Tales of a wandering lesbian


After a trip to Italy, one of my friends remarked that “all young Italian people are beautiful. But, something happens as they age, and they become trolls.” I have to say, I don’t think this is true. I think that Italians are just descendants of Hobbits. Or maybe just I am. It’s hard to say.

For real.

This is how my average day goes: Get up around 9. Have breakfast. Go to Barga. Have second breakfast, which might be before or after Elevenses with Deb’s mom (depending on the day). Work for a couple of hours. Go back to Fornaci. Have lunch. Maybe nap. Have afternoon tea. Work for a while more. Go home to start dinner. Have evening tea. Sleep. Repeat.

Now, this schedule suits me just fine. Except for eating dinner super late, I’ve adjusted to this without any problem. I like sleeping in.  Even when i get up an hour earlier than the ladies, it’s still hours later than I’m used to.  It seems that Deb and Sandra work more than most. It eems like it, but I’m not totally sure, because the work day is late (compared to the US), due to the extended lunch that closes down shops everywhere. It’s this late lunch that sends dinner late into the night, and allows for the multiple morning meals. (Okay, I’m also not sure that everyone takes both a second breakfast and elevenses. However, I’m here to experience the culture and the people, and what better way than to do it over a nice patry?)

This week was a week of good food. It started with Albertina, Sandra’s mom , and her niece and nephew showing up with a giant bowl of dough and two waffle-type irons. The next two hours were spent with the 7 of us crowded around the table building amazing sandwiches with the wafers that Albertina handed us, fresh from the irons.


They had the feel and taste of a cake cone, but were thicker and a little chewier when hot. And they were HOT. We’d each take our turns accepting one from Berti and then spend several minutes burning ourselves while trying to cut them in half, or open them like pitas. The others filled them with meaty meats, thinly sliced from the deli. I filled them with slices of lovely cheeses and roasted peppers Sandra had prepared. Three or four of these I had. And then we started filling them with nutella. I stopped myself just before I exploded (yay me). And declared that I might never eat again.

And then we went to Deb’s family’s place for dinner.

The week was filled with lovely breakfasts: bits of toast and jam and tea or croissants and cappuccini; lovely coffees with Barbara, Andre and Deb – and sometimes Alfredo (a funny man who always plays with Andre.  Pictured here with Andre’s dog).

Barbara and Andre Elevenses Alfredo

Second breakfasts that included a lovely ricotta pastry.

Ricotta pasta

It was so good I didn’t even mind that there were raisins hiding in there.

Deb is usually the mistress of lunch, preparing amazing and simple pasta dishes for us. This week we were treated to tortellini with butter and sage. She threw a hunk of butter into the pan and went to the garden to pick the sage leaves.

Butter and Sage

This week’s afternoon teas included a nice poundcake made by Sandra’s mom. It was hugely long and wonderful and had a crust of chocolate chips. It put me in mind of breads my mom and nana make. I also stopped by a favorite coffee place for an afternoon cappu and biscotto. I don’t know what it was, exactly, but it was good for dipping and perfectly sweet.


We hit the same place twice this week for dinner Il Baretto in Gallicano– a great place that serves pizza, primi, secondi and everything else. When I walked in, I felt like I was in another of Deb and Sandra’s galleries. The walls were adorned with one of Sandra’s murals, and a series of pictures detailing the art of pizza making. Beautiful.

The first night there we all had pizza. Amazing, wonderful pizza. We watched it being cooked and then scarfed it down.

Making pizza Pizza Rigali
The second night Sandra opted for a meaty dish and fried artichokes and Deb and I opted for calzone.

Meat Fried Artichoke Calzone - Il Baretta
This calzone was one of the best things I’ve eaten since I’ve been here. It was a huge, 4 cheese creation with a reservoir of sauce on the top. The best part was the gorgonzola that was lurking inside, just around the edges where the crust was doubled up and folded over. I reached it last, after attacking the mozzarella in the middle, drawing out great strings of it. When I found it, the lovely liquid gorgonzola oozed out to mingle with the tomato sauce. I mopped it up with chunks of the crunchy crust. It was absolutely divine.

The dinner was almost exclusively in Italian. I sat quietly observing, Sandra and Deb checking in on me periodically. As the dishes were cleared, Sandra told me to say something in Italian. I chose “penso che vorrei qualcosa ciocolata, e caffe, forse.” I’d been thinking about dessert since about half way through the calzone.

So Paula, our fourth, and I ordered something chocolate. Profiterole with chocolate sauce.

Profiterole Profiterole non ce

Sandra offered me bread to clean up the sauce. I seriously considered it.

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