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Asparagi, Carciofi, e Briganti

DSC_0008It is asparagus and artichoke season in Umbria! That means that one also has to be alert for brigands attempting to steal your wild asparagus;  more on that later.

The winter greens have begun to fade from the markets (no more treviso or broccoli rape) and in their place are piles of fresh artichokes and bunches of asparagus.

We are all happy about this situation as everyone in the family loves artichokes. In the States, ‘fresh’ artichokes have such tough outer leaves that we usually steam them whole, discard the stems, and eat them by pulling off the leaves, dipping them in vinaigrette, and scraping off the soft end with our teeth.

In Italy the fresh artichokes still have a tough exterior but once that is pulled off the leaves inside are tender. In the last few weeks we have experimented with cooking artichokes in new ways.

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Auguri Micah!

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This week Micah celebrated his 6th birthday. He had been anticipating this event all year. We tried to keep it small, by Italian standards. Micah has a few very close friends from school and soccer, so we invited them to a meal at Il Cantinone, a restaurant owned by Caterina, the mother of Francesco, one of Micah’s friends from soccer. The restaurant has long been one of our favorite spots in Perugia. The food is superb, reasonably priced, and the service is ‘down-home’ and friendly (TripAdvisor agrees).

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Lucky Bounces

JakePlayer2Those of you who don’t follow soccer may be happy to hear that the boys’ season is almost over (will Foss ever stop writing about it?). All regular games will finish by the end of April, and May is reserved for various tournaments.

The past few weekends, they have settled in, and Jakob and Micah have begun scoring.

About a month ago, Jakob scored his first goal, but he hit it hard and high under the crossbar, so after it bounced across the line and back out, players weren’t sure it went it, so they kept on.

The Ghost Goal

The Ghost Goal

A week later, he scored his first official goal in an Italian match, nodding in a soft header at close range after it glanced off the keeper’s gloves:

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Selfsational Umbria

Just saw Steve McCurry’s new photo exhibit, Sensational Umbria. Fantastic. As we left, we passed a ‘selfie’ area.

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Brothers

Saturday night we attended a concert in the main piazza to celebrate Perugia being in the Finals of the competition for the European Capital of Culture in 2019 (Perugia has a joint bid with Assisi). One city from Bulgaria (between Plovdiv, Sofia, Varna and Veliko Turnovo), and one from Italy (between Perugia-Assisi, Siena, Ravenna, Lecce, Matera, and Cagliari) will be chosen for 2019. The benefits of this award to spark local cultural and infrastructural development can be considerable.

The concert was by “Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio,” a group from Rome comprised of musicians from 10 different cultures. Songs were in Italian, Spanish, and Arabic, to name a few. They were good.

The boys, however, decided to express themselves in their own manner. I think it is impossible for brothers to keep their hands off each other. Even a passing toddler decided he wanted to be part of it.

Bella Venezia

DSC_0284We are weeks behind on the blog, but it is spring in Perugia. The streets are waking up: restaurants and bars have brought back their outdoor seating, and the Corso is full of families enjoying an afternoon gelato. Can you blame us for not sitting inside at our computers? We’ll try our best to catch you up on what we’ve been doing.

Our first taste of warmer weather came three weeks ago in Venice. We had four days of sunshine and warm breezes as we traversed the canals. We managed to see some of the main attractions, such as St. Mark’s square and the Peggy Guggenheim, but mostly we spent our time outside either on the water or walking through the back canals.

Here are a few pictures from the trip.

 

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