Buccellato and more…

ImageWe started our day with a loaf of Buccellato – a bread that originated in Lucca in 1450. It was concocted by the local bakers as a tribute to the nobility. We got it as a small loaf of bread but it is usually made in a ring as a cake. The inside is sweet and soft, full of raisins and anise seeds. The outside has a shiny surface from an egg wash and the saying goes: ‘whoever comes to Lucca and doesn’t eat buccellato might as well never have come’ (‘Chi viene a Lucca e non mangia il buccellato è come non ci fosse mai stato’). We tried it freshly sliced and toasted and liked it both ways.

But that’s today – and we stayed in and putzed around a lot because it was raining hard. I finished up some work and MB got caught up on her things. When she wasn’t trying to electrocute herself…

Everyone knows that the voltage here in It-ly is different from home so you need an adapter to plug things in. We’ve been using the hair dryer that came with the apartment but today MB needed to use her own special hair attachment and couldn’t quite get it to work.

So I’m out in the front room working and I hear this loud pop and a frightened squeal. At the same time, some of the lights went out in the apartment. “Oh no!” cries MB, “this adapter doesn’t work!.” So we figure out how to flip the fuse back on and she comes and gets the adapter off my computer.

“I don’t think I’d try that in that bathroom outlet,” I warned. “I don’t have a good feeling about that one…”

Undeterred, MB plugs it in again. KAPOW!!! (and SPARKS and a REAL scream this time) and I ’bout dropped what I was doing. “Are you OK?” I ask… No answer. It is eerily quiet. Then after a minute… “I’m afraid to touch it!! Help!!”

Well, I’m not usually much good in these scenarios, but I schlep to the bath and assess the situation. MB is backed to the wall in fright so I grab a towel and try to remove the plug from the outlet. It comes right out but her hair curler smells hot and might be fried. Don’t know for now as neither of us wants to try it in any other outlet to see if it will work.

But we survived and I had a case of the giggles for a good while just seeing MB fool with the whole mess. She’s usually totally in charge, but today Mrs. P had to come to the rescue. And MB has frizzy hair!

But like I said, that was today. There’s still yesterday to catch up on. But I have to backtrack to do it…

ImageLast week, when MB got here, she had ridden the train from Pisa airport to Lucca and befriended a man named Lucciano. He was actually the one who found me at the train station after MB took off walking for the apartment. Well, lo and behold, we ran into him again today! He seemed tickled to see us and invited us to find a place that was open to taste a couple wines. We went along.

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It was barely lunchtime but we found a cafe that specializes in wines and they gave us a couple recommendations. And of course you need a pastry to go with it. We picked two selections from the case – a chocolate cannolli and a ricotta sponge cake. They went very well with our wine choices: Nero d’Avola, made with a black grape from Sicily… and a chianti from Tuscany. I’ve never been big on the reds, but with all this tasting I am learning!

Having that wine early in the day without much food made me a little light-headed, so I was anxious to have a rest when I got back to the apartment. MB went out for a walk on the ramparts and left me a note to join her and bring my sketchbook if I was so inclined. Well, I didn’t because it was starting to rain, so I began a drawing instead. MB has been quite taken with all the doors here. These houses usually have huge double doors – large, wooden and heavy. She had taken a close-up photo of one she particularly liked, so I got the pic from her and drew it. I finished it earlier today and gave it to her for treating me to some mighty fine dinners…

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So that’s most of Sunday and Monday (Domenica and Lunedi) even though there was lots more. I’ll have to go back to fill in with more odds and ends later.

Tomorrow we are off to Florence for a couple days. So far my stay in Italy has been very subdued. Very Italiano, of course, but definitely small town living. Now we are going to one of the art centers of the world and I will get to see some of the pieces I’ve only seen in books all my life. I am very excited to go the world of the Renaissance…

Michaelangelo… Raphael… da Vinci… here I come!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pam
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 17:43:31

    I am thrilled that you finally found your Buccellato bread. It brings back good memories of our wine tasting evening at Art Toscana.
    I am so enjoying your blog, Starr. I feel like I have not left Italy yet. Everything you do in Lucca brings back so many wonderful memories. Carol and I often discuss your daily activities with lots of excitement as the memories of every experience we had in Lucca are still so fresh in our minds.
    Enjoy Florence!
    Cioa Pam

    Reply

  2. the more travelly billy...
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 23:10:42

    ummm… it usually isn’t the adapter that is the problem but her stuff is most likely rated to run on us voltage levels (110v) not european which is double, so it is prolly fried. you have to look at the power cord or the device and see if it is rated to handle 220v. if not, you will fry it, never to be repaired or used again. there are some transformers which try to do the trick but they can be heavy and a pain in the butt to travel with as a result.

    Reply

  3. the more travelly billy...
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 23:14:40

    if i was a betting man, and i am, i would say i think mb just made some extra room in her luggage for stuff to take home.

    Reply

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