One week in and I’ve reviewed the rules about Italian prepositions, irregular verbs and the trapassato prossimo. What? You know, when you say things like, “When I arrived at the restaurant, the group had already drank all of the prosecco.” In other news, a highlight of my first week was our little trip in Chianti, the region where Chianti Classico is made. This is not your parents’ Chianti that came in a bottle with a basket around it. Chianti is a delicious wine and I’m living next to the zone. But we didn’t go to a winery. We went to a frantoio, a place where they make olive oil. Did you know: once the olives are picked and ready to be crushed into oil, it has to be done right away. These people work around-the-clock for a month, crushing the olives and bottling the oil. Then that’s it. The process itself wasn’t very romantic: machines crushing the olives, separating the water, oil coming out of the spout. But the aroma! Mamma mia! Che buona! Then we went to their dining area, a room complete with a roaring fire, which we used to grill bread. Said bread was then rubbed with garlic cloves and doused it with that freshly-made olive oil. That was the best bruschetta I’ve ever had.
A wonderful rooster statue greeted us outside the tiny village of San Gusme’ where we stopped for a visit. As you all know, the rooster – or gallo nero – is the symbol of Chianti Classico wines.
Picturesque San Gusme’.
Our group, outside a home’s entrance. Don’t mind us. We’re just here for the wine.
In a piazza in San Gusme’. This place was storybook quaint.
I think we should make a reservation.
Castelnuovo Beradenga. Paula, a staffer at the Saena Iulia language school, where I’m studying, pointing to a flower because I told her to.
Also Castelnuovo Beradenga. A cachi fruit tree. These are kind of like persimmons. Very sweet. How about that color?
A shop display in the town of Castelnuovo Beradenga.
Leaves on an olive tree.
The olives. All sorts of olives.
Working the crushed pulp before it gets pressed on those round things.
Filling the cans.
Final product. Can you just taste it?
The olive oil, likely made a few hours earlier.
Grilling the bread on the fire.
The grilled bread with the olive oil. Don’t need anything else.
Paula and I enjoying the dinner.
The dinner. We stopped and got a few things, like cheese.