26 October 2015

We are away...but you can still read about what we're up to!

We are away from our beautiful Italian home for a while...but you can still join us on my other blog, which is dedicated to a 5 month minimalist lifestyle in Australia!

Go to www.minimalmeblog.wordpress.com

See you there!


15 October 2015

Artists in Italy!

On our recent tour to Roccaverano, Calosso and Santo Stefano Belbo (see previous post), we had the pleasure of the company of two highly respected Australian artists...


"Born in New Zealand, Macleod moved to Australia in 1981 and won the prestigious Archibald Prize* for portraiture in 1999. His celebrated paintings and drawings feature in the pre-eminent public collections throughout Australia and overseas". (http://www.artistprofile.com.au/yfte-euan-macleod/)

*The "Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, 'preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics'". (http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/archibald/)

Above: "Self Portrait/head like a hole", winner of the Archibald Prize 1999, by Euan Macleod


"Born in Sydney in 1971, Lopes trained in the UK, USA and Australia and has had over 20 solo exhibitions across Australia and the UK since 1996. He is a frequent finalist in national awards and was selected for the Salon des Refuses** in 2012. He is represented in important national and state collections". (http://www.artistprofile.com.au/yfte-steve-lopes/)

**The Salon des Refusés is an Australian art exhibition which shows some of the rejected works from the Archibald Prize for portraiture and the Wynne Prize for landscape & figure sculpture". (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salon_des_Refusés_(Archibald))

Above: "Asher Keddile", selected for the Salon des Refuses 2012, by Steve Lopes


14 October 2015

On tour again!

A good friend and I recently organised a local tour for some visiting friends from Australia.

Since our area is known for its wine, hazelnuts and robiola cheese, we try to include at least two of these in any tour we organise.

The recent tour included a visit to a goats cheese farm and factory, then visits to two wineries, one large and one small.

We met at a pretty stone village of Monastero Bormida, where we had a coffee while we waited to be met by the goat cheese farmer.

Marco guided our 4 cars up the narrow winding roads to his farm at Roccaverano. He then walked us to his goat shed and we watched as a shepherd brought the goats in from the paddocks. There were approximately 100 goats of all colours and sizes and Marco explained that some were segregated because they had been selected to appear at the Roccaverano cheese festival the following week. After watching some boisterous interplay between the goats and admiring Marco's prize billy goat, we wandered back to the farm buildings where the cheese is made. On the way we saw several pigs and a few donkeys. The tiny formaggeria could only take a third of our group at a time so our tours through there took some time. Marco showed us several robbiola rounds: one fresh, one aged and one coated in paprika. At the conclusion of the tour, Marco invited us into his old stone barn for a tasting where we savoured all 3 types of cheese. It was truly delicious and we quickly understood why all of Marco's produce is sold directly from the farm.

"Robiola of Roccaverano has very antique origins; testimonials date back to the celtic times and Its name recalls both the latin 'robium' (as reference to the reddish colour of the outside part of the paste) and the town of Roccaverano in the Asti province where this cheese originated.

Robiola of Roccaverano is the only Italian DOP cheese which can be produced exclusively with goats milk. It can also be made with cows or sheeps milk but at least 50% of the milk must be goats milk to be defined as Robiola of Roccaverano.

Robiola of Roccaverano is a fresh past cheese, maturation depends upon the milk microflora alive and present in the milk, exclusively processed raw without any added fermentation."

(Translation from http://www.robioladiroccaverano.com)

We said a very grateful goodbye to Marco and headed to a small hilltop stone village called Denice where we had a nice slow lunch before driving to the wine growing region of Calosso.

At Calosso we visited La Canova, a fairly large family vineyard with a large selection of all types of wine including spumante, whites, reds, sweets, grappas. After touring and tasting, we drove to Santo Stefano Belbo where we dropped into Beppe Marino, a familiar small winery which produces quality wines.

The day was hectic but joyfilled and relaxing...