In Italy there is a saying, “Christmas is for family and Easter is for friends.” For the Menards it is not always easy to distinguish between the two. Everyday is Christmas and everyone is family.
Arriving to Perugia airport after a very uncomfortable (but friendly) RyanAir flight we were instantly on home ground. The sights, the sounds the smells – all very familiar and very comfortable. The beautiful, lush, green farmland, the birds singing overhead, the scent of spring mingling with freshly mowed grass.
It’s a short drive to the house and we are exhausted after a 4:30am wake up call. Peace and quiet and a comfortable bed are calling to us.
We unpack quickly and drive to Bevagna for our traditional welcome to Umbria lunch with Simone and Desiderio at le Delizie del Borgo. Spring has arrived – in the form of a bowl of tagliatelle with fresh artichokes.
After a long – much needed nap – we walk into town to have a glass of wine with Federico Bibi and his children Olivia and Gabrielle. We promise them that their mother is just days away from returning home after running our kitchen at Via Umbria in DC.
And finally we walk the Bibi family home and stop in Perbacco for a quick dinner with Ernesto and Simona – a quick dinner is soon forgotten as the evening turns into sharing story after story and grappa after grappa.
And day one is complete.
Everyone here shares our love and passion for Umbria. They have grown up here and choose to raise their families here. There is a magic in the air and they want everyone to know it. They have all joined us in Washington to share their love of Umbria. Coming to cook dinners for our guests, to teach us about wines, to explore the history of jacquard linens in Umbria and of cashmere. This is a community who works with their hands – at the end of the day it’s not about a stack of papers or an empty mailbox – it’s about plants growing in the garden, freshly baked bread, wine opened and served at just the right moment, scarves (did I say scarves?), tablecloths, sweaters and hats from the highest quality linen and cashmere. It’s the blending of the old and the new. We all have the same dream and work together to make sure that Umbria is preserved and shared. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of our friends (now family) in Umbria.
When our children were young their school talked a lot about teachable moments. “An unplanned event during the day that adults can use as a learning opportunity for kids….parents and providers should capitalize on the moment, and provide the opportunity to extend or expand the child’s learning.”
For us, every moment is a teachable moment; an opportunity to learn about what we are seeing and doing; to meet new people and discover new ideas; a moment to stop and reflect on what is happening.
This week we will live every moment to the fullest.
Here in Cannara we will be introducing our group to our family in Italy. We will be drinking local wines, cooking traditional food, discovering the area and most of all learning together and laughing together. Enjoying every moment.
And in Washington at Via Umbria we will be introducing guests to our family in the states. We will be drinking Umbrian wines, cooking Umbrian food, discovering imported products from Umbria and most of all learning together and laughing together. Enjoying every moment.
Thank you to everyone who believes in our dream and works so hard to ensure that everyday is Christmas and everyone is family.