Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just as Soon as I Can Get Out of Canada....

I am writing my first post from the exotic city of.....Calgary. I now know the true price of a $345 plane ticket from Calgary to London – they switch the carrier on you (without notice of this fact), then delay the flight by four hours. I'm waiting to get hungry again so I can go spend the $10 food voucher they gave me, and really glad I have my computer. And who am I kidding - for $345 I'd do it all again.

This past week has been very busy so this is a good opportunity for me to sit down and explain where it is I'm headed. My first flight takes me to London for a three day visit with my dear friends Lisa and Georgie. I love them and London and any chance to have lunch at Food For Thought.

After London I head to Turin, Italy, where I'll meet up with my friends Aviv and Michal, two reasons why moving to Calgary last year was so entirely worth it. I met Aviv, and subsequently Michal (his girlfriend), when I started working at Janice Beaton Fine Cheese in Calgary. In fact, Aviv hired me and was my boss for most of my time there! Now he is a full-time artisinal bread-baker, and Michal an indie film-maker, and I help out by eating bread and assisting with catering on the movie set (or should I say 'sets,' Michal, as there will be more....) The three of us are heading south of Turin to Cheese, a festival put on by Slow Food International. For four days we will sample cheeses, wines, and beers from all over the world, and generally love life. We are also attending three “Taste Workshops” and two dinners put on by Italian chefs with menus designed especially for the festival. This was something we'd sort of dreamed about in the cheese shop, and now it's happening. And that feels good.

After the festival I am heading down to Tuscany and working on two different organic farms (through WWOOF Italy). The first, Podere le Fornaci, specializes in making goats' cheese; only after arranging my stay with them did I discover that they will be at the cheese festival, and are even featured in one of the Taste Workshops (street cred!) They're giving me a ride down to their farm after the festival, so that works out well. Two families with five kids between them run the farm, located near Greve in Chianti, a.k.a centre of the Italian wine landscape. I'll be learning to love goats until the end of October, then heading to farm number two, just north of Florence. I'll be there for ten days to help with the olive harvest. While my host's english isn't great, his email did say that “my wife it is specialisty for cook very well and nice!” All I need to know, right there. By then my Italian should be molto bene, anyways. Right? Right.

Then I'll do some more visiting and eventually return home to Canada, fit and fresh from my work on the farm and knowledgeable in all things cheese and organic growing. Oh and fluent in Italian, forgot that one.

Piece of cake (torta).

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