Here it is Sunday, and I haven’t written a word about our Friday. And that is a shame because Friday was a particularly nice day. We had noticed that Friday was going to be the first day of the Settimana di Miele (the week of honey) in Montalcino.
Well, it turns out that either: One, I had read the signs wrong; or, two, that there was a bit of exaggeration going on because the event wasn’t a week long but a long weekend long. But it was about honey and that sounded sweet and flavorful so I was interested.
An added bonus was that Friday is also market day in Montalcino. Michael has decided that he would like to try a pair of those pants that are longer than shorts but shorter than long pants. Seems like the markets might be a good place to find such things and he has been looking but, so far, no success.
As we were leaving Podere Cunina, Piergiorgio, told us that there was going to be live music, guitar, and a little party down by the pool at 8:30 that evening. That also sounded promising.
We took the scenic route to Montalcino, which meant that a ten minute drive took almost an hour and that we were on narrow, dusty roads. If, when we arrived in Montalcino, our car looked as though it had been driven up to Alaska over the old Alcan, that is, the one that was completely unpaved, it was well worth it because the scenic road was just that and was well worth a thick layer of dust and some loose teeth.
The honey event was aimed at serious honey producers with lots of talks scheduled about various aspects of honey production but, happily for us, there was also a fun side with booths showing off honey stuff. We tasted acacia honey, very delicate and delicious, chestnut honey, very dark and strong, and everything in between. I bought small jars of the acacia and sunflower. What I am going to dow with them I don’t know. Guess we’d better eat a lot of toast in the next few weeks. I don’t think that I am brave enough to stick a jar of honey into my checked bags, even if it is in a zip lock bag.
Our lunch involved nary a drop not a drizzle of honey but it was exquisite nonetheless. I had an amazing plate of pasta, strozzapretti with a Brunello sauce. The pasta was made at the restaurant (of course) and was perfectly cooked and the sauce, which was rich with the wine and had veal in it, was unbelievably good. I really did want to lick my plate but, since I didn’t notice anyone else doing so, I managed to refrain. I also had a pork steak and it was a revelation. Do you remember when port tasted like something? You know, back before it became “the other white meat”? Well, this pork was like that only much, much better. It is the cinta senese, which is a heritage breed in this area and it is delectable. Really, for a pork lover, I think it is almost worth the trip. Michael had an equally beautiful beef filet with a rich, fresh porcini sauce. He passed on pasta but managed to get his fork into mine with a certain regularity.
We decided that we needed a particularly nice bottle of wine for the evening and bought a beautiful Brunello di Montalcino 2006 before we drove back to the farm to pack our things in preparation for our departure on Saturday.
Friday evening was all we had hoped it would be. Drinking that lovely wine while watching the lights of Montalcino come on across the hills was very special. “Together under the stars” as our music/party was billed was enchanting: A wine-dark night (okay, I know some ancient poet used that before, except his was a sea), a gently breeze, stars overhead, the shimmering turquoise of the pool, delicious, Tuscan cakes, bubbly prosecco, very nice music, and conversation with fellow travelers. What could be better than that?!