On the face of it attempting to track-down latter day nymphs and shepherds by ageing Ford Transit may not seem too sensible a venture. However, by Arcadian I am not thinking of some ancient legendary land, but places today that retain a strong sense of locale, a food culture that is derived from what grows nearby, and a welcoming and convivial community. I am glad to say such places do still exist, and there is life beyond trolley trundling around Tesco, Carrefour or Mercadona.
Finally, back to last week. We have had three great eating experiences in the small Tuscan Hill village of San Baronto. The first, more than a decade ago, was when we were invited to a family BBQ and spaghetti party by the owner of a villa we rented. The womenfolk of the extended family had all contributed different dishes to the feast. The menfolk brought along bottles of Vino Santo they had made, and insisted I tried each one to see which I preferred. The later part of this event is very hazy; I think I must have liked them all. The second event, a coupleof years later, was a village wide supper, with everyone sitting on trestle tables under the stars and eating and drinking together to celebrate Fete l'Unita. Then just a couple of days ago, we had a great family meal at the Agritourismo, .Borgo La Casetta. The point is, everyone here cares about food, farmers, restaurateurs, the community, family. Of all of humanity's acomplishments perhaps the importance of cooking and eating is the most unappreciated, - make food, not war!