Do you ever have a Monday that flies by in a thick, soupy haze of to-do lists from the week before? When the cool fingers of your routine reaching out to grab you around the waist and anchor you to your desk chair? Thoughts you had over the weekend about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness desperately clinging to your consciousness as the next dreary task dislodges your attention to your soul?
No? Me neither.
For a moment, let’s live in the past!
Saturday morning I plunged into Jillian Michaels and I am still feeling sore today! Then, I got to revisit Gambino winery for a friend’s birthday party. A minor infection took me out the rest of Saturday and nearly all of Sunday, and contributed greatly to today’s lethargy. Okay, okay, the meal at Gambino’s might have left me a tad lethargic, too.
We arrived mid-afternoon, when the sun was shining on the newly trimmed vines that looked starkly naked in the glaring sunlight. In contrast to the lovely visions floating in my memory from my November visit, the landscape had not sprung into spring quite yet. No foliage distracted our eyes, flowers and other blooms had been cut back, and the dirt was freshly turned over, but not still glistening with life. The atmosphere inside the glassed in tasting room proved that you can’t judge a wine tasting by its vineyard.
The cheese platter was largely the same, and our autumn chestnuts were replaced with two varieties of sun-dried tomato, mushrooms drizzled with olive oil and shredded parmigiano, and oil-cured olives. Oil-cured olives are typically black olives that have been preserved with oil rather than vinegar. They shrivel up like prunes and have a chewier, less springy, texture than other olives. Their flavor is rich and potent, the perfect compliment to the vanilla tones of Gambino’s Nero d’Avola (red).
We also tasted the Feu d’O, a light and playful white; Cantari, Gambino’s signature table wine with a bit more complexity though maintaining a light body and smooth finish (they make red and white, we tasted the white); then the last wine was another red, the Tifeo. Dessert was a “cloud” cookie, as many call them.
Cloud cookies are a lovely puff of nutty dough that bakes to a cracked cookie crust protecting the thick nougaty innards. Many Sicilian pasticcerie carry cloud cookies of mandorla – almond paste. Gambino served us cloud cookies made of hazelnut. The cookies are dusted with a fine layer of powered sugar. Delightful!
After an afternoon on the side of a mountain, enjoying the bounty of Gambino’s pantry and wine cellar, who could blame me for wandering into thoughts of following my passions, doing my taxes and mitigating my Princess Poopy-pants responsibilities.
The weekend also featured a dynamic Mt. Etna explosion. About ten days ago we felt a little earthquake around 10:30pm at night. Dave and I looked at each other asking “why are you making the bed shake? Wait – HOW are you… Wait – WHAT is that!?!?!?!” The bed was shaking, the doors were wobbling, and just like that – it was over. We later heard it was a 2.5 – pretty mild. Nevertheless, we were anticipating an eruption ever since then.
La mattina brought the echoing booms of the explosions, which shook our windows and rattled our doors. The explosions came fast and furious, and within an hour or so, the show was over. Perhaps it was the wine, perhaps it was the volcano, or perhaps Princess Poopy-pants just has a case of the Mondays. Whatever it is, this princess is pooped out. Ciao ciao.