Apericena in Montebotolino
With fellow writer Karel in Arezzo. Excuse ugly red van.
I I I-will start this post by saying that 50% proof, plum-based fennel liqueur is delicious but not totally conducive to writing a coherent blog. Add in a bit of red wine, a ton of yummy food and it’s safe to say that I slept well at the end of Day Three. And was completely unable to post anything, hence the combining of two days’ worth of activity.
It was a greyer, cooler day in Tuscany, but nonetheless a pleasant one. Our first ‘double session’, with the morning focussed on creating credible characters and putting them into action. We somehow landed (excuse the pun) on pest controllers and I flew with a wasp exterminator loosely based on real-life experience. Again, I was amazed at how diverse and interesting the responses were.
The afternoon was spent on many areas, including ‘setting’, where we had to describe a place we’d never been and have the others guess the location. I came unstuck here and wrote something so appallingly bad I couldn’t share it. The good thing is, we can choose to opt out of things (as a fellow writer did), if we don’t feel comfortable. It’s meant to be enjoyable and productive, not an authors’ boot camp where you feel humiliated and despondent if you don’t complete every assignment. (But I did feel a little annoyed with myself for hitting a brick wall).
Dinner wasn’t actually ‘dinner’ but ‘Apericena’ a shortish drive but a world away in Montebotolino hosted by the lovely Antonella. It was like stepping back in time, to a slower pace and simpler ways. As well as the aforementioned ‘fire water’, we sampled a frittata baked with nettles, melt-in-the-mouth pork and Angela’s calorie-free (ha, ha) apple cake topped with a squirt of canned cream.
Day Four was our ‘day off’, with an hour-plus drive to the beautiful city of Arezzo with its stunning hilltop cathedral, Piazza Grande and a hotchpotch of shops ranging from antique stores and tourist meccas to high-end boutiques and shops plying all manner of yummy food stuffs. I came away with a pretty necklace (reduced from 20 to five Euros) and some truffle pastes to add a bit of Tuscan oomph to pasta dishes. Having broken up into different groups, four of us ended up in a charming restaurant where I chose a rabbit dish which simply melted in the mouth.
Clearly not having eaten enough, dinner was a five-course feast at Il Casalone (my digs for the week). Despite feeling like something from the Herman Melville novel, I ate every bit and went to bed nursing yet another food baby. Still, a shot of Spinello (a digestif) helped (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it).
We’re already well into Day Five, but I’ll write more tomorrow. Suffice to say that we are working hard – honestly! – and I feel much more positive about my writing despite a couple of recent wobbles. A domani!