Villa Castelletto


Most of the time Google maps doesn’t work. For some completely legitimate Italian reason. Communications and emotions are not yet outruled by cyber activity under the bright blue Tuscan skies. Human interaction is what’s being asked for. Trapped and nowhere else to look for it, I take to the small village’s main piazza, heading for the local bar. It’s the first of May, a beautiful day. A few locals hang around enjoying the fresh sun. Upon entering the typical bar gelateria, I am well aware of the impression I make. Being elegantly dressed, foreign, with long blond hair and wearing my most charming smile. The owner eagerly starts to explain how to get to the commercial centre where I am supposed to go and do my daily shopping for the week to come. 
Go down the road, take the second turn left. At the first stopping light turn right. Continue the road until you see an underway, leading to the other side of the railway. Follow the road for some four hundred metres, turn… That’s where I gave up. At the next cross roads, I look intensely to my right and and to my left, hoping to grasp a sight of the Coop supermarket. Big sigh. You bloody service providers! What’s the use of smart apps if they don’t work when you need them? A black and yellow little Smart car pulls over at my right side. The left side screen is being lowered and an Italian man in his fifties politely smiles at me. ‘If by any chance I was looking for the commercial center?’ he asks me. Wow! And he offers me to follow him. I am delighted. Like he himself is as well, so I presume, now closely followed by an elegantly dressed foreign woman with long blond hair and a most charming smile. 

After quite some turns he points me out the sought after Coop supermarket, stopping his car to receive my warm and happy mille grazie’s. He smiles and waves me goodbye with the most charming air kiss adressed to me in ages. 

That evening I cook pasta pesto with pinenuts and rucola for a starter. The main dish consists of artisinal Tuscan sausages served with a salad of lightly pickled fennel, zucchini and roman lettuce. As dessert bread&butter pudding.

Day three of an amazing experience, being chef in Italy for one week. In Tuscany surrounded by Chianti vineyards, not far from some ex patriots supporting me where ever they can and in the company of Kenneth from Kenia. Without his assistance my endeavours wouldn’t have been as succesful as they materialize, day after day.

We did it all: Saltimbocca, pasta frutte di mare, minestrone, lasagna, vitello al Marsala, biscotta al arancina, salmone, risotto prima vera, pizza margarita, carpaccio, panzanella and much more.

I give myself completely to the thirty members counting family I cater for. Gaining the world is my reward. An exceptionally priceless experience to be carried along my path for a long time to come.

The material reward is an offer to teach cooking classes in New York City. Gratefullness and placid contentment overtake me. If there’s anything I wish for it’s the continuation of the perfect present moment. It won’t get any better then this. Grace!


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