05.27.2015 - 05.27.2015
Awoke to an amazing view of fog lying across the valley below. Breakfast on the patio next to the kitchen with the warm sun filtering through the clouds. Still feasting on some of the pastries we made the second night...the wine cookies are particularly delicious.
The day begins with a trip to a farm operated by the family of one of the CG staff, Patricio. They make a variety of cheeses and sausages and we saw the sausage factory in operation. It is called La Pastorella. We bought several of their cheeses, including cow cheese with truffles, and a package of sausage which tastes very much like salami. We met the family cows and a herd of bulls...one of which was a big ham and looked like Mike Tyson.
Next we had about an hour long drive to the town of Guarcino where we visited the Erizino prosciutto factory. We were given a tour of the factory and learned how prosciutto is made and cured. They had a retail store/deli which was to die for. In addition to the cured meats that they produce (prosciutto, salame, mortadella, etc.) they are famous for their amaretto cookies and pastries. The staff had prepared for a picnic in the outside garden, but there was a threat of rain, so the planned picnic was moved indoors to an upstairs banquet room. There we were provided with prosciutto sandwiches and a variety of antipasti...artichoke hearts, peppers, mushroom paste, black olive paste and others...with beer, wine and water to wash it down. Finally, for dessert, we were offered amaretto cookies with lemon and raspberry fillings.
On the way back to CG, we stopped at a little church that was about 5 minutes from the villa, Chiesa di San Nicola, which was built in 1102. St. Nicholas was considered the guardian of the gates of the city and this church is located just off the Portella, which was with the Iron Gate and another Portella on the back of the church, the most accessible and most vulnerable of the walls of city of Castro. Other centers of Lazio have churches dedicated to St. Nicholas and, for the same reasons, always located outside the walls. The church of St. Nicholas is the main historical monument of Castro dei Volsci. It retains significant traces of frescoes, some contemporaries to its construction, when more than a church was a modest chapel. The original core of the present church was built in the mid-sixth century. AD and dedicated to the patron saint of Bari. The church is only opened for church holidays and the once brilliant frescoes have badly faded, but the structure is very much intact.
After a brief 45 minute rest, we were back in the kitchen where Diana and her staff had been laboring during our absence. The lesson of the day was making fresh egg pasta. We were given flour and two eggs which we blended and kneaded into pasta dough. We then had to roll it out to the point that it was paper thin. We then folded it several times until we had dough that was about an inch and a half wide and 12 inches long. We cut that in half and we cut one half into little triangles that would later be served with a Bolognese sauce as out first course (prima piatti). The second half we cut into 1/4 inch strips which became fettucine primavera. Finally, Diana put other dough we had prepared through a pasta machine which produce paper thin strips of pasta, approximately four to five inches wide. We then took a square shaped cutting form which was about 4" on each side and cut out four inches squares of the pasta. Into the center we put a beef and vegetable mixture and folded it into a triangle. Then we brought the other two sides together to form what looked like a miniature Pope hat...and thus was born Torteloni. The staff prepared everything in finality and served us way too much food once again.
The piece de resistance was dessert which consisted of a small pizza crust with vanilla gelato and whipped cream with caramel sauce drizzled on it.