The Feast of Beppe

I feel it appropriate to get started on this blog post now, because I just finished (what I hope will become) my daily workout routine, in which I work to “undo” the indulging that happened in Italy. And speaking of indulgence, remember when I spent a great deal of time eating magnificent dishes and how I’m now on the hunt (pun intended) for cinghiale because it’s fantastic? Well, one of those extraordinary evenings of eating took place high up on a hill, overlooking the Mediterranean, on an Italian farm. The farm land happened to belong to some family friends of Dave’s parents, who have a long-standing relationship with the farmer who maintains the property and tends to the crops. Beppe, the farmer/winemaker is pretty much the epitome of someone you’d hear about in old Italian folklore. He’s in his mid-80s and after my latest attempt at a workout, I can confidently attest that he is in better shape than I. He makes his own wine from grapes grown on the farm, stomps them himself (yes, with his feet!) adding nothing else but fermented grape juice to the bottles when he is complete. He also tends to the land and each year, puts on a feast, at which he and his wife and children all prepare amazing dishes with the crops.

This year, the feast happened to coincide with our stay in Bergeggi (near Savona) where we were staying with the friends of Dave’s parents. They were kind enough to let us crash with them on the days surrounding our flight so we wouldn’t have to make the long drive from Elba to the Nice airport. We also lucked out in that the Feast of Beppe happened during our time in Bergeggi. The farm is high up in the hills and we drove as far as we could before parking and hiking the rest of the way to our scenic and delicious dinner. I can’t even do it justice with my words….you really have to see the photos of this gorgeous, rustic dinner setting.

The hospitality shown by Beppe and his family was incredible. We were all welcomed warmly and served fantastic dishes that were as “farm-to-table” as one can get. A highlight for me (probably the person least fluent in Italian) was sitting next to Beppe at dinner, where he took the time to teach me all of the Italian words for the foods we were eating. He even went so far as to find herbs and foods not on the table so he could teach me the words…it was an absolutely memorable and enjoyable evening all around. We were so lucky to have been included for such a fun evening full of delicious eats!