Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tuscan dining

Well, food in Italy is an experience requiring time, good friends and conversation as well as excellent, fresh ingredients. Tuscan food is simple in its ingredients, yet with many layers of depth and complexity of flavors. Take Crostini, for instance...use day-old bread that was already sliced, brush it with olive oil from Pescia, add rub on some garlic, grill it. And...voila! A tasty appetizer.

We had catered meals at the villa during the conference. Breakfast, lunches came with a specially printed menu listing each course. Lunches were typically with local wines (whites, reds), a started course of Crostini or Bruschetta, followed by maybe Risotto with funghi (mushrooms) in a light cream sauce. Next it might be a light pasta dish, such as a seafood one.

Or stuffed Ravioli with funghi and bathed in a beef stock sauce with red wine and fresh asparagus.
Followed by main courses, such as local soups, meats, potatoes, steamed vegetables, or even pizza with local Parma ham or Parma Reggio cheeses, garnished with capers (lots growing in this region), cured green olives, etc.!
Then, of course, salat! Their salads might be Caesar salat (Romaine lettuce, shaved Parma cheeses, anchovies, capers, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil/lemon zest or juices), or tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil and aged Balsamic vinegars (the thick, syrupy kind with oh, so much flavor!).  And then desserts....(Mark's favorite course).

Should we start with a fresh cherry tart, made with a layer of white cake underneath (great idea) and a lattice work on top made out of shortbread?

Next, how about some creme caramel glazed with a chocolate and Balsamic vinegar reduction?
Buon apetito!

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.

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