We packed, we moved, we unpacked. We lost our Christmas mood somewhere in between, maybe among some of the bags and suitcases. We have had very little time for holiday gift lists and shopping. All we bought was on the internet. However, we found a little time and a lot of enjoyment in making some small presents for family and friends. Those were the first we packed. We gave up other things to make room in the car for these home-made gifts. To us, they meant something, something more than any other store-bought object. It had a strange and surreal effect on me seeing that your life can be packed in a small city car. But it worked, we moved from Christmas packs to pillows.
I made this granola from scratch for those in my family who like to eat cereals for breakfast. I wanted to make something special and different from what they could find in a normal food store --something that tasted like Christmas, a familiar flavor of the holidays. I chose to make it with many of the ingredients found in Panettone, the traditional Italian Christmas cake: raisins, candied citrus peel, orange and vanilla. A good and healthier alternative to a slice of Panettone for breakfast during the holidays, but without giving up its lovely, warming and festive flavor.
We kept some for us, too. We are going to have it for breakfast on Christmas, but also on the Eve, and on the day before, the 23rd. We are going to remember them all, but the latter especially. It will be our Wedding Breakfast.
Between mountains of cookies going from my oven straight to the Christmas packaging table, I managed to bake something for the two of us, too. The truth is, these crazy baking days are somehow linked to the fact that we are starting to get rid of things and to go through all the food stacks we have, trying to use them all before we go. We are moving.
We are in the process of saying goodbye to Bra and Piedmont for a while. We sold our bikes, packed our stuff and found a new tennant for the apartment. It all happened so quickly that I didn't have the time to write a note or even just to start processing the idea. Leaving this beautiful place after one year and a half is hard. It gave us a lot, it have made us feel confortable and welcomed, it has fed us with amazing food and open-minding conversations. But it is time for us to go. It will be here when we will come back, and we are sure we will. New adventures, new experiences, new struggles are right in front of us. We are ready.
A few weeks ago, a food festival was happening only a couple of miles away from our little town, Bra. Cervere, the village hosting this festival, is known for having the best and most precious leeks in the whole country. Curious and suspicious, I drove there on a foggy Sunday afternoon, only to find a sporadic group of bored farmers selling bunches of massively long leeks on the side of the road. Six euro a bunch was their worth. At first, it really seemed like a lot of money for the humble leek, but holding them in my arms I immediately changed my mind. Those guys were heavy!
What makes these leeks so special is the soil in which they grow. Cervere's soil is rich in lime, sand and calcium, all things that give leeks a unique sweetness. The microclimate of the area, characterized by constant, mild wind and sunlight, enables leeks to become long yet tender and easy to digest once cooked, and to be very fungi-resistant, with consequent less use of pesticides.