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Candelaria Design Tour Italy 2014 - Day 8 - A day at the Country Houses

Well as you can tell we have pretty much been on the go non stop since our departure a week ago! With the time change and my Candelaria pace my travelers are ready for a pause and reset. What made it even better was some rain was in the forecast which is perfect for a rest day. Make a fire, sleep in and relax.

I tried to get a group to run into Umbertide at 9 am for the Farmer's Market but no answers to the texts. I tried again at 10 am - a couple takers. By 10:30 I had 7 travelers ready to go. So by 11 am eight of us were on our way to Umbertide for the Farmer's Market. The rest of my travelers were going to enjoy a quiet day at the houses.

I love the little Farmer's Market. The same faces, in the same booths, in the same locations! First stop is always for the porchetta sandwich. My favorite is right before you enter the central piazza and before you cross the bridge. A cute husband and wife team make an incredible roasted pig stuffed with herbs sliced and served on a French roll. What a breakfast.

We then wondered into the piazza for a cappuccino and a stroll through the market. Our cooking class is also on this evening so we stocked up on a few additional items for the evening festivities. Fresh fish, cheeses, sausages, salamis, fruits and veggies. All fresh and all proudly displayed and sold.

A quick stop for a gelato on the way out of town and it was back to the Country Houses. Many tours we then make our way to Lacole' but this year we were all ready for a day at the houses so we headed home - but not first with a little side trip to Preggio!

 Preggio is just up the hill from the country houses but we came in from the back side from Umbertide. What a beautiful drive through the countryside! At the top of the mountain (just like all the towns here) we arrived in the little village of Preggio. Virtually silent, but for a few locals and the occasional tourist who also likely stumbled on this town by accident, we stolid through the village whereupon we found a small restaurant - provision store and grabbed some bottled beers, a couple glasses of wine some pancetta for our veggies, some jug wine, and of course a bottle of Lemoncello for the evening celebration. We sat on the terrace, snapped some photos, shared some laughs and enjoyed our refreshments.

We then made our way down the hill to our houses where others had been relaxing enjoying the incoming rain shower and we had a couple hours until the commencement of the cooking class! Yes - siesta time!

At 5 pm we started the cooking class.  This is truly the crescendo on this trip! It is the moment the group really bonds and comes together. And just as with all the other trips this one was no exception. Cooking, music, a fire in the fireplace, stellar scenery with a magical sunset and a relatively speaking rested group of travelers - its all the perfect recipe for a memorable evening. Our house host and chef, Elizabeth Wholey and her amazing partner, Paola, went to work. From peppers cooked in sunflower oil, to mozzarella balls wrapped in cooked strips of zucchini, to grilled pork shoulder, polenta and of course tiramisu - we learned to make it all! Nothing like a three hour cooking glass and a two hour dinner all accompanied by amazing wines purchased just the day before on our wine tour with Pino and this party was off an running! Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for many of the recipes from our trip here in Umbria!!!!

What a fabulous way to spend a quiet day in Umbria.