My friend Marie sent me this photo of all of us around the table, except for her daughter Giorgia who was snapping the picture. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post it here, as our Christmas pranzo was so enjoyable.
We had the pleasure of being invited to share the traditional Christmas lunch at the home of Marie and Roberto, and their family. Their daughters, as well as his father and mother,were also be present. You couldn't have asked for a better day-- great food, great company, and even a little bit of good old American college football on TV.
We ate and ate and ate-- first appetizers with prosecco. Next we got seated at the table for the first course - a magnificent homemade pumpkin soup. Pumpkin (Zucca) is a very local food, and we have had it served in many ways. This soup was to die for, and I will have to ask for the recipe.
Next came the main event. The tacchino (turkey), may just have been one of the best I have ever tasted. Marie described a new cooking techique passed to her by another friend, which requires covering the turkey with cheesecloth and basting it every 20 min with wine and herbs. I would have liked to have seen this, as there is no cheesecloth to be had in these parts. Marie had Roberto go to the farmacia to buy alot of gauze! The gauze worked!!
Along with the tacchino we had stuffed mushrooms, roasted fennel, creamed onions, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. This probably sounds like a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner! Well, since Marie an American who has lived here for 20 some years, that wouldn't be too far from the truth. However, this was definitely Christmas, and a lovely mix of both American and Italian traditions.
When we could barely move and had finished up seconds, Roberto made scroppino, which we all devoured. I had thought that scroppino was usually a summer treat, but was delighted to discover that it is used year round. I love this stuff. It's a lemon sorbet mixed with prosecco and some vodka or gin. Yummmm.
Still the dolci yet to come.. lots of panettone, cookies, brownies, chocolates and torrone.
It was a perfect afternoon. Roberto's parents Luigi and Sonia were a delight to meet- more native Venetians. We also totally enjoyed getting to know Roberto and Marie's girls, and their friends who dropped in after dinner. Clearly our Italian skills are improving as we were able to understand about 80% of the day's conversation.