Here’s Brandt welcoming everyone to our house in Umbria…well, our house for a week in 2012.
Channeling the La Dolce Vita spirit we hosted Supper Club Sunday evening. This was our first time to have a theme. It was our dear friend Teresa’s turn to host but she is dealing with a health challenge. We send her our love, prayers and lots of positive energy for the days ahead.
Teresa, we missed you and love you more than words can say!!!
The 2012 Italy trip has inspired my cooking, entertaining and dining out more than I would’ve ever imagined. I have a deeper love and commitment to all things fresh. I’ve learned that the simplest dishes can be the most delicious. And, we’ve slowly stopped “dining out”. “Played with” presentations no longer appeal to me; at all. The value when dining out in Europe has ruined us. There, we sat in a restaurant the size of our master closet literally rubbing elbows with the table next to us and had the best food you’ve ever put in your mouth AND a bottle of wine and only spent $50…for two. Here, while there’s plenty of room and clean tablecloths what you get for what you pay just does not compute…and I won’t elaborate on ambience and service…MERCY!!! So, we eat at home or at friends homes with the exception of a few ethnic restaurants we love where the quality and authenticity overpower the fluorescent lighting and language barriers. I give credit to The Memphis Farmers Market for making my love of cooking and eating at home easier. The vendors at the market are the closest I’ve found to the Trionfale Market or Campo de Fiori in Rome. Shopping at these places truly changed the way I shop and we eat. In fact, my shopping spree on the morning we left Rome made us late for our lunch reservation in Orvieto by two hours…that’s a story for another blog!
The joy of having a REAL butcher…heaven, pure heaven.
Tagliavento Norcineria, Bevagna…FABULOUS!!!
Suffice to say an Italian themed supper club made me very happy.
We had Italian map placemats.
I did a Gorgonzola Spread with bread sticks to munch on between courses. The wine bottles holding the candles are from Fattoria Cinciano…the villa and vineyards where we stayed on our first trip.
Everything in the centerpiece is either from Italy or inspired by our visits. The glass is from Murano, the runner from Florence and fruit, bread and flowers all beckon back to a day visiting the Mercatos of Tuscany and Umbria.
Robert and Delia did the Aperitivo and Antipast0. The Aperitivo was the oh-so-popular Biciclettta which everyone grabbed so quickly I didn’t get a photo.
I actually got chastised for making them wait to dig in to the incredible Mortadella Mousse. They were both huge hits!!! Oh, and look at the Laguiole Spreader by Claude Dozorme we used for the mousse. I know it’s French but it was an early birthday present from Sweet Teresa and I we just had to use it…FABULOUS!!!
I had the Primo Course which is almost always a pasta course. So, I did Hand Cut Ravioli con Salsiccia Italiana e Funghi, Salsa di Pomodoro 3 Giorni e l’inizio piselli (Raviolis with Italian Sausage and Wild Mushroom, 3-day tomato sauce and early peas). Brandt gave me a pasta maker after we returned in 2012 and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. However, this was my first attempt at ravioli and from all reports it was not bad…not bad at all.
Gary gave us the Secondi of Medaglioni Arrosto di Manzo e Gamberetti con Stilton e Pancetta (Roasted Beef and Shrimp with Stilton and Bacon Sauce) As I type this it sounds really heavy but it was just the opposite. The cheese and bacon were the perfect accompaniment to the beef. The citrus and dill on the shrimp added the perfect brightness for a match made where the rolling hills of Tuscany and the shores of the Mediterranean meet.
Brandt and Kirk conspired and surprised us all but me especially with the delicious Lemon Pound Cake from Carolina Pound Cakes. If you like pound cakes but don’t like to bake; this company is for you. A very special surprise indeed.
Kirk made it even better (and Italian) with homemade Amaretto Gelato…sweet in all the right ways and molto delicioso!!!
Brandt ordered the cake from long time friends Jere and Pat Rudisill but his actual supper club assignment was caffe’ and digestivo. We love using these glasses our dear friend Bucky gave us. They really do make the perfect ending to the perfect meal.
And, yes, I do believe the house was lovely and a good time was had by all.