Monday Sept 16 (continued)
Angela arrived early and we left for Caltagirone in our rented Alfa Romeo with Rick driving. The traffic through Catania was horrible as usual, and it seemed as though it took a half hour just to get out of the city. We arrived in Caltagirone after an hour and a half, at 2:30.
We were greeted by Angela’s sister-in-law, Monica, and Angela’s cousins, Martina and Antonio. Monica’s parents, Antoinetta and Martino, were visiting from Puglia, and another couple, Maria and Lorenzo, as well, so there was a houseful of people. Calogero was not yet home from work but would be arriving soon.
It was a regular love fest with all the introductions and hugs and kisses. We also got to meet the newest member of the Savoca family, baby Gioia, who was not even two months old, and a beautiful baby. The family requested that I not post the baby’s photo, so I am respecting their request. Martina was beaming as the proud mamma and Adriano, her pappa, was right there too.
Despite the fact that no one speaks English besides us and Angela, we have no problem communicating. I am able to practice my Italian and Angela helps out with whatever isn’t clear. Monica and Rick can also understand and speak some Italian.
Monica must have been cooking all morning, with the help of her mother, Antoinetta, who loves to cook as much as Monica. Their home has two complete kitchens, proof of how important food and cooking is here.
Calogero has arrived, and by three o’ clock, we are sitting down to lunch in the downstairs kitchen.
For the next four hours, we were treated to an array of homemade Italian food. To say that everything tasted so good is an understatement. There were two types of bruschetta, one made with bread that Antoinetta made in Puglia, and the other with bread made from her friend, Maria. They both politely encouraged us to try both.
Calogero and Antonio had recently been out picking , mushrooms, so we had funghi in olive oil and pepperoncini, which were very hot. As if one type isn’t enough, Monica had also prepared funghi with pomodoro sauce. Delicious. Of course there was a bottle of red wine, homemade from either Martino or Lorenzo, one of the two men visiting from Puglia. Fresh pecorino cheese from Caltagirone was yet another appetizer.
We had pasta pomodoro and pasta norma, which is pasta with eggplant, basilico, basil, and freshly grated Ricotta cheese, from their farm in Cesarò. I loved the pasta norma, especially with the cheese. For the secondi piatti, which I did not eat, since this was way too much food, Monica served chicken cotoletta, breaded chicken cutlets and also agnello, lamb.
Throughout the meal there was a lot of laughing and everyone seemed happy to be together. I noticed that all the men sat at one end of the table, and the women sat at the other end. Adriano was the exception, and he sat next to Martina. I felt like I was at home, once again, with my Italian Savoca family.
For dessert, we had watermelon, which I was told, is called melon from America. We also had meloni bianchi, which looks and tastes like cantaloupe, except the consistency is not as dense and the color is white. An overflowing fruit bowl filled with grapes, plums, and peaches, was on the table. Biscotti were served with espresso with crema di zucchero.
After all this, Monica starts frying up zucchini flowers after dipping them in a very light flour mixture. This was the first time I ever had them and they are now on top of my list and I want to try to make them myself. They were crispy and so good, such a tasty, crispy treat.
What a great day we had with family. I would love it if one day they came to visit us in the US. At 7:15 we said arrivederci and left for the hotel in Catania. We got back at 8:30 and said goodbye to Angela, who then drove back to Taormina. We were exhausted and went to bed.