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A Gift of Grapes

It’s grape harvest time here.  We’re really not in wine country, but everywhere you look you see rows of grapes.  We even have some in our backyard.  Ours are white grapes and are very sweet.  Almost like a muscadine. I don’t know grape varieties, but would like to learn how to identify a few.  I’m used to red seedless and white seedless, and if I’m really lucky I can get some beautiful little champagne grapes.  Here they all have seeds – at least the ones that grow in people’s yards and in vineyards.  Not sure about the grocery store because I haven’t bought any there.

We got back from Florence late in the afternoon on Sunday and as we were getting settled in, we noticed that someone had left us a gift of grapes on our terrace.  One of our outdoor chairs was pulled up to the backdoor so we would see it.  On it was a basket full of deep, purple grapes and underneath the basket was a small bouquet of lavender.  I suspect that it was Piero, our gardener, who gave us the tomato bounty in the summer.  I was touched not only by the gesture, but by the artful arrangement he made.

Grapes.  I love to eat them, but this is way more than we can eat.  What to do with them?  There’s jelly, which I’m not equipped to make – juice, which I’m not equipped to make.  However, there is a special bread made in Tuscany only during the grape harvest called schiacciata con l’uva, which is a flatbread with grapes baked into it.  I’m very curious about it, but haven’t come across it to try it out.  So I decided that I would  make some with my grape gift.  Stay tuned – there will either be another post on how wonderful it is or total silence, which will mean it was an experiment that failed.

I love the gifts of produce that randomly appear on my doorstep.  I love trying to figure out what to do my bounty.  I love that someone thinks of us when they harvest extra food.  In my mind, it means we’ve become part of the community.  And that’s what I love most of all.


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