I cannot get enough of the fruit here in Italy. Especially the stone fruit, like the melange of peaches, plums, and apricots that I have stuffed with Acacia honey and fresh ricotta and baked under the broiler for an after-lunch dessert.
I rarely bother to buy these fruits in the U.S. There have been too many supermarket disappointments for me to waste my money on rock-hard apricots and mealy peaches. But here in Umbria, I cannot devise enough ways to eat these fruits; fresh they are delicious, but cooked and stewed they become something else altogether, an elixir of summer.
This morning we took a walk through the countryside near the house where we're staying. We saw groves of olive trees, vineyards, tomatoes on trellises, ducks in a duck-house, and rabbits in cages. One neighbor had a small orchard in his yard whose trees were laden with red peaches and green pears; we walked by with longing, but bought our fruit in town. It was probably picked this morning or yesterday, in a valley north of here, where most of the produce that we eat comes from.
Lunch today will be pork sides stewed in porcini and tomato broth; pasta; a green salad; and Umbrian wine. We may visit Cortona later today, after siesta -- Cortona is the city made famous by Frances Maye's Under the Tuscan Sun, and apparently somewhat ruined as a result of the publicity that she brought to the town. I will see if the place's charm comes through despite the nick nack shops and the gaggle of American tourists. And maybe I'll read the book, too, just to see what all the fuss is about!