Jeff arrived in London this afternoon and is working on his jetlag - I know that the girls and I are glad to know that he is close (geographically) to us; it will still a few more days until we see each other, but knowing that we are all on the same side of the Atlantic is comforting.

candiesAfter breakfast we were picked up by two ex-pat Brits and taken to the Chivasso market. (Chivasso is about a 15 minute drive from the little town where we are staying.) I have been to many markets in the past, but this one was block after block after block. It was huge! We also stopped into a few bakeries to look at all of their beautiful creations, particularly little hazelnut cookies and cakes that are famous in this region. There were a few fun candy stores as well which I had to force Julia to go in to.  ;)

We bought some fruit (strawberries and peaches) to take back to eat later in the day, and after a few sweaty hours, Adam and Yenka returned us to the B&B. Next up was cooking - today's lesson was pizza, tiramisu, and '7 cup cake'. I must admit that I usually hate tiramisu. I find it too soggy and sweet, but the one we made today was delicious! It was really interesting to make because it has so many raw eggs in it - I wonder if you would even be allowed to serve it like this in North America? We whipped the yolks with sugar until it became the most amazing texture before adding marscapone cheese. The stiffly beaten egg whites were then delicately folded in and it became a gorgeous, fluffy custard. A quick dip of ladyfingers in espresso, some layering, and ta-da! Completely different than any tiramisu I have had in the past.

The pizza dough was relatively simple, just a little time consuming. Julia has really gotten the knack of kneading after making so many different types of dough in the last few days. We left the dough to rise for the rest of the afternoon as we were having it for dinner. We zipped through our cooking so quickly that Francesca suggested we make a cake for an afternoon snack. It is a very simple recipe; 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of yogurt or milk, 1 cup of oil/butter/fat, and 3 whole eggs. Hence the name, "7 cup cake". Here though, a cup is not the same as a cup at home - it is actually the size of a small yogurt container, which measures to 1/2 c for our North American measuring cups. All of their cooking measurements are in weight, not cups, so I have been using a small water glass as a measuring cup most times! As per Francesca's suggestion, we didn't use two whole cups of sugar, it was more like a heaping single cup. It is the easiest recipe ever - you literally dump all of those ingredients into a single bowl and then whisk it all together. You can add anything you'd like to the batter - today we added two grated carrots and some cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It was so delicious and the perfect amount of sweetness. As we ate it Julia thought we should make it with apples and cinnamon - and we will definitely make this at home!

Today has been the hottest day so far, so after the afternoon cooking lesson we went to the pool for an hour or so. Thank goodness for the pool! After swimming we did a little packing as tomorrow we head to Milan by train. We are planning on going to Turin a bit early tomorrow so we can explore - we arrived at the train station but didn't see any of the city before leaving to head out to Casalborgone, where our B&B is located.

pizzaAfter a little down time and rest, we went back to the kitchen around 6 pm to prepare the pizzas for dinner. The dough had risen substantially, and we had great fun taking chunks of it and squishing it into the various pans. There are 4 extra girls staying here tonight along with the three daughters of our host family. Luckily for the husband he had an engagement tonight, because all together we had 11 females eating dinner, and I know he would've been drowned by the estrogen!

We each made our own personal pan pizzas with various toppings Julia and I had chopped up: peppers, onions, mushrooms, spicy salami, eggplant, zucchini, and of course super fresh mozzarella. Oh, and the most fragrant and amazing oregano ever! Julia and I have already discussed that we can't leave this region without buying a bag of it. It will enhance every dish we make!

We also learned how to make focaccia, which was so interesting! We took the pizza dough, and after squishing it into a pan we poked a bunch of holes in it with our fingers. Then a bottle is filled with half olive oil, half water, and an extra-large pinch of coarse salt, which is shaken together and poured over top. Interesting! If you have rosemary, put it on top… Super yum! How weird is that - who invented it?

To cap everything off was the tiramisu. Absolutely superb. And then some local gelato and some fancy sparkling Italian fruit wine… what a night! It was a great ending to our time here, and if you find yourself in Northern Italy and want some local hospitality, this is the place. ViaVai B&B.

tiramisuAfter dinner, Julia played Qwirkle with 4 Italian girls - it is great how games can bridge a culture gap. (Julia won!) It finally ended when dusk made it too difficult to see the game pieces and the mosquitoes became particularly hungry. We have had a really nice time here, and tomorrow we move on to our next experience. This is off the beaten tourist path - it is worth a visit if you want to get away from the English menus and typical guide book ideas. Lovely people, great food, and history to boot.  :)


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