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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Should one try to relive a perfect experience?

Would we be disappointed?  

It's been a year and it was Spring then. 
Now it is Fall. 

Would it be as perfect?

Yes, Relais Sant Elena, Bibbona, Tuscany, Italy is perfect.

After hugs all around, Moira, the owner, told us that our favorite suite was available after all. 

We visited last when Spring had not yet arrived.

Every single morning a sumptuous, delectable, abundant and beautiful breakfast awaited us.  

Nothing is missing.  From Blintzes to cheese cake, from poached eggs to exotic fruits, from fine cheeses to champagne...
it was all there. 

Be sure to be back for dinner.  So delicious and so wholesome.  

Nothing has changed. It is all so perfect.  Same familiar faces and same open smiles. 

You wonder why we would  want to be away from this gracious place.  But explore we did. 

Splendid medieval villages whose origins date back to before the year 1000

To name only a few. All within a very short distance. 

Casale Maritimo, Bolgheri, Bibbona, Suvereto,  
Castagneto Carducci.

Rich in history and art.

If you come from the sea you will soon come on to the famous avenue of cypress trees planted in the 1800s .  It is a breath taking experience, venerable trees stretching for 5 km and culminating at the city gate of Bolgheri.


Guiseppe Moscato, Italy

And only 15 minutes west of Bibbona is the Sea, the Tyrennian Sea, 

where you will also find a fishing shack, 
 a one michelin star restaurant "La Pineta".   

And after you have spent the day climbing ancient walls, 
Relais Sant Elena is a welcome oasis. 

Maybe a dip in the pool will refresh your senses. 

The staff even remembered, without being reminded, that we like a little snack in the afternoon. 

I love these arugula and prosciutto tea sandwiches. 

You can see this image in the swimming pool (above) photograph.  I don't think that there is a guest of Sant Elena who has not climbed this little hill.  

And looked down on this lovely scene without thinking that this must be the finest spot on earth.  

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and maybe a trip to this fabulous part of the world is in store for you. 



Friday, October 20, 2017

Beets are in the news these days.


A real taste treat,  beet crisps (recipe follows).

This is how they grow in my garden.  
Did you notice something unusual about them?
They are cylindrical and not round in shape. 

How many children, would you say, would recognize the lowly beet and know how and where they grow? 

Perfect for slicing evenly sized beet thins. 

Which when baked make the most delicious treat, 
the new beet sensation, the beet crispy chip. 

Normally I like to bake my beets and many are still growing in my garden,  waiting to be preserved for winter meals. 

Beets provide health benefits not readily available from other food families. 

Scrub beets, thinly slice with mandolin (or sharp knife) leaving skin on.  Place on lightly sprayed, with olive oil, cookie sheet. 
Sprinkle with bits of Rosemary, Sage, or Thyme. and 
Real Salt (from the Redmond Salt Mine).
Lightly spray again with olive oil.

Bake in oven @375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  

Isn't this the perfect time to harvest a garden you planted in April. 

Have a lovely weekend my dear friends. 


Monday, October 9, 2017

A treasure in the Italian countryside

It's wonderful, it's marvelous and 
it's just a little quirky. 

In the Mattarello Countryside, just south of Trento, Italy, sits a 17th century country villa, surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills.   

Villa Bertagnoli has lots of character.

Rooms are filled with treasures that will eventually find their proper places. 

A handsome Kachelofen warms a cozy corner.

Guests are welcome to explore the villa which  holds collections of ceramics, books and paintings.  

All are colorful, everyday pieces. 

Four walls were fitted with cabinets to hold a colorful collection of Italian hand painted ceramics. 

A happy jumble of recently painted pieces.

Time has been very kind to this cobbled courtyard centerpiece.

The courtyard, the villa on the left and the old stables to the right.

It is the stables which have now been converted into guest rooms and restaurant.  

The second story balcony connects the villa section to the old stables.  

Our room was very comfortable. 
There wasn't a space left on walls for even one more painting, all of flowers, mostly roses.  

  Villa Bertagnoli is run by a charming young woman whose Father has been sailing the seven seas for the past ten years.  

Her Mother lives in Trentino where the Bertagnoli family operates the oldest family-run distillery, producing award winning Grappas and Brandies.

These two act just like our Lola and Clyde.  
They just had to find out who was leaving.  

Have a great week, dear friends. 



Friday, October 6, 2017

Will you play a little game?

For those of you who have followed my blog for a little while

Can you guess where I have been?

Wishing you all the very Best. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wer'e back

from Europe.

More later.

Have a wonderful week and weekend.