Wine. Salami. Prosciutto. We saw (and ate) it all.

Hmmm, what to have for lunch? How about a homemade ragu over pasta? That seems like a perfect at-home lunch in Italy, doesn't it? A little bit of ground meat, some minced onions, a tomato sauce, and a splash of red wine, both in the sauce and in our glasses. Hearty but not too filling.

We had to make sure to eat enough. We had some busy days in Codroipo. We were touring fiends! Gotta keep the energy up.

We sliced up some local salami to serve alongside the ragu over pasta. Salami is a terrific match for red wine and both featured in our touring plans for the Codroipo area.

A local butcher was kind enough to give us a behind-the-scenes look through his shop. He had rack after rack of salamis as well as all sorts of other cuts of meat. It was a tiny shop, like so many here are, but it was truly a carnivore's heaven.

As if that wasn't enough, we also made a special stop at a local prosciutto shop. He had miles of just prosciutto in various stages of readiness for sale, from recently slaughtered to aged to on-the-spot consumable.

Both the butcher and the prosciutter (that's not a word but it should be) kept their shops immaculately clean, well-lit, and organized. If your mental image of a butcher is like something out of a horror movie, you would have been sorely disappointed. These store owners knew their business and were proud to show us everything. And the quality of their meats was astounding - no mass market grocery store fodder here.

Because few meals or even snacks are complete in Italy without a glass of wine, we felt compelled to tour a few vineyards while we were out and about, too. The vineyards we saw looked like they fell out of a movie - rolling hills of linear vines, blue skies, and puffy white clouds.

Sometimes the vineyards did things the old-fashioned way, like using these oak barrels in caves as part of the wine production.

And sometimes they were remarkably modern, with stainless equipment, rubber hoses, and precision temperature gauges.

Are you noticing a trend? Most of what we've been consuming is local and the wine is no exception. Le Celline was frequently in our glasses while eating at home in Codroipo.

It was a busy yet relaxing few days and the weather was perfect. I'm so grateful for this chance to relax, to enjoy a new part of the world, to learn how another place can be both so different yet so similar.

Malaysia, the U.S., and Italy may have oceans of difference between them but they all value the sharing of food, drink, and camaraderie amongst family and friends. I'm guessing - I'm hoping - that's a universal throughout the world and hope to have the chance to find that out myself again and again in my lifetime.

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