Tag Archives: Ottobrata Zafferanese

“It’s time to start loving Oral”


(Uno) 1. The United States of Tara. See title of this post. It is hilarious!

(Due) 2. Laughing. I’ve probably listed laughing as a highlight before, but let’s all admit how good it feels! I look for opportunities to smile instead of frown. I credit “Today’s Special” with a particularly happy scene about turning a frown upside down. Anyone else remember that show?

(Tre) 3. Whoa – rainy season hits! Driving through “puddles” up to the tops of my tires and staying on track. Whew.

(Quattro) 4. Not being a teenager. Let’s face it. For all the troubles we are facing, having an adult perspective is SO much better than suffering through adolescence. Plus we can drive!

(Cinque) 5. Toni Collette. ‘Nuf said.


Thank you friends and readers who have responded with your interests in what I write and post. The overwhelming response is to hear more about food and culture. To that end, I am going to {omg, as I write, USOT referenced “Small Wonder” another hilarious 80s show!}, um, so I’m going to keep writing about food and culture and include a couple of photos of a piadene I got at Ottobrata Zafferanese. It is a LOT like a crepe, and I used to make them when the food cart had a regular gig at Madison’s Saturday farmer’s market. Yummmmmmmmm-me! Ciao.

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My Grandpa’s Flannel Shirt


(Uno) 1. Autumnal cleaning day – cleaned the house from top to bottom yesterday and it felt great! Today I enjoyed it, completely.

(Due) 2. Computer resurrection! My computer turned on, and I’m typing this post on it now. I have a visit to the Apple store at Centro Sicilia queued up for a post, and now it will have a happy ending!

(Tre) 3. Stumbling upon yet another mall in the Catania area, this one called Katane. I am not much of a mall person in general, but even I have to admit they make you feel good about shopping.

(Quattro) 4. Watching and loving Mulholland Drive. Nice work, David Lynch. Nice work.

(Cinque) 5. This is double using Mulholland Drive, but I was legitimately blown away by Naomi Watts‘ performance in a way I never had been before. As I watch the movie more and more (about once a year), I realize how she really makes the movie as awesome as it is.


Ask anyone who moves a lot, you end up moving the same things over and over and justify it by promising to use them! I cart around art supplies and my piano. I am not willing to give up these items, even as my use of them has decreased over the years. While I’m still figuring out how to fit arts activities into my schedule, I did manage to wear Grandpa Becker’s flannel shirt. Even when I could fit all of my belongings in my car, I still had Grandpa Becker’s shirt with me. Tonight, I’m snuggling into it happily.

Photo Gallery:

Today I’m sharing more Ottobrata Zafferanese pictures. I did not return today as I had planned to do, so I am reliving it with you in these pictures. See you next year, Ottobrata Zafferanese!

An overview of the festivities.

More views from a higher vantage point.

These next couple of shots feature a fried delicacy that I found pretty lacking in flavor and texture qualities. I was attracted to the vibrant color and the hope that it was a fried pickle, but then found out it is a crispy fried donut, flavored as pistachio (green) and fragola (strawberry – the red one). We didn’t even finish them.

Finally, we have a photo of one of the most delicious cheeses I have had in a…oh, well, that I had eaten THAT day. Since then I have had so many delicious cheeses here in Italy, that I lose track. That is charred ash on the outside and fresh ricotta inside. It was more firm than the ricotta you use in lasagna, or to stuff a canolo shell, and it was moist and delicioso! The block at the top shows a cross section.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness

Sun-nazzy Sunday


Uno (1). Walking around Pitigliano with Dave at twilight.

Due (2). Listening to Dave spontaneously list the top five highlights of his day – without naming it like that. It was great to hear his enthusiasm and his list – twilight in Tuscany with his wife and Anisette and Hal visiting.

Tre (3). Cornetto type of pastry from the panetteria in Pitigliano.

Quattro (4). Eating figs from the trees in Sovana. Mmmmm.

Cinque (5). Visiting Etruscan tombs, especially since Hal is a big archeology geek and provided lots of interesting tidbits of information and pocketfuls of enthusiasm.


Today’s photo inspiration features the lovely effects of sunshine on dazzling produce. Just look at those beautiful citrus fruits basking in the sunshine. It is hard to believe it is already a week since I saw these bumpy cedro* at Ottobrata Zafferanese. Citrus fruits amaze me because they soak up all the summer sunshine and then while we are all adjusting to falling temperatures and autumn winds, the lovely citrus fruit is getting tarter and juicier – just waiting for late autumn and early winter to bring that taste of summer back to our desperate palettes. Hope you’re enjoying a sun-nazzy Sunday.

*Cedro are a citrus fruit with a palatable pith, a touch of salt and the juicy tart center make this fruit a Sicilian specialty.


Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.

Sumptuous Saturday


Uno (1). Walking in the cool autumn weather and getting all warm from activity.

Due (2). A hot shower at twilight in Autumn. The evening is getting cooler, and the water warms you up and cleans you up!

Tre (3). Cinghiale. That is wild boar, and it is delicious.

Quattro (4). Aged balsamic vinegar. Mmmmmm.

Cinque (5). Tortelli di carciofi – a pasta like ravioli filled with a light creamy artichoke filling and served with creamy delicate sauce with the lightest pieces of crispy speck (pork similar to bacon); like a pillow of goodness in my mouth. Yummy!


With today’s photo I am remembering the lovely chocolate offerings of last week’s Ottobrata Zafferanese. Although Dave has a serious sweet tooth and I love a general love of thoughtfully produced foods, we hadn’t been swayed by any other chocolate vendors until this one. We were moved enough to purchase some of the delectable goodies featured in these shots. We bought two slices of rich chocolate, both with a sturdy fudge consistency. One was flavored with pistacchio and the other with an unidentified liqueur. We enjoyed them in small bites of chocolate goodness as dessert each night this week. Mmmmmm.


Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.

Fri-i-day, Fri-i-day


Uno (1). Orange cream cannolo for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do.

Due (2). Greeting my good friends Hal and Anisette with big bear hugs! Benvenuto!

Tre (3). Long conversations with good friends.

Quattro (4). Above conversations with yummy Italian wines, bread from the panetteria, formaggio (pecorino) and salame from the salumeria, mmmmmm.

Cinque (5). Finding my Ottobrata typo and realizing I want to go back and correct it in the last several posts. Blogging is a labor of love, for sure.


C’mon y’all – you know the “Fri-i-day” screech I’m talkin’ ’bout! One Miss Rebecca Black singing her heart out? <a href="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kfVsfOSbJY0” target=”_blank”>This one. Listen to it, you will thank shake your fist at me later. Although hilariously bad, I can still appreciate the heart and soul Ms. Black put into her video. You can practically taste her joy as she belts out one horrible lyric after the other, it might make you shiver. While I, too, don’t know which seat should I take, I know I wanna kick it with my friends. We all love Friday, almost as much as we like Fun-Fun-Fun-Fun-Fun-Fun-Fun.

Ottobrata Zafferanese continues…

Here, we have “cotognata,” which I had to look up on itranslate, and as far as I can tell, it is a sort of quince jelly product, though it looks a lot like a bar of soap.


Next we have two items of produce. The first is Melograno (or pomegranate to you English speakers, interestingly, “mele” is apple in Italian and “pomme” is apple in French. See the connection?).


Mmmm…grilled corn on the cob greeted us as we entered the “meat” area, which was how our host Kim referred to this set of vendors. The corn smelled delicious!




Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo., Uncategorized

Under the Thursday Sun


Uno (1). Great speed workout at the gym. Unfortunately I pulled my groin muscle a little bit.

Due (2). Yoga session. I got some good stretching advice for that groin – what timing!

Tre (3). This delightful article of men parodying female stereotyped advertisement poses.

Quattro (4). We got a call from Fleet & Family Support Center – our Amici are ready! I feel like we are getting a huge gift. The center searched to find a couple who are open to befriending us and chatting in Italian, showing us their Sicily, and sharing our version of the US lifestyle.

Cinque (5). Bought a hammer to replace the one lost in the move. The strangest things make me happy.


I have oodles of gorgeous photos from last weekend’s Ottobrata outing that I want to show you, and not a lot of time to update my blog posts. Photos take the longest, so I am going to share short bursts of brilliant color with each day’s post to keep you as enthralled and enchanted with Zafferana as I am. Let me know which photos you enjoy and what aspects of Sicily interest you and I will whip out my beloved iphone and capture small bits of Sicily to share with you. As they say at Blog-wiser*, this blog’s for you!

*Blog-wiser is a fictional place in my imagination.

Here is the simple logo of the event. These green borders marked the food, craft and sundry booths at Ottobrata.

The weather teetered between ominous and sunnily stunning. Here you can see the white tent-tops of the food booth. The weekend’s theme was “funghi” or mushrooms, and the food booth was selling funghi risotto for 3Euro a plateful.

First, I had to obtain a ticket! To do so, I went to the “cassa” or cashier, and paid with a 20Euro. She asked if I had any “moneta” or coin money to spare her from making change. Seems festivals the world over have the same issues – making change is a pain!

Next, I watched the chefs at work as I stood in the stereotypical Italian line. Quite a bit of jostling for position. My tip to you: make eye contact! Italians may push from time to time, but they really value relationships, so as soon as you make eye contact or share a laugh, they are charming and accommodating – even in lines!

Finally! I was rewarded with a steaming hot plate of yummy rather good satiating risotto.

The texture of the risotto (a rice product) was good – firm but yielding to the tooth, and the sauce was savory, if a bit runny. Yet, there were too few funghi and the overall effect was that of eating hot mac-n-cheese on a cool autumn day: comforting and filling, if not flavorfully satisfying.

Ottobrata was still a wonderful festival. We spotted the Slow Food booth at the end the day and decided that the next weekend we visit Ottobrata Zafferanese, we’ll start there!

Until tomorrow…

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Adventures in Eating – Cavallo Edition


Uno (1). Ottobrata Zafferanese – that’s Zafferana Octoberfest to you. Zafferana is an adorable town north of Catania. It is halfway up Mt. Etna and offers beautiful views of the Ionian Sea and mainland Italy.

Due (2). Housewarming party fun. Friends of ours from “indoc” (Indoctrination class) invited us over for a lovely party Saturday evening. We got to check out their beautiful apartment, meet some really fun people, and laugh.

Tre (3). Household duties. Dave and I got cracking Saturday morning and continued to put together pieces of furniture, organize books and papers, and tidy up the house.

Quattro (4). Goldie Hawn. Yes, I love this woman and now I’m reading her autobiography, “A Lotus Grows in the Mud.” Look forward to more updates on this topic.

Cinque (5). Heart to heart with Dave. While I am focusing on all the positives here in cinquecento-land, stress abounds in the rest of my life. Dave understands me and is dealing with almost all the same stress. Friday night we spent some time going over what’s stressing us out and how we can support each other better.


Although I knew it would break some hearts (sorry, Lizzie), and although I am a sometimes-vegetarian who wants to be a most-times-vegetarian…yesterday my adventurous spirit won out and I took the opportunity to taste a new food – cavallo. “Cavallo” is horse and before you wrinkle your nose or feign a gut injury, just think about it, a horse is really similar to other barnyard animals you gobble up with nary a cringe. And, that’s pretty much how it tasted, (if you’re still reading and curious). I had it in a panino with cipolle (onions) and funghi (mushrooms) at Ottobrata.  


Grilling, grilling, grilling.

Hmmm…looks a lot like a really thin pork chop to me.

A full panino if I ever saw one! Many Ottobrata-goers also included patate (french fry style potatoes) on top of the sandwich! An interesting idea, but I wanted to be able to taste the cavallo.

As you can see behind me, the festival was packed despite the cooler weather. This crowd reportedly keeps the vendors jumping until midnight!

The panino was tasty, and thankfully I was sharing the big guy with Dave. However, since I am trying to shrink the number of meats I eat, this will probably be the last time I eat cavallo here. You never know what can happen, though. In any case, there are two more weekends of Ottobrata and I hope we get back at least once!


Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.


Hi all!

I am taking an impromptu break this weekend because we still don’t have Internet at our home and the satellite signal has been really inconsistent due to heavy rains.

We are taking advantage of a break in the rains to experience Ottobrata in Zafferana – we just got here and it looks promising.

See ya Monday!



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