A page from my personal journal dated Thursday, June 10th, 2010
It is already Thursday and our one totally free day here at Casa Ombuto.
Awoke a bit later this morning for no particular reason other than…..I could! Showered and readied for our adventure with Kelly and Elizabeth, who were waiting in the cantina eating breakfast when I arrived. The fresh papaya yogurt, fruit and granola have become my staple breakfast and are good and healthy. To be honest, aside from the wines served to compliment each meal, I feel as if we have been eating quite healthy….oh, except for the desserts. But then, it is a recipe WE have personally prepared and it IS vacation. I really enjoy the bean dishes served and the wonderful soups as well. We were ready to begin our exploration.
We set off in our yellow Fiat Panda with sweet Elizabeth scrunched in the small back seat. We were all very excited to visit the ceramics factory in Arezzo, Ceramiche Tapinassi. (Check out their link www.ceramichetapinassi.it) We headed down the winding narrow dirt paths toward the village of Poppi and the road that would lead us to the next village of Arezzo. Kelly was getting really upset with Tanya, our TomTom, as the touch screen was very temperamental. We decided to wing it as the factory is only fifteen minutes from the center of Poppi, so Tanya went back into her box. After only two roundabout missed turns, we found the showroom just beyond the Lorj Designer Clothing outlet store. (This could really be trouble after the ceramics shop).
The ceramic factory showroom was vast and well appointed. The staff spoke very limited English, but wherever we go, it seems we do just fine and there is normally one person with some grasp of the language. All three of us slowly searched each room for our treasures. They actually produce what is known in the states as Vietri. After completing the tour, we returned to each room to make our choices.
In the main showroom a beautiful olive oil jar painted in traditional Tuscan colors with golds, blues, yellows and green had caught my eye. The jars were labeled “small, medium and large”…..actually more like “large, way large and mucho grande” would have been a better description. The prices listed on the sign included shipping. I decided on the small one that would sit nicely on my kitchen counter. It would be a functional olive oil jar with a spigot for filling bottles or bowls. I was so excited.
Kelly found some beautiful cream colored pieces, and pale green and blue. She
decided to mix and match the colors and found some very functional trays, dishes and cups. Elizabeth made her selections in pale yellow and gold. She found a killer bowl with a handle. Magnifico…….we were all so happy and amazed at the prices plus a five percent discount arranged by Barbara from Casa Ombuto. Shipping fees were not that bad and the safely packed wooden crate will arrive in five to ten days. We knew the prices plus the shipping were well below the retail price back in the States, so we were all very excited with our purchases.
We a stopped at Osteria IL PORTO, where we had a beer and gnudi Di ricotta e spinach burro e salvia( (ricotta and spinach parcels with a light sauce of butter and sage) and insalada. Light and delicious. The portions in Italy are much smaller than we would ever eat at home. Very wise those Italians!
A short drive back to the village and over the bridge to the mountain. We were home in fifteen minutes with much of the day to spare. Laundry to do while Kelly napped.
We are responsible for dinner tonight as Laura and the Casa Ombuto staff are off shopping for tomorrows buffet and our farewell dinner. So, Elizabeth, Kelly and I decided we would drive into Poppi for something to prepare for a meal. Once in town. I suggested we pick up several pizzas to go, some beer and have a gelato while we were waiting. The girls were thrilled with the plan, and we placed an order for several unusual pizzas, one with green beans, buffalo mozzarella and olive oil, the rest were pretty normal except the veggie had artichokes.
While we were waiting we happened upon a local shop that had more great ceramics. We decided we would come back into town in the morning to buy some gifts.
When we arrived at our Tuscan home with pizzas and beer, our new friends were pleasantly shocked. Eleanor, Jim, Tom and Rosemary had purchased some cold cuts, crusty bread and potato chips. We set up a casual buffet on our cooking counter, pulled up the bar stools, grabbed the wine bottles and glasses and shared our fare with everyone. After dinner, we cleaned up the kitchen and moved to the outdoor table where we drank our wine and shared more experiences. It was a beautiful evening until the wild boar began to screech. We decided it was time to lock up and and move inside.
Kelly and I walked back to our suite arm-in-arm and settled in for the night. We agreed tomorrow will be an emotional day. The friends we have made and the bonds we have shared will be long lasting I believe. Better get some sleep……as I tuck myself in to my lovely bed with the wonderful down comforter and soft white sheets. Buene notte…