I could have booked this trip with any travel and tourism company in Italy, but the idea of staying on a farm owned by a man who shares my beliefs on health & wellness sounded to good to be a true! Thanks to a company called G-Adventures, that's exactly what I'm doing.
Stefano is the owner of the magnificent house I'm living in. Like most Italian men (prepare yourself girls) he has a long term girlfriend and still lives beside his mother. Why commit when no woman will ever do for you what mama can do? Assumptions we make of men like this in the US are NOT true of Italian men. Stefano does not live in the basement and spend his days eating cereal & playing video games in his underwear. He is passionate about his business. He owns all the land surrounding his immaculate house where he grows olives and grapes to make olive oil and wine. He and his brother prepare all of our meals from crops they grow and animals they kill because (from what I've seen) fresh food is more of a religion than a hobby for this family.
Globalization has allowed big corporations to take over our food supply. In the last 50-60 years REAL foods have become scarce and preservative-filled foods are filling the shelves. If simple foods worked for thousands and thousands of years, why should we complicate it?
"Companies advertise 25% juice fruita! F@#$%^& bastards, I wanta alla juice fruita!" - Stefano
He says that most fruit juices have at least 9 chemical ingredients and he wants to know why. He used the example of the homemade marmalade he serves us every morning with our toast & croissants. His marmalade is made of purely fruit. If we want to add sugar we can but there's not point because fruit is full of natural sugar. On top of sugar "for sweetness" big companies add a gelatin for consistency but mixing fruit in a bowl would allow the water to evaporate and provide the same consistency. Stefano explains that he invented nothing! Food is simple and delicious as is and we should keep it that way.
*Note the word "organic" never comes out of Stefano's mouth because he thinks the word is stupid. Advertising something as organic does not necessarily mean it's natural. Stefano thinks the scary part of processed food is that the switch is still fairly new so we don't know every side effect to the dangerously long list of ingredients on our foods.
Most of what I learned in our lesson on real food, I had known but one fact that TRULY disturbed me was that dead bodies are no longer decomposing because of the chemicals we're feeding ourselves. Italy already has a problem with space in the graveyard & they're facing a much larger problem now that bodies are taking twice the time to breakdown. THINK ABOUT THAT!
After our lessons in natural food we moved onto the kitchen for our big cooking class.....
I just keep thinking, Pop and Stefano would be BFF's....