Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Plus there was the autumn promotion going on where all fees were discounted 40%. We spent 3 leisurely hours swimming laps and relaxing in the warm outdoor and indoor pools. Bliss!
Then we decided to drive to Livigno to fill up the tank. Some pictures that I snapped through the window.
Livigno looks cold and snow-less.
It was the first time that I actually went into town, and not just the gas station. We stopped at this warm and rustic-looking bar for some tea and a snack.
Livigno has historically been exempted from the 20% VAT (Value Added Tax) because of its isolated location especially during the winter season. Thus the many shops selling luxury goods at duty-free prices all along the town's main street. Also I found out that alcohol is taxed based on alcohol content, which explained why we saw lots of people snapping up bottles of hard liquor.
We made it home in time for dinner celebrating S's sister's birthday. And that was our Saturday. Yay for weekends!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I am missing the holiday here. No turkey, no pumpkin pie, no green bean casserole. Instead, it's another day at work. I know I can make my own Thanksgiving here but I have as usual a host of excuses: we just got back, I'm too tired, I don't know where to find a whole turkey, I don't have a whole day to cook a proper turkey dinner... Well, it's too late now but next year I can aspire to cook a real Thanksgiving dinner, ok?
I hope you guys are enjoying the day with your friends and family. This year, I'm thankful for my family, good health, great friends. In addition this year, I have my new husband to be thankful for. He's always sweet and makes me laugh, and he puts up with my silliness. I'm thankful. ;-)
Friday, November 6, 2009
We also have an entourage of 6 from Italy and 2 from California. The wedding planning I've done this round has consisted mostly of planning a very detailed week-long itinerary for our guests. There is an island getaway, 272 steps and a tree-top jungle adventure in the plans. I can't wait to show them my hometown.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It's white winter truffle season and prices can go easily for something like 2500 euros/kg. Wow, these fungi sure comes with a hefty price tag.
As soon as A opened the glass jar that held them, a strong fragrance or odor, depending who you ask, filled the air. Apparently the highly aromatic smell can even penetrate eggs stored next to them and change their taste.
Truthfully, it reminds me slightly of the smell of durian.
We had it shaved paper thin over a plates of fresh egg pasta. The taste was very delicate, compared to the aroma.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Puglia is the region that's the heel of the boot. One of the pasta that's synonymous with this region is orrechiette, which literally means 'little ears'. Our friend P spent several hours that morning making these from scratch!
Our friend W cooked up a pot of 'brasciule' - meat rolls with a parmesan cheese and herb filling, simmered in a tomato sauce to-die-for. First we had the sauce with the oriechette. Yes, you can definitely taste the difference in taste and texture of handmade fresh pasta. Then we had the meat smothered in more sauce for the secondi. It was all soooo good.
Here I am with the two talented cooks. I'm hoping some of it can rub off me. ;-)
Wait, there was also that bottle of white wine which we opened while waiting for dinner to be ready. No wonder we were all happy, relaxed and definitely well fed that night.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Success! Now we can wear this around the house while eating cheese. ;-) We purchased the contraption with 10 food tickets to be used at all the different local cheese stands.
We tried all kinds of cheeses that were local to the Aosta region: various fontina, ricotta, gorgonzola, and a bunch of other cheeses that I can't remember the names of.