Summer Highlights 2012

Hello there! I haven’t forgotten about you, I know I’ve been a bit absent this summer, but don’t hold it against me… I took some much-needed vacation and felt the desire to unplug entirely, even from my beloved blog. But I’m back, and I missed you!  I couldn’t wait to share glimpses and tastes of some of the remarkable places I’ve been over the past couple months. I promise many recipes to come over the next weeks, so stay tuned!

1. Puglia- It was my first time to visit this region, though I had heard enough about it to feel like I knew the place before I ever stepped off the plane. Amazingly, the experience not only met, but actually exceeded my pre-elevated expectations. My first words when I gazed upon the remarkable scenery were, “This looks like Texas!” The rolling green hills speckled with limestone outcroppings, the hot wind and big skies all reminded me of my beloved Hill Country in Central Texas. Of course Puglia also offers thousand-year-old olive trees and endless stretches of breath-taking coast-line and electric-blue waters…

We stayed at Il Frantoio where Emilio was creating a short video for this luxurious, ancient farmhouse-turned-B&B. The food was exceptional, simple and elegant, all locally-grown (most of it collected from the Frantoio‘s same land), and the courses were endless. Next time you’re in the region I urge you to stay at this unique destination, or at least stop by for a tour and memorable dinner.

2. Trentino/Alto Adige – I had never been to the Dolomites before taking my parents there this summer, and it did not disappoint. I was inebriated by the lush landscape, vibrant flowers and green pastures framed by dizzying mountains and clear blue skies. The landscape just screams for a picnic so we heeded the call every chance we got with hearty, seeded breads, rich aged cheeses, salumi, pickles and plenty of local wine.

3. Moneglia, Liguria – Food, Family, Swim, Hike, Repeat. Read this sumemer’s post and recipe here.

4. Texas – Food, Family, Friends, Barbecue, Beer, Burgers, Repeat.
Here are some of my previous posts about Texas: Texas HighlightsThe Food Shark Cookies, Texan Pesto, Classic Margarita.

5. Lago di Garda – Another first for me, I had driven by Italy’s largest lake many times before but never stopped to stay. The nature captured my senses immediately: the piney smells, the sounds of lapping water and rustling leaves, the soft green moss on cold gray rock, the electric blue of the water against the bright pink sunsets. We were invited to stay at the luxurious Lefay Spa, which is perched on the hillside above Gargnano, overlooking the lake. The highlights of our brief stay were our visits to Bignotti, a cheesemaker’s shop (where I got to try my hand at cheese-making) and a tour of the oldest lemon orchard of the region.


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