Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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Last Day In Tuscany

On our last day at Salvadonica we rented bikes, and explored the area checking out the closest town and the surrounding wineries. Jeannine got an e-bike and I got a regular hybrid. I am a cyclist, and ride to and from work in the nice weather. The ride has hills and its about eight and a half miles each way. Yet, those Tuscan hills kicked my butt. I was cursing my decision while watching Jeannine motor up the hills with ease.

We ended the day with messages and a lovely dinner at the restaurant on the premises at Salvadonica. The servers at the restaurant were a bit slow, even by Italian standards, but the food was excellent. It was a great way to wrap up our relaxing stay in the country. Tomorrow we checked out and started our busy, and exhausting Rome adventures.

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Cooking Is More Fun In Italy

Salvadonica offered cooking classes every morning, and we decided to sign-up for this as a group. We were doubtful when we learned that the price was 120 euros per person, but were swayed when we learned we would prepare and then eat a 3 course meal that came with complementary wine.

This experience was just lovely. The chef was a wonderful teacher and answered all our questions about regional differences between cuisine in the north vs south of Italy. We made fresh ravioli by hand in a pancetta cream sauce, roasted pork stuffed with raisins, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs and a ricotta and dark chocolate tart. She was Sicilian and explained how the pasta recipe differs in the north vs the south and why. We asked about Tuscan olive oil, and she wryly said that the Tuscans think theirs is the best. She described the flavor profiles that olive oils from the south of the country will have vs the north.

This foodie loved every minute of this class. I know we peppered her with a zillion questions, and it was lovely that she seemed delighted to answer them. I would almost say I enjoyed cooking more than eating the food, but that would be a lie. That meal is one of my favorite of all time. Our chef gave us copies of all the recipes we used, so Jeannine and I are most certainly inviting over friends and giving them a go this spring.


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Tuscany Is Gorgeous

I got distracted with stuff like seeing Lucius at Memorial Hall last night, and making feeble attempts at putting in our garden. To be fair our efforts have been strong, the constant rain has impeded out progress. In case anyone decides to remove 800 square feet of honeysuckle and rose of sharon and reseed grass in it and carve out a garden space, let me stop you right now. It is mountains of very hard, very slow work. This may or may not be a warning to my future self, who might be trolling through my past posts to remember how we tore those devil weeds out. KATE, YOU SUPER HATED THIS TASK. PAY SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Now then, back to Italy. After our 4 days in Florence we took a bus out to the Tuscan country side. We stayed at an olive farm that is also a resort. The trip out there was a bit of an adventure, which involved off-roading with our massive roller suitcases and sympathetic drivers pulling over to ask if we needed assistance.

The resort, Salvadonica, was a 15 minute walk from the closest town, and there was little to do apart from soaking in the gorgeous countryside by taking walks or relaxing by the pool. This was a dramatic slow down from our sightseeing in Florence, and it was very welcome. We were treated to this incredible sunset our first night there.