Are you hungry? If not, you may well be after the next instalment of Snapshots from a Tourist in Italy. I’ll hand you over to my Dad.
We meet in the tiny hill top village of Allerona. A car appears, and the smiling Simona takes both hands from the steering wheel to wave an enthusiastic greeting. She leaps out of the car as soon as it stops, and greets all nine of us with a big hug and “Welcome, Welcome! I am so pleased to meet you”.
We are two couples travelling from Australia, another two couples, friends living in nearby northern Lazio, and our chauffeur for the next two days. (None of us has actually met Simona before, but my daughter and family have met her during the previous year’s grape harvest)
Simona points out her house in the valley below, and with her enthusiastic “Andiamo”, we get back in our vehicles to follow her to the house.
The event is a special lunch, which has been planned for some months. We follow our hostess to the beautifully restored farmhouse, a labour of love for Simona and husband, Nick. Before long we are enjoying the garden and sipping Spumante.
The meal that follows fully justifies our efforts to make this date. Simona uses fresh local ingredients, many from her own property. Each course is a work of culinary art, reflecting the skills of this passionate chef. The menu, reproduced below, is served at a leisurely pace, and accompanied by excellent vino bianco and vino rosso, from a local Cantina[ii].
· Tomato jelly with parmesan mousse and pumpkin seeds.
· Zucchini flowers Roman style with mozzarella and anchovies.
· Homemade ravioli filled with Taleggio cheese and potato, served with truffle sauce.
· Pork and herb sausages poached in grape juice, served with potato and green beans.
· 75% Dark chocolate mousse with a pear foam.
Dessert is served!
Too soon, it is time for us to go our separate ways, but the memory will endure long after we return to our daily lives.
[ii] Simona and Nick have a small harvest of red grapes, Cabernet & Merlot, which are used in cooking. They grow larger quantities of white grapes Trebbiano, Grechetto and Malvasia, which they sell to the local Cantina. The famed Orvieto Classico DOCG wines must contain a minimum of 60% Trebbiano and Grechetto combined. The wines we drink may well be made from Simona and Nick’s grapes.