Monte Fossa delle Felci e Pomodori

Domenica, 17 Ottobre.
Monte Fossa delle Felci e Pomodori

I lie on a flat rock, a sacrificial stone. I am on top of Monte Fossa – the tallest volcano (962m) of the island.

The wind brushes constantly, and clouds pass by, at eye level.

The domination of the island, and even the weather, was definite. I had woken in the morning to the sound of rain, and looking out the door, the mountain was the epicentre of all of the rain clouds in the area.

The rain had cleared, and I made my way through vineyards to the church Val di Chiesa, from where I would start my ascent. Today, this Sunday, was also the day the locals would pay tribute to the Saint of the mountain, and also make a pilgrimage to the top.

The climb was moderate, but long – I leave the townsfolk behind. They’re dressed for the piazza, or for a Sunday stroll, not for climbing.

On my altar at the summit, I eat berries I had found on bushes along the way. I rest, just me and the mountain.

Later in the afternoon, after descending the mountain and a much needed siesta, I christian my kitchen with a simple meal.

Which results in my first gastronomic surprise of my trip; courtesy of my neighbours, who i visit in search of a can opener. I’m introduced to the whole family, and the signora offers me some tomatoes, which she said were grown on the island, along with stories of how they can be used.

I thank them for their hospitality – back in my kitchen, i look at them – they look ordinary, with a hard looking skin and abnormal shapes. I try one of them and realise quickly that they are special – dense, rich and sweet. I use a few of them with some mozzarella and olives for an antipasta, and decide to find more about the pomodori di salina.