At Petraia I count on the fingers of one hand the principal staples I use we that we can’t easily produce on the farm. Chocolate, coffee, some of our flour and salt. Food shopping for me is a real luxury and I take great care and pleasure in seeking out the few ingredients I…

Those of you who been following this blog for awhile probably know I love spending time in the Alps and in particular the Haute-Savoie. This département of France is breathtaking, home to the Val d’Abondance, the lakes Annecy & Leman, Mont Blanc and the haunting Aravis massif. It’s also the place where much of France’s most interesting cooking is happening at…

Perhaps I have custard to blame for my vocation. In the era I grew up it was one of the first solid foods given to babies. My mother’s egg custard is one of my earliest sense memories and it made a big impression. Slightly sweet the taste was probably reminiscent of mother’s milk but the…

  Semolina Bread from Sicily (Adapted from Piano, Piano, Pieno: Authentic Food From a Tuscan Farm)   As one ventures into the mezzogiorno or southern Italy, bread takes on a golden aspect as if it has spent more time in the sun than its northern cousins. This is especially true in Sicily where much of…

With a couple of days left on the island our plan was to drive around Etna, cross the Nebrodi Mountains and head north up the coast to Termini Inglese where we had a reservation for the ferry back to Civitavecchia. Approaching Etna we realized she was acting up. The volcano was spewing black lava dust…

Seventeen years ago Michael and I shipped a brand new VW camper van to Sicily from Ontario.  When it arrived  we got on a plane, flew to Palermo and took a taxi to the port. Amidst a sea of containers, we located the one holding our camper and with surprising ease drove off to explore…

Christmas at Petraia comes at the end of our busiest season when I am already exhausted and seriously in need of some dietary reform. This year I decided to limit my holiday baking to sugar and gluten free items. My plan was to use nut flour and honey to make traditional cookies and cakes like Torta…

It’s almost Christmas but the harvest season at Petraia is not finished yet.  At this time of the year we are busy preserving winter vegetables to keep us going over the coming months.   Brassicas and root vegetables do well left in the ground till spring and it is wonderful to have them there.  Going…

  Matefaim, are what happen when you cross an Italian frittata with a French crêpe. These are delicious eggy pancakes made in various parts of southeastern France as well as some alpine regions of Italy and Switzerland. Seldom found in restaurants, matefaim use a variety of local ingredients including cheese, potatoes, spinach, apples, ham and sausage. The…