status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage
It never ceases to astound me just how much food the Italians (and the Spanish, and the French) can pack away, and still not be beset by the obesity issues that so trouble some Anglo-Saxon countries.
I spent a truly delightful evening in the company of my neighbours and some of their friends a few nights ago, but had to practically roll myself home afterwards. The combination of a five course meal (FIVE courses on a TUESDAY!) accompanied by five different sorts of alcohol ensuring that the following day passed in a cumbersome blur of post-overindulgence.
Accompanied by copious amounts of red wine, we began with anti-pasti; stuffed courgette flowers (fiori riempiti), courgette quiche and spinach (ge in dialect) quiche.
Followed by pasta; pappardelle (very wide tagliatelle) with anchovies, tomato, mint, basil, garlic and eye-wateringly hot peperoncino.
Then came the plat de résistance, for which I felt emboldened enough to fetch my camera, as it was apparently something of an event.
Massêtti are the intestines (bielu) of very young lambs or kids, slaughtered before they have started to eat grass. They are tied into knots, and then cooked with white wine, olives and parsley.
This used to be one of the signature dishes of the village until (possibly due to EU regulations) this particular part of the animal became almost impossible to get hold of. My fellow diners were thrown into paroxysms of nostalgia remembering la mamma and la nonna preparing such delicacies.
Now I am not a lover of offal in any guise, but I valiantly battled my gag reflex and managed one small knot. The taste was not unpleasant, and the texture not rubbery as I had expected; more like a very soft kidney. That said, I’m not sure the scarcity of such delights is going to give me many sleepless nights…
(Luckily we were also provided with boiled courgettes, green beans, and a huge platter of fried whitebait to keep the ever-baying wolf from the door.)
With red wine still flowing, we then got stuck into the cheeses. Only seven different types to choose from, thankfully, because by this time I had no buttons, belts or zips left to loosen.
But my goodness the dolci…. It was inevitable, I suppose, given that the man of the house is a retired pasticcere (pastry chef) that the desserts were going to be to die for. And he sure did us proud…
White wine and prosecco were rolled out to accompany the enormous wagon wheel of fruit torta and the shockingly wicked cannolo filled with chocolate cream and zabaglione.
After an orgy of such calorific proportions, there was nothing left to do but sit around contentedly supping snifters of genepy and homemade limoncello whilst putting the world to rights.
The general consensus of opinion being that we still have some matters of international politics to iron out, so may have to repeat the experience in the near future.
Oh the hardship…
This is Status Viatoris, not sure she’d want to swap it for fish, chips and mushy peas, in Italy.