Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mmmm - Food

I like to eat. And I LOVE Italian food. Especially in Italy.

But eating in Italy, similar to other parts of Europe, is not a rushed affair. You may get to a restaurant at 7:30 (most restaurants in Italy don't seat guests until 7/7:30) and not receive your first course until 8:30 which means you'll be there 'til 10. I may have said this before - when you make a dinner reservation, the table is yours for the night. There will be no one else but you eating there - we see entire restaurants empty in Switzerland, go in at 6:30, ask for a table - "so sorry, but we are all reserved" - even if someone isn't showing up 'til 9pm, they won't seat anyone else there. It's nice when you're running late since they won't give away your table after 10 minutes. The evening in the restaurant is the entertainment. No one is rushing home to watch TV - they are there to eat, enjoy and socialize.

Another thing. When eating in Italy, it is customary that you will order several courses (normal is 3). The menu typically has an Antipasti course (nice little appetizers - meats, cheeses, fish, bruscetta), 1st course (soups, pasta's), 2nd course (meat/fisch specialties), a selection of sides for your 2nd course (veggies and salad if you wish - salad being eaten after the main meal) and then the dessert course. Your typical 3 courses will be a combination of any of the above.

We loved the Antipasti courses and through ordering various sample plates found out that Kendra really likes pates (chicken/duck/tuna). Only she and I ate them - Bart and Rachel refused. And I didn't tell her what was in them. :)

I have eaten about everything that walks on 4 legs (that is served in Europe) or flies since we moved here. And no, that would never include anything we consider a housepet - they don't eat that kind of meat. Bart sticks with the mainstream animals although has had some venison lately. Some of you may be vegetarians - sorry, we like our veggies but we are a household of meat-eaters. And while my kids didn't mind that I had the wild hare with black truffle, they wouldn't taste it. Even though it tastes like chicken. It really does.

Except for the truffle part. That is my weakness. If I walk into a restaurant and smell truffles, I have to order something from the menu with truffles. It's an addictive food item for me. My guess is, people are truffle people or not. I am a truffle person. But not about to go rooting around in the dirt for them myself. Or hire a pig to do it - found out they use 'truffle dogs' in Italy. So - I only order it in restaurants.

But we didn't always eat at restaurants since we had a lovely view from the terrasse. Chez Susan whipped up some fresh green beans, buttered noodles and pesto noodles for the family. The pesto was so good I had to use restraint and not eat it straight out of the container. Bart's meatloaf. Have you ever seen meatloaf like this? He said it was the best he's ever had. Fortunately, I've NEVER made meatloaf for him so he's not comparing it to home. He had 4 presentations of his loaf - you can see the zucchini salsa and roasted tomatoes. I don't know what else topped it as I thought to take pictures halfway through this lunch.
And my ricotta cheese and pear ravioli with butter sauce. It was absolutely delightful.
After such a lunch, this is what greeted the family back at Le Miccine. Look at their faces. Don't they look thrilled. "Gee Mom, melon, bread, salami, prosciutto and cheese. Is that all."

"You vill eat it and you vill like it!" And they did.
So - the food adventures were great. And Rachel survived several restaurants that didn't serve Pizza - oh, the horror!


Josh & Sarah said...

Thanks, Susan. It is 8:40 PM here and now I am very hungry! And I know that nothing I can find in this house will match what I just saw/read about! Delicious! My mouth is watering. I'm so thankful that you all get to have these experiences and we can live through you! :)

Makila said...

I really have no huge desire to travel overseas BUT I love pasta and might consider Italy just for the food. :)