to know if it will make it on time. Guess it will all have to be for me!
Mariella had also offered to make reservations for us at La Chiusa, considered to be “one of the best restaurants in Italy”. (per Insight Guides; yes you can tell which guide book we brought with us.) She is a friend of the owner. It is also considered one of Tuscany’s fanciest restaurants. Hopefully they will cut us some slack on that given the cold and miserable weather. La Chiusa is set in an old mill and is just outside of Montefollonico. They use traditional recipes and local products.
At the shop I asked about Halloween which is apparently celebrated by some here. The comment was made that activities would be curtailed due to the weather. “The kids said they were going to watch a horror movie.” We have seen a few indications of Halloween around Tuscany. There was also a lucky find. The first day we were in town, Boris lost one of the ends to his four-footed cane. He has used it in a modified fashion ever since. Today, one of the vendors who came to met Mariella spotted the tip outside and noticed Boris’ cane and brought it to him. Well that’s worth something.
Aound 1:30 things were looking pretty grim for our afternoon touring, so Boris suggested lunch. I prepared the Tuscan antipasto platter using our market finds. We had three kinds of meat (I added prosciutto that we had bough at the store earlier), the three cheeses, olives, bread, and a little bowl of olive oil for dipping.
We drank a bottle of aqua frizzante and finished off an open bottle of wine. Boris said his foot is really bothering him today, probably a product of the weather and the cumulative effect of several days of touring. It was a good time for me to catch up on my photographs, start my photo journal, and update the blog. A few people needed “Happy Halloween” emails too.
I do have one “out of Italy” piece of news and a bit of an update for my regular blog followers. My niece Maggie who has been working at the Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World this semester as a college intern has been asked to staff the new section of Fantasyland that is just opening. This is hot off the presses news today. My next trip there is planned for December, but maybe a November trip would also be appropriate.
Boris took a nap and the 3 pm opening time for the gardens came and went with the rain continuing. The fog is so thick you can barely see up the street. When the church bells rang at 4:30, I realized this was a full day inside and I couldn’t be happier.
La Chiusa was everything we hoped it would be. The drive with a little difficult with the fog so thick you could only see 15-20 feet ahead of you. There was a light crowd, but Mariella’s call had done the trick and we were given the best table next to the fireplace. It was a romantic setting with tiled floors, a wood beam ceiling, stuccoed walls, and brick archways. We ordered every course. Dania, the owner, came by our table twice. The first time was early in the evening when she stopped by with her granddaughter who was dressed as a strega (witch). She was adorable.
I had the porcini mushroom salad-excellent. Then advanced with the trio of pastas and the beef steak with truffles. Boris had the porcini mushroom soup, the pasta with truffles, and the veal chop. He asked the waiter for a wine suggestion in the nobile category after we ordered and I saw the look on his face when he saw the “nobile” prices. He ordered and when they waiter walked away Boris said “this is our anniversary dinner”. The wine was excellent.
The steward filled my prosecco glass gratis several time and Boris had at least two refills of his after dinner drink on the house, but the bill was still outrageous and worth every penny for this special occasion. Everything we ate was superb. Dania came out again and visited with us before we left. She was fascinated by Boris four-
tip cane (even more so since all four tips are actually there) and his grasp of Italian. She has owned the restaurant for 36 years. There are also some special accommodations you can rent. When he filled Boris’ glass one more time, I suggested that the waiter would have to take him home. He said he could just stay in one of the room and I could pick him up tomorrow.
Another difficult drive home in the dense fog and someone stole our parking space. Holiday tomorrow so many people we out late tonight. I did pretty well parallel parking after that much wine. Happy Anniversary Boris.
And Happy Halloween to all my readers, Natasha.