16 September, 2017
2017 – Verona Day 4 – Horsing Around
Our hosts for lunch and a cooking class are Damiano and Moira. They live in Alpo, a little town in the area of Villafranca di Verona. They are a most gracious family and welcomed us into their home. Antimo knew Damiano from his Italian army days.
Pearà (sort of a bread soup) is a specialty of this area – it’s like a thick gravy or polenta but it is made with stale bread that is cooked in a vegetable/meat broth for hours and then cheese is added. Wow!
Moira and Damiano have a beautiful family, home, and a lovely kitchen.
This family makes their own olive oil and salami. Best we’ve ever tasted. This soup is kind of like chicken soup without the chicken. The broth is created from boiling carrots, onions, and celery along with a variety of meats. It is then strained and Grattini pasta is added. Grattini is like small shredded pasta pieces. I may try this at home and add small pieces of chicken.The area where Damiano grew up makes its own version of caponata. This one had potatoes in it. Ricardo really liked it, so I’m sure I will be duplicating this vegetable dish.
Lunch included roast served with the Pearà and caponata. A very unusual meal that did not lack in flavor. The family said this was more of a typical Sunday meal because it takes awhile to make the Pearà.
Torta della Nonna was dessert – a cream torte served on hand-painted plates. Moira got up early this morning to make this for us and it was delicious. She even sent us home with some. Breakfast cake it will be!
Dopo pranzo (after lunch) we visited the barn area where the family business is boarding race and show horses. Claudia and Cheri – you would really appreciate this property. They had outside and inside arenas, the stalls were very nice and there were a lot of them. And the horses were beautiful! Three amigos in front of the horse barn.
There is also a clubhouse where they have events. Check out this oven in the event area of the horse barn. You know I can find a kitchen/oven almost anywhere!
We left this lovely family to visit a winery and taste wine. The white wine of this region is so bright and flavorful. We had to buy a bottle – well two.
This winery had an unusual device to aerate their wine. When you buy wine, they wrap it up like a present. We do have 2 1/2 weeks left in Italy so I’m pretty sure neither of these bottles of wine will make it home.
On our way back to Verona we stopped in to see a castle in Villafranca. The castle was closed today because they were having a very special festa where the town stays up and celebrates all night – not just until 1 or 2 am – all night – until the next morning. They were just setting up tents for food and merchandise all over the main streets of the city when we were there. I wonder who makes it to church on Sunday after partying all night? Wall of rocks that make up the exterior of this castle. Fascinating how they figured out the combination of rocks and bricks and kept everything in a straight line.
We stopped in to have a gelato to end a perfect afternoon. Antimo knew this gelato owner from the days when he worked in this town over 20 years ago. There was a wedding ceremony going on as we passed by a church. We wanted to see the bride and groom emerge but it took too long so I took a picture of their car instead. Cute isn’t it? I like the way they decorated with a flower “nose” and there were decorations on the side mirrors.
Back in Verona we had a light dinner in the apartment and then hit the streets for the evening activities. After all, Antimo had to make sure my Fitbit vibrated over 10,000 steps a day, right?
In Verona city center there is a game festival going on called Tocati. You can follow a blue man around to each of the events happening around the town. There are two teams competing against each other – a red team and a green team. This evening we happened upon a hay rolling event where two teams roll these huge rolls of hay down the street and back. It is a friendly competition and the team members joke with each other. The crowd throws flour at them as they roll by. I didn’t get the significance of it, other than it would hamper their ability to see (they all wore goggles). The teams and the crowds had a lot of fun. Short video.
Red team getting their strategy together. Well, there really wasn’t much strategy other than to make sure the crowd was entertained.
So started the day with real horses and ended the day with “horsing around.”