The Hills of Tuscany-“A Tuscan Easter” by Ferenc Mate

January4

Here is the last little excerpt from The Hills of Tuscany by Ferenc Mate. If you have traveled to Italy or dream of doing so, you will love this read.  I was so sad when the adventure was over but then just last night, I picked up the sequel entitled A Vineyard in Tuscany.

Connie in her Sicilian Kitchen

This highlight is from his first Tuscan Easter dinner.  We have our own version of an Italian Easter Feast with dear friends who live half of the year in Sicily.  They are in Canada right now and will join us for dinner tomorrow evening.  Of course there will be photos and details of our menu to follow but for now, imagine the following:

Connie and I share he same birthdate

 We ate.

We started with two big trays of crostini, small cut toast from a baguette-type loaf, with four different spread they had made: one of porcini, one of chicken livers, one of tomato and basil, and the last one of tuna and capers.  That was enough to fill us.  Then came the pastas. One at a time. Forever.

And Franco kept pouring wine for us and all,  Carla, the eldest daughter, who had turned twenty-five that year, kept snapping orders at him and he seemed to have had almost enough, until Carla, being the perfect hostess, went to pour mineral water for everyone, a nice gesture, except that she forgot that she had set the table with the water glasses upside down, and now, while she was feverishly directing her dad, she was pouring water with great precision all over the table.  And we all broke up and laughed and laughed, and her little sister Elenora laughed until she cried.

Then we dug into the first pasta.  It was home made-what a stupid thing to say, of course it was homemade!  Everything was homemade!  Even the damned chickens!  They were delicate little crepes made by Carla, stuffed with ricotta and spinach and then baked in the oven like lasagna, and they tasted like heaven.  Even Giovanna, who, justifiably, fancies herself a great cook, rolled her eyes.  And we drank.  And we talked and talked-us mostly with our hands.  Then came another pasta.  Tagliatelle with rabbit ragu.  Spicy with tomatoes.  I think I swooned.  The came another pasta,  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was handmade pici, smothered in bread crumbs that had been stir-fried in olive oil.  When I was a kid in Budapest, it had been one of my favourite dishes.  After the third pasta, Candace said she was so full, she was about to lose consciousness.  Giovanna and I thought we were about to die.  So we drank some more wine.

The wine and a bit of rest must have dissolved all the pasta, because when the three trays of meats arrived we didn’t even gasp.

There was roast pigeon cut into small pieces, baked in the wood oven for two hours so there was just a parchment-thin crisp skin over the gamy meat.  Then there was wild boar stew, and of course the finale: roast lamb.  And roast potatoes that Candace somehow ate by the pound, and shredded salad well salted, Tuscan style.  And wine.  The Paolucci women drank very little, meaning that the four of us had sipped away about a litter each.  Over two hours.  And two pounds each of food.  Then came il dolce.

We had brought a great fruit tarte that Candace and Giovanna made.  It was coals to Newcastle.  Rosanna brought out her own tiramisu, a creamy thing full of coffee, which is why it’s called “pull me up”, and Carla had baked a crostada di albicocca, a crumbly apple tart, and of course there was the inevitable colomba, the traditional Easter cake, an uniced thing shaped like a dove.  Then came  resurrecting espresso, then of course brandies and grappa.  The Paoluccis kept insisting we drink the grappa because it is a digestivo; it helps with the digestion.  It also puts you in a profound state of merriment and lets you forget that you’re about to explode.”

Me on the rooftop of their home

So until I can sojourn to Italy again, I can anticipate new adventures and savour the memories of previous ones….

Kath’s quote: “Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.”-William Shakespeare

Love-that is all.

 


Warning: Use of undefined constant addtofacebook - assumed 'addtofacebook' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/48927/domains/foodmusings.ca/html/wp-content/themes/notepad-chaos-v2/single.php on line 12

Warning: Use of undefined constant wpurl - assumed 'wpurl' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/48927/domains/foodmusings.ca/html/wp-content/plugins/add-to-facebook-plugin/addtofacebook.php on line 85

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment: