Two weeks ago I had my first introduction into the Italian Catholic church... The first communion of Lorenzo's cousins son, where all the kids dress in white robes and do... church.. stuff (I had coffee with Lorenzo's uncle next door... is that bad?). Then they have a big lunch with all the rellies... 39 in total!!! It reminded me of a wedding! Everyone wanted to know if we make such a big deal about first communions in Australia...... Can anyone help me answer that???
Non religous jokes aside it was a really nice day! I met all of Lorenzo's mum's brothers and sisters (8 in total, and no, I don't remember all their names...) and almost all of their kids! Lunch was at a restaurant called "Casa di prosciutto"- literally translated house of ham... which lives up to it's name. It was gooood! And as usual we ate too much...what a surprise!
|To be honest I have no idea who these girls are, but how cute are they all dressed in white!!|
Then last weekend we went to La Sagra della Castagna- The chestnut festival in a little mountain town in the Maremma area of Tuscany called Montorsaio. We went to this festival last year as well for Lorenzo's friend Marco's birthday where lots of families open up their basements, set up tables, chairs, kitchens and wine barrels and host one big festival. Marco's housemate Ale (who you may or may not remember from the first time I came to Florence) is from the Maremma area, and together with a few friends they run one of these "basement parties", where we ate, drank, danced and were merry... and Marco and his jazz band played at 2am. Needless to say we had a good time (Marco most of all!) and many a chestnut were eaten.
|We will never know why...|
Last, but certainly not least the mushrooms. These mushrooms, however, are no normal mushrooms... oh yes, you guessed correctly, Porcini mushrooms. That's what you were thinking too right?
I can't say that I had actually seen fresh porcini before coming to Italy... but now I have not only seen but picked... or is it foraged... or hunted? Whichever it is, today I went with Lorenzo's dad and one of his friends into the forest on the way to Bologna to find some funghi. I can't say I'm any good at finding them without someone pointing them out to me (I mean literally calling me over and asking me if I see anything 2 metres to the left of my feet) but just walking through the forest on such a beautiful Autumn day was the best. I learnt which mushrooms to eat and which ones I should probably just let grow, how to pick them and re-plant the roots and most important of all, how to be quiet so that other foragers don't come too close and find our mushrooms!
|No I'm not blind, this is not a porcino|
|Riccardo showing me that if this mushroom has a ring around the stem it's good to eat... we roasted it for dinner... so I will tell you tomorrow if his theory is correct!|
|Silvano and his porcini|
|Overlooking the Mugello hills|
|Little red mushroom picker with her basket of goodies.|
What a beautiful morning I had, and what awesome dinners are coming up with fried porcini, tagliatelli con porcini, roasted porcini, porcini soup... you get the point! Mmmmmm!