31 August 2015

Summer Bella Baita Highlights 2015

Bella Baita and View of the French Border Along with Our Vegetable Garden
Time flies and the spring and summer season has passed me by in a blink. I had great intentions of keeping up on sharing the goings on of our life here in the alps, but alas that was not to be. We have had a great season this year with incredible hot sunny weather and friends visiting from around the globe. There are always so many directions to go when there are gardens to plant and tend, meals to plan, make and serve and new and old friends to enjoy visiting with. So here it is the end of August I guess I will share some of the highlights of this past season and savor the moments with you now that I have the luxury of time to do so. Naturally there is still plenty to do around here, but the pace has slowed and the season is changing. I  hope you like photos cause I am going to let them do most of the talking.
My childhood friend Denise and Me (Marla) What a great visit!
Unlike last year when the summer weather was less than stellar, this summer we have had blue skies and very warm temperatures, scorching and record breaking in parts of Italy. Even our little slice of heaven in the alps has been so warm that we've been sleeping with all the windows open for weeks now. Usually we tend to only have a short period of heat as the mountains seem to cool off quickly when the sun goes down but this year has been different. Warm days, warm nights, garden bounty with gelato and sorbet applied liberally and frequently.
Home made Strawberry Sorbetto
The summer not only brings friends out to tramp around our forests, sample our cooking and discover this little known part of the Italian Alps, it also brings us a variety of volunteers that work along side us during the season. Whether we are preparing the garden or tending it, chopping and stacking wood for the winter, weeding around our house, cleaning between stones on the old family home that is being reborn, whilst cooking together when we have cooking classes and cleaning up after meals, we always have time to learn more about other peoples lives from different parts of the world, and that is an enjoyable bonus to the season and extra hands helping out is always a big bonus. We thank all of our volunteers for all their hard work and companionship that made this season and every season such a success.  You guys rock!

Some Woofers and Workaway Volunteers 2015
A lot of our life here revolves around food as we are keen gardeners, cooks and market shoppers.
The twice weekly market in Pinerolo is one of our favorite stops. I love buying directly from the people that produce the food we buy and putting the money directly into their hands that are often gnarled and usually rough. It is a good feeling. We have become friendly with so many of them over the years and two of my favorites have finally been retired from the market by their daughter. At 86 years young they have been coming to the Pinerolo's farmers market for well over 60 years, 6 days a week, bringing everything on their bikes as neither ever drove a car. Luigi always had a trailer behind his rattle trap bike that he filled with recycled crates out of dumpster bins that overflowed with fresh picked fruits ad vegetable with the occasional chicken or rabbit to boot whilst he maneuvered his bike and cargo with ease, come rain or shine.  Their vitality in their older years amazed me and I admire their frugality and ingenuity. His gnarled hands tied up bundles of greens and carrots with lengths of flexible willow.  No twist ties for them. They had green beans so slender and tender and the most delicious figs that makes you want to sing.  But with the advancement of age and a few tumbles with thier bikes they are no longer coming to the market. It is hard for me to see their spot at the market empty or slightly taken over by the nearby vendors and I have no doubt it has been a difficult adjustment for them. Here's a small collage of some of my photos of them.
Laura and Luigi our favorite Pinerolo market vendors. Fabrizio and Marla are with them in the bottom corner
 So between our garden and shopping in the market, we manage to serve some wonderful food throughout the year. We love featuring our local Piemontese specialties with whatever  is in season and looks inviting. 

Our mountain garden
Our tempting array of culinary treats.
Picture left to right top to bottom...involtini with garden green beans, selection of local cheeses, peach and blackberry rustic tart, agnolotti del plin (meat ravioli), gifts from our garden, grilled aubergine and zucchini with dried tomato hazelnut pesto
We also love making pizza and baking my wild yeasted bread in our wood fired oven. There's nothing quite like the food that comes out of that oven. It's flavorful and fun to cook with.

Our home canned tomatoes make our pizza sauce all the more delicious

One of the highlights of our summer too is cooking together with our friends and doing a bit of wine tasting of local varieties, like Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, and Arneis. Pasta and raviolo making as well as gnocchi as well as bread and desserts, is a wonderful way to spend some of your holiday time with us. 

       One of the highlights of our summer too is cooking together with our friends and doing a bit of wine tasting of local wines.

It might seem like it's all about food, it isn't even though that is a large part of of our focus.
There are however mountains to see and climb or ride up on a ski lift during the summer.

Bella Baita View of the French Border

Prali Ski lift
There is the largest fortress in Europe, often referred to as the "Great Wall of Piedmont", to see.

Fortezza di Fenetrelle
 Quaint villages to explore.
Street scene in Usseaux
Music and events to catch.

And so much more to discover. 
We hope you'll come and visit with us and discover a part of the Alps worth finding. 
More stories and recipes coming up now that we have moved into the next part of the year. 
ciao for now....Marla

1 comment:

James Higham said...

That reminds me - I have to make the bread this morning.

Bookmark and Share