Pranzo di Partenza (Going away lunch)

Pranzo di Partenza (Going away lunch)

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

I don’t know if they actually say that in Italian so I mayhave just invented a term. Still that’s the way I think of it. I had, with the help of Barbara (and some help from Cesare) arranged a lunch with Italian friends that was timed for just a few days before my departure. The date was Saturday June 7 and my departure is (I’m writing this the day before I leave) June 10. It was me and 9 Italians, 7 of whom I know and the others a spouse and “companion”.

It was at an agritourismo, Ca’ Guidotto (more info and photos by clicking here) in the hills not too far from Bologna; Google maps says 27 kilometers (about 17 miles) from where I live. I had been there for Pasquetta and the food was good, it was not too far away and Cesare knows the owners. He unfortunately was unable to come but made the reservations. Two others who I’ve had a good deal of contact with here (Franco and Renata) also were unable to come but it was a very vivacious group. As is often the case I have a hard time following the conversation but it got better with time for two reasons. First, two other groups sitting near us left thus lowering the competing noise level substantially and second, I had drunk more wine by that time (maybe kidding about this one).

The meal started with 3  different kinds of pasta for everyone at the table; the first was green tagliatelle with ragu, the second was ravioli with nettles (a specialty here) as a flavor and the third ravioli with mortadella and some kind of cheese, probably ricotta. Next came the crescentine, those delectable squares of fried and puffed up bread that are served with abundant salumi. There were also platters of fritto misto, in this case veggies ranging from potatoes to cauliflower. Oh yes, there were also a couple of bowls of various pickled things to pass around; onions, peppers, mushrooms, etc. Wine was carafes of local sangiovese and a local white, pignoletto. And then there was of course coffee and some people had desert. Then came the grappas and other liquors. One came in a Fanta bottle and we were assured that it was not a soft drink. It was a good house made grappa different from the other that was made there. Check their website by clicking on this link to see some of the others.

I always forget to take pictures of the crescentine but they are such a great local specialty that I found a perfect one on the web. Sometimes they are bigger but these look like the perfect size.

The ones I like the best are this shape and about 1 1/2 inches on a side. Bite sized.

The ones I like the best are this shape and about 1 1/2 inches on a side. Bite sized.

The guests

The guest

Clockwise from left  – Paolo, (in green shirt)  Marco and his wife Claudia (standing), Vittorio and his wife Barbara at the table, Claudia my friend and former teacher, Gaudio and his companion of 10 or more years Sandra and Gianluca.

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