Moving full time to Bonvicino, Piemonte, Italy, after living in Paris, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. is certainly a dramatic change of lifestyle. Many of our city friends ask, “But what do you DO there?” Well, a lot of what we do is food related. It is our passion and our work and has become a wonderful family activity.
Aside from going to the twice weekly market in Dogliani and having relationships with individual producers who grow their own produce, make their cheese, raise chickens and cows, we spend a lot of time cooking with the children. Previously, both of my kids enjoyed baking the occasional cupcake (made from Betty Crocker or Dunken Hines box mix). Now, with more space and time, cooking and baking has become a daily activity on cold winter days. Baking a chocolate cake from scratch is the perfect compliment to romping in the snow outside. We use flour from Mulino Sobrino, a local artisan flour mill grinding all of their wheat with stone, chocolate from Pasticceria Eugenio Truffa in Bossolasco and locally produced butter made by Beppino Occelli. We get eggs come from our neighbor’s chickens in Bonvicino. Our most recent recipe was produced from Cooking with Chocolate the book clay had the pleasure of photographing for Flamarion at the Valrhona Ecole du Grand Chocolat (Isabelle is even featured in the book!).
Winter has not only been prime time for cooking, but since we have had several big snowfalls, the girls’ have been living their dream of sledding outside our door on our hills surrounding Villa San Lorenzo. I had envisioned weekends skiing in the Alps (only an hour away!) at Prato Nevoso but the rest of my family prefers to play in the snowy fields right here. Isabelle and Azalia take turns coercing the kittens to ride on the sled, post holing across the courtyard, and setting up mountaineering “expeditions” outside the kitchen door.
Winter in Piemonte is lovely for walks, cross country skiing, or relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate at Truffe.
All photographs copyright 2015, Clay McLachlan