The single most defining food experience of my life…

was not an expensive meal out at a fancy restaurant or some outlandish delicacy in an exotic country.

No, it was a span of three weeks at a country farmhouse just north of Rome.

I loved almost all the meals we had in Italy. Dining out in Italy is a delight. One to be savoured.

But  more impactful than all those amazing restaurant meals was the Italian home cooking we enjoyed while volunteering through HelpX. In that way, volunteering was priceless – truly an experience not to be bought. There, we had some of the best food we had in all of Italy – homemade, simple and free (well, in exchange for our labour, I suppose. If you want to get all technical about it).

fresh pasta lunch in italy

My tastebuds were introduced to the joy of tomatoes and string beans plucked straight from the vine only hours before. The simple indulgence afforded by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a squirt of balsamic vinegar – a sunshower of cheese, on occasion. Baked eggplant. Grilled courgettes. Salmon swirled through spaghetti. Slippery cushions of ravioli, slick with flavourful goodness. Fresh bread to mop up the remaining oils and sauces. The wonder of burrata.

fresh pasta lunch in italy nzmuse

Italian food alone would have been worth the entire price tag of our trip. I’m only partly kidding.


16 thoughts on “The single most defining food experience of my life…

  • Reply Musings Episode 50: Wants vs. Needs… | Rego's Life March 10, 2014 at 12:26

    […] The single most defining food experience of my life… […]

  • Reply anna March 10, 2014 at 15:09

    Yum, your words were equally enticing as your pictures!! Sounds so delicious!!

  • Reply Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way March 10, 2014 at 21:09

    Oh, I felt hungry when I looked at your food pictures. I love Italian foods too!

  • Reply Jef March 10, 2014 at 23:44

    Awesome food there, where about in Italy did you go other than north of Rome?

    Love the variety that we see on your blog NZ Muse

  • Reply DC @ Young Adult Money March 11, 2014 at 01:08

    Italian food is my absolute favorite and I definitely hope to go to Italy some day. These two pics alone are making me want to book a trip!

  • Reply Jon @ Our Fine Adventure March 11, 2014 at 07:18

    Cool story… you sound like you have had some great experiences in life! 🙂

  • Reply Addison @ Cashville Skyline March 11, 2014 at 10:27

    I love your photos and your food descriptions. One of my most memorable food experiences also took place in Italy on a farm at my best friend’s wedding. Such wonderful memories. Looking forward to making it back there soon.

  • Reply Well Heeled Blog March 11, 2014 at 13:31

    Mmmm looks delicious. Have you been cooking Italian since you got home?

    • Reply eemusings March 11, 2014 at 13:44

      Yep for sure! Italian and Mexican.

  • Reply Ryan @ Impersonal Finance March 12, 2014 at 07:07

    That looks amazing. I’m lucky enough that my father in law loves Italian cooking (even spent a week over there learning) but I’m still looking forward to trying the real thing, so to speak.

  • Reply Michelle March 12, 2014 at 15:17

    I love this story and have always wondered about these types of programs. I can’t wait to go on one!!

  • Reply Silvia March 12, 2014 at 19:59

    Wow, your descriptions of the food really put it right there in my mouth. Well, almost… now I’m super hungry!

  • Reply Link Love, Vol. 51 - Break the Sky March 17, 2014 at 04:00

    […] NZ Muse’s single most defining food experience (of her LIFE!) was when she was in Italy. Oh, What wouldn’t I do for a trip to the […]

  • Reply Charli | Wanderlusters March 19, 2014 at 09:49

    I have to agree with you! Fresh vine rippened tomatoes are just the best thing on this earth. I’ve started replacing tinned toms with fresh and my recipes have benefited so much from the fresh juicy goodness. Seriously tasty!

    • Reply eemusings March 21, 2014 at 12:23

      I still buy a lot of tinned tomatoes but not the cheaper brands – now I always look for tomatoes from the Hawkes Bay, or failing that, Italy (esp Roma…)

  • Reply vh March 20, 2014 at 02:42

    OMG! The food, the magnificent FOOOOOD! Your photos are quite something to start the day with. 🙂

    We found some burrata at a Trader Joe’s. My son put it on a home-made pizza he concocted. Incredible.

    Dunno about him, but I’ve never found it here again.

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