Saturday, June 25, 2011

Castello di Vicarello

I'm nearly finished with Blood, Bones and Butter, the autobiography of chef/writer Gabrielle Hamilton. I have mixed feelings about the book in general (unaddressed relationship issues much?), but reading the chapters leading up to the opening of her first restaurant left me spinning.

Forced to make a quick decision on whether to lease the restaurant space, she struggles to rationalize why she, someone who has never even worked in a restaurant, would be qualified. Tiny, but significant, experiences of her life become the justification. A waitress in Greece, the butter in France, a stoner afternoon in Amsterdam. Yes, Gabrielle admits she is unfamiliar with details of NYC restaurant permits or how to set up an employee payroll system, but the collection of her food memories makes the decision simple. Every past moment of her life was leading up to this.

The more I fantasize about running a small hotel, the more I feel this way. It's hard not to gush about every disparate travel experience I've ever had and figure out how transform each one into a hotel detail. This is why I love stories of individuals who run inns, guest houses and B&Bs as extensions of themselves. Like Zeynep Öziş in Turkey and Aurora & Carlo Baccheschi Berti at the Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany.

Aurora says, "“We are who we are. We did this place because we fell in love with it. We put all our energy into it, our past life, our experiences."

Here's a short interview with her. I love the bit about the kitchen.

The place looks so lovely.

Photos from

In a coincidental turn of events, I was half finished writing this post when our electricity (read internet connection) went out for hours and I was forced out of the house to run errands. At my local postal shop they sell a couple of books. They had Aurora's new dreamy cookbook, My Tuscan Kitchen, which I didn't even know existed. What does it mean!?

(p.s. I figured out how to post bigger photos! I'm slowly learning how to handle these sorts of things. Please be patient.)

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