on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
from the tree’s planetarium
Colors can be seen at night by a full Amalfitana moon. Off to the nearby village of Praiano, suspended between the mountains and the sea, our mouths water as we approach a dimly lit piazza by the small sea port surrounded by cliffs.
Colored boats and nets line the shore as old men, looking more like crustaceans than humans, sit around tables playing cards, listening to the sea. They are waiting for calm, when they will jump in their boats and paddle out for the catch.
A boy of about eight rides his bicycle, a bit too big for him, around and around the piazza dodging everything in sight. It’s a night for cats. Some friends and I thought we would prowl around as well, for che c’e c’e. “What there is, there is. “
Sailing in the azure seas
The winds blow northerly as we head straight into them on our way to the isle of Capri after sailing around Ischia and Procida in the Bay of Naples. I feel like we’ve been on a sea-fari. We see mythical islands, mix with the elements, while staying safe on our boat protecting ourselves not from wild animals, but a deep blue unpredictable sea and sky. Our captain reads the weather like a book, knowing when and where to go. It’s like being in the hands of a magician.
You could call them “pithy”, worth their bite. They are called Limoni di Pane. Bread lemons. You can make a salad out of them they are so substantial.
But I have taken a fancy to making a quick summer lemon pesto. It’s fresh, not too astringent and goes incredibly well with pasta, potatoes, and especially risotto.
Since it’s mostly lemon peel, chopped fine and mixed with pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper, you could also add it like a dressing on just about anything. Fabulous on fish!It will transport you to the islands in the Mediterranean and bring up visions of blue sky, colorful beach umbrellas, cool drinks and a sparkling sea.
Walking up to il Valle dei Mulini above Amalfi, one leaves the main piazza, her shops, the Duomo and her gelato behind. We find the entrance to the “valley of the mills” lemon grove to start our climb up. Luigi Aceto was waiting for us. A spry man in his 70’s with pinch-worthy red cheeks pokes his head out from behind a crate of lemons. Buongiorno!
The lemons from Amalfi are longer than normal – sfusato they call them here. He explains a bit to us about his lemons, their history and what makes Amalfi lemons so special. For one, they are grown on historic terraced grounds. He pointed out the terraced hills and said, “Do you see these dry rock walls? There’s no cement here . . . just hand carved rocks. This way the sun is not only infused from above, but from below, right at the root. [Read more…]
Islands Magazine, March 2013
Antonio the sailor insists I join him for appetizers on his rooftop patio overlooking centuries-old facades on the Mediterranean island of Procida…
When describing our culinary adventures, we always tell potential guests to “Expect surprises!” but it can be hard to explain the exact quality of unexpected moments that pop up throughout a trip.
When Natalie Beck, a friend of a friend from Boulder, pulled Peggy’s phone number out of her pocket and joined the 2010 Amalfi sailing program last June, the course of her European vacation was changed and she jumped head-first into an experience that she describes as “something out of the movies.”
“I was living by the rule of ‘Yes’,” Natalie explains, “No matter what it was, I decided to say Yes.” Saying yes became infinitely easier as she traveled with Peggy among new Italian friends. “I was treated like family by everyone I met, the whole time, because I was with Peggy.”
Watch Natalie retell a few of her favorite moments from the trip in this short video clip, filmed at Cafe Aion in Boulder:
In Amalfi, we found ourselves off the beaten path and in the kitchen of a dear friend’s mother, who taught us to make a traditional Pasticciotto Napoletano, Pastry Cream Pie with Black Cherries. Notice the way that she uses her hands—both to punctuate her speech and to mix the batter! Find the full recipe for this lovely (and easy!) dessert HERE.