In the Oltre Arno villages, there is a rotating market –on Saturday the market is held in San Giovanni, one town south of Figline. Despite the blowing rain, Elettra and I head out (with Zampa of course) early this morning.
Years ago I was introduced to the cheese man, who some claim has a face “like a mozzarella”. He is always smiling and gives each customer a little gift depending on the amount of the sale. Sometimes it’s a chocolate bar, sometimes a package of homemade pasta, sometimes both. I was after only a small amount of Gorgonzola today and was given a hunk of parmagana to munch on while I waited.
His stand is always packed, so packed in fact that he has installed a red machine that hands out numbered tickets. The other cheese men are not so busy and they look on rather glumly.
My favorite snack at the market is a Porcetta Panini with slices of garlic and herbs buried deep into the pork. I also like the crackling skin but you must ask for this delicacy for it to be included.
I find a few tablecloths I want to bring home and Elettra buys some lettuce and parsley.
On the way back to the farm, we stop at my friend Diane’s house. I met her years ago when she had lost a cat and was canvassing the neighborhood. I didn’t have her cat, but we got to talking and have remained in touch over the years. She and her partner Luciano are musicians and have a school and recording studio in their house. They also have many cats and now a dog that looked very familiar to me. Diane told us that the dog arrives every day after 12 noon and leaves very early in the morning. Nobody knows where he goes.
Diane has also been making houses for cats- one is teepee shaped, one is crafted from a wine cask, (and has two floors) another looks like a windmill. They are unique sculptures and useful objects of art. I know they would sell in North America- the problem is how to get them to Canada and the US?
It is still raining and may be time for a nap. We are going out tonight for dinner at a friend of Elettra and Andreas who speak no English. I need to be in fine form to try to understand even a few words.