With the wife away, I think Giorgia took pity on me and the first week asked me to come have dinner with them. I didn't want to be rude but I explained that they eat too late and that I'm usually in bed around 9 so I would have to pass. She understood and was not offended but since I mentioned that weekends were better since I don't work, she wanted to invite me on a weekend but every weekend so far has been either full or they have been in Tuscany visitng her brother. She invited us for lunch this past Sunday but we had plans to be in Venice all day so I had to decline once again but I felt bad so I agreed to come to dinner on Wednesday. It worked out perfectly as there is an American kid named Jeremy staying with me this week, he is the son of a girl I went to school with back home. He's a freshman in college spending his first semester in Florence on an exchange program and he's on semester break so I offered for him to come up here if he wanted to see Venice and experience some real Italian culture. Well, let me tell you, if you want real Italian culture, go to dinner at an Italian's house.
We ended up eating around 8 and what a freaking meal. Antipasto was prosciutto crudo from Tuscany, then bigoli all'anitra (fat pasta with duck meat) which is a speciality of the Veneto region where live. After that they brought out a huge plate of homemade polpette done in Calabria style. Polpette is similar to a meatball except it's mostly flat instead of round and they make theirs with meat, cheese, parsley, cream and one or two other ingredients I can't recall. Absolutely delicious. Along with the polpette was a big plate of a special sweet salsiccia (sausage) from Asiago, the famous alpine town nearby known mostly for it's cheese. As a contorni (side dish), there was also a huge plate of steak fries (which I avoided) and a big bowl of salad. I was completely stuffed but then Daniele insisted on bringing out the big block of Asiago cheese and then a big bowl of roasted chestnuts. Dessert was a torta (cake) with pear on top. We also had three different kinds of vino.
The food was amazing but the best part of the night, as it often is, was the fellowship. The entire evening was spent with us learning a lot of Italian language and culture as well as introducing the neighbors to a lot of American language and culture. That kind of thing has always been one of my favorite parts of living in Italy. And it was quite an experience for Jeremy as well, as he was able to practice his Italian and the look on his face was priceless and I'm certain that he will keep that experience in his mind forever.
I didn't get any pics from dinner but I found a few online of some of the dishes: