Friday, January 30, 2009

Visso, Castelluccio, Pettacci, reading labels

30 Gennaio, 2009
Auguri a Luigi Lepore e Buon Compleanno.
We took off for the mountains so I could get my fix and visited the usual places: Castelluccio, Visso and our friends at Pettaci and Norcia.
The mountains are beautiful this year and I really had a yen to go skiing as their is an adequate base of snow this year. Bacco treats the snow just like sand and takes a bit of a snowbath every chance he gets.
We picked up some Ciauscolo (a wonderful fresh salami renowned from the Marche) of various types at Visso along with a cool Pecorino cheese aged in fossa (holes in the ground or caves) which gives it more of a granular texture and a spicier taste. 3 sandwiches of their prosciutto for lunch, a guanciale (aged and season pig cheek-great for pasta carbonara) for the house and we were on our way to Norcia via the back roads for a picnic lunch. There, we stopped in to see our friend at Beccofino, one of the finest restaurants within an hour of Nascondiglio di Bacco, shared a coffee and came on back to the Marche.
I am still trying to get my car insurance situation cleared up. I found a company that will insure the z4, thus enabling me to drive it to the licensing bureau, but needed information from State Farm describing my risk status. My Lenexa and COR friends Mel and Alice Hawk sent me along a letter saying I was, of course, the best driver they had ever insured and I took the liberty of including a scale of my own for the italian firm. Their system starts when you get your first driver's license and you are given a rating of 18. Every year that passes without a claim you descend the stairway, until you arrive at 0. Of course, I am in the negative numbers, by now, but I am not sure my homemade rating scale will past muster in Milan. Obviously, it costs a fortune here to insure a car with horsepower and model and risk rating weighing heavily on the final cost. Thus far, I have seen quotes ranging from 860 euros to over 2000 euros and todays dollar is at about 1.32 to the euro.
We are still living in a mud zone, but finally, there is sun again today. I arose before dawn to go the bank and the immigration office in Ascoli to finish the insurance stuff and initiate the process of my new visa procuration. We finally got through to the italian consulate in Chicago, which made a mistake with my visa last year. Hopefully with another go, I can secure the self-employed visa this time around. I let the better italian speaker here at Nascondiglio go through all our questions to become perfectly clear as to their requirements and the lady on the phone was actually pleasant. Crossing our fingers, I am scheduled to try again in late March.
Finally, for those of you who are not label readers, take a look at this article from men's health and take those readers to the store with you from now on!>1=31036
The pictures are of Bacco in the snow at Forca di Presta, the italian flag in trees contrasting with the snow and a photo of the mountain peaks of the Sibillini mts near Castelluccio and the offerings of Pettaci.

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