The Estate of Montelabatte nestles in the hills to the west of Gubbio near the village of Piccone.  This co-operative now owned by the University of Padova is certified organic and has over 15,000 olive trees.  Three years ago they received an European Community Grant and installed a modern oil mill or Frantoio, and they offer the facility to neighbours to press their olives.  This was my choice for where to take the olives from Bellaugello to be milled and turned into wonderous olive oil.  As I drove up the gently winding road what a lovely spot greeted my eyes, traditional farm buildings, well cared for land and to boot warm sunshine in which to bask whilst waiting turn for the pressing.

Antonio the Manager of Montelabatte Estate took us personally through the milling process, which as you see is carried out by the finest of modern machinery in a scrupulously clean environment.  I love the blend of traditional and modern.  Antonio also told me a bit about the Estate which of course once belonged to the church as evidenced by the monastery sitting proudly on the hill above the fattoria.

In the spring and summer on a Monday morning they offer small personal guided tours of the Benedictine Abbey explaining a bit of the history of the estate and locality, culminating in a light luncheon of home grown and local produce.  The  cost is €13.00 a head.  We will definitely be participating in these when they re-commence next spring and offering a chance for guests at Bellaugello Gay Guest House to savour the delights of this beautiful, well managed estate…

Yesterday heralded a glorious cloudless blue sky and warm sunshine and the final day of the olive harvest here at Bellaugello Gay Guest-House in Umbria, central Italy.

The Apennnes glistened bright with a dusting of snow on their summits from the recent snowfall.  The Chiascio valley filled with birdsong in the golden hued oak trees, and we set to work to pick olives from the trees below Belluagello House.  Accompanied by Milo, Edo and Jenny we trotted off to harvest the final trees.  These trees are a little bit wild and un-pruned, but this year heavy with olives that I just could not resist picking even if it was a bit of a challenge. It seemed a shame to leave these delightful black and deep red fruit to fall to the ground, the dogs all looked on in wonder as ‘dad’ climbed higher and higher showering olives down on them and the pickers below!

The delight of climbing a ladder high into the branches of the olive trees, warm sun on my back and sensual shiny black fruit coming easily from the branches and falling into the net below is hard to describe, but was one of the pleasanter farming jobs of recent days.

Tomorrow the olives go for pressing to the frantoio,where they will turn as if by magic into wonderous green piquant oil, and yes we will be eating bruschetta brushed with garlic and our own Bellaugello Olive Oil by that evening.  However not all, as we have reserved some particularly fine large specimens for salting.  Following a traditional recipe thirty days of washing the olives are followed by salting and then flavouring, the resultant olives to be served with aperitivos sipped here on the sun filled terraces next summer, a perfect accompaniment for the local Grechetto, the crisp white wine of Umbria.

Infine questo pomeriggio una e-mail da TripAdvsor:-

Gentile proprietario,

Grazie per la Sua segnalazione. Ci scusiamo per il disguido. Abbiamo provveduto ad inoltrare la Sua domanda ai nostri editori per apportare le dovute modifiche al piu presto.

Un cordiale saluto,

Gruppo Assistenza TripAdvisor


In haste as I rush out to the olives I just have to post this wonderful news

My dear friend Annie who lives in Sweden and has been here to Bellaugello several times has been asked by the Nobel NightCap Committee to supply her delicious scrumptious yummy Scottish Whisky Tablet for the upcoming Nobel Prize Awards Dinner in Stockholm on December 10th.

Check out her website and order online: Annie D’s Scottish Whisky Tablet

It is awesome Annie, well done…..  and I wanna photo of the event!

Oh I am so lucky to live here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House B&B in Umbria Italy.  This morning the sun broke through clouds and shone through low mist hitting the house with a warm honey radiance…

As I blog I’m finishing breakfast, Earl Grey Tea brought over from the UK, home-baked bread and homemade plum and kirsch jam, angry not to have received a reply or correction from TripAdvisor and about to don my overalls and head out to start the olive harvest…

Ho recevuto sul TripAdvisor una recensione d’una coppia Canadese:  “ Posizione incredibile/bellissima camera siamo padrone di casa – la nostra esperienza umbra! “ Loro hanno scritto in Inglese.  Grazie di loro, la recenzione e buona, pero TripAdvisor hanno fatto un traduzione in Italiano e hanno SBAGLIATO e hanno meso un altro recenzione errato e terrible.

***Vi prego i Italiani di cliccare sul lingua originale e leggere in Inglese la recensione guisto ***

I received a review on TripAdvisor from two great guys from Canada, they wrote in English.  TripAdvisor have translated the review into Italian and have made a grave mistake, for the translation in nothing like the original good review, but a damning review of another place.  By sheer good luck the heading and score remain correct, but it is harming my business.

I have emailed TripAdvisor to demand a correct and apology, but who knows when and if they will respond and withdraw this damning review that is hurting my business.

Oh I feel so helpless!

Oh mi sento così impotente!