Florence Copyright Carla Coulson
I was secretly hoping that I might be able to jump on a plane and spend it with my family in Australia but that looks like a slim chance at the moment. Instead I am off to my other family in Puglia to spend Christmas all’italiana.
If I can’t spend it with my family in Australia there is no other family I would rather sit around a long table groaning with food than with Francesco’s family. I have an inkling they are baking, chopping, preparing and cooking as I write.
It feels as though we pass the entire holidays at the table. Each meal blurs into the next and when we struggle up from the table a week has passed.
The baccala has blended with the panzarottis, the cime de rape and the dolce - thank-god for the grappa to wash it all down.
I am giving Italy this Christmas!!
I devoured Gods Mountain in a two hour trip home from Naples to Paris. This tender story of a thirteen year old Neapolitan boy brought tears to me eyes. So beautiful.
I love Zoe Boccabella’s taleof discovering Italy through her Italian families home in Abruzzo. I adored her boyfriend in the book who was so totally in love with everything Italian that he reminded me of myself when I first landed in Italy.
Let’s face it what Italy lover doesn’t dream about owning their own slice of Italy. I sure do. I have stalked real estate windows in every town in Italy. Wishing and hoping and praying there is a bargain for Carla!! I know the fabulous Lisa at renovating Italy has dived in.. If you do want to end up owning what the real estate agent has promised this book will help!!
I am mad for all things Mediterranean.. I have pored over every page and plant in this book dreaming of my Mediterranean garden. I love Heidi Gildemeistersapproach to a waterwise garden, imagine not ever having to water the garden and how fabulous for the planet. I just need the garden!!
The first thing that happens in our morning is the struggle to the kitchen to get the Moka on the stove and the coffee pumping. Our Moka is on its last legs so I am dreaming of this beautifully designed Alessi number to give our kitchen a lift and to make our morning even prettier.
I just have to look at this can and I think of my husband. If I ever had to pass an immigration test (aka the film Greencard) about what brand of coffee ‘his gorgeousness’ drinks I would do it with flying colours. He has Illy stamped all over him.
Francesco’s grandmother has promised more pasta making lessons this Christmas. The dear woman has persevered with me and my big mits punching holes in what should be ‘little ears’ (orecchiette). This Christmas she has promised to show me how to make lasagne and tagliatelle and she has a little machine clamped onto her kitchen bench just like the one above that squeezes out lovely flat pasta.
Tessa Kiros has made me look like a queen (or at least a cook)! After having the great fortune to spend almost two years in a Florentine kitchen with the divine Popi I longed to cook all those Tuscan classics that Popi often cooked up. And then I found Twelve. I love Twelvefor many reasons. First the recipes really work and I mean really work!! I have grown-ups scraping their plates after serving Tessa’s lemon and almond cake. About 200 people have asked me for this recipe. I also love that the book is divided into the twelve seasons. In the middle of winter when there is only a carrot and a pumpkin on my vege stall at the local market I flick to December and Tessa has a recipe for these two forlorn winter vegetables. Fabulous
Bread and Tulipshas to be one of my all time favourite Italian films. I think I have seen it about half-a-dozen times and loved every romantic inch of it. It is the story of a women who is in a love-less marriage and on holiday with her family and gets left at a truck stop. She hitches a ride with someone going to Venice and never wants to go home. Venice has never looked so good as in this film. CARLA LOVES THIS FILM!!!
Shot in beautiful Puglia this film was a huge hit in Italy. Loose Cannons (Mine Vaganti) is a story of two brothers who both want to come out and the families reaction. A beautiful second story runs through this film of the boys grandmother. Somewhere between hilarious and tragic
Guiseppe Tornatore’s masterpiece Cinema Paradiso, that many say is an auto-biographical story on Tornatore’s love affair with cinema as a young boy living in a small town in Sicily. This is a ‘two boxes of Kleenex’ film if you have a romantic heart like mine and is a wonderful nostalgic look at Sicily.
Murano! Can they do anything wrong? I have been drooling over these glasses for sometime now. What about that smoke effect created with the beautiful blue??
I guarantee an Oil and Vinegar set sits on every Italian table. But this oil and vinegar set are for the design freak in all of us. Two design masters created these, Italian design guru Ettore Sottsassand those incredible folks at Alessi..They are on my wish list
Reminds me of summer days sitting on a canvas beach chair at Da Adolfo near Positano drinking their white wine with fresh peaches. Da Adolfo serves it from a beautiful ceramic pitcher just like this.. I just have to see one of these and I feel like heading to Positano. Would also look great in my future Italian country home one day!!
Francesco introduced me to the effervescent Vinicio Capossela. I love all sorts of Italian music and Vinicio definately has his own sound. But for me his music will be forever linked to Francesco and us driving to the fartherest corners of Puglia with Vinicio in the background.
I am not sure whether this should be technically in my Italian list but for me this chair will be forever linked to my Italian memories. I sat in this fabulous Wassily chair (designed by legendary Bauhaus founder Marcel Breuer) most days during my two year sojuorn at Popi’s. Cool cat Popi had her house made-over in the 70’s and she has more design pieces than most showrooms. I always loved that she was never precious about them and let us all lie around on her Le Corbusier lounge and let us do our homework swinging in her Wassily Chair.
My list goes on and on with things I love about Italy..If you dare you can check out more of my favourites here.
What are you giving for Chirstmas??