There is no doubting my love of Italian food. Thanks to Nonna, I have been making lasagne, gnocci, fetuccine, sugo (you name it!) … for the same time that childhood memories can conjure.
So I therefore knew that there would be no problem whatsoever in the food department when visiting my Italian relatives 2 1/2 years ago in Gubbio, Umbria.
All of my Nonna’s sisters cook the same food that she does back here in Australia. The deliciously oily chicken frico, simmering in a pot of ripe tomoatoes. That crispy, flat brustenco which you use to lap up the left over sauces on the plate. All so delectable.
However, what I was not expecting was the quantity. Without question, I knew that I would be over-using the word basta so that I could move onto the next plate with ease and little discomfort. But I was not expecting that everyday would consist of 3 course lunches, afternoon teas, followed by 3 course dinners. Luckily, I kept a record. I had to see what was happening to believe it.
The most amazing true Italian hospitality moment was the lunch of December 26th, when the entire Tosti family came together as a group of 40 people to eat and welcome me to Gubbio. As I walked through the doors of the restaurant, my family stood around and clapped as I entered. Huge baci and encapsulating hugs followed, before lunch was served to the masses. Such amazingly warm people as they are, they arranged gifts and a cake for me, and celebrated everyone’s birthdays in turn.
By the end of my ten days in Gubbio, I would have to admit that food started to taste more like cardboard, but their kindest and warmest welcome will always remain in my heart and memories.