Nov 1, 2009

Diary from set - Abruzzo

When I was told we were moving to a remote location to film the latter part of the movie, I didn't really think it was going to be that remote. But actually, I have come to learn that some parts of this land are still incorrupt. Virgin. And far removed. Extrasolar far removed in some cases.

I initially imagined myself walking the snaking cobble-stoned alleys of a quaint medieval Abruzzo village perched on a high windy mountaintop, with little old ladies dressed in black nodding as we city slickers passed by, and elegant gents wearing their hats before a shot of grappa and a smoky hand of briscola. And Castel del Monte is all that. And much more, thankfully. But it is remote as remote gets.

We are surrounded by beauty and nature as far as the eye can see. Fast racing clouds chase the sunlight over the rolling hills and valleys below. High, barren mountains of neolithic matter loom above us, shining brightly in the thin air and brightest of sunlights. Where forests cloak elevated surfaces, the autumn leaves show off their auburn colors with flamboyant pride. The earth shakes every once in a while, reminding us of the April tragedy that has changed the people around here forever.

The air smells clean. I wake to chirping birds in the early morning. And yesterday we spotted a pack of wolves behind the restaurant during lunch break. The skies have been benevolent and have not rained (or snowed) upon us too bitterly. The town folk is friendly and politely astonished at our barbaric invasion. The everyday food and wine is Out of This World, and hanging out with a fun crew makes the hard work a little easier.

But there is no Internet.
Very little cell phone coverage.
No cable TV.

The only Wi-fi available is in the main Production office, which is a public place I can have access to after a 12-hour day and for a limited time frame. Oftentimes the choice between blogging or catching up on my electornic mail and a hot shower falls for the latter. And so I have failed to keep up. I fearfully open my flooding inbox once a week when I return home for the weekend. I have a hard time responding to all those who seek a word with me. Even spam is beginning to give up on me. Haven't chatted on Skype in eons. Blog etiquette out the window. Readers perplexed. Those spoiled by my thrice-weekly posts have not heard of me in months. The weekly appointments with my guest chefs at Be my guest are at a standstill.

I am home for a long weekend, and the playtime, bathtime and cuddletime with my son is momentarily on hold (he's snoring). So I take advantage of this little moment before slipping into bed next to him and inhaling his sweet smell before falling asleep under the covers of my bed–and not the hotel bed I am calling home for most of the week–to apologize for the long silence. And to ask you to bear with me.

I am eating astounding local and unusual things, learning of new interesting Abruzzo wines, traditions and food lore for my journal. And I am keeping notes. I will return to blogging routinely in 3 weeks when the film's principal photography will come to halt before taking off again for another chapter after the holiday season.

In three weeks I promise I will make up for the lost time on these pages and pledge to tickle your appetite again soon.

For now you'll have to make do with my Archive.


  1. Don't even give it a second thought, Lola!!!! We love and miss you, of course...but I know I speak for more than myself when I say it is completely understandable!!!! I'll look forward to seeing you when you return and hearing all about your adventures!!!! Gorgeous photos, btw. You are in a stunningly beautiful place!!! Take care of you...and that little sweetheart of yours!!! Love to you! Janine XO

  2. it put a smile on my face just to see a post by you. enjoy that time with the little man. will catch up soon. smiles.

  3. I know how it is to have life interfere with blogging. Going through the same thing myself. Hope to get back to my usual bloggy self soon. Hope the work is satisfying and we will be here when you get back.

  4. Please don't worry about us! We'll be here when you get a chance to wow us with another wonderful recipe. For now we are enthralled with your descriptions of places far away, and so very interesting!

  5. We are still here, and understand that things happen, and that we all have a life to live.
    Your photo took my breath away.xx♥

  6. Hello there,
    I thought that you might be in Positano.
    Don't worry, your posts like this one are well worth waiting for.
    baci, Rosa

  7. That is such a beautiful place!



  8. still here, and understand that things happen, and that we all have a life to live.
    Your photo took my breath away.xx♥ Work From Home

  9. Oh Lola, no apology is needed.
    We all have times when it's too busy, and we understand. I'll still be here when you get back.
    Take care, gather lots of info and pics!

  10. Can only echo all of the above, we blogging folk must learn to accept that sometimes other blogges will be off-line for extended periods. But after all the major pleasure experienced here, you can bet that we will be waiting for you with open arms and open taste buds... whenever. You know, grapes are only harvested once every 12 months or so, and great wines made after the harvest. Many people are happy to wait a year for the next one, and will always come back to see what the great winemakers have produced... so what's a few weeks to wait for Lola ???

  11. You gotta' do what you gotta' do. Castel Del Monte is on my must-see places next time I'm in Abruzzo. Re: the wine bottle you show is actually available to us here in Princeton, NJ.

  12. What a beautiful location! Great to hear from you again, and all perfectly understandable - trying to fit in blogging can sometimes just be one thing too many. I'm sure we all feel the same, sometimes! take care, and looking forward to "seeing you" again in a few weeks! :)

  13. The quality of the pictures you post is awesome. The ones in this writing together with your words really convey the idea of an Italy 'incorrupt'.

    I was only hoping some more news about the new interesting Abruzzo wines!

    And, no apology Lola. Your readers are there whenever you have time for them.

  14. I am a new "follower" but enjoy your blog so much. The location looks amazing.

    I understand the need to care for your followers and bloggy friends. It is a whole other world on top of the "real world" one that needs as much care, if not more.

    much love

  15. Lola, it is perfectly OK - we know you are a busy gal and just to hear you and lttle E are alright is great. We all get busy times - we are here for you ~ Eddie x

    Loved the photo and your interesting summary of your activities.

  16. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. In case you missed my email in the mountains of them you received I want you to know I think Modica chocolate is amazing. Started with the pistachio.

  17. We know you're working far from home. We can wait. Enjoy your time with E.

  18. Oh, I want to go there! It is so beautiful! I love your descriptions of it, too.

  19. Wonderful place. Enjoy it. We will wait for you. See you soon on a latte.... all the best Myriam

  20. What part of this warrants an apology? Nothing, my dear. ABSORB it all. We will still be here. =)

  21. My very dearest friend! How lovely to catch a little glimpse of you as you share with us those superb photographs and wonderful prose describing where you are...even with the pictures I could see it all so vividly in my mind! We've all missed you VERY much, but wait patiently - and excitedly - for your return to the blogosphere. In the meantime, I send much love.

    I, too, have been AWOL from the armadillo and won't be back for a month or so...I do miss all my special friends hugely.

  22. What a wonderful post with breathtaking photos that perfectly capture the beauty of this area!! You are going to have lots of great stories for us when you get back.

  23. So nice to hear from you-your photos are amazing! Hope you can relax a little when you're home and know that we'll all wait around for whenever you have time to post again! Can't wait to hear about the food.

  24. I'm just glad to see you return to these pages. Magnificent photo.

  25. Ciao Lola, Sounds to me like the foods and the atmosphere combined is beautiful! Packs of wolfs, wow you are out there. Glad you got in some needed cuddles. Enjoy the vino!
    Take care, Chuck xx

  26. Lola - your life and livelihood take precedence above anything like your blog and us lot. It is just good to read that you are well and finally reunited with your beautiful son.


  27. Lola,
    Your blog is so rich and your postings so generous that I come away well-fed and able to go for extended periods of time by merely snacking at past posts.

    It seems you have many responsibilities in your life, as do we all, so you mustn't ever let your blogging become a burden. We faithful readers love the Lola we know and will wait patiently for whenever she has the leisure to send up a flare (hopefully not from setting something on fire in the kitchen!).

    Ciao ciao, bella! xo

  28. Ciao Lola,
    grazie per questo bellissimo post. Un posto d'incanto, isolamento compreso. Per un po' di giorni non puo' far che bene...
    And how is the set doing, are you enjoying it?
    I hope to see something about the film soon.

  29. I for one am just happy to see you back. The sound of your voice is ringing in my ears.

    Love Renee xoxo

  30. What wonderful time away for you and it sounds like it is being put to good use. I have only just come to know you and, of course, after reading "salumi per tutti", I have hungrily awaited more but I totally understand. Enjoy this very busy break in such a special place. I know we will all reap the benefits of your short sabbatical in due time!

  31. Hi Lola,
    enjoy the time at home, have a good time and we will be happy waiting until you come back. See you soon Myriam

  32. Hi Lola dear,

    I've been away from my posting and visiting for several weeks, and am so happy to catch up here. Loved, loved, loved, your profile of Abruzzio; reminds me, kind of, of the mountain towns around me in western Montana.

    Please don't worry about your readers. We love you and want your best as well as your wonderful writing. It sounds magnificent to be in the mountains, and I hope you're enjoying it as much as you can.

    Loved your post on salumi. So glad to see your growth over here, your daily-expanding followers list, and all the other places you're connected on the web.

    Ciao and take care of yourself!! xo, Sallymandy

  33. Stunning photograph of the town! Where exactly is this? It's gorgeous!

    Take care!

  34. Great blog and wonderful recipe ideas. I teach on a few cooking Holidays around the world, and we do one in Abruzzo, it's such a great place, the people are lovely and i learn something new about cooking every time i'm there! and I will definitely be recommending this blog to my students.

    by the way it's called!