The morning started with people showing up at our house for a walk in the lavender field and an explanation of lavender, how it grows, different types, what it’s used for and so on.
Showing a group of people different varieties of lavender.
The walk was supposed to start at 9:00 and much to our surprise, people were actually here at 9! Now, Italy is hardly what you might call a punctual kind of a place, so imagine my reaction when Hans comes racing around the house to tell me I better go out to the field as people were there.
After our walk, we all had a snack including a yummy zucchini lavender cake that I made.
Then a dash off to the castle for the actual festival…
The castle is only 3km from our house. I arrive 15 minutes before the festival starts and there are so many people there, there is no parking!
The Castle entrance.
In the castle courtyard we had set up gazebos, tables and chairs, all borrowed from our town, the sports club and the pro loco of Carassai. The days before the festival were just hard sweaty work with all sorts of last minute crises, like toilets not working, water leaking (actually pouring) from the ceiling where we had planned to put the restaurant kitchen, electricity outages, refrigerators not working…you know, just minor things!
We set up a gazebo under the castle tower with a stand that we shared with our friend Rainer selling his honey and Flavia selling her soaps and liquors.
Flavia. Notice her fan….We all had one, they were the only way to stay standing, it was such a hot day!
Our lavender products
Roberto, just arrived, expressing how we all felt.
No Italian festival would be complete without wine, so we had invited 3 of our friends who all make incredible wine to be present.
Here’s Paolo charming a potential customer
Inside the castle we arranged several workshops
Here’s Donatella with a lavender craft workshop, making the cutest sachet dolls with children.
A cosmetic making workshop
Hans explaining how distilling works
With our stove top still.
We had quite a few artists and crafts people displaying their stuff
Here’s one of them
And of course, food cooked with lavender by local chefs, all in a last minute makeshift restaurant (remember the leaky ceiling)
After the meal our chefs came around with a jug of liquor they had distilled with lavender to refresh all of us who were in the courtyard, such thoughtful chefs!
Chatting with Sara, a lavender grower in Ancona
Upstairs we had a round table with all sorts of people talking (and lecturing) about herbs, sustainable agriculture, history of the castle, lavender, tourism and lavender and so on. I absolutely hate speaking in front of a crowd, I get so nervous, and this was the first time I had to use a microphone. Next year I’m going to insist that my talk is just the various thank yous and no more!
It was the most wonderful and exhausting day with a beautiful concert of flute and Harp as the grand finale.