11 Sep Please The Palate Pick of the Week: A Belated Birthday Celebration, Italian Style
There is nothing quite like a celebration in Italy. I have a vivid memory from when I lived in Italy 27 years ago. My friends and I were out in the country and happened upon an Italian wedding taking place. It seemed like the entire town was there and the party went on for hours. There was tons of food, wine and laughter. I remember thinking how much fun it would be part of an Italian celebration and I finally got the chance in a belated birthday celebration Italian style, the highlight of my week and the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Like most people, I celebrated a significant birthday during lockdown. While I was able to have a small celebration with my family, the dreams I had to take a trip could not be realized. But, a few months ago, my dear friend Samantha of 27 years in Italy called me up and said she was throwing a lunch to celebrate her significant birthday with another friend of hers, and she said I had to come and celebrate mine with her. How could I say no. I was itching to travel. I am fully vaccinated and take all precautions. I booked my flight for my first international trip in two years.
Parties are always fun. But American parties are typically a few hours. If you are invited to a birthday lunch, it will probably take up 3 or 4 hours of your day. But, not a birthday lunch in Italy! A birthday lunch in Italy starts with aperitivi and then you sit down for a lunch filled with good food and wine. But when lunch is over, the party does not end. At least ours did not.
We started with a glass of Prosecco at 10am to kick off the day!
We drove to Moleto, a medieval village in Ottiglio in the province of Alessandria in Monferrato in Piemonte. We had booked a room at the only bed & breakfast in the village so that we could have fun and not worry about driving back to Vercelli, 40 minutes away. But, that was not the only reason. The other reason was so that the celebration could continue.
We started at noon with aperitivi at the bar in Moleto. Bar Chiuso (which means closed bar) is an open air bar overlooking vineyards and Monferrato.
Around 1:30pm we walked across the road to Cave de Moleto where lunch was set up in the open air garden.
We started with charcuterie. On the table were bottles of Vermentino from Toscana and the BES Xira’ from Monferrato (produced by Sammy’s cousin Daniele).
Then came the delicious meat ravioli which paired perfectly with the Syrah.
Then a plate with vitello tonnato and crudo of Fassona Piemontese arrived. Daniele had brought a few bottles of his Grignolino, which I love, and it was a perfect pairing!