Hot! Italian Seasoning

After our first day of climbing, Heinz gave me the option of going back to the beach or joining him at a friend’s agritouristica. Of course I was dying to see one of the farmhouses whose owners open them up to guests. Il Bandito e La Principessa (The Bandit and the Princess) was a new project for Rafaella and Giovanni. Rafaella (the princess) had finished her city life in Rome and later a banker in Milan for a simplier life of cooking and hosting travelers. Giovanni, a climber, was happy to join.

They bought an old church and farmhouse outside of Orco and have been renovating for a couple of years. We had a drink in the kitchen as Rafaella prepared rabbit for dinner. Luca, another climber and friend, walked in and out as his girlfriend Elisa joined us to practice her English. I should have been practicing my Italian, and they did not let me forget it.

As we sat, Rafaella was chopping a fragrant herb. I recognized the smell, but couldn’t name it. Is that oregano, I asked? Actually, it is a mix of herbs she said: thyme, mint, oregano… “I don’t know what it is called in America.”

Italian seasoning is what it’s called, I laughed. It comes in a bottle at the grocery store.

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