Sunday, September 25, 2011

Driving to Drink

I can't say enough good things about A Durmi and the sisters running the place -- Cinzia and Elisa. This morning, another great recommendation as I'm settling up our bill and leaving the girls and their mother a small gift of jewelry mom has made. I ask for the name of the treat their mother made on the day of our arrival in the wood fire oven. She tells me  
Torta D'Erbe, then suggests a tiny place down the street to pick up some for our journey. I venture out to find Pasta Fresca.

The name of the place is actually "La Pastaia." They don't speak a lick of English, but somehow I communicated what I would like (supposedly the same as Torta Pasqualina, though the latter has more layers.) Sadly, the Torta D'Erbe won't be ready until noon. I plan to try making it at home. Cinzia said, when looking for recipes, include the name if the county --  Ligure -- as it is made differently by region. She also advises skipping the egg if the recipe calls for it. At the shop, another of her suggestions is available... Torta Di Riso. Recipes for this should also include "Salata", as it can be made differently from one side of the street to the next. It's like a thin pie made with rice. I order that, and also some veal meatballs and Verdure Ripene -- stuffed vegetables. I choose eggplant, but there are also onion and bell peppers.

Before we leave, Cinzia makes a gift to us of jam made by her aunt. She says it is made with grapes not used for wine and cautions us that her aunt is "mad" at making jam. She is too cute.

The ride to Florence is rather uneventful. Mom reads to me from this books about finding your personal color palate, including your essence, romantic and dramatic colors. My essence is falling asleep at the wheel. Thankfully, we make it in one piece, and magnate to fill the gas tank up without too much of an intervention. Hertz? What can I say. The reservation is completely screwed up, but I explain what has happened and tell him about the issues in Rome, the problems with the navigation system, and that I have detailed photos of the entire car and a list of names so I can write a letter to the company when I get home. He's a doll. Refunds us nearly 100 euros for the navigation system and from what we can tell, fixes the reservation. We can deal with the rest later. Alessio, you have just earned the patron saint award of today. Congrats.

I'm liking Florence already.

We hop in a cab and get to Via Della Chiesa to meet our next host, Luca's, sister Christine. The apartment is lovely, and we again have a marvelous balcony overlooking the terra cotta tiled rooves below. And I get to be a princess again with these dramatic tall ceilings. We spread lunch out on the bed and laze about in the sun, munching and unpacking for an hour or so. We hear tell there's a wine festival in town... so the siesta won't last long.

Please tell me that doesn't surprise you.

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