But that's enough about me, because it's Gaia who is the real talent in our family. She is a true perfectionist in everything she does. And she was the one who chose most of the furnishing for our home. But after all, that's part of her job. She did a fantastic job in transforming an old farmhouse just outside town into a charming B&B which has become very popular, especially among overseas tourists.
Furnishing a house – the family home – is a pretty tough and exhausting task, but at the same time it is an incredible, uplifting experience which helps you get to know yourself and brings you closer to your family. Perhaps I should introduce myself: I'm Pierre, a 41-year old Frenchman who has lived in Italy for the past 15 years (so please forgive me if I sometimes lapse into Gallicisms...).
I and my wife, Gaia, with our two children Niccolò and Sophie, recently moved house. This was a major step for us, because we wanted a home that suited our needs but also reflected our different personalities. So naturally it took a long time to find the perfect home, and then to furnish it to suit our lifestyle.
I don't think our family is in any way "special". Well, maybe a little 'atypical'. Gaia runs a bed-and-breakfast, so she is the first one to leave home and take the children to school, and generally the last to return in the evening. I pick the children up from school, and spend time playing with them and take them to the swimming-pool. Yes, I suppose I'm a doting father – the one who runs the home. And that suits me fine.
I have been able to arrange my time so that I can work at home: I design and restore old boats, and when I'm working on a design project at home I can also spend time on my great passion: cooking.
I was telling you about my mornings. Breakfast is my favourite "family moment", and kicks off my day with lots of positive energy. We all sit together in the kitchen at the table loaded with croissants, biscuits, jam, coffee and plenty of milk for everybody.
For the rest of the day, I like to alternate my work with my love of cooking: between telephone calls and technical drawings, I find cooking to be relaxing and, at times, inspirational.
I spent much of my childhood in the kitchen, with my mother, my grandmother and my aunt, who were cooks and confectioners. As a result, the kitchen has a special meaning for me. I don't mind admitting that I often call my mother to get a new recipe for a French dish or a new cake.
The courier service has just delivered the Italian edition of the Maison du Charme magazine, which has published a six-page article about Gaia's B&B. We worked together for weeks, getting the photos exactly right and polishing the text. The final result is superbe – even better than we could have imagined. That's a good reason to celebrate!
For the last few months, I have been trying to pass on my passion for cooking and pastry-making to my children. And now the moment has come to prepare Chantilly cream together. I prefer the original French recipe, based on whipped cream sweetened with sugar and flavoured with vanilla essence. It was with this recipe that I won my wife's heart ten years ago, but now of course she is better than me at preparing it.
She'll be home in an hour or two, and I want this to be a special evening. So we had better get on with our cooking!