Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring in the Alps and a Tasty Springtime Snack!

Oh, I love spring!  Winter in the Alps is hard, long, and cold.  This week winter has officially come to an end.  Yes, I know that for the rest of the northern hemisphere it ended nearly a month ago, but in my neck of the woods official dates regarding seasons don't mean much.  This week the birds started chirping, my fruit trees started blooming, the first daffodil bloomed and I planted the first seeds in my garden.  I got to wear a sundress, even!  Granted, I wore it with a jacket, but it still made me happy.
The view from my house.  The grass is green and the snow is far away!
Spring also lures me out of my culinary hibernation and makes me appreciate food more.  It means that I can go scavaging for wild greens, and eat fresh goat cheese again because the baby goats have just all been born.  This year's white wines from local vineyards are nearly ready, and the snow line on the Alps that surround my house is gradually creeping up towards higher elevations. 

This week I have been gathering wild baby cicoria for my salad greens, and picking baby nettles for nettle pesto.  I made some lovely gluten free bread, and went on a mini fresh-ish cheese shopping spree.  I really love to go to the supermarket, and randomly buy whatever cheeses that are on sale that I've never heard of before.  It is kind of like a game.  I've tried all the local cheeses, so now I'm having to branch out into other Italian cheesey specialities!

Sitting here, writing this, I'm eating the most exquisite snack.   This week's cheese haul ( pecorino perla nero argiolas, caciotta al pistacchio and provolone piccante), gluten free bruschetta with scavenged nettle pesto, and jams made by some local jam geniuses ( apple, green tomato and vanilla, and thyme apple jelly.... two of my favorites, and absolutely amazing with mild cheeses).

Oh, and some white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which is about as good as a 3 euro bottle of wine gets.  Because you can't have a proper late afternoon snack in Italy without something to wash it down. 

The provolone piccante was my favorite, and I've eaten nearly the whole wedge so far.  It is a very sharp provolone, I love it!  And I've eaten nearly my entire jar of apple, green tomato and vanilla jam with this week's cheeses.  Living in Italy may have its drawbacks, but you can't beat it for food.  As the Italians say, "Se mangia bene!"


  1. Can you share your recipe for the bread? It looks like bread! I wish I was there to picnic with you!

    1. Sure, and come by for a picnic! I based it on this recipe:, but instead of all brown rice flour I made half of that amount white rice flour. And instead of butter I used oil, and I only put in a teaspoon of sugar. If you follow the recipe as it is written (but subing in white rice for half of the brown rice flour) you get a brioche bread, which is nice, but for savory bread my alterations work better.