This week's Friday 5ive focuses on five craftspeople who impressed me with their artistic creativity.
1) On our trip to Sorrento, we took a tour of Il Turuziello, an agritourismo where Benedetto de Gregorio, AKA "The Cheese Man", shows the tour group how they make different cheeses, including mozzarella and ricotta, made before our very eyes. The entire group raved about the creamy ricotta in particular. Klaudia assisted The Cheese Man, and following the demonstration we toured the farm where we were all charmed by the baby calves. The newest addition was born 28 hours prior, and Klaudia named him after my husband Scott.
|Scott, Klaudia and little Scott|
|The Cheese Man making mozzarella|
2) We had a fabulous dinner in a tiny little restaurant in Sorrento, la Locanda del Gusto. There are maybe two dozen seats in this compact restaurant, where Chef Carmen cooks every meal in her open kitchen located next to the little bar. Chef Carmen has run a cooking school for years, and last year opened this delightful restaurant. Our foursome had the lasagna, misto salad, and the best gnocci I have ever had. Chef Carmen came to our table after dinner so we could properly thank her.
|The wall is covered with praise for Chef Carmen from diners|
|Chef Carmen came to our table|
3) We headed to the town of Montalcino in Tuscany for a wine tasting at a lovely small winery, nostraVita (our life), that combines wine with art. Annibale Parisi and his wife Elena live on a beautiful vineyard overlooking a valley. They invite artists to stay at nostraVita, and in exchange for free rent, the artists leave their creations, which are located all along the property. Annibale is a real Renaissance man, an artist who paints each wine label himself. He is also hand copying a 15th century book about the region that he found in a bookshop. His home took our breath away.
|Annibale painting a wine label|
|The finished bottle of Brunello|
|The book that Annibale is hand copying|
4) The island of Capri is magical, and we were able to take a three hour cruise around the island with Captain Franco. He showed us sights that most tourists don't see, and each was more beautiful than the last. Captain Franco was a true artist, maneuvering his small boat into caves (grottoes) that had us shaking our heads in wonder. He also knows his way around camera phones, grabbing our cameras and taking the best photos of the day.
|A fabulous view from our boat|
|Capt. Franco and his boat|
5) In Capri, I made a stop at Da Costanzo, where Antonio de Ruocco continues his father's tradition of handcrafting the most gorgeous sandals you'll ever find, right there on the spot. His father, Costanzo Ruocco, made an appearance in Adriana Trigiani's wonderful novel, Very Valentine, when shoemaker Valentine Roncalli goes to visit his shop while on the island of Capri. Antonio made me a fabulous pair of sandals, and we talked about his late father while standing next to a display of Trigiani's books.
|Putting them together|
|Antonio and me and Adriana Trigiani's books on the shelf behind us|
|Antonio fitting my sandals|
|My new sandals!|
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