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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Interlude in Barga

My idyllic interlude in Barga (Tuscany) is over! This is the town where my family is from - my great-grandfather emigrated to Scotland from here in the 1890's, and my parents also in the 1960's. If you're interested, check out this page (and the 'Links' page) for info on the history of Italian emigration to Scotland.

Panoramic view of Barga (photo by

A few days ago I flew back to Madrid to take up where I left off 10 days ago - ie getting the bodega ready for the harvest, which involves more cleaning, scraping, washing, painting, and moving in all my equipment from the old bodega, etc. And at the same time doing all sorts of red tape and bureaucracy tasks!

It was a very relaxing ten days, even though I was actually working quite hard there too! I was cutting grass, chopping down trees, cleaning up the 'poggi' (terraces), trimming hedges, mowing lawns, and generally doing gardening and agricultural labour type tasks around the house! Not everyone's idea of what 'relaxing' is all about, I know! :)

The log-sawing area
Logs stacked up for the winter
But all that hard physical labour was amply compensated by at least 2 aperitivos/day!  The first was at an old bar (called da Casciani) where I had a 'tocchino - ie a local white wine with a splash of Campari
A "tocchino" - local white wine with a touch of Campari

The second one was round the corner at John Moscadini's wineshop (Colordivino), where he has an excellent selection of wines by the glass.

Some wines at Colodivino (Barga)
More wines at Colodivino
I already posted pics of the specific wines on Facebook (here), so I won't bore you with them again! Except for this one!

Bordocheo Bianco

All that hard physical labour was also compensated by nice, simple, as-natural-as-possible lunches and dinners made with many ingredients grown directly in the garden by my parents. especially vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, radicchio, onions, etc.
Tomatoes just starting to ripen
Zucchini and basil
Lettuce and radicchio

Zucchini flowers, battered and fried

I have to say that it was great to forget about the painting and scraping and cleaning at the new bodega for those 10 days. I was starting to get a bit stressed out but now I'm back with renewed energy :)
The timing of this interlude was good too, because we managed to finish off main works (which took us 8 weeks!). Now there's just a whole load of smaller tasks to do, but which will take us at least a month to do.

More compensation of the hard physical labour was lighting the oven and cooking dinner in it :)

Oven firing up
Dinner cooking!

Alas, all good things come to an end, and already I'm back into the routine of painting and cleaning and doing tasks!!!

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