It's a blah blah world here in Skankynavia. Bad economy, rising unemployment, snow storms, ice rain, foggy days without sunrise or sunset. It's even more depressing than watching Depression Cooking With Clara. As previously written, studies have shown that over 40% of Scandinavians feel affected moodwise when the winter kicks in, as our days are super short with little daylight and lots of cold.
But not everyone succumbs to the weariness of winter. My American friend Mr. R-- currently living in Iceland, a pretty bleak place right now with 10-20% daytime and 80% night time-- refuses to give in.
Last year he quit the snow scene and jumped on a plane. And a week ago he did it again; celebrated these dead months in a romantic, quaint, rustic, cultural and highly sun-kissed place: Sicily.
Mr. R is a food enthusiast who loves to cook, eat correctly and learn about local farming and organic produce. He wants to know what he puts in his stomach and refuses to inhale all the trash I usually dig, like bad candy, and sinful fast food. Which is why Sicily is the perfect place to winter. So much food is locally produced and there is an obvious pride in good products with a great taste cultivated in the Italian sun.
He has kindly let me publish these photos (some from last winter, some from a few days ago) because I figure all Umamimart readers will let out a deep sigh and dream away along the olive tree branches and Mediterranean sunsets. And right now late Januaary it's 21˚C / 70˚F.
Looking at these pictures, the warmth, the beauty, makes me wonder. Why am I spending my winters growing old and using my little time on this planet in soggy socks, in a bad mood?
Let this be a wake up call for me. And you.
Garden view from the terrace in the morning.
Local garden fountain.
Schools of goldfish.
Hiking to Castelmola-- a friendly dog guiding the sheep.
Magical rugged fields.
Flowers in the winter time.
Gola di Alcántara - eroded basalt gorge.
Orange trees peeking over the old wall.
Breakfast on the terrace.
Old meets new.
View from above.
Mr. R in the orange tree garden.
Peeling an orange directly off the tree.
Fresh lemon juice for breakfast.
Breakfast in the little townhouse.
Tomatoes, kiwi, oranges, lemons, avocado, nuts, all grown on the island.
Local white vino, roasted aubergine, onion, and pepper salad.
Homemade pasta, gorgonzola creme sauce (goat and cow's milk), porcini mushrooms, walnuts, and garlic.
Oranges, tangerines, hazelnuts, and walnuts...and cookies.
Sicilian pizza with arugula and local Syrah.
Fresh baby eel with lemon juice and olive oil (I've seen this in Tokyo kaiten sushi places, less bread more rice).
Porcelain vegetables in a store window.
Tomatoes in abundance.
Stilleben (still life) in afternoon sun.
Self plucked fruits.
Making fish stock.
Invited inside an Italian home for coffee.
Mt. Edna saying goodnight.
Thank you to Mr. R for letting us peek into your island adventures.
Umamiventure next winter in Sicily, anyone?