Hey all! It’s been ages, so sorry about that. I’ve spent most of the last couple of weeks working my butt off on a bunch of assignments all due at once, and fighting The Plague in our house. It seems like we’ve all been sick off and on for ages, and the last couple of weeks have been no exception. We got to take Fiona to the ER room Saturday morning because she woke up sobbing about her ear hurting, so that replaced this weekend’s planned excursion. C’est la vie! (She’s feeling much better now, by the way)
That said, it hasn’t been all lame the last couple of weeks. Last weekend we visited a honey farm (well, sort of) in Zafferana, a town about 25 minutes away from us that is known for its honey. According to something Chris just read in our Lonely Planet Sicily, Zafferana produces “up to 35 percent of Italy’s honey.” Whoa.
We visited Oro D’Etna in Zafferana and highly recommend the place. We just showed up and one of the employees took us around, showing us one of the smaller beehives on site and explaining to the kids how they get they honey out. Since we were the only ones there, they were able to ask plenty of questions! We tried a whole bunch of different honey flavors, made from bees who hung out with different varieties of flowers/plants, I guess?. (We ended up buying the chestnut honey). They also had some blended honeys, and we ended up taking some forest berry and strawberry flavored ones home with us. I don’t even want to talk about how quickly we are going through our supply.
She said that this little on-site box is home to 45,000 bees, and that in the rest of their hives there are usually 90,000. Those numbers seem enormous to the point that I’m wondering if she didn’t misspeak (though her English was excellent), but what do I look like, a bee-expert? So yeah, no idea.
Oro D’Etna also had a variety of other products, and we ended up sampling basically everything. “We” being Chris, Fiona and I, of course, as Owen is a bit more suspicious about absolutely everything. Oro D’Etna also produces a lot of flavored olive oil (we look home some chili-flavored, obviously) and some wine and various liquors. We bought some pistachio liquor that we have been pouring over vanilla ice cream and it is Top. Notch.
Fiona’s favorite was the Etna pesto, which she put on approximately 20 chunks of bread while we were there. My favorite was the pistachio pesto, which we ran out of on Day Two. Whoops.
Anyway, good trip overall — we’ll be back soon to stock up!
Chris and I also had a nice date night at a new spot we’ve been meaning to try, a local spot called La Caverna del Masto Birraio (The Brewer’s Cave). It was a craft brewery with what turned out to be mostly American-ish food, like burgers, pulled pork and chicken wings. The food was decent if unremarkable, but the building itself was very cool and cave-y as you can see. It was definitely a busy spot on Friday, we came in right at 8 and it filled up quite fast.
Later in the evening, they had live music going in the back.
We tried a couple of their beers and enjoyed the red ale, Aci Re Ale, a lot. There was also huge outdoor area that looked like it would be really fun in the summer, so we’re definitely planning on heading back sometime then.
Per usual, people were showing up with their babies and small children to start dinner at the time we had finished scarfing ours down. How does anyone stand to eat so late?! Waiting until 8 p.m. on the rare occasions we go out these days always seems rough enough on us 5:30 p.m. eaters.
That about does it for news around here, EXCEPT that we did register Owen for kindergarten this fall. How is it that time already?
And for those of you who have been asking, it has been quite warm here. This morning was about the coldest lately, maybe upper 40s when we left for school, but by mid-day it was in the low 60s again. And that’s pretty much how it’s been all winter thus far, definitely different from our frosty, extremely rainy winter last year. I’m not complaining! Here’s hoping that this year is normal, and last year was the outlier.
In contrast to last year, when I swear there was snow constantly from late October until the mountain started erupting in February and March, there is very little left up there right now. That is actually a bit of a bummer because we’d signed up for a sledding trip on Etna a few weeks ago, but it ended up being canceled for lack of snow. We plan to go up there if it ever snows enough up there again, but if not it is hard to be too sad about it when the weather has been so mild. Sorry, Chicago people!