Posted by Stephanie Simpson on
Later this week, I’ll be sharing with you the first of several recipes that were inspired by recent adventures outside of Rome. In the mean time, while you wait for that first bit of deliciousness, I’ll share with you a few shots and stories from the trips that inspired the treats.
After a couple weeks of craziness here in Rome – work, conference call, language class, eat, sleep, repeat – my traveling companion and I decided to head for the hills in search of some reprieve from our inboxes. So these past two weekends, each time with mere minutes to spare (thanks, public transit strike), we boarded a train and left for Tuscany.
Our first stop: Cortona. This teeny hilltop town is, as most folks there will tell you, the setting for the novel-turned-blockbuster, Under the Tuscan Sun. For me, it’s the place where I spent a happy semester of my undergraduate degree studying, between weekend trips and afternoon naps, ancient architecture and Renaissance art.
After making our way up Cortona’s cliffs, we met up with old friends who, over the course of the weekend, showed us some of the best hospitality I’ve ever known, guiding us through hillside adventures and amazing meals. We wandered the town market, feasting on the cheesiest bun of all time, before heading off to a lunch of gnocchi in a brie and pear sauce, and a post-lunch chocolate gelato (for you, Mom). Then, to dinner, where we ate a teeny pecorino soufflé, grilled veggies, and pasta filled with pine nuts and, of course, more cheese.
We returned from Cortona for another week at our computers, but took off again as soon as the weekend arrived. This past Saturday, we packed our bags and headed further north, to Orvieto — an ancient town whose residences sit atop a series of millennia-old Etruscan caves built to sustain the city with food and water under enemy attack.
After checking out the impressive city walls and climbing the monumental clock tower (from where I snapped the photo above!), we determined we were under no threat of invasion. So we skipped the traditional Etruscan meal of pigeon and feasted on a pre-dinner gelato on a bun (again, for you Mom) followed by more cheese, greens and pasta. We bid adieu to Orvieto over a B&B breakfast of coffee, pastry and a healthy dose of stirring Italian arias, promising our kind host that we would indeed have a good life, lady and sir.
And while my good life has undoubtedly been shortened by my indulgent weekend adventures, when it comes time to share recipes I’ll go a little easier on you guys. Check back later this week, and you’ll find the first of a few adventure-inspired recipes that are a little more wholesome but no less delicious!