Our friend Giorgio’s family is from a town called Zagarolo in the Albani hills southeast of Rome. This is a typical Italian hill town that is perched on a ridge between two green ravines with a quaint historical center. Giorgio has some land a few kilometers from town that belonged to his father and which once was bursting with vines and various fruit trees. Now that none of his family lives in proximity to this property it is not as well tended but still has vines with which Giorgio makes vino bianco, as well as a few apple, fig, peach, cherry, nespole and hazelnut trees.
On this property is a small rustico with a small italic where Giorgio prepared a wonderful mixed grill of meats and toasted bread for our pranzo. This was accompanied with insalata and some of the vino bianco. This meal was enjoyed in the shade of vines growing overhead. Attached to the cucina is a cantina where farm implements are stored as well as the equipment required to produce the vino bianco. We drew our water from a small cistern complete with pulley and bucket that collects water that drains from the roof and was refreshingly cold for an August day.
The purpose of our visit to the rustico was to pick the hazelnuts and some figs. The hazelnuts were a treat as they are a key ingredient in our favorite candy – Baci by Perugina. The nuts are spending a few days spread out on the driveway here in Anzio to dry in the sun.
It was fun to see the “hometown” of Giorgio and to spend the day “on the farm”.