Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Church of Prosciutto

Ah, back to Italy. With the freezing weather approaching (26 the high this weekend!), I find myself thinking of warmer weather and vacation. I know, I know, I think of vacation quite a bit. I work to live and to go on vacation!! Work hard, party hard!

Now I would like to share with you a story about my mother-in-law, better known as la suocera (pronouced swo-serr-rah). I know I have told you about her love of persimmons and my love of her. My in-laws are really good to me. Remember that lunch in Venice? Well, during that same trip we traveled all throughout the North. We visited friends, played some soccer and ate really well. I am sure this is not the last y'all will hear about this trip. On our way to Udine to buy a DiNatale jersey for Manny, we stopped for lunch in San Daniele.

It was the season of festas and the entire center of town was clogged with a festa or fair. We called them Festas of Underwear and Cheap Kitchen Utensils. You would recognize these fairs. They are identical to church fairs held in every town in America, every summer. Some Festas are incredible! Frico, Prosciutto, certain cheeses, awesomeness... A lot of time, this is just one part of the festa, with the majority of tables selling underwear and cheap kitchen utensils. This was an underwear festa. We struggled to get to somewhere for lunch. Lunch would be at one of the incredible Prosciutterie. A prosciutteria is a small place in which the entire menu is composed of prosciutto. Yes, it is everything you would think it is and more!

There were 11 of us and we sat outside at a long wooden table on benches. Domenic, John's Dad, has a lunch every day that consists of prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato salad and bread. It is one of his favorite things on the planet and here we were at his personal Mecca. What does he do? He orders a bowl of tortellini. Anna, la suocera, barks, "Domenic! What are you doing?!?! Order prosciutto or you will regret it!" Silly Domenic! He obeys.

Plates of prosciutto with melon, prosciutto with olives, cheese and mushrooms, prosciutto with tomatoes are delivered along with bottles of Tocai Friulano. Tocai is the perfect, and I mean PERFECT wine to drink with prosciutto. I was sitting next to Anna and made sure that her glass was always full. The kids ordered Fanta. Italian Fanta is more natural than the stuff we get here. We ate and laughed and drank and Domenic was in heaven. It was a monumental lunch.

Drunk and happy and stuffed with cured pork, we decided to walk the town until we could safely leave. We staggered through the lovely, hilly town, looked out to Austria and sucked up the sun. We stumbled upon La Chiesa di San Daniele. It is a beautiful church, white and austere. Inside it is cool and stark, calm and vaulting. I have a habit of always finding the Mary section and giving props to the girl. I noticed that the candles that you could light had a pic of the church with the inscription "Chiesa di San Daniele". I had to give one to my friend Francine. I turned to Anna and asked, "Do you think if I just paid the 2 euro I could keep the candle?" Anna looked horrified and replied in a Tocai filled Italian accent "No, no, no, Stephanie! No!" She paused, "Pay double!" I placed 4 euros in the box and slipped my candle in my bag.

See? I love her.

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