The Gentleman Gourmand

sharing the best food around

Category: Castello di Poreta

Espresso: The Easy Way, Take 2


The Whole Family….The Restaurant

Now, I know this is not a new thing. “Mom ‘n Pops” places have been around forever. The thing is, I’ve never worked in one.

Donatella is the chef. You know that. Her husband, Luca, helps run the castle. What you may not know, is that half the staff is in their family.

Donatella’s sister, Bianca, is at the castle almost every afternoon. When the restaurant gets busy, her daughter comes in.

When we get ~really~ busy (read: 8-20 people), Donatella’s father and mother come in. So, on any giver night, we could have Donatella, her sister, her niece, her mother and her father, all in the same kitchen.

Let me put this simply. I could never do that.

(And while I’m sort of on the subject, I sort of miss the days that I worked in restaurants that served 100-250 every night. Here, hustling is “ohmygod 3 tables just sat down at once!!!” Not that thats a bad thing, but chaos can be kinda fun, sometimes.)

Comunione “Angelica”

So this Sunday was Angelica’s communion. We catered the lunch. And by lunch I really mean afternoon. We started serving little hors d’oeuvres at around 11 AM. We didnt serve the second dessert till 5:30 PM.


Phew. Long day.

We started with lots of little breads and pastries, which were unfortunately not photographed.

Once everyone came inside and sat down, we served the first course: Mini Quiches with vegetables.


Scrigno con Passa Sfoglia alle Verdure

Next, Pasta with Asparagus and Tomatoes


Tagliatellina con Asparagi e Pomodoro

After a slight pause, and half a dozen packets of saffron: Risotto with saffron, raddichio and pistachios (which was almost as good as her Lime risotto, the best risotto I have ever had):


Risotto zafferono e Pistaccaielle

I took a quick break to eat some extra Tagliatellina with porcini mushrooms and to send some out to my friend and her family who is staying here. We were supposed to be closed for lunch, but I worked it out so they could get some of the extra food, and make some extra for them as well.


Next up, a Rolled Turkey with somethingorother (didnt catch this, and its mostly illegible on the order sheet)


Finally, after the cake from the local bakery was served (and was amazing) with champagne, we served our own dessert: Semifreddo with Fruit Salad



Parfait di fruitte con semifreddo

Afterwards, Cate (my visiting friend) and I explored the olive grove right below the castle. It ended up being pretty awesome.



Then I took a nap.

Che bello pomorodo!

Today I witnessed something so perfect, so beautiful, it made me break into song. Just because that song happened to be at the time “Dead Presidents II” by Jay-Z, it doesn’t make it any less meaningful.

The thing that I witnessed was….*drumroll please* a tomato.

This was not just any tomato, this was the ultimate, most amazing, superhuman tomato.

What made it perfect? Was it the size? The shape? The color? The firmness?


Well, all of these contributed to it’s perfectness, but what really made it perfect (and the part you’re gonna have to trust me on, since I didn’t save any to send you. I’m greedy.) was the TASTE.

This was the tomato to end all tomatoes. It was warm from the sun, fresh of the Umbrian vine, and bursting, literally, with flavor. The fact that the added salt, pepper, oil and balsamic vinegar didn’t overpower the tomato flavor, but complemented it instead, was incredible. (How’s that for a fragmented sentence for all you grammar geeks? I used to be a grammar geek; but I’m on a tangent. Back to the tomato.)


Wanna know what made my life even better?

I had a whole bag of them.


Score: Internet 56 ; Andrew 1

Finally! There is a God!!

I have finally succeeded in getting internet on my laptop. It was a long and tiresome process, stretching over damn near a week. To bad I cant share internet with the main computer, or I’d be able to be hooked up all the time.

Small victories.

Anywho, the first post (below), I wrote the morning after I arrived in Poreta. I haven’t written anything since, but I have taken a few pictures. If you guys are good, I’ll post them.

Alright fine, I’ll post them anyway.

The view from right outside my room:


My solo dinner one night. Does life get better?


Ah, Umbria at last

Well, after a seven hour plane ride on which I sat with Milton from Office Space (umm, esscuse me but umm I think that your umm drink is uhh on my half of the armrest. . .blow the plane up…), a half hour train ride, a one hour wait at the horribly confusing Roma Terminus, another hour and a half train (which I nearly missed and then kept falling asleep on, nearly missing my stop), I arrived at il station treno di Spoleto! It only took me half an hour to figure out a way to get Luca’s cell number out of my computer, as my cell phone and my camera both ate it. Since my laptop was dead from the flight, I had to finagle my way into using the power at a not-very-hospitable local hotel. That done, I called Luca, who was in the middle of his lunch. Within 15 minutes, however, he whisked me away to the absolutely drop dead gorgeous Castello di Poreta.

This place is far, far more amazing than I had imagined. It’s stuck into the side of the mountain, about a quarter of a mile straight up from the town. The only picture I had ever seen did not show much, and what I missed in the picture was multiple beautiful patios, amazing views, and, most importantly, a very well stocked kitchen (with nothing in it to hit my head on, surprisingly)

My room is off the storage area, but is perfectly adequate.


I’ll be working with Luca to get wireless internet up and running, but until then I have to use the front desk computer for all my internet needs. It seems I’ll also act as resident techie, as the front desk computer is absolutely crawling with viruses and spyware. My favorite!!

It seems that there are about 3 employees, not counting Luca and his wife, Donatella(or Donatellas parents, when they come in). Luca and one of the other employees speaks English, but Donatella doesn’t speak a word, which should be fun, because she is the one I will be working with the most.

When I was trying to get Luca’s number back at the train station, I had called my house collect, hoping for one of my parents to be there so I could get them to look up the number. I called three times, and the charges were denied each time, to my frustration, and theirs. I did not know that they were even there, but evidently they were, and thought I had been stabbed at customs or some nonsense. Well, right when I was about to take my nap, one of the English speaking employees came running around the castle shouting “Andreah!! ANDREAH!! Youh fatha is on the phone!!” So, I got to talk to my parents for a few minutes, and assured them that I was, in fact, not stabbed or otherwise in trouble. Luca said he would arrange a way for me to get a cell phone and a phone card so that wont be a problem any more.

It is currently 5:20 AM, and I’ve been tossing and turning for hours. I neglected to mention that yesterday, I took a “nap” at about 3 PM and was supposed to wake up for dinner at 7. Well, I woke up at about 10 PM, and everyone had left. Oh well, at least I have breakfast to look forward to.

It just got cold and foggy. . .I’m in a cloud.

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