Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chinese friends, olive harvest and guitar pasta?!

21 Ottobre
We have just said goodbye to 3 Taiwanese friends who visited for a couple of days. Andy, Maggie and Angie are going all through Italy as Andy is writing a book about Italian local food and wine specialties for the chinese consumers. We visited a couple of olive presses and tried a bunch of marchigiana products together, like the rose apples of the mountainous region, ciauscolo, a fresh salami, 3 pecorino cheeses of different ages and a cow cheese which is from Belmonte Piceno, a town north of us, and is exceptional (made with lamb rennet).
Andy was in search of a type of pasta called chitarra which means guitar and we found it in a very good restaurant just across the border in Abruzzo. The restaurant is Locanda della pompa and the owner, Pietro, was nice enough to show us the machine which cuts the pasta shape and looks a bit like a musical instrument.
We have harvested about 12 olive trees and took our 1st 200 kg to the frantoio today to make a monovarietal oil from the lechino olives we have. It is very strong right now, but should be very good when it mellows a bit in 2 months. Our 1st 4 trees produced as many kg of olives this year as all 104 trees last year!
I made a quince cake and sorbet in the last couple of days from our "mele cotogna" tree. You have to cook the fruit for 3 hours in sugar water before it is edible! The recipes can be found on the internet and they are quite humorous, the ones from England. It is a fruit with the consistence of a soft brick and one of the recipes says "Be careful!! not to cut yourself when you slice the quince- it will turn red after cooking.
I am off to salone del gusto day after tomorrow, so we will pick a bunch of olives tomorrow to make another batch big enough to press-my neighbor is letting us use his machines for a half day which should speed us up a bunch. (Remember the pictures of my friend Bill with the beater). I have helped him for 3 days in return for this favor.
The days here are unseasonably warm at 24-25 centigrade, so I am tanning up in the tops of the olive trees.
The pictures are from the restaurant in Abruzzo with the stringed "pasta instrument". Also, we put all our special guests to work as you can see.

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