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The Cheese in the Egg

With Covid restrictions solidly in the rear view mirror, both Lucca and EVCC are full of visitors and a renewed energy!

Easter seemed to be the line of demarkation for us, and now the summer looks like a normal year in the kitchen bustling with visitors from every corner of the globe, anxious to return to Italy. Before the calendar filled up, we had time to enjoy cool country weekends at Giuseppe's olive mill (more on that later), and discovered something new to share at the Easter table, and now with you.

ll Fienile - located in Irpinia, produces a unique cheese to be enjoyed around the spring holiday. Early in February, local cheese is produced, and with the help of an artisanal potter, cleverly sealed in an earthen "egg". It is dated by the potter. The earthen chamber creates a perfect environment of temperature and humidity, allowing the cheese to age perfectly over 3-9 months.

Truth be told, we cheated a bit and couldn't resist grabbing a hammer around the beginning of May - even though our "egg" was signed and dated February 22nd.

The sparkling wines of Il Fienile provide the perfect accompaniment to the lusciously crude milk cheese.

We cracked our egg with great anticipation at Molino last month, which brings me to our big announcement!

During the Covid shut down, we worked long months bringing Molino di Dondo up to a new level of finish and hospitality. While the full endeavour has yet to be finalised - discussions of a small brewery, or a chestnut flour mill in the tiny casina on the property - one thing is certain; in 2023 we will begin offering cooking classes in the countryside.

While our city class focuses on a market tour, and a palazzo environment, Il Molino's classes will feature a visit to the garden, dishes cooked on or over an open hearth, home made focaccia in the wood burning oven, and all in a fabulous, centuries old olive oil press adjacent to a 12th century bridge. Depending on the season and climate, dining may be next to the river and overlooking the bridge and olive tree groves, or in the old pressing room with a cozy fire place and open hearth in the kitchen.

Molino's class will allow us to host up to 16 persons, where we are limited to just 8 in Lucca. The location in the countryside, outside Montecatini Terme is magical; with wild boar traversing the little river, fireflies twinkle at night, and we will be heavily focused on earthy, down home cooking using the same techniques and hearth as generations before.

For us, it's an opportunity to share another aspect of our life in Tuscany, both in the classes and in the Agrotourismo apartments that will be available to rent in 2023.

Molino di Dondo will be featured in QUIN magazine in the summer issue, but if you are curious for a peek at this charming nook in the countryside, I am including a few photos here. We will announce in 2023 when classes and apartments can be reserved, so please sign up for our news letter if you are interested in more information.

It's exciting to be back in the kitchen and look forward to the 2023 season that will include both city and country classes. So, until we see your "Legs under our table" - as the Italians like to say, we wish you a great summer and hope to see you soon for a new culinary adventure together!

Liz and Giuseppe





Salt your pasta water "like the ocean"



Reserve some pasta water from the pan as a natural thickener for your sauce.



Remember: seafood pasta dishes never get cheese!

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