The Magic of Abruzzo Blog
"We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us." Anonymous
"We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us." Anonymous
The region of Abruzzo has become the latest ‘place to be’ in Italy. It’s not crowed, the people are genuine and you can find value for money in accommodation, restaurants, experiences and even souvenirs. Abruzzo boasts the only region in Italy with a seaside, mountains and the rolling countryside.
We’ve put together a list of the best ways to chill, eat great and feel good in Abruzzo – here they are:
1.Sip wine outdoors and enjoy aperativo in the village piazza
Every village in Abruzzo has a piazza or two or probably even more. Every evening the locals gather in the piazza around 7 pm for a before dinner aperativo. This usually includes a glass of wine and something to nibble on (almost always bread based) and plenty of conversation.
2.Try a farm to table agriturismo restaurant
Abruzzo is known for its farm to table agriturismos. These are country farms that use only foods grown or raised on the farm in their restaurant. These special places are usually small with just a few tables decorated in an earthy way. The food is cooked and served by the family. Reservations are usually needed.
3.Relax under an umbrella on Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is one of the most beautiful and less travelled beaches in Italy. Here you’ll find the famous trabbocchi restaurants at the end of a long pier jetting into the sea. Fried calamari and shrimp are favorites for beach goers. The water is clean and cool. Cop a squat on the beach or hire an umbrella, either way you will enjoy the view on the Adriatic Sea.
4.Savor your favorite ice cream flavor or try a new one at the local gelateria
Every village in Abruzzo has its own favorite gelateria, which makes sense because Italy is famous for its creamy ice cream. Flavors vary in each town so you’ll have to go to every one of them to try them all.
5.Choose to stroll over to the football pitch and catch a local game
Soccer games or futbol as the Italians call it can be found most evenings as you stroll around town. Stop off and see the talent. It will be exciting for sure.
6.Try arrosticini at the local pizzeria
I’m sure by now that you’ve heard me talk about arrosticini in my former blog posts. But really, you have to try it. Little pieces of lamb on a skewer cooked over hot coals and then salted just before arriving at your table. You will definitely come back for more.
So if you have an eye for authentic travel and are searching for lesser known and undiscovered (for now) regional destinations in Italy – Abruzzo has it all!
Come, chill, eat great and feel good in Abruzzo!
Transhumance is an ancient tradition, which has been happening over many centuries in the Abruzzo region of Italy.
It is the seasonal migration of sheep flocks and shepherds who move from pastures located in the mountain areas during the summer, to the plains, during the winter, then in May, they return home.
These journeys from the mountains of Abruzzo, across valleys, villages, and small towns, up to the plains of Puglia proved many times to be challenging.
These shepherds travelled during the day along the sheep tracks or grassy paths for miles at a time. Then as darkness falls, they would settle into a specific place for the night. The shepherds would eat bread and ricotta and drink wine, then after dinner would carve wood or write their thoughts on rocks. The shepherd would sleep in a cave or a small shed while the sheep either shared the cave or slept in a fenced meadow. The shepherd would sleep ‘with one eye open’ while the dogs watched over the sheep. There was plenty of danger from native animals such as snakes and wolves.
The Maremma Sheepdog or Cane da Pastore Abruzzese are the indigenous, big white guard dogs used for looking after the sheep. When you see them all together it is difficult to tell the difference between the dogs and the sheep. These dogs have become famous around the world especially after the film Oddball showed in 2015.
Though the tradition of transhumance became redundant over 50 years ago, some shepherds still move their sheep in a similar way, except that the distance is much shorter and there are fewer sheep. The modern shepherds now transport their sheep in trucks.
In the spring around May, there are still some shepherds who bring their sheep literally past our Bed and Breakfast from the countryside below up to the mountain behind our house where they can find fresh and aromatic grasses. There is a shepherd that we know in Abruzzo, who is trying to preserve this ancient tradition and will take brave adventurers on the four-day journey, sleeping in tents and camping along the way.
As the poet, Gabriele D'Annunzio writes in the poem, "I pastori": “September, let's go. It is time to migrate.”
Contact us if you’d like to experience the transhumance in Abruzzo, or if you would like to visit a nearby sheep farm to see how the famous Pecorino, mozzarella, and ricotta cheeses are made.
Come to taste the farm to table slow food at one of the agriturismos or sample farm products at the local open-air market.
Call +39 3888 272982 for English or +39 339 466 4901 for Italian.
Or simply email us with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Value for Money - La Rocca Mia House B&B is a unique bed and breakfast accommodation in the heart of traditional, unspoiled Italy that provides personalized travel experiences for great value. La Rocca Mia House B&B offers all-inclusive rates or Bed and Breakfast rates that are budget friendly.
2. Comfort and a good night’s sleep - Enjoy a relaxing stay in one of our cozy, clean, and uniquely decorated rooms with outstanding views across the valley to the mountains and over our charming garden to the village castle.
3. Best Guest Service Award Granted for 2019 - La Rocca Mia House won the B&B Schools award for Best Guest Service. Here are the judges’ comments:
"It is clear that taking care of their guests is what Margaret and Domenico do best. No two guest experiences are the same and they customise each visit to ensure that their visitors get exactly what they want from a stay in Italy. From personalised experiences including authentic interactions with the culture and people of the region to the day-to-day planning with their guests to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the Abruzzo adventure, Margaret and Domenico embrace every opportunity to meet the wants and needs of their guests."
4. Dual language Innkeepers – Take the stress off trying to understand and be understood by someone who doesn’t speak your language. Our guests appreciate the fact that Domenico speaks Italian and Margaret is a native English speaker and speaks a little Spanish. It’s a winning combination!
5. Everything can be arranged specifically for you - From booking the bus ride from the airport to arranging for amazing experiences. With La Rocca Mia House B&B you truly get to live the Italian life. Your stay will be tailored to perfectly match your interests, preferences, and budget.
6. Our Loyalty Program - We pride ourselves with a bonus free two night’s stay for our loyal guests.
7. Unique Experiences - Personalized daily itineraries with the locals that you cannot find anywhere else. One of a kind experiences such as using wine to paint with, zip-lining past a quaint medieval village, private sommelier led wine tastings, cooking with Rosa, truffle hunting, visiting bee farms, sheep farms, & cheese farms, as well as joining in on the olive and grape harvests and outdoor sports.
8. The B&B is easy to get to – Though it is an ‘off the beaten track’ location in the almost unknown region of Abruzzo, it’s not hard to get to from the Rome or Pescara airports. Just hop on the ProntoBus from the airport and in 2 hours from Rome or 30 minutes from Pescara you will be met by Domenico at the bus stop and then another 5 minute drive to the B&B. Simple.
9. Breakfast – Such as homemade breakfast cakes, egg Frittata, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, Italian coffee, American pancakes and our famous Breakfast Pizza round off our morning menu.
10. Domenico - Domenico was born and raised in this area of Italy and knows about all the well-kept secrets of the central Italian region of Abruzzo. He is your own personal, Italian guide and his excellent local knowledge and passion for Abruzzo means you will experience and enjoy the 'real' Italy. You will be taken to the best places, introduced to hidden gems known only to the locals and experience the warmth of a true Italian community.
But, don’t just take our word for it. Click here to read our latest reviews!
TRUFFLES - it seems most people either love them or hate them, but truthfully, I’m not sure how many people have actually tried them!! Sometimes the smell will steer you away.
Personally, I think the first time I tried a truffle was a chocolate truffle! That’s not the same as the ones we are talking about here. Chocolate truffles originated in France in 1895 and it was here that the ball of chocolate ganache dusted with cocoa received the name, truffle. As it turns out, chocolate truffles are named after the mushrooms because of their resemblance to the dark and bumpy mushroom.
So let’s talk about the mushroom truffles. They are actually a spore or fungus growing wild and nearly always found at the roots of certain trees. Truffles have a very unique, earthy taste and an even rarer aroma. Truffles are highly regarded in many countries.
Is there only one kind of truffle?
No, there are several different kinds of truffles. There is the prized white truffle (Tuber magnatum pico), black truffle (Tuber melanosporum), two varieties of summer truffle (Tuber aestivum), winter truffle (Tuber brumale) and the bianchetto truffle (Tuber borchii).
Why are they so expensive?
Truffles are so expensive because mankind cannot cultivate them. They are wild and difficult to find. Because they have a distinct taste they are highly desired in the culinary world.
How do you eat them?
Truffles are usually grated or sliced with a truffle slicer directly on to food and into sauces or soups, just before eating. The heat will damage the flavor and aroma so don’t cook them! Cream cheese or other cheese dishes are excellent with truffles.
A few ideas: Shaved on eggs, grated in butter with bacon and mushrooms over pasta, truffled potatoes or truffle risotto. You can add grated truffle to unsalted butter or infuse olive oil to add to your favorite chicken or fish dish.
Where can we find truffles?
Most of the best truffles are found in Italy, France and the Pacific Northwest.
Abruzzo produces 60% of Italian truffles including the prestigious white truffle. This amazing region is full of wild truffles that are just waiting for us to find them. Truffles are more commonly found growing on the roots of oak, poplar, hazel and beech trees. We have been lucky enough to go with Fausto our local truffle hunter. He has taken over a forest that was specifically planted for truffles.
Here in Abruzzo, the Romagno Lagotto dog is the most common dog used for the hunt. They are excellent working dogs because of their attitude and physical capacities. Their great sense of smell, paired with their memory, help them to perform truly amazing searches. And because of their temperament and loyalty, the Romagno Lagotto makes a wonderful family dog.
Dogs are often used to find truffles for two reasons, firstly, they can smell truffles making them much easier to find, and secondly, by digging they’re spreading the spores, leading to new truffle growth. (While pigs are used, too, they tend to eat the truffles.)
How can I get involved in a Truffle Hunt?
Experiencing the truffle hunt is like no other.
Fausto and his family use their land on the outskirts of Raiano to harvest the truffles and sell them to famous chefs around Italy and recently they have started taking small private groups for hikes in the forest and to experience the truffle hunt. Often times he will start the day with a short hike through the countryside before the hunt. During the hunt, he will introduce you to the dogs and explain a bit about truffles and how the dogs are trained to find them. Then off you go!! Try to keep up with the dogs because they go fast! After hunting for truffles Fausto’s wife sets out a beautiful table in the outdoors with various dishes using the truffles that you find. If there are any truffles left over, they’re happy for you to take them home.
If you’ve always wanted to meet the dogs and search for truffles, we will be happy to organize a private truffle hunt with Fausto and his dogs.
With its breathtaking scenery, four national parks plus beaches along the Adriatic Sea, Abruzzo is truly extraordinary.
Experience it all, Stay at La Rocca Mia House B&B in the Heart of Authentic Unspoiled Italy and Join us for the Truffle Hunt.
Email us today: email@example.com
Last year in June, Domenico’s cousin brought over a huge bag of zolle or garlic scapes (as they are called in English) and gave them to me. My first question was,“what are these and what do I do with them?”
Zolle or garlic scapes come from the garlic plant and, in our case, from the famous Sulmona Red Garlic plant. It is the first tender stem and flower bud of the garlic. It grows straight up and then starts to curl as it grows longer.
These little treasures are not harvested until late spring or early summer, the bulb isn‘t dug up until later in the summer. If the scapes aren’t cut off, the plant uses all its energy to grow the stem and flower leaving nothing for the bulb. So we cut off the scape so that the garlic bulb can grow big and strong. It kind of looks like a green bean. It reminds me of the curling tendrils of the grape plant.
So what do we do with the scapes and what do they taste like?
I’ve heard that zolle can be used in a ton of recipes as you would garlic cloves or scallions. They can be sautéed, pureed, roasted, and pickled.
What we like to do is pickle them. This is the recipe was given to me at the time of receiving this lovely gift of garlic stems, and it is pretty easy to do. Most of the time, the tips of the scapes will have a little bulb on it. Snip off the tips and the bulb, and cut them to the size of your jar. In a large pot, use 1.5 liters of vinegar and 2 liters of water with a handful of kosher salt. Boil for 20 minutes and then put them on a cloth to cool. Fill your jars and add oil and, presto you’re done!
Garlic scapes taste like a blend of onion, scallion and garlic. However, scapes are usually less fiery and have a fresher, “greener” taste than the actual garlic bulbs. The texture is similar to that of asparagus.
Click hI’ve googled garlic scapes to see what others suggest for recipes or things to do with them and found a great site. I am going to try the scape soup! Check it out to see what else you can do besides pickle them: https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/06/the-crisper-whisperer-what-to-do-with-garlic-scapes-recipe.html
Happily, we are OPEN and hope that you will come visit us at La Rocca Mia House B&B on your next trip to Italy. Get away from the crowded cities and come out to the countryside where you too can jar garlic scapes with us.
Email or call: firstname.lastname@example.org or +39 3888 272982
Click here for our how to jar garlic scapes video!
About the author
This blog is curated by Margaret Gigliotti, B&B owner, teacher, explorer, wine drinker and creative writer.
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