Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And off go the Brocks, Bon Voyage!

Denise, Eric, and Madeline have boarded their plane tonight, en route to the beautiful City of Lights. After spending a lovely week there, they will hop to Rome, and meet some of us in a week and a half in Montalcino. I can only imagine the lovely croissants, coffee and cheese that they will be enjoying...can't wait to hear all about their adventures!

For the rest of us...Italy awaits, some as early as next Saturday, some a week later. It's finally close to our adventures....

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Three Weeks and Counting

Okay, Shannon. Here's where we all land. Let's talk about where to meet. I will send you our itinerary -- you send me yours. And we will figure out where to pick up. Maybe the easiest way is to meet at the car rental counter? I will find out from Matt who we're renting with..and we'll go from there....


Thursday, May 1, 2008


You know that Pasta with Rosemary and Onion-Orange Marmalade that I said I was making for Dana? If we closed our eyes while we were eating it, this is exactly what it tasted like. Chinese food. Something about the salty crispy pancetta mixed with sweet, syrupy didn't taste BAD, it just wasn't good. So if you see that recipe out there -- beware! On the flip side, the garganelli pasta was fantastic in itself. I just need to find something else to make with it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shapes and Flavors

One of the things I am most looking forward to is the discovery of new pasta shapes, and how they mix with the fresh flavors of Tuscany. Every time I go to DeLaurentis it seems like there is something new to try in the world of noodle, and I am sure that will be multiplied immensely as we journey through the land of pasta.

The pasta pictured above is Garganelle, and I am using it to make a rosemary and onion-orange marmalade pasta for my friend Dana tonight (yes, Dana of the ricotta gnudi). We'll see how it tastes. The noodles themselves look marvelous -- light and pliable, but with a nice texture of ridgey-ness for the sauce to cling to. Sounds springy and delightful, very much like this day has been -- it was fantastic at the Market today, even more so because I ran into my friend Kim (who was also heading to Sosio's -- it turns out that Sosio's is her favorite veggie/fruit stall too!).

I hate to jinx it....hold your breath and cross your fingers...but I think spring is finally here!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ohh...I am so ready

Okay, so those of you reading (who I assume are mostly those who are traveling with us, although there have been some other curious lookers and lurkers out there) need to know -- I am soooooo ready for a break from my ordinary life. My work -- good. My clients -- good. At home and school stuff -- good. But really, it is definitely time for a lovely break from even these things.

I want to spend time smelling the air. Looking at the views. Talking with friends. Talking with people who will become friends. Cooking. Telling my daughter every morning -- "nope, not a school day yet..." and seeing her eyes light up and a smile grow.

2008 so far has been challenging. Not only for me, but for many of my loved ones. I'm glad lots of us are getting little italian breathing room.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Driving in Italy

The last time I drove in Italy was with my good friend Pam (who is also coming on our adventure). Six years ago, we intrepidly took off from Amsterdam, thinking we would drive to Italy in a day. As it happened, it took two very long, very interesting and occasionally terrifying days. I have to still give Pam total props on this one -- driving in Italy at night, enroute to Florence with massive trucks and zipping, honking cars passing us on narrow, dark highways -- was not one of the safest things we have ever done (and me driving in Paris rush hour was a pale second), and Pam held her own with great humor and aplomb.

Which brings me to the point of this post. International driving permits. You can thank my mother for bringing this up. Those of us renting cars need to obtain one before we leave. (Thankfully for Pam and me, we didn't need one in France when I got pulled over by sixteen year old policemen toting uzis.)

I think given everyone's timeline, the best thing to do is print out the application located at this link:, and then get it processed in your hometowns at your local AAA.

It won't make the driving any it will help us out of any difficulties if we are pulled over for anything like "crossing the solid white line."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to Get There

Aha. I knew I was forgetting something. I recently received directions to Villa Amiata from the rental folks (who are lovely by the way -- I can't recommend them enough -- and need to get them to everyone. I will email them out this week.