Buon anno! Happy New Year!
I have some pretty big news for you, amici. You might want to sit down for this. Actually you might want to sit down and pour yourself a glass of wine.
Ready? I hope you’ve got good wine. And maybe a few snacks. Yes? Okay, good.
I am moving. The time has come for me to leave Italy. Say whaaaaaat? Yup. It’s happening. Are you still conscious? Do you need more wine?
Believe me I’m just as shocked as you probably are. Here’s the deal. I’m about to share with you a pretty deep secret of mine: I’m growing. Little ol’ me is changing and quite honestly, I need more growing room. Growing room that Italy is no longer able to offer me.
Professionally speaking, I’m looking to follow my passion. I’ve been teaching English for the past 4 ½ years. It’s a great profession and it has given me the opportunity to live here and the flexibility to do many other things that I enjoy doing. But teaching is not what I love doing. What I love is food: talking about food, writing about food, taking pictures of food, eating food, playing with food, heck I even love talking TO my food. While there are some job opportunities in Italy, there are many more opportunities back in the United States that will help me grow in my career.
From a personal point of view, I really miss my family and friends in the United States. It’s important for me to be closer to them and to be there when the important stuff happens. That stuff is real y’all.
Are you still with me? Have you fallen into your wine glass? Please don’t drown.
It hasn’t been an easy decision. I have lived and loved Italy for all of my life and my dream had always been to move here. And I did it! I moved here, I worked here, I learned the language pretty darn well. I’ve experienced so many things that I never imagined I would have done. It’s been amazing.
But now it’s time to move on. Keep growing. So what’s next?
Well I’m most likely moving to New York City. But more on that later.
I know what you’re thinking: but what will happen to the BLOG??????? Don’t worry. Italy Food Project will continue to be just that: a project about food in Italy. When I first started this blog, I was living in the U.S. and had no idea I would come to Italy. I was writing to stay connected to Italy in someway. Italy Food Project will still be my way of staying connected with Italy, and sharing all the cool recipes and food knowledge I’ve learned over the years with you. My goal with Italy Food Project has always been to bring Italy to the everyday life – bringing Italy to YOU, inside your kitchen. Inside your hungry little mind! You can expect good things to come.
Before I leave Italy however, there are some things I want to do. A sort of “Italy Bucket List” if you will. These are things that I’ve always wanted to do but have been too busy working to actually do them. Or maybe I’ve just taken for granted the fact that I’m surrounded by immense beauty and the most delicious food in the world and have gotten lazy. Isn’t it funny how that happens? You live in a place and you forget everything you’ve got. But the minute it turns into a vacation, everything becomes magical again. That’s another reason why I’m excited to leave: I get to come back to Italy and just be a tourist. Awesome sauce.
So what’s on the list?
ITALY BUCKET LIST: THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I LEAVE
Well since my main motivation for traveling is eating (okay so maybe it’s not ALL of it, but it is a pretty big part of it), my bucket list is comprised mostly of things related to food. This bucket list will be completed (I say will because I’m determiend to make it happen. It’s a promise.) over the next two months.
- Travel. And I’d love it if you would travel with me! I have an itinerary set out for the month of February. While it’s not completely set in stone yet, these are the dates and places I hope I’ll be:
- Bari/Puglia region – February 1st – 5th
- Rome – February 5th-11th
- Siena – February 11th – 12th
- Bologna/Emilia-Romagna region – February 12th – 19th
- Piedmont – February 19th – 21st
If you’re in any of these areas around this time, or if you’d simply like to come along, let me know! The only requisite I have is that you love eating.
- Eat at a Michelin star restaurant. My list includes La Pergola in Rome or maybe Osteria Francescana in Modena. Have you heard of any of these? Do you have any Michelin star recommendations? Better yet, wanna come dine with me?
- Master the art of making pasta. If not complete mastery, at least get to the point where I’m comfortable enough to make fresh pasta if I’m having company over for dinner. How will I do this, you ask? There are several cooking courses I’m hoping to try. One is through Otto in Cucina in Bologna which is offering a tortellini lesson on February 18th. Another place is Cucina Masseria in Bari – a sort of B&B with add-on cooking classes. I most definitely want to get a taste of orecchiette, an ear-shaped pasta typical of Puglia. Another cooking school that is located right here in Genoa is Zen and Cook. I recently took their pesto course and absolutely loved the school. They offer many other cooking classes and I’d like to sign up for one related to pasta or focaccia. Do you have any recommendations for a good teacher/cooking school in either Bari, Rome, Siena, or Bologna?
- Hold a focaccia tasting contest in my home. My idea would be to go around and buy a single piece of focaccia from all the top focaccerias in the city, then bring them home and taste test them to determine the best. Am I crazy or what? Oh for the love of food.
- Find the best pasta carbonara in Rome. Impossible? Maybe. Fun to do? YES. There are so many great recommendations out there and I’m super psyched to try them out. Do you have any favorites in Rome?
- Enjoy an Italian farmhouse experience (agriturismo) – There are a lot of farmhouses in Italy that offer accomodation, cooking classes, and farm fresh dining experiences. I’m particularly interested in Cucina Masseria near Bari, as well as finding an agriturismo in the Bolognesi hills. Suggestions?
- Finish writing my book. Did you know I’m writing a book? It’s essentially a foodie’s guide to Bologna. Actually that’s probably going to be the title: A Foodie’s Guide to Bologna. It’s something I had been working on when I lived in Bologna, but since moving to Genoa it’s been put on the back burner and I’ve felt slightly less inspired to do anything with it. Still I’ve got the framework down and I’m hoping that after spending a week in Bologna I’ll have more resources and inspiration to finish it.
So who’s up to join in the adventure? I’m dead serious. All you have to do is leave a comment below or send me a message through my Facebook page and we can make it happen.
I’m curious to know what’s on your Italy Bucket List? I would love to know. Really. Tell me pleeeeease. Pretty please with an olive on top?
Wishing you all a wonderful 2017 full of good food, good company and good cheer. May all your wishes (food fantasies including) come true!