Mercadino Baked Goods

Hi friends!! I know, it’s been way too long since I last posted. Here’s the thing, I’m on a farm outside of Rome in the countryside of a town called Palombara Sabina. They have wifi, but for some strange reason it won’t connect to Mac. Damn. So I’m writing this from my iPhone (I’m committed!) so please please have some patience with me if there are any grammar or spelling errors! I have 3 posts written on my computer about Istanbul and my first couple days here, so I suppose I will leave you in suspense until I either get a flash drive to transfer my 10 pages of writing to the computer in the house, or I go into town and find a place that has wifi.
The past couple days here have been absolutely wonderful. I don’t wear a watch or pay attention to the days out here so time goes by very quickly. I can’t believe I’ve been here for over a week already! I did better explanations of who is who and my thoughts on them in my unpublished posts, but here’s a quick rundown so you don’t get lost. Simona is mamma, Michele is papa, and Serafino (almost 3) and Sylvio aka Sirio (almost 1) are the two sons. And I suppose ill start with Thursday because that’s when the fun work started.
On Thursday, Simona and I spent the afternoon preparing all different kinds of grappa. Grappa is alcohol distilled from wine and is basically moonshine. They typically prepare orange grappa for sale (illegally, remember, it’s moonshine), but Simona and I wanted to experiment. So we started by making 6 litres of orange. It’s very simple, and the magic number is 40. For ever litre, you add in 40 scoops of sugar (maybe the equivalent of a teaspoon?) 40 poked holes in an orange, and 40 roasted coffee beans. In 40 days, you have orange grappa!



We also made 3 litres of mandarine, which is made by adding a whole mandarin and the skins of 3 oranges. Then we made kiwi which is made by skinning 4 kiwis and the skin of 2 lemons.


Lastly, we made lemoncello, which in one week will become lemoncello creme by adding milk after the infusion process is done. I love learning how to be a fancy moonshiner!

Then on Friday,Simona and I spent the day preparing baked goods for the mercadino (same thing as a farmers market) on Saturday. Yay for baked goods! We made bread, biscotti, little fried cookies that I can’t remember the name of (they are only made at carnevale time, and are magic), and little lemon cakes that are pure deliciousness.



Bread baking in a wood fired oven, I really don’t think there is anything more awesome.





I know, I look super grimy in this picture, don’t judge me. It’s just the family and the babies, who am I trying to impress? I probably didn’t even brush my hair. Anyway, those are the carnevale cookies. It’s a very hard dough that you crank through a pasta maker the same way you would pasta, and then fried and covered in powdered sugar. I told you it was magic!

Then I made chocolate chip biscotti!

I’m sorry, I’m too lazy to get up and take a picture of the finished product, because apparently I didn’t before. But they are yummy!

And in the meantime I got to hang out with this little guy and our furry friend.



Kid won’t sit still to take a picture, I swear. Neither would the cat though.

Saturday morning was the market, which they held at their house this Saturday. It was very cold, but sunny, so it wasn’t so bad!

They sold wine and grappa, cheese, eggs, yogurt, baked goods, and greens this week. Amazing. I love going out to check for chicken and goose eggs.

After the market, Michele had prepared lunch for people of the organization. I think we had 15 people over for lunch. It was marvelous, lots of laughter. We had pasta, soup with farro and greens, lentils, tomatoes in olive oil, an olive and mandarin salad, and of course, fresh cheese, bread, and lots of wine and grappa.

I spent the rest of the evening snuggling with Serafino watching a million different versions of the Ugly Duckling and some cartoon from 1985 I’ve never heard of because all he wanted to do was watch videos of “the white goose in the water.” Try to translate that one when you have a two year old screaming I want to watch the white goose in the water in Italian. I was sooo lost. But we made it work, and I had fun relaxing since I had a tummy ache. My guess? Allergen overload, I’m pretty much sensitive to the whole Italian diet, but oh well! Okay, well I’m going to make some dinner and then ill try to do one more post about today, since today has been wonderful.

Ciao a tutti!


2 thoughts on “Mercadino Baked Goods

  1. Wow what a lovely little farm! The family seems wonderful too. You fit in perfectly and seem to be having the time of your life! Do they allow for visitors? Do you speak in Italian for the most part or do they speak English as well? I so happy for you darling!

    1. They would probably allow a visitor but you’d have to work!!! Check out the website to get a better idea of the type of exchange I’m doing. The kids and dad speak Italian, mom speaks English! Miss you!!!

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