Simona, a Roman by birth, can now be found living in a beautiful rustic farmhouse near Orvieto, which was lovingly restored by herself and her late British husband Nick, a renowned photo journalist. (nickcornishphotography.co.uk)
They relocated from Rome 14 years ago with their mutual dream of “the good life”, or Dolce Vita. The house is nestled into the Umbrian hillside, on the outskirts of Allerona, a stunning hilltop village 15 minutes from Orvieto and, here, Simona has embedded herself in the local Umbrian lifestyle and cuisine, learning from both professional chefs, and the most respected of all, the local Nonnas. Respecting the inspiration of dishes using ingredients from the wild, and also organically grown, she has a great empathy for what is 'just right' for a dish, and creates the most interesting balances of flavours.
Simona works with traditional pairings of ingredients, but also has an abundance of new ideas. Her husband was a lucky guy, not only did he produce the beautiful photographs that accompany her stories about country life and Italian food on her widely followed blog sagraincasa.it, but he also ate rather well!
Simona has embraced country traditions as well, and now has a thriving vegetable garden. Working with the inevitable glut of vegetables she also explores ways of preserving her harvest and cooks, like most Italians, using only ingredients that are in season.
An Olive grove and a small vineyard around the farm house, also allow her to use great quality Extra virgin Olive Oil in her cooking and fresh grapes used in recipes or to produce a white wine Orvieto DOC.
Starting in the kitchen with her Nonna and then growing up making fresh pasta with her Mamma, Simona trained in London and then back to Rome, at the famous Gambero Rosso culinary school and, several years ago, also successfully completed her training as a sommelier in Orvieto. Enthusiastic and inventive, working within the food and wine world is a delight that she relishes, and her passion rubs off on all those around her.
Orvieto is ideally placed, between Florence and Rome, and has a wonderful centre for food and wine, the Palazzo del Gusto, where Simona is a regular participant.