For me, there can be no better book to read than a gourmet travelogue. As a great fan of Carole Bumpus’ “Savoring the Olde Ways series” which have, until this book, been based in France, I was very happy to join Carole and her husband Win (Winston) as they, at his suggestion, started their new culinary tour of Italy in September 1998.
The intrepid American pair had not prepared themselves with Italian lessons, but with guidebooks in hand, had thrown off the shackles of work, and arrived at the Milano Malpensa Terminal full of excitement.
Undaunted by Carole’s lost luggage they carried on to their hotel, and after an ‘interesting’ clothes shopping trip which will make us ladies of, should I say ‘non-model size’ simultaneously giggle and cringe in sympathy with the author, they started their adventure by visiting the Duomo. This incredible building was “Like a giant birthday cake with delicate filigreed spires reaching up toward the heavens and dancing along the flying buttresses, it was a sight to behold.” I was hooked!
From there they headed to Tuscany and stayed in the hillside village of Poderi di Montemerano with their new friend Lisa, who they had met in San Francisco. “After all, who can resist the chance not just to visit Tuscany, but to ‘experience her?’” she had told them.
Arriving on a fiesta (or festival) day, they were treated as part of the family and experience real life in southern Tuscany, where in villages and towns the local produce of the area is celebrated every year, on the same day. They found themselves eating the day and night away, sampling traditional delicacies made, that very day by the villagers. Carole soon discovered that here the world seems to spin at a different speed, the people live in a world connected to nature and the seasons, the gods are everywhere, and your very life depends on these forces working in harmony. This ethos has worked for generations, and will do so for generations to come. They explored this beautiful region, including the Etruscan Tombs of Sovana, which have a beautifully carved temple, and burial chambers in the necropolis or “city of the dead.” Then enjoyed wonderful meals, including Aquacotta, a simple peasant dish the author enjoys cooking today, the name literally means “boiled water” and it is a thick vegetable stew with a lovely poached egg placed on top. The recipe, like many others, can be found at the back of this wonderful book, so you can try them too.
Carole and Win’s adventure continued, with them catching the train to Pisa, then on to Florence, marvelling at the beautiful scenery, with the crystalline Tyrrhenian Sea on one side and the incredible medieval castles, quaint hillside villages. Vineyards and sunflower fields on the other.
Florence was a busy city with amazing shops, and architecture. On their return to Poderi their time included visiting the thermal baths (terme) in Saturnia with its greenish-black moss, now there’s a place with a tale to tell…
Then it was time to visit the Amalfi Coast, staying in Amalfi where they visited the spectacular Piazza Duomo. The author’s description of this place, Pompeii and the Isle of Love, Capri, had me looking it up as a holiday destination. All I can say is WOW I want to go!
However all vacations must come to an end and after a jaunt across country to Apulia, they were off to their final destination, Rome. The Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, the Forum, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, the author vividly describes them all. Through her penmanship you can almost see the gold radiating from the Basilica, from both Renaissance and Baroque art. And here, as in other places, she also sends us on a sensory tour with her descriptions of the marvellous meals they enjoyed, of course all handmade, regional, and accompanied by superb wine. A true celebration of Italy.
I believe that Carole Bumpus is such a successful author because of the love and passion she puts into her books, through her writing the landscapes, architecture, and gastronomy of Italy are brought wonderfully to life. Highly recommended!
About the Author:
A retired family therapist, Carole Bumpus began writing a culinary travel series when she stumbled upon the amazing stories of women, recipes and war in France. Her historical novel, A Cup of Redemption, was based on the poignant story of a French woman she had met and interviewed. It was published October 2014. Her unique companion cookbook, Recipes for Redemption: A Companion Cookbook to A Cup of Redemption was released August 2015 with the recipes from all the foods savored in the novel.
In addition to the cookbook, she is completing her original series of culinary travel books, Savoring the Olde Ways. The first of this series, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, Book One, is to be published August 27, 2019. The second of the series will follow in one year completing the original French tour. The third book, Searching for Family and Traditions at the Italian Table is scheduled for April 2021.
She has also had three short stories published in the California Writers Club – Fault Zone anthologies: Words from the Edge; Stepping up to the Edge and Over the Edge. She has received numerous writing awards including: Honorable Mention in fiction and also Runner-Up in cookbooks in the London Book Festival – 2015; Honorable Mention in fiction for A Cup of Redemption – Paris Book Festival – 2016; Bronze Medal – IPPY Award – Cover Design of A Cup of Redemption – 2016; Finalist – International Book Awards – A Cup of Redemption – Historical Fiction – 2016; Finalist – International Cookbook Awards – Recipe for Redemption – 2016 – www.carolebumpus.com
About the Book:
Join Carole Bumpus and her husband in Book Three of the Savoring the Olde Ways series as they take you on their first culinary trek through Italy, including regions of Lombardy, Tuscany, Compania, Apulia, and Lazio. Embrace unforgettable characters such as lovely guides Lisa and Margarita, who introduce you to the “true Italian experience.” Sup on traditional foods (cucina povera) including local tortelli, pappardelle al cinghiale (wild boar), bistecca all Fiorentina, pasta alla vongole (clams), or saltimbocca alla Romana. Sip regional wines, along with memorable digestivos like limoncello and grappa. Find yourself dancing at harvest festivals, climbing through Etruscan tombs, traipsing among Roman ruins, or bathing in ancient Roman termés (hot springs). Climb to the heights in elegant Capri on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, or to the top of the “holiest of holies” at St. Peter’s Basilica. Soak up ancient and cultural history in Milan, Firenze (Florence), Amalfi, Pompeii, Lecce, and Rome. Bask in the sun and opalescent waters along the rugged coasts of the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas. And, best of all, capture a rare glimpse into the secrets of the Mediterranean psyche while sharing a good meal with new friends. It is truly the trip of a lifetime.
Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DXM6RKF/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1