Sunday, April 1, 2018

An annual tradition ...

An annual Easter tradition, this year in its 18th itineration. 
A gathering of friends old & new for a scrumptious pot luck lunch, a boisterous sit down lunch in a converted barn, followed by an epic egg hunt along the lush meadows surrounding the farm.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A sunny coffee date at Latteria Studio in Rome

Latteria Studio cooking school in Rome

A visit to Latteria Studio had been on my list for a while, ever since meeting Alice Adams last year at Il Baciarinowhere she was collaborating on Emiko Davies' second cookbook Acquacotta ~ and even more so after an invitation to a  lovely Sunday lunch in Alice's enchanted garden in Lubriano earlier this year ...

A native Australian who has called Rome home long enough to speak fluent Italian with a destinct Roman accent, Alice is a wearer of many hats of talent - a cook, food stylist, recipe developer, blogger and proprietress of before mentioned Latteria Studio  a sunny gathering space, culinary prop studio and cooking school in the heart of Trastevere.

And while we only had time for a quick caffè, it was nice to get a tour of the studio {with a dash of prop envy} ... 

Latteria Studio culinary prop rentals in Rome

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Carbonara days of summer

Last month has been unusually hot along the Mediterranean, with a hot Scirocco wind blowing from Africa meaning lazy days spent in the shade of our casetta patio, reading, relaxing and embracing a long "pranzo" {Italian for lunch}, a leisurely long meal stretched out over those hottest hours of the day, playing with local ingredients and re-interpreting favorite Italian dishes ...

One of my all time favorites, even if not a local Maremmana recipe, will always be Spaghetti alla Carbonara ~ and after spotting appropriate substitutes for the original Roman ingredients at our little alimentari, this Carbonara {with a Tuscan twist} has become a favorite staple of our summer lunches ....

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

An {unintentionally} color coordinated twilight dinner in the Lucca Hills ...

Airbnb Lucca hills Matraia Valgiano

Last month found us returning to the Colline Lucchesi, the fertile olive and wine growing hills surrounding Lucca, a region I had vowed to revisit after scouting culinary tour destinations for Viola's Italy here last year ~ and returning to a favorite Airbnb, a classic Tuscan farmhouse nestled into an olive and cherry grove with a long alfresco dining table overlooking Piana di Lucca and Monte Pisano in the distance.

And after some memorable evenings under the stars, sharing the rustic table along the ancient stone wall with our host Pablo and an ever evolving group of friends, it was once again time to say Arrivederci to the Lucca hills:

firing up the grill for an Italian inspired menu of "surf & turf", it made for a memorable farewell grigliata ~ and looking through these photos made me realize how {unintentionally} color coordinated this dinner turned out to be in camera ...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A birthday tradition in Vetulonia {& a surprise visit}

A balmy summer evening in the rolling hills of Maremma, an annual birthday tradition and a surprise visit of old friends ...

The occasion was Paola's annual birthday dinner, hosted by our friends Clelia and Andrea in honor of their dear friend, a seafood feast a group of Paola's closest friends who were coming off a sail boat journey circling Giglio Island and were expected to arrive in Vetulonia in time for a sunset aperitivo. 

And just as Clelia was done setting the table, two surprise dinner guests wandered onto the terrace: Dania and Clementina {aka "Titti"}, Clelia's best friends from childhood days, turning the evening into yet another reason to raise glasses of prosecco to friendship, birthdays, health and the incredible culinary flavors of Cucina di Andrea ...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A rustic kitchen and favorite table under the fig tree

Summer has arrived again, and as in the past couple of years we have escaped San Francisco's summer gloom and returned to Vetulonia, an Etruscan founded hilltop town nestled into the rolling hills of Tuscany's Maremma region – returning once again to Il Baciarino, our "home away from home", a small agriturismo with five rustic cottages nestled into a quiet oak and olive grove and owned by our dear friends Clelia and Andrea.

The first days have been a much needed timeout, resetting our clocks to life with the cycle of nature, long afternoons spent in the shade of "our" fig tree, embracing the Italian siesta concept, reading, relaxing and cooking simple meals in our rustic outdoor kitchen with endless views.

dinners with friends Il Baciarino dishesonly

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A long Sunday lunch {& Infiorata} in Lubriano

We are back in Italy and what a treat to start off with a drive into the Tuscia region to join Alice Kiandra Adams {proprietress of Latteria Studio and author of the always inspiring RusticaRetro blog} along with family, neighbors and friends for a long Sunday lunch in Lubriano , sitting down under the vine-covered pergola of her enchanting garden with views of the surrounding valley and neighboring Civita di Bagnoreggio.

And it turned out it was not just any Sunday, coinciding with Lubriano's Infiorata, an annual festival held on the Sunday of the Ascension, turning the small towns narrow streets into colorful canvases of intricate flower carpets ~ a rather temporary spectacle of flower petals, leaves and seeds set up by the town inhabitants overnight and swept away after a ceremonious procession leading over the flower carpet to the main church in the morning.

Follow along on Instagram ...


all photos © dinners with friends

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