The past few days have been a whirlwind of eating, visiting with relatives, eating, cooking, and eating some more. It’s been pretty great.
the coastline of Termini Imerese
My father-in-law and his brother arrived from the States, so it was time for me to say my goodbyes to some of the cousins, and move out to the Pantarella (the name for the family farmhouse).
artichoke fields nearby the Pantarella
Prior to my first stay at the Pantarella, I had been given the impression to not expect very much at all. I went in thinking that there was barely going to be running water and that I would have to take the family donkey into the village to get groceries (I’m only joking though, they haven’t had a donkey for years).
Well, that is definitely not the case at all. The Pantarella is a beautiful home that just happens to be located on a farm. For the relatives, it feels rustic, but to me it is heaven. Surrounded by mountains, fields of artichokes, fruit trees, and as much peace and quiet as you can handle, it is perfection.
Although we weren’t staying with the relatives anymore, they all still went out of their way to make sure that we were taken care of. They had fully stocked the house, and not just with the essentials, but also with their homemade olive oil, red sauce, jams and wine.
And on top of that, they barely let us do a single thing. They are all so generous in all that they do, and you just feel this completely overwhelming sense of love and care when you are around them.
On Friday morning we all headed over to the Mercato to pick up a few things to make for lunch. Let me first start by saying that it is very typical in Sicily and Italy that your lunch meal is the biggest meal of the day. So that being said, we went to the market ready to load up.
We wandered the stalls in search of the freshest seasonal ingredients, which turned out to be everything. I love how abundant all of the markets are in Italy; the colors of all of the produce and the energy of the people leaves me feeling very inspired.
We were so inspired, in fact, that we probably overbought. But we figured that with enough tummies to fill, it would all work itself out.
But before we could get home to start cooking, we had to make two more stops, a quick snack break and the grocery store for some wine.
Sicily is famous for panelle, and for pane e panelle. Panelle are little crepe-like patties made from chickpea flour. You make a super thick batter, chill it, then cut slices and deep fry them. You can either eat them alone, delicious, or you can have pane e panelle, which is a panelle sandwich. However you eat them, these babies are addictive. So we figured that it would be a good idea to grab a couple of sandwiches to share, just to make sure no one went hungry ;)
After our sandwiches, we headed over to the grocery store, and boy was this a fun stop. We all cracked up as my father-in-law went to town in the wine department, loading up our cart. Irene kept exclaiming, “Pino, basta!” (Enough!) It was hilarious! I think that we left the store with almost 20 bottles? I can’t totally remember the exact count, but lets say this, it was enough to really get the party started.
Irene posing with our goodies
When we got home, we opened some wine and quickly got to work on different tasks. Loredana expertly cleaned all of the fish, Dario and Zio Mario manned the grill, Irene got the table set…and me? Well, I took on the roll of master taster and wine pourer. I nibbled on the different courses as they were finished being prepared, and made sure that no ones glasses ran empty.
On the menu? Grilled sardines, grilled octopus, grilled stuffed swordfish skewers (to die for! I need to try and recreate these!), grilled langostino, spaghetti with clams, fennel and tomato salad, several different cheeses and enough bread to sink a ship. We were really in for a treat.
This was the lunch to end all lunches. We ate about 100 lbs of fish, went through 10 or more (its hard to remember now, maybe it was 15) bottles of wine, ate practically all of the food, and laughed ourselves silly until almost six o’clock, at which point Loredana popped up and announced that she wanted to start cleaning up so that we could get ready for dinner.
Dinner? We all laughed hysterically. There was definitely no room. So instead we all decided to sit a bit more (code word for open a bottle of Prosecco) before heading out for a passagieta (walk).
Today was such a beautiful day. We all got the chance to escape from reality and just enjoy each others company until the sun set. And just in case you’re wondering, yes, I could really get used to this farm life.
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Thank you to TEP Wireless for sponsoring this post. If you haven’t heard of TEP before, they are an amazing company that rents wireless hot spots for your worldwide travels. I had mine shipped to Italy for me, and I will drop it off at London Heathrow on my way home. I knew that I wouldn’t have reception on the farm, so this little baby has been a lifesaver. I have been able to stay connected with friends and family anywhere that I have gone, and it’s even small enough to fit in a clutch. If you have any future travel plans, make sure to check them out!