We are lucky enough to have dear and trusting friends who having first welcomed us to their perch on a hill above Villa Celiera and introduced us to the amazing Abruzzi landscape now allow us to visit on our own, often with our increasingly expanding family! So, whilst we are clearly slightly sweaty tourists with poor dress sense in comparison to even the most busy Nonna at a market and our ham-fisted attempts to speak end up mangling the beautiful Italian language, we visit fairly often and have a genuine love of the area. We feel immediately comfortable when we pass through Vestea on the way up the mountain and know we are nearly there! Imagine our delight, then, as committed foodies who love eating out (but who delight even more in cooking for ourselves and others) that ‘our’ local restaurant in Villa Celiera was offering a tester session of Italian cooking from the kitchen of Nonno Liborio’s! The two of us arrived with some trepidation as having eaten there we knew our Italian may not be up to the job, so were relieved to discover that a local expat was there to help with directing our attempts in the shade of the afternoon kitchen. We were presented with fabulous white aprons adorned with local scenes and Nonno’s logo ( which we could keep, too) and were set to work chopping big curly courgettes from a basket fresh from the family’s garden. The next 6 hours were a whirlwind of smells, tastes and fantastic flavours. We cooked and tasted, kneaded and warmed, whipped and chilled. As we became more confident in our culinary Italian our accompanying ‘minder’ needed to intervene less and less. We even took our offerings out to the early evening regulars in the bar where ‘ la passeggiata ‘ had settled. Having been visited by the locals (amazed we were capable of such things) we were photographed and our food sniffed and poked, finally tasted and declared ‘passabile’. Such friendliness and a feeling of community and a generosity of both ideas and culture would be hard to find anywhere. We were sent back up to our perch above the village with enough food for 6 of us at dinner and beautiful fluffy brioche for breakfast. Jamie’s Italian? Eat your heart out! Sara Setterfield January 2015.