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“Nothing significant exists under Italy’s sun that is not touched by art…Not everyone in Italy may know how to cook, but everyone knows how to eat…Eating in Italy is one more manifestation of the Italian’s age old gift of making art out of life.”

The Classic Italian Cookbook. Marcella Hazan. 1980  Macmillan London

And eat we did for the weather never really improved.  Only twice did we manage to enjoy that simple delight of sitting on the terrace gazing onto the hillsides all around us.  So much time spent indoors has its compensations.  And chief amongst them is the discussion of and preparations for eating.  It is true that nowadays you can eat great food in the UK…but it comes at a colossal economic cost whether you eat out or source ingredients to cook at home.  In some cases it simply isn’t possible (certainly in an area such as ours) to find raw materials of the right quality.  In Italy I consume quite large quantities of tomatoes – something it never occurs to me to do at home. The reason being taste…if its possible to source the small sweet and juicy, exceptionally tasty tomatoes I’ve been eating for the past ten days in the Shires of England please let  me know.  I’ll happily travel quite a distance for them, or for the courgettes, the artichokes and oranges for that matter.  And whilst I’m at it I also want chicken that tastes of chicken and that lays eggs that are properly yellow…   I marvel at the pasta – the nearest shop, the size of our local coop (i.e. small), stocks three brands and over thirty varieties of each!  So we have eaten often and well.  A recompense for the poor weather indeed.

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Though as this picture shows there is a certain grandeur in the view of the hills and mountains from the terrace even when the weather is dark and gloomy…

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