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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

La Festa della Prima Comunione

Posted: August 19, 2006
by: Dave, Edie & Simonetta

Cooking creativity can best be developed in small classes or in one on one situations.  This is certainly the case at Casa Bellavista.  Edie and I have enjoyed the passion and enthusiasm Simonetta brings to the “marble top table” in her kitchen as she has shared some of her secrets of traditional Tuscan cooking with us.  It is around this table we have learned how to prepare everything from antipasti to gnocchi and pasta to several “secondi” dishes and of course, dolci.   

However, one of this year’s cooking experiences proved to be little different.  We were honored to be guests during a family celebration in honor of Filippo, Simonetta and Guido’s son who was making his Prima Comunione.  It has been said that when an Italian family gathers around the table with friends a celebration breaks out.  We can testify that this is true.  It is a celebration of food…family…and friends where joy abounds.  Img_0373

The Aperitivo for this family gathering included a Chianti Classico from Vignamaggio and aged pecorino cheese which Simonetta purchased from the “Porchetta Man” at the open market in the city of Cortona, not far from Casa Bellavista.

Img_0385 The Antipasti for this exciting festa included stuffed fried sage leaves. Freshly picked from the herb garden, the leaves are washed and dried.  Then a bead of anchovy paste is pressed between two leaves of sage, which are then dipped in an egg batter.  A brief time of frying in extra virgin olive oil blends the flavors into something that your taste buds will never forget. 

Pappa al Pomadoro, a dish prepared from bread, plum tomatoes, various herbs, salt and pepper and of course, extra virgin olive oil, was served as the Primo Piatto. To prepare this dish, we diced an estimated five kilos of plum tomatoes.  Img_0390 The pomadori, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil are cooked on the stovetop until soft and all the flavors have blended together.  Then, the bread is added and they are all cooked together for a little longer.  Its’ herbed flavors formed a perfect compliment to the Vignamaggio Terra di Prenzano wine served with it.

The Secondo Piatto was the crowning touch to this wonderful festa.  Thick, succulent Val di Chiana beefsteak was grilled to perfection.  The beef, thinly sliced, plated with a helping of Tuscan Beans and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil was a  secondo piatto “second to none”.Img_0411

A dolce of torta di limone and the customary cafe espresso and grappa brought the evening’s festa to a perfect conclusion. 

The day was fantastic!  The excitement of a trip to market - a great experience…helping prepare the foods – a cooking lesson beyond comparison…observing a family celebrating itself around la tavola, under the Tuscan stars…priceless.  (Apologies to MasterCard).

Dave Galusha

Foto Toscana


Your Comments

Dave - thank you for your wonderful peek into a Tuscany family celebration. Great post!

Posted by: Toby at Sep 1, 2006 2:27:35 PM