It’s ironic the Emmental Valley is one of Switzerland’s least visited regions. Not only does it possess some of the country’s most iconic landscape, it is the homeland of the famous and oft-imitated “Swiss cheese” as Emmental is called by so many of us. The region, and its famous cheese, are named after the Emme River and you can arrive here in…

  Hello Everyone! This is a long overdue update to let you know I am alive and well and living in Switzerland. I’m sorry I have not posted much since the big move from La Petraia, but alas I lost my muse. Petraia was the inspiration for so many of my posts and after leaving her I have needed some time to…

  I was never much of a fruit cake fan until I started drying the figs, grapes, mulberries, hazelnuts and almonds we harvested at Petraia. Then I began researching traditional European holiday fruit breads in an effort to find easy and delicious ways to preserve them. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of these breads…

  At this time of the year in Northern Europe the Belgian endive is making its annual appearance, and it stays most of the winter.  It is one of my winter go-to vegetables because it is locally grown, a good keeper and extremely versatile. It can be used in salads but is also lovely braised, grilled, roasted…

    Fifteen years ago Michael and I followed a 3km mule track into the Chianti Mountains through a tangled oak forest and past an alley of four hundred year old mulberry trees to arrive at the door of a thousand year old casa colonica. La Petraia’s expanse lay before us, abandoned as a working farm for over…

  In my previous post about our trip to Abruzzo and the Gran Sasso I promised to introduce you to a fourth generation transumanza shepherd. This story actually doesn’t take place in Abruzzo, but just across its border in Lazio, deep in the remote and little visited Monti della Laga range. It was August 15th and ferragosto, Italy’s national summer…

  If you happen to be going to a farmer’s market this weekend you’re likely to find some fresh local grapes. Here’s a great way to enjoy them. As promised in my last post this is my version of the delicious grape bread made every fall in Tuscany to celebrate the vendemmia (grape harvest).  Over the years I’ve…

We visited Abruzzo in a camper van nearly 20 years ago and ever since then we’ve been meaning to get back. With the highest peaks in the Apennine range this region boasts vast expanses of wilderness and, for a country as urban as Italy, Abruzzo is sparsely populated. But the biggest draw for us was its spectacular landscape. For one…

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