Our mouths start to water around 10:30am. Though we’ve been told that the tell-tale horn won’t blow until 10:45 or sometimes even 11 if he’s running late. It’s Monday, so things could be busy where he works. We wait impatiently, straining our ears for the sound of his car coming up the hill.
The money is already laid out on the counter. Two coins, $1.20 EURO. We feel it to be a small price to pay for such happiness.
No breakfast yet for either of us, even though it’s late by Italy standards. It would be such a shame to spoil the experience.
We’re busy working on our computers and almost miss the sound. “Honk! Honk!” He’s here!
We both look up eagerly and make a mad run for the money, shoes and practically trip over ourselves as we dash out of the door. Shouts from the surrounding village are already occupying his attention. The orders are coming from our elderly neighbors who can’t drive. “Please don’t run out before we get there,” we plead. Though we know there isn’t a worry. He’s brought enough for the whole village of 11 homes and then some.
A young girl from high on the hill runs down just as we arrive. She’s as excited as we are to see him and this is something that happens three times a week here in the village. We generously point her forward to give us more time to make our big decision. There they are. Loose in the trunk of his red Fiat. The warm loaves from The Bread Man.
He gently takes each loaf out and shows it to his customer, as proud as a new grandfather. When the selections are made, a brown paper bag appears from another corner of the trunk and each treasure is wrapped with the utmost care. The girl walks back up the hill with her bundles and a smile on her face.
Now it is our turn! We don’t speak much Italian other than the barest pleasantries, but somehow we convey our choice. Not too big. Not too small. It’s absolutely beautiful! A work of art! We say “Arrivederci!” with huge grins and head back up to our house sit. We can hardly get back fast enough.
The loaf is so warm and toasty the butter we’ve already prepared melts in seconds. The fresh peach jam completes our sumptuous breakfast. Crunchy and heavy, this homemade bread makes our morning complete. If there is any left over by the afternoon (and that’s a very big IF), it goes just as well with wine and cheese!
One thing we know for sure – while we’re house sitting here in Italy, whenever The Bread Man cometh…we will be there! 🙂