Monday, January 1, 2018



Our last meal with our Italian family was a tradition. Every time we've visited the Saracenis over the past seventeen years we've made a pilgrimage back to San Quirico, another wonderful little village between Buonconvento and Pienza.
There's a restaurant there where we've managed to book a table every time we've visited the farm. It's where we've gone with our Dutch friends. We even took my mom there for what we thought was her eightieth birthday only to find out it was her seventy-ninth. It's not an easy ticket to acquire but Stefania, who knows everyone within a fifty-kilometer radius from the farm, made the arrangements. Even with her pull, we were still pushed to a nine o'clock dinner.
When we arrived at Trattoria al Vecchio Forno every table was taken on both the first and second floors except for a large table seating eight. We were originally supposed to be six but Guilio couldn't make it so we were five trying to figure the most intimate way to seat ourselves so everyone could join in on the conversation. The restaurant also has a beautiful garden. It's where we've eaten every previous time but this time it was too cold and they were only using the garden as an adjunct cold storage unit.
We all shared tiny bits of several appetizers including this soufflé of pecorino cheese in wild honey.
The first plates went in three directions. Rick and Alessandro had tagliatelle with a wild boar sauce.
Stefania went for pappardelle with pistachios.
Emmy and I jumped at this spinach ravioli in a truffle cream sauce. Stefania and Alessandro explained how this region was known for its truffles and the pigs and dogs used to sniff them out. Truffle hunters guard their territory like it was gold and only those with a special permit are allowed to hunt for these precious nuggets.
As a second plate, we had filets of beef served very pink inside with olive oil and rosemary along with deep-fried artichokes.
If that wasn't enough we ordered desserts of semifreddo with chocolate drizzle, pears poached in Montalcino Brunello and a chocolate soufflé to die for.
All protocol went out the window by the end of our last meal.

The farm has several horses and always has. Emmy was hoping to restart her riding once we got to the farm. There's a part deep inside her that is forever connected to the animal world. She has a way of speaking to them that makes me think they hear her, more so than the rest of us.
Unfortunately when we arrived the horses on the farm were in no condition to ride. The two mares were with foal and the Palomino was now too old. It was Guilio who came to Emmy's aid. He had a friend with a riding stable and he made arrangements for her to ride once before we left.
She got her wish for a trail ride. I don't think it was as satisfying as she had hoped but it ignited the spark to find a stable back home.

On our last day the rain stopped and here's what happened in pictures that will speak far better than any words I can lay on paper.

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