Hello there, or should I say: Ciao! Come and visit A Most Amazing Tuscan Al Fresco Dinner Party!
I have been away in Italy again for the past 3 months. I have not written a blog post since last November, although I have wanted to, it’s just been so very hard to get back into the swing of things.
It was a year on June 18th that my dear husband, business partner, lover, and best friend, Steve, passed to the other side, completely unexpected, from kidney cancer. I know there is another world, purely energetic, but very real. I cannot accurately express how big the hole is in my heart. He was the love of my life, and I was his. I thought that the one-year mark would mean my grief would ease, but it has not. Instead it’s reared its ugly head even more forcefully.
Fortunately I have two great sons and two great daughter-in-laws and (drumroll please), a new grandson named Steven Malcolm, who is completely beautiful, adorable, full of love and the happiest baby ever!!! We call him Stevie. We don’t know why he is always so happy and loves to laugh so much but we sure love him. He makes me laugh. A lot.
Meanwhile, my friends in Italy are all so amazing and have taken such good loving care of me. I am so very grateful for all of them.
My final evening in Tuscany last week was a most marvelous dinner party, al fresco, in a tiny town called, Valtrito, overlooking Cortona. Marzia and her husband, Giorgio, hosted it at Marzia’s ancient family house, built in 1720. Giorgio is my good friend Tiziana’s, brother.
Everything Marzia cooked or baked was made with ingredients grown in her garden! We started with incredible roasted peppers and eggplant, just picked incredibly sweet figs from their trees with prosciutto and sausage, sundried tomatoes and plums. Insanely good!!! Buonissimo!!! All with Marzia’s still warm, just baked bread, one whole wheat – pane integrale – and the other white – pane bianco toscano
Marzia then served a marvelous lasagna, (most of us had seconds) followed by roasted chickens and potatoes along with a most delicious sausage stuffed zucchini half – my favorite – and the meal finished with a delicious crostata con marmellata made with her own homemade plum jam. In Italiano, the plums are called cosce di monaca, which translates to “thighs of a nun”! Don’t ask…
Our table was filled with Italian friends, a couple from Norway and even one other Americana, besides myself, so the conversation was wonderful and lively. I immediately spoke my limited Italian, but to the Norwegian couple who didn’t have any idea what the hell I was saying, being that they do not speak any Italian at all, which my Italian friend had to explain to me. It was a wonderful twist in that I knew more Italian than someone there!
Everyone brought wine and one guest was a sommelier while the other had worked at a winery nearby so the vino was free flowing and all so special and delicious with interesting stories to accompany each bottle.
Just feast your eyes on these pictures and my apologies for not getting all of the food, there was just too much goodness all around that as the evening progressed, conversation ruled, rather than photos.
Shots from the ancient main house, built in 1720.
A magical evening to be sure, a most memorable end to my three month journey in life learning more about myself, attempting to heal, enjoying the food, wine and most importantly the friendships I have in this spectacular setting. For that, I am so grateful.
I will be back again sooner, rather than later, with recipes. Promise!