Market day, as regular readers will know, is every Saturday morning here in Citta della Pieve. Stalls selling women’s clothes made in China and several stalls selling jeans, probably also made in China. A couple of household linen stalls, so no shortage of good tea towels in this town. One stall sells kitchen goods and so we bought an orange squeezer and look forward to freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning! (One of the things you can’t find in the supermarket is freshly squeezed juice.)
The most interesting stalls are obviously the food stalls. Vegetables of every sort, and no courgette shortage here! Others loaded with pecorino cheeses of every size, colour and age. Some are wrapped in straw, others covered in ash. Great, huge chunks of parmesan, fresh ricotta and small glossy buffalo mozzarellas in whey. The salamis are of every shape, length and thickness. The best are reputedly from Norcia, the town recently devastated by an earthquake. Lots of wild boar hams, salamis and sausages, as that is a speciality of the region.
We bought some hand carved parma ham, a mozzarella and some incredibly runny gorgonzola cheese. This is called ‘gorgonzola al cucchiaio’ which means that it can be eaten with a spoon (cucchiaio).
Today we had Zuppa Pavese for lunch. You start with a piece of toasted bread, rubbed with garlic, placed in the bottom of a soup bowl. Meanwhile poach an egg in the broth using a ladle and lay the egg on the toast. Add three or four ladles of broth and finish with a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan. Delicious.
I made the broth yesterday, with beef ribs and chicken giblets. One of the great things here is that you can buy a ‘stock kit’ from the supermarket. This consists of celery stalks, carrots, parsley, onion and a tomato; all you need are some bits of meat. From that I made enough soup for three days. The weather is still bright but very cold and so a bowl of soup is extremely welcome, and something that is easy to make on our one-ring improvised kitchen. Yesterday we had it with fresh tortellini, small twisted pasta parcels with meat filling. Tomorrow…
Daisy was in heaven as she got to chew on the beef ribs, and has got chicken giblets tomorrow. Yum yum!
The big decision today is that it might be best to rent a flat for three months, while the builders are in. The prospect of borrowing friends’ flats/houses and then having to keep moving when they are back for a weekend, has brought me out in a rash. Also we really want somewhere where we can unpack properly and live normally for a while. After all, it is bound to take longer than the estimated two months and so renting will be more economical than paying for a B&B even for a few days. Our estate agent friend knows of some places, and there is always Airbnb.
After an aperitif in the bar with friends we had a supper in Serenella’s. Roast rabbit with rosemary along with tomato gratin and sautéed greens. Forgot to take a photo as I was too hungry and afterwards thought a plate of bones might not look so great. I also mentioned to Serenella that we were looking for somewhere to rent and it turns out she has two apartments in town, although they sound quite large and we were looking for a bedsit! Still, it largely depends on how much the rent is.
I have left Jamie baby-sitting Daisy whilst I go to our local theatre for a lecture on cinema and fashion; Jamie chickened out because of the language barrier (and the subject probably!). There will be a film homage to the work of Italian cinema costume designer, Piero Tosi, and the women he has designed for, followed by a fashion show. Here I am sitting in my box waiting for it to start and I will report back in the next blog for all the fashionistas out there.