Sunday, March 27, 2011

A wonderful sunny Sunday!

It's late, on a school night and I'm dead tired... but I was really excited to share the day's activities :)

The location

Today, I went to Gozo with M, C.S, and two friends, together with around 200 other people from my husband's workplace, to visit Ta' Mena's Agriturism in Gozo. Agriturism is something I was always interested in and Ta' Mena is a first in Malta... so I was really looking forward to this day, with some trepidation, lest it was a let down.

I was also dreading the fact that I had to wake up at 6 in the morning, on the day when the clocks moved forward! WAAAAAAAAA!! I am NOT a morning person. I love my bed and my sleep, but I have to say it was worth disturbing my sleep pattern for a day like today.

Orange picking, squeezing and drinking

After crossing over to Malta's sister island, Gozo, and arriving at Ta' Mena, we were greeted with gozitan coffee, pastizzi & qaghaq ta l'ghasel. We were soon on our way to pick oranges from the trees which were then squeezed for us to drink the incredibly sweet juice. It was great watching a little boy throw out his crisps in favour of oranges and tangerines! Maybe showing our kids where their food comes from might help them make healthier choices?!
Strawberry picking

We were then led on for a 15 minute walk through the country side, to a lovely orange grove surrounded by cane, were we ate more oranges and some tangerines... and then went on to an area where we were instructed to pick strawberries. I don't know whether it's because of the effort I put in to find ripe strawberries while feeling incredibly hot... but I believe that those strawberries where sweetest ones I have ever tasted. During the walk, Joseph, our tour guide for the day, was very forthcoming with information about the locality and about farming methods.
Focaccia making
Back at the estate we were offered a much needed cold drink together with bruscetta made with their own olives and sundried tomatoes, together with a romesmary focaccia baked in a woodburning oven, prepared in front of my very eyes. What fun! The method of preparation was also explained for whoever was interested :)
The winery
After a particularly large and delicious meal, we were invited to take a tour of the estate, but we declined... opting instead to lounge in the garden and enjoying a very nice breeze. Later we were given a tour of the winery. Incredibly interesting especially the part where we were allowed to enter the store where french oak barrels are maturing some very lovely wines. What a wonderful smell!

My companions in adventure :)
One thing to complain about - 200 people was just too many to really get involved... so we're planning to return with a group of no more then 30 people. I am sure it would have been that much more informative! Still... a day to remember and we left the estate laden with their home made "kunserva" (tomato concentrate paste), olive oil and liqueur.

Joseph was continuosly, enthusiastically, explaining everything we wanted to know!
What got me thinking was that Joseph was telling us how he used to work in a bank for a number of years, but then quit to help set up this project... He did say it's hard work and that he must be crazy, but at the same time it is quite obvious how excited he is when talking about nature and how happy he looks. I can't help wondering whether this will be the trend in the years to come. More people leaving their 9 to 5 jobs to do what they really want to be doing. More people thinking more about sustainable living and being happy. I really do hope so!

Anyway... good night! I'm off to sleep with a smile on my face!

PS. I am in no way related to the Ta' Mena estates and this is in no way a paid advert...I am a person who usually complains a lot about the products or services being offered, so I'm always very happy to find something I can't really complain about. ◦


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