On my list of 100 Things I Want to Do, Italy figures in prominently, with visiting Tuscany and watching some olive oil harvesting among the things to do.
I love to cook. More than that, I love to eat.
Italian cooking - real Italian cuisine - is so earthy and delicious and soul stirring. For some reason though, these past few months, I've not been as inspired as I've been before. I've had more time to cook, more inclination, but no inspiration.
That post I wrote about how we made Jamie Oliver's Leeks and Papardelle pasta (for which Google seems to send lots of people this way) was the last time I felt all taste buds light up with glee. We even made it a couple of months later, and for some reason, although it was quite delicious, it wasn't quite the same.
This happens to me often when I try a new recipe. When it's completed and sitting on the table, ready to eat, there's the surprise and the delight in seeing it all come together, the anticipation of eating it.
And I think it's the combination that jolts my taste buds into overdrive.
But one thing never fails to disappoint for some reason, and that's good olive oil.
While on vacation last year in San Francisco, we happened by the Stonehouse Olive Oil stall at the Ferry Building one Saturday.
The oils they offered for tasting were a riot of flavors and tastes, from garlic olive oil to first-press. Some were potent, with the olive flavor bursting forth. With others, there was the merest hint at the oil's provenance.
We shipped several bottles home for ourselves and for gifts. And later I was thrilled to find the Olio Santo at my grocery store.
I'm fascinated by the processes and inspiration behind things that are beautiful or delicious.
Heck, I must be some sort of process junkie because I can appreciate nearly anything more if I know about all the work that goes into it.
Throw in rolling hills and beautiful, tree-lined vistas dotted with old stone farmhouses that have stood for hundreds of years and I'm in heaven.
So Italy, being both beautiful and a bounty of deliciousness, looks to be a double whammy.
Have you been to Italy? What was your favorite part?