Sunday; we all have a different reason for the love hate relationship. For the majority of the working public it is a 'relax' day, but at the same time, the LAST day of the weekend which is in the air all day - the fact that the dreaded Monday is a nights sleep away. For many Sunday is either adored (men) or abhorred (most women) for the American pig skin, aka Football, and the same goes for the fried food and beer that seems to be a mandatory 'pairing'. Sunday seems the perfect day to run errands with your partner, but as you arrive at your destination you utter, 'what the @#@$^$% was I thinking', EVERYONE had the same brilliant idea you did, so the parking and lines tend to send those of us with low tolerance for crowds over the edge. As a child I remember hating Sundays because it meant dad watching football all day, so there were no cartoon's for us or outings because he had to see the game, and it was early to bed because school was the next day.... nothing fun about any of that!
My dear mother however helped change Sunday's when we decided to start using the day as a 'cooking' day, and together we baked bread, made soups, and baked desserts. Well... Mom was unknowingly getting me ready for life here at Cascina Iuli.
On the table above:
- Peach tart I made with peaches from the 'La Colombera' orchard, cookies from the left over tart dough, and homemade pasta Fabrizio's mother and I made.
Sunday in Italy is about cooking all morning for the big 'pranzo,' and then sitting down for hours and hours eating and drinking, talking and smoking, drinking some more, maybe some coffee thrown in, and then maybe the cheese and meats even come back out again depending on the crowd and the wine consumption. This past Sunday, Fabrizio and I invited the owners of our favorite restaurant in Torino, Il Consorzio, http://www.ristoranteconsorzio.it/, our Italian national distributor from Les Caves de Pyrene Christian, and his lovely girlfriend Hanna, as well our neighbors and fellow wine lovers the Cesca brothers, Cascina Tavijn producer Nadia Verrua, and Roccalini Barbaresco producer Paulo Veglio and photographer Laura Tessera, and Fabrizio's daughter Sofia. Fabrizio decided he wanted Bollito (which you can refer back to the blog about the cold morning with the Bue grasso for the recipe), and so Bollito it was:
In the picture:
- Tongue, head and intestine... needless to say I was less than thrilled with this part of the meal, Fabrizio's daughter courageously 'peeled' the tongue before serving... GROSS!
- A Saint-Aubin 1er Cru '"En Remilly," a mag, that Christian brought, it was lovely. Beautiful expression of Chard.
- From there we opened a Grignolino from Cascina Tavijn that Nadia brought. Nadia is the producer, and she is a very talanted one at that... it is not easy to find GOOD Grignolino, but she makes it seem easy ... the color and body of a Pinot, but while still floral, more rustic and simple than Pinot, great acidity, and a great red for a first course and for warm weather.
- Then a mag of 2007 Roccalini Barbaresco was popped, absolutely beautiful, a Barbaresco 'for the people,' charming and friendly with just the right amount of complexity. Even in a mag it was drinking 'now.'
- Finally the famous 2004 Iuli Barabba in mag was brought out. Fabrizio bottled 400 mags in 2004 that he wanted to set aside for release in 2014 (I don't know how many will actually be left in 2014 at the rate we like to consume them ourselves with our friends). He states that a vintage like 2004 may come around only once in the lifetime of a producer, and so he wanted to do something special... this bottling was from a certain section of the old vineyard that had an incredibly high fixed acidity and incredible concentration. This is a wine that you start worrying about the prospect of there being none left before you take your second sip.
From here I lost track (because I was busy trying to keep up with the dishes and back end of the lunch)... and bottles started getting popped left and right. A quick coffee, and the BOCCE balls came out. Two teams, two hours, one throw, and then 10 minutes playing, and in good Italian spirit, 20 minutes debating over whether team A or team B's ball is closer. My team won, 13-3 (I've grown quite affectionate towards the game, it's not just for old Italian men :).
The eating, drinking, eating, drinking more, and then the 2 hours of 'exercise' chucking metal balls in our courtyard, finished around 7:00. Half the guests left, and the other half moved inside and I used the broth from the boiled meat to make a pastina in brodo for dinner with a salad and some 48 month old parmigano. It was the meal that kept on giving...
Moral of the story, the idea of a 'relaxing' Sunday here in Italy, forget about it... I'm not saying it wasn't fun, but let's just say it reminded me a little too much of my waitressing days when I worked doubles to pay the bills - only this time there was not a 'dishwasher' in the back to help me out!
Our recycling bin see's no sleep...