A day for feasting, a day for walking of a different kind. Walking around the gardens and fields of La Conca in Le Marche, Italy, picking most of the herbs and ingredients for the great dinner we were to enjoy. In the beautiful area of Smerillo. Oh my what a backdrop too. The sun beating down with the snow capped peaks of the Sibillini Mounatains around us.

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I will be the first to admit that before today I did not have the first clue about herbs and edible plants. But just walking the farmland and the garden here at La Conca I realised the place is teeming with taste and smells. From thyme to wild strawberries, the baskets got fuller and fuller with every step.

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We were led around by the infectiously joyous Mirela. What she didn’t know about everything we picked was probably not worth knowing. From the truffles to great tales about individual trees around. She was about to give me a proper masterclass lesson in cooking too…. with me.. starting from scratch I admit.

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We had our herbs, we had some colour and smells for the dishes, it was time to get the fire started in the great old oven and for the table to be set as we cooked (or tried to cook in my case).

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The view outside for dinner was wondrous alone, the feast would take it beyond limits of fineness. All local, very local. For those not in the know, Agriturismo is a big thing in Italy. It is best described by me as the staying at a farmhouse and see, breath and eat Italy in a micro local way. And I was loving it.

I took a go at rolling the meat and pastry, both of which I failed at miserably. Mirela took over and showed me how it was done properly, whilst seemingly simultaneously she was putting together upteen other great dishes 🙂

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Cooking lessons over, we were hungry, very hungry, and a good job too. We had course after course of goodness to eat. Plenty of food that came with plenty of smiles plus of course the accompaniment of some fine Italian wine. Wow, gets near to how it felt tucking in.

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Apples from the orchard out the window, herbs and spices we were only picking a couple of hours before. It tasted as fresh as it looks believe me!

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Many courses later I had room for a little dessert of course. I had heard so much about the Rose Petal Jam here and wanted to try it. Mmmmmmm a lovely way to round off a lovely dinner.

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I will be back in this part of the world at some point soon and here at la Conca is one place I will be having a meal again, you can count on it. Of course, I need to learn more cooking skills too! Thanks Mirela 🙂

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