okay, okay, okay. italy.
we've been back almost a week* now but, god, it already feels like so long ago. sigh.
i don't know where to start. the obvious choice would be at the beginning but i can't do that.
why? because i have to save the best till last and we kick started italy in the most amazing place i have ever been.
well, how about the point of the trip, the wedding? good idea.
set in what i have been calling regional tuscany (because it's easier that way), the wedding of fiona and alfredo was always going to be a special experience.
we (the boy, ange, clare and i) were staying in a bed and breakfast about 10 minutes drive away from the wedding venue. a bed and breakfast i cannot recommend highly enough. casa monte cucco was more than we ever could have hoped for, although things started a little ominously.
we arrived about three hours later than we should have after a 90-minute wait for a pre-booked hire car and a nightmare of a time trying to get out of rome. "all roads might lead to rome but none of them freakin' get you out" said the mister at one point. still, when you turn left one block too soon and end up circling the colleseum for the third time, it's hard not to laugh.
we followed the directions to our b&b but, as it turned out, those directions only get you so far. we could not, for the life of us, work out where to turn off the main road. we knew we were close but we lapped that street three or four times looking for a sign, any sign. in the end, cucco was about five more turns and 10 minutes completely off the beaten track. this, in the end, was part of its appeal but a little heads up would have been great.
all was forgiven when we pulled up. italian homestead much? the house was gorgeous, the rooms were gorgeous, the setting was gorgeous, the hosts were so, so, so gorgeous. plus, in a huge bonus, we discovered were staying in the same place as the lovely pablo and elodie - a french couple who were also wedding guests.
we spent much of our time in the pool and slash or jacuzzi. surrounded by 360 degrees of rolling green hills and olive trees. seriously. we swam, we lazed, we....
yeh, we pretty much entertained ourselves in this very fashion for 90 per cent of the stay. all we really needed was a tennis ball and it would have been australia's favourite sport, 'classic catches', on tour. next time.
anyway, i am meant to be writing about the wedding of fiona and alfredo which was, in a nutshell, fantastico! the bride was stunning. yes, she my friend and of course i would say that but she truly, truly was. the groom, of course, was very handsome. and the two of them? tear jerkers! i think it was alf who shed the first tear...that promoted fi to do the same and then pretty much everyone else followed suit.
|you may now wipe your tears and kiss the bride|
the food and wine, as you might imagine given our location, was delicious. unlike your average australian wedding, there were eleventy six courses. we started with aperitif (pre-dinner drinks with nibblies in oz speak), then antipasto (ahhh, favourite!!) which i assumed was entree but, no.
entree was spinach and ricotta ravioli with sage and butter sauce. drooling? yeh, it was glorious. if only we were warned there were two entrees the boy might not have said yes when the waitress offered seconds. and he probably wouldn't have said yes when she offered thirds (ps: were were warned. he swears he didn't hear).
entree two? wild boar pappardelle. ahhh, yum! i had no idea i was eating boar for the first time but i'm a carnivore so that's okay.
mains involved rare beef and amazing roasted vegetables followed by pork and delish roasted potatoes. or was it the other way around? can't remember. the wine was too good.
because we'd been served many small meals, i had time to realise i was full and (those who know me won't believe it) could not eat dessert. i was so disappointed to because it was fruit flan which i freakin' love. sorbet cocktails were also served and i did manage to squeeze one of those in.
but seriously, there was more to this wedding than food. let's start with a little game we like to call 'photo geek'.
why not play along at home? simply nominate one person to be the photo geek and while they pose as if they've never been so excited to be in a photo, the rest of the gang should react with appropriate disdain.
anyway...the speeches, like the ceremony, were beautifully touching. all translated into english or italian by a bilingual groomsman. although we didn't understand most of it, listening to the italian speeches was somehow just as wonderful as hearing the english versions. both the father of the groom and the bride spoke and the bond between them was quite obvious. since they'd only met a week earlier, and neither could speak the other's language, watching them together was really quite special.
having already whet our appetite with a spontaneous conga line earlier in the evening, the night wrapped up on the dance floor. this is kind of my favourite place. ever.