Monday, November 1, 2010

How I Spent Day of the Dead in Italy

Had a most incredible Day of the Dead here in Italy, it is a national holiday, many go to the cimitero (cemetery) to pay their respects and and bring flower and candles to remember lost loved ones. It is also a time of gathering with friends and family over some elaborate pranzo, or lunch.
Flower vendors set up temporary booths several days
before hand and the graves are graced
with elaborate flower arrangements, it is such a lovely and civil holiday that I wish we celebrated in our country.
I was invited with along with my friends, Denys and Claudio, to lunch at the
4-star Olive Oil Resort,
Villa Campesti,
in the hills outside Florence.
Denys is a local travel/tour agent and
she often gets invited and comped gratis lovely tours and meals by hotels, resorts and such, in an effort to work with her to bringing clients to their establishment.
I got to be the recepient of today's invitation, lucky me.
This sublime estate was built in the 14th century,
we were given a tour by the owners,
then wined and dined (well, I only dined) in the exquisite dining room overlooking this verdant estate.
The pranzo (lunch) was unreal,
not my usual piece of cheese I normally wolf down standing up.
Antipasto started with bruschetta, a selection of cheeses
with some fresh pear compote that knocked me out!
(I will never be able to eat Trader Joe's sliced New York Cheddar again..)
followed by some spaghetti with an amazing grated breadcrumb mixure,
their "new olive oil" that was pressed 2 days ago,
followed THEN by a steak Tagliata (grilled) over a bed of fresh greens and shaved parmigiano
(watch out Rob, this was a close contender to yours...)
And if that wasn't enough,
the desserts were olive oil ricotta cake over berry brulee,
chocolate fondante olive oil cake,
and olive oil pear tatin.You think there is a theme here?
We were all happily groaning and stuffed,
Claudio kept remarking that he wanted to go take a nap in the papal
bed that was in one of the rooms we had seen earlier.
A bit heavy and ostentatious for both Denys and myself,
but Claudio was pretty fixated on that Pope bed.
Then of course, doppio espresso...which was fortunate,
because after this 3 hour lunch,we were then escorted down to the olive oil tasting room
where the olive oil "sommelier" gave us an education
on how olive oil should be tasted and several samplings of
swirling olive oil in ones mouth.
Oh, and I visited the cimitero also, but you will
need to wait for that story;
it is worthy of a future blog post.........
stay tuned....

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