I'm back from the little jaunt down to Italy. This isn't a real post as I've just come back, but a little collection of photos of food and places. I have another post about gelato to come, though I'll bake something nice before that.
For the first two nights, we stayed in a little village in the Mugello valley up above Florence. Above is one of the churches in the village. The drive was a bit longer than we'd hoped - about 6 hours.
I had no idea how big and gorgeous the hills are up there. The trees are absolutely gorgeous and very different from the trees in the mountains where mum lives in Switzerland.
The little village - Palazzuolo sul Senio - had a little fruit stall that came one morning. We bought some fantastic little plums, the first donut peaches I've ever seen and some huge yellow peaches.
On the very first morning, mum fell down some stairs and twisted her ankle. As a result Arthur and I went to go off and explore on our own, leaving Silver and mum to relax. We wandered along a road by the river and after restraining Arthur from 'playing' with the ducks, we found a little bridge and this glorious little glade above.
Despite the lush green of the scene, the river belied the changing seasons as autumn leaves swirled about in the water.
All I need to say about the food at the little place we were staying at is that they served six types of homemade bread with dinner and that we got cakes like this for breakfast, along with fresh figs, eggs, cheese and so on. One morning we had that seriously thick Italian hot chocolate too.
On the first morning, we had the peach one in the first photo, which was gorgeous. The second day there was another cake (alongside more of the peach cake) which had beautiful pale orange segments. Mum and I presumed these were apricots.
We were wrong - it was melon.
I had never thought about baking with melon. It was intriguing - very soft and fragrant. The taste of the lovely orange melon (I'm not quite sure what variety it was) seemed enhanced. I'm definitely going to keep it in mind.
The next day we headed off through the hills to spend a day in Florence. This is where the gelato I spoke of earlier comes in. Of all the Italian cities I've been to, Florence is my favourite. There's something about the place that just speaks to me.
Silver was much admired in Italy. Normally it's bouncy Arthur with his excessive cuteness that gets the attention, but apparently the Italians go for a slightly more elegant dog. She was very happy to pose for the photos and receive the pats and praise.
That night we drove up to another place in Piedmont, in between Milan and Turin. It was in the middle of grape country - they were everywhere. Even though we have a lot of vines in our valleys in Switzerland, the vines there are quite spectacular.
This morning we woke up and decided to go home via a little town market. I love Italian markets - I've never seen anything like it in another country. So much fruit and vegetables and cheeses and and fish and meats. We bought several bags full of goodies.
In the end we sat in the car eating these gorgeous grapes as we drove home. Instead of going through the Grand St Bernard tunnel, we went over the pass. It's insane - so dramatic. It's amazing what lies just around the corner from our home.