Friday, 12 June 2009
As Happy As A Pig in.....
Mrs Combo is an excellent cook. Sometimes there is a local agriturismo* which asks her to help out in the kitchen. This they did last Sunday as there were two christening parties going on at the same time. This event let me stroll for an hour or so in the sunlit uplands, marvelling at God's grace and love.
I had been down to Genoa for the day for the footie. Coming back up on the train Mrs Combo rang and said "Look tesoro, I haven't been able to cook anything for this evening so Stefi (the owner of the agriturismo) said why don't you come straight here and eat with us?" "OK" I replied dutifully.
When I arrived it was chaos. Children running riot, toys all over the lawns, male relatives in their smooth suits with their shirt collars undone and the ladies in fine dresses with excellent decollete on display. It was hot and they had eaten and drunk very well. Now the kitchen was preparing puddings. Stefi shoved a plate of deep fried courgette flowers, salami, tomatoes, fresh broad beans and fresh bread in my hand and said "Look Ron, don't eat here with us in the kitchen standing up. Why don't you go into that dining room as they've all finished and have gone outside. You can eat there. We've cleared the tables of the plates but I think there's some wine left. Let me know if you want a coffee. Sorry about this but you can see how it is..."
As I walked into the room and closed the door behind me I felt my eyes prick with tears. I put the plate of food on the nearest table and sank to my knees. I bowed my head and prayed out loud. "Thank you God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so very much."
There were undrunk bottles of wine everywhere. All had been opened but very few had been finished, most had hardly been touched. That's Italians for you. They somehow don't see the need to finish every drink that is on offer. Can't see it myself, but still. There was an excellent local white, cortese, and a wonderful Monferrato Rosso (a blend of barbera, cabernet sauvignon and good old merlot), both from decent producers.
I sat at table and tucked my napkin into my collar. Clean glass. Thank you very much.
*An agriturismo is a working farm which will have a restaurant and accommodation. They (are meant to) serve only food and wine that they produce themselves. Usually good value.