This is Crisitna-the very talented chef and hostess of Le Occare agriturismo. I vividly remember the afternoon when she opened the front door to her ivy covered home to welcome J. and I. She spoke a little English and I spoke a little Italian and immediately there was some sort of connection between us.
As soon as we were settled in our room I asked if I could see her kitchen. She was in there prepping for dinner and baking a Crostata di Marmellata (jam tart) for the morning’s breakfast. Out back she had a wood burning stove where she baked the traditional breads of the area (which she’s holding in this photo). I longed to don an apron and act as her sous chef.
We only stayed one night at this incredible place, but there was something about the place and Cristina that tugged at my heart. I had a tear in my eye as we parted and told her I would love to be her apprentice.
It’s been two years since our visit and I got in touch with Cristina after seeing her in my new cookbook. She remembered that we had been her guests and also that I wanted to apprentice with her. That’s my new dream! I want to rent a little place in Ferrara and drive out to the countryside and spend my days standing beside her in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, whipping and sauteeing. Not a bad dream…