(outside of Castiglion Fiorentino)
Italy has so much color in its landscape and gardens. When the produce from the gardens end up on my plate I am continually amazed at how fresh and vibrant it is. When we made pizza at the agriturismo B&B outside of Castiglion Fiorentino, I tasted the peppers and realized how much sweeter they are than the ones I have had in the United States. Even the mushrooms, tomatoes, and meats seem fresher than anything I eat from the grocery store. In Italy food is more culture than sustenance and is appreciated in ways we take for granted in the states. Americans eat for survival and do not take the time to enjoy their food while Italians use food to create art and community.
In the lectures, we discussed how wild species change when they are domesticated. One of the characteristics is the loss of bitter and toxic substances. For example, the alkaloids in tomatoes are lost when they are cultivated. I first noticed this when we were served tomatoes and mozzarella at Santa Chiara. The color was a deep, bright red, and when I took a bite of the fruit it tasted as sweet as candy to me.
The culture in Italy is for people to have their own personal gardens of all sizes and use that produce for their own food and the community around them. I enjoy seeing this type of lifestyle and hope to one day have my own garden with which I can provide for my family.