We just heard we are mentioned by a NZ travel writer who was in Oregon this summer and came to a farmers market dinner.
“EVOO Cannon Beach Cooking School With quips like “Garlic is a vegetable”, “Go large or go home”, and “I’m Jewish- Italian – there’s nothing subtle about what I do”, chef Bob Neroni is an entertaining guy, especially when he’s dealing with gentle verbal sparring from his wife, fellow chef Lenore Emery.
Based in relaxed Cannon Beach, around 90 minutes west of Portland, the Farmers Market Dinner Show at their EVOO Cooking School is a surprising dining experience. Seasonal produce – their culinary manifesto is “If it grows together, it goes together” – is sourced from a co-operative of Oregon farmers, and Bob and Lenore supplement ingredients from Cannon Beach’s excellent farmers’ market.”
Thank you! Click this link to read the whole article.
Well we can finally say Lucca! Paola is very superstitious so up until now we could not say Lucca without poking the cosmic bear and possibly jinxing our trip to the walled city. Our day began as all do at Villa Fabroni with a traditional Italian breakfast consisting of fresh bread, croissants even, cheese and deli meats with espresso and juice. But of course we need the American version as well so Sergio whips up an egg concoction each day with eggs produced farm their ” silky” chickens. Today it was a frittata of spinach and another of Roma tomatoes.
It went from a down pour at our villa upon departure to sunny skies and about 70 degrees at the bakery where we had a lesson after which we were able to shed the rain coats, stacked the obsolete umbrellas, and peeled some layers. Our baker, Pedro, was gracious as ever, and very shy until our group show interest and he talked about what he knows very well. His wife, Petra was teaching today.
Anyway, after baking and a bread lunch we headed to Lucca.
Lucca is a great place to shop or people-watch while having a coffee, a.k.a. Espresso. We were able to work it all in for a couple hours. Bob searched for a new scarf. By the way he only wears scarfs in Italy. Smiley face!
Tonight our group is gathering for dinner of pizza by our hosts,Sergio and Stefanos. Update tomorrow.
Rain! The locals reported this as very unusual this early in the season. Our plans for an early morning start to go the two hour drive to Lucca was in vain. Our tour guide half jokingly stated something about a plan “b” due to the weather report. The bus driver came without checking the weather report so we climbed a board. Before long lighting was flashing and thunder clapping instantly after. We were still in the hills but water was rushing in the ditches beside the road. Then Paola’s phone rang. It was the baker stating the river between Lucca and them was rising rapidly. Paola puts down the phone and says she thinks we will not be able to reach the bakery today. Plan “b” becomes a reality.
She begins to rearrange our activities so we won’t miss anything. Paola starts calling our artisans; what may we move to today? After several dropped calls and waiting to get a connection, Paola announced she was now up to plan “m.” Nobody could make the change to accommodate. Understandable given that all were responding to the same worsening weather. So our driver turns around and heads toward Greve. There we can shop and enjoy the cafes.
We had lunch at the butcher in town, where we tasted wines at will while eating their cheeses and prosciutto. Chianti Classico is the region’s famous varietal. Here and only here the term chianti Classico may be used on the label. The symbol for the location is a black rooster, the legend of which is another story. If a wine maker is a member of the union, they may use the rooster on their labels indicating the terroir. Only so many barrels of chianti from here each season are allowed, as designated by the state, and all extra wine may not be called Classico. With the “extra wine” they blend what are known as Super Tuscans. These are more robust and all are more expensive than a single chianti. We like the very much.
Our wonderful hosts at our villa have agreed to move their cooking class to this afternoon. We will make our own dinner. By now our guide, Paola, has figured out the rest of the week. And by now the rain has stopped. No more lightening and thunder, and even a patch of blue sky.
Each year as lenore and I prepare for Italy, it seems that the reality doesn’t kick in until we are in hour 18 or so of getting there. By that time its been long enough that our twisted muscles and lack of sleep, not to mention a real meal has rendered us spent. Our conversation turns to the reality that in a few more hours we will be in Italy, and the thought of the italian hospitality is making the any discomfort in the air transit seem insignificant.
When our connections finally land us in Milan we hear the bellowing familiar sound of our guide, “CIAO Bob and Lenore,”a sound we equate with all things Italy. We plan these trips to arrive a day or two before our guests so we may acclimate and prepare. Today we travel to Florence, an opportunity to walk the streets, hear the bells from the Duomo and sip an espresso or two, a treat we indulge in often, especially since Paola is with us. Seems she needs frequent visits to the bars in the area, espresso bars, that is!
Our welcome reception will take place this evening at the villa castle after we pick up our guests. First they will have free time to unpack and take in the enormity of the vistas from the property; get to know the mascot, Lucio, an English bulldog; and watch the silky hens that roam freely.
On the menu are chicken breast with truffle ravioli, some salad for the Americans, and tiramisu for for dessert.
Nothing like a shopping trip in Florence to make one’s day. The three of us set out late morning for a day in Florence before meeting the guests who will be gathered at a hotel to catch our bus.
But first we must have lunch. So Paola said she knows of a place where the food is like what locals eat, so that sounded like us. It was simple, and delicious.
Bob chose bacala, salt cod in tomato sauce with rice. Lenore got Tomino con verdure, grilled vegetables with melted aged soft cow’s milk cheese. Paola got one of her favorites–chicken liver pâté served warm in an earthen ware crock with crostini . We got complimentary sparkling from the owner and a glass of chianti colli florentini red wine 2011. Decadent chocolate cake split three ways completed our repast. We were now ready to shop!
Just so you don’t think we are only eating, the time after lunch was spent shopping the leather kiosks of Florence. Are three pairs of shoes too much! The thing about being in Italy is that you walk to most destinations which keeps the calories at bay. That being said let’s discuss dinner…..the wines consisted of Proseco, Strozzi Vernoccia and Tenuto la Novella reserva chianti Classico.
Antipasti of puff pastries with porcini and Torino cheese alongside ham and Brie. Fresh buffalo mozzarella, Tuscan pecorino fresco, green olive bread and what seemed to be the best bruschetta with tomatoes from the villa, fresh oregano and baby garlic, yum! Then the primi course of lemon ravioli was as stuffed with lemon zest, ricotta and a sauce of lemon juice, zest, parmigiana and reduced cream. Secondi of pan seared chicken breast with black and white truffle cream with a reduced balsamic smear, a perfect juxtaposition of acid against fat. Thankfully they included a salad of bitter greens. Finally tiramisu and espresso, dopio! No worries about sleeping after this day. Ciao!
Monday, October 20,
Morning came early since we have a long drive to Lucca today.g src=”http://evoo.biz/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/image5-230×230.jpg” alt=”” title=”Paola and Bob having wine on our arrival” width=”230″ height=”230″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-23554″ />