Hi, my name is Tom Becker and I love to cook, I love to travel, and I love to write.
We all have a source of our passion for travel and, for most of us it probably began at an early age. For me, it stems from family road trips, and as a youth, those trips taught me to welcome the discovery of the local feel for the places we were lucky enough to visit. To this day I’m still attracted to travel for its freedom and the opportunity to discover the small and intimate portrayal of life elsewhere.
So, how special is it to have close friends who are likewise passionate about their travel, friends who are excited about culinary discovery, and friends who share a deep passion for life?
The closest of these friends are Francesca and Dean Arniotes. My wife Joyce and I have had some magical travel experiences with Fran and Dean. And over time, our travel has found its stride! It all starts with our arrival at where we are going and an introduction to our location and our neighborhood. Neighborhood you ask? Well, yes. You can typically find us in a Villa or an Agriturismo in or close to a small to medium sized town or in our apartment in the city, and we make sure to learn about our community as quickly as possible.
A day typically starts with a coffee and pastry at a local Café where we plan our daily adventures. We walk the markets, talk to the locals, visit the shops and we learn of the local food and their recipes. We talk to the local butcher and fishmonger and we discover what’s fresh and how they use their products.
As the days pass, we visit the museums and learn the local history. We love touring the countryside, visiting the vineyards and tasting the local oils and produce. Oh, did I mention that we love to cook? Well, cook we do! Over the years, we have learned the art of Slow Food. We spend our evenings cooking, relaxing, drinking wine, sharing stories and knowing that we are celebrating the local culinary delights!
Friends always want to travel with us and sometimes they do. They say that it is an extraordinary experience filled with fun, adventure, surprises, good company and great food. We invite you to join us at Castles and Kitchens, and let us share some stories, photos and exceptional food!
Before Joyce and I had the pleasure of sharing our travels with Fran and Dean, we were the ones who would listen intently to the stories of their travels. We would look longingly at the photos and sample the many dishes Fran would prepare from recipes she gathered from whereever they had traveled. In comparison, our travels were just the ordinary fly-away vacation; some history, a tour, good restaurants and bad ones, then we’d come back home.
For some people, this kind of travel works, But for us, we realized that we wanted more. We wanted to feel closer to the towns and villages, and learn more about the important part that food played in their everyday lives. So, we thank these good friends of ours for teaching us how to go down the roads less traveled!
There are a lot of stories, lessons and techniques to be learned. We all have these experiences and if we keep our eyes open, we can learn so much.