Heather Jarman lives in Casabasciana, one of the gorgeous mountain villages of Bagni di Lucca. In her career as an archeologist she researched the early history of agriculture. She is passionately interested in food, from growing and production to cooking and eating.
Her knowledge of food production in the Bagni di Lucca and Garfagnana is amazing. I first met her last year when she took me along to meet a local cheese maker. We set off into the mountains and met the delightful Marzia who spent the morning showing us how to make cheese and ricotta. Click here for the full story.
On another adventure we went high in the mountains to a village called Lupinaia for their chestnut festival. It was one of the most delightful afternoons I have ever had, topped off with a walk back to the car along an old mule trail.
Click here to see more of the very beautiful Lupinaia.
This year we headed off to the Slow Food soup finals in Lucca and got to try some delicious soup and listen to some great folk music. Click here to see more.
I have learned how to make bread using traditional methods in a wood fired oven with Paolo after visiting his gorgeous farm in the Garfagnana. He grows farro and breeds beautiful cattle. Click here to see the gorgeous cows.
That’s Paolo blessing the bread as it goes in the oven.
I went with Heather to the huntsmen’s dinner in Casabasciana, where we helped the hunters eat the cinghiale (wild boar) they had caught during the season. Both the food and the company were wonderful after we had worked up our appetites with a walk around the beautiful village at sunset.
Click here to see more of Casabasciana.
We went to the Lucca Wine and Food festival and met lots of local wine makers.
And we ate some wonderful local food. Click here to see more.
Quite possibly best of all she introduced me to the delightful concerts in Lucca organised by Mattia. I became a regular visitor on Tuesday and Friday nights. Click here to find out more, or check the website http://iconcertidegliangeli.com
There is a never ending list of things to do in Bagni di Lucca and the nearby areas…..and Heather knows all about them. She organises tours for small groups to do things you would never find in a guide book. In her own words she is “Making tourism work to sustain the rural economy and the people. …you will encounter an endangered lifestyle which we don’t want to disappear.”
Visit her website for more information…..www.sapori-e-saperi.com
Blessing the bread before baking it, as Paolo does, is an old Italian tradition. You will be interested in this article
What a great article, I hope everyone reads it.
I’ll tell Paolo about this when I take a family there tomorrow to learn to bake bread.
We also met the charming Mattia and I have a photo with him. He talked his pianist into playing a wonderful Ravel Valse for me personally! Also entertained 8 of us with a few songs accompanied by himself to make up for our disappointment when the concert we planned to attend was cancelled. He is going to let me know when he is coming to Australia next year. We hope to go to hear him. Wonderful voice and isn’t he doing great work promoting the music of young people and that beautiful venue!
Mattia is delightful. I wish him all the best with his summer concerts. I hope I get back in time to see a few.
Debra, fabulous story and fabulous photos. I have been to many of those festivities in Italy so I can just imagine being there at these ones in Bagni di Lucca. O, and I love cinghiale, yum.
Finding festivals and artisans in the villages is one of the delights of being able to spend a bit of time in one area.
I am so happy to meet Heather! I will absolutely contact her when we go to Italy in April
That’s great. She can show you all kinds of wonderful things.
I look forward to meeting you. If your WordPress name means you’re interested in traditional crafts, I can take you to meet handloom weavers and other craft people too.
you will need to introduce us as I would love to see what she can show us maybe?
Next time we are there together I will certainly introduce you.
She’s a wonderful girl! Debra. Thanks again for our morning with Heather. I love this post. I realise I saw almost all the original posts and it’s a lovely way to recap. Such gorgeous landscape shots too. Swoon!
I am so happy to have found Heather before I took my first group to Lucca. Everyone who has been on one of her outings say it was the absolute best day of their week with me. She is so knowledgable and the perfect guide to the Garfagnana.
Heather is an endless source of knowledge about our gorgeous area.