After finding my roots in the tiny fishing village of Lacco Ameno, Ischia, I became a dual citizen and was beckoned to live in the country that my family had to abandon in 1904. They would never live to know that their dream would be fulfilled through their children. They would never live to know that a century and three generations later, the circle would be completed, returning one of their children back, to love as they never could, the land that was once theirs.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
My Capodanno 2013
This year for the first time I hosted Capodanno and celebrated with a group of friends from Prato who insisted on buying and cooking all the food. After forcing me to abandon my porcelain in favor of paper plates, they furiously took over the house like a crew of professionals, What's cooler than eating caviar off disposable dinnerware? The men were in charge of the kitchen....what a performance.
It reminded me of how I once so incorrectly believed that Italian women did the cooking while the men got served. Maybe in yesteryear, but certainly not true today. Italian men, thanks to their mothers and their ever-more liberated wives, they can whip up an amazing meal faster than an Americana can nuke a frozen dinner.
At 5 o'clock, the men arrived carrying the food, from caviar and prosecco to Mantovana and Vin Santo. Dinner commenced with salmon and caviar bruschette followed by tagliatelle al salmone. For the secondo piatto, shrimp served in a broth laced with olive oil, lemon, wine, black olives and pepperoncino.
Although it was a seafood dinner, before our dolce, we ate lentils and sausage, a traditional New Years Eve dish, believed to bring good fortune in the coming year. Follwed by Torta Mantovana which they brought from Pasticerria Antonio Mattei, the famous Pratese bakery that created the recipe in 1858.
We cooked and played all night long, danced, sang and were having so much fun that we decided not to walk over to Piazza Signora to see the concert and fireworks at midnight. We brought in the New Year by counting down with Carlo Conti, popped the cork singing with Gigi d'Alessio, and the party went on into the wee hours of the morning. Then like magic, they cleaned-up everything, including the floors, in a flash.
After dancing throughout the house, we were joined by other friends and at 1.30am decided to take a passeggiata. We ventured out into the packed streets which were loud with fireworks. Every hotel in town was booked and it was obvious.
The streets of Florence have become rowdy on New Year's Eve, it's not the intimate and silent city it was on my first New Year's Eve here. I can see that from now on I will be spending my Capodanno in the company of good friends, doing our own wonderful thing. Buon anno tutti! Below a photo slideshow.