Grazie Firenze

Ciao Tutti, 

Having some very dear friends in town from Firenze (yay!!) I was inspired to revisit a previous blog that I wrote in homage to bella Firenze. While viewing it I thought, hey, why not share. So here goes. Be sure to click on the arrow below to cue the music. Enjoy. Buona domenica & Big Love, PatriciaG

If you feel inspired to share, please do so in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you. And feel free to pass the blog along. Grazie! Most of my photos are available for sale on my Shop. All rights reserved. ©Copyright 2017 Patricia Geremia

'Tis the Season: A Family Recipe

Ciao a tutti, As baking season returns I thought it would be a good idea to repeat a post from last year, sharing a fav family recipe that winds up to be a huge hit. Enjoy & happy baking! 

Christmas is in full swing at PatriciaG Loves Italy. 'Tis the season to revisit treasured holiday decorations, favorite tunes, tree ornaments, and of course....recipes! Oh yes, the recipes! 

I’d like to share a family favorite with you, in case you’d like to whip up a batch of your own in time for Christmas. (Sorry to my friends outside U.S. you’ll have to do your own converting to grams/kilos. For all the time I’ve spent in Italia you’d think I’d have this down by now. tsk tsk) Baking these cookies, and decorating my home, remind me of the wonderful Christmas’ past, and I send some lovin up to the heavens in gratitude, for instilling such heartwarming traditions. Some of my loved ones may not be here physically, but I feel like they’re visiting me as I recreate these wonderful rituals & start new traditions of my own.

Ok so here goes....drumroll here.......

Walnut Butter Ball Cookies

Ingredients:

1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

4 tsp vanilla

1-1/2 tsp salt

4 cups sifted flour

2 cups finely chopped walnuts

1 bag confectioners’ sugar - for coating the cookies

Go for it:

  • Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla and salt.
  • Beat mixture until it is combined well.
  • Add flour, beat the dough until it is combined.
  • Fold in the walnuts. I like to use a wooden spoon.
  • Chill dough, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. (honestly, I do not have time for this chilling biz, so I did it for 1/2 hour and they turned out fine)
  • Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. I use a teaspoon as a gauge. 
  • Arrange balls about 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Note: don’t grease cookie sheet.
  • Bake in center of a 350° oven for 8 - 12 minutes
  • Let cool for 5 minutes on the sheets
  • Toss the warm cookies in a bowl of confectioners’ sugar - coat well

Makes approximately 150 cookies (if you don't eat the cookie dough as you're going along.)

Enjoy, Merry Christmas & Big Love, PatriciaG

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Cortona

If you're like me, this was a pretty tough week. Life kind of turned upside down and left some of us reeling. I am still trying to find a place to put it all, not certain there exists such a place. But for today, I want a bit of distraction. I want to get lost and I have the perfect place for doing so. For today, I am revisiting a glorious day spent in one of the most delicious cities in Tuscany.....Cortona.

It's beauty, charm and pace allow one to get lost in the wonder of just how beautiful life can be. Worries seem small in this grand place that welcomes you with a hug, and gives you light kisses along the way as you navigate the winding and escalating streets, each holding a promise of beauty and deep inhale.

I have been to Cortona twice. This second time was extra special as I visited with my dear friend, Lisa Condie, from Find Yourself in Tuscany. Lisa runs small group tours that allow you to experience Tuscany like a local, and Cortona is one of her special spots. How lucky am I to have her share it all with me so generously! 

Lisa is friends with the locals and as we made our way through the city we visited, chatted, and she introduced me to her friends. One of our first stops was the Galleria Il Pozzo Artigianato/The Cortona Gift Shop where I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Ivan. His shop is filled with handmade papers, books, ceramics and so much more. I particularly loved his uncle's photographs. The best part of the visit was when Ivan asked if he could take my phone, knelt down on the floor and proceeded to take a video of an old Etruscan 400 B.C. well he unexpectedly discovered while lowering the floor of his shop. Yes, this is how life rolls in Italy. Ancient finds on any given day. It was an extremely beautiful and generous gesture and I say Grazie Mille Ivan! I'll let him tell the story in the video below. 

As we made our way up some very steep hills, in dresses might I add (we rock!) we were blessed with more beautiful views and I found myself constantly being thankful for my eyesight. Have you had those moments? They make your heart smile so big. 

When we reached the top we were rewarded with the breathtaking Basilica di Santa Margherita. 

Santa Margherita was an unwed mother who was abandoned by her family and lived in poverty, having to beg for bread and sustenance. She in turn served the poor and established a hospital for the sick and poverty-stricken. She was canonized in 1728 and her body is preserved in a silver casket in the basilica. Read more about Santa Margherita's story here.

We could not leave Cortona without the customary sharing of a meal and were treated to a most delicious pranzo with some great vino at one of Lisa's favorite, the Trattoria La Grotta on Piazza Baldelli, 3. Deliziosa!

In revisiting this day I realize that life is much bigger than what is going on in the moment. Italy reminds us that centuries upon centuries go by, and the world keeps turning. In this moment I see that our current situation is only a tiny blip in the scheme of life and in human history. And somewhere in here I find comfort and a little peace. 

If you would like to find out more about Lisa's Signature Tours go to Find Yourself in Tuscany.

And now for that video I promised. Big Love & Buon Weekend, PatriciaG