Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Monday

In Italy, the Monday after Easter is a holiday.  Here in Sicily, it is a day to visit with family and friends.  We were invited to be guests of Angelo and his wife Adriana at their home for a BBQ.  Angelo is Ika's brother and her husband is, of course, Tony Call Me Pony.

If you have ever been to Italy, you know that their is an ancient Catholic church on almost every block.  The church could solve it's current shortage of priests problem if they just closed down about half of these churches and then redistributed their current roster of clerics to towns with just one church for an entire town.  Remember to vote for me the next time the office of Pope comes open, I have a whole list of improvements in mind.

The reason for all these churches in Italy is, I am told, that rich families would build them as a show of their wealth and to one up their neighbors who had just completed a church of their own.  We no longer are building churches in large numbers but the competitive nature of Italian families is still present.  It now presents itself, thankfully, in the form of highly competitive hosting of dinners and BBQ's!  Every time we are invited to someone's home to mangiar (eat) we are amazed by both the quality and quantity of the offerings and, of course, of the tremendous hospitality.

Today's BBQ may have set a new standard for greatness.  First, the setting, Angelo and Adriana have purchased a 200+ year old working vineyard and are turning it into their home.  They first took the smaller building, where the grapes were taken to be crushed into the wine, and have spent about two years completely refurbishing the inside into an incredible multi level, open space area using as much recycled material from the old vineyard as possible.  They also scoured the country side looking for recycled period materials to use where their supplys fell short.

The larger building that was used to store and age the wine will someday be their main house.  They are about a year away from moving in according to Adriana.  They are using the same attention to detail as they did in this "small" house.

I know that the book "Under the Tuscan Sun" was a big hit in the U.S.A. a few years ago and I also know we are nowhere near Tuscany but this is EXACTLY the place that would come into your mind's eye if you read the book!

After the setting, the weather was the next issue of interest.  It drizzled, it hailed HARD for about 5 minutes and finally it was sunny.  That pretty much covered the seasons of Sicily.

We met Ika's mother, brothers, sisters and all of their siblings and friends.  It was a whole new bunch of fun and caring people.  I left feeling that I had known Adriana, our fantastic hostess, since the first day I arrived in Catania.

Finally, the food...LORD HAVE MERCY!  The scary thing is knowing that somewhere in Sicily a family has heard about today and is planning to outdo Angelo and Adriana...CAN'T WAIT!!!

The entryway to the house gives you no clue of the very pleasant surprise awaiting you inside.

In the kitchen from the left, Ika, her sister Franchesca, their sister-in-law and our fantastic hostess Adriana!
Pietro, is getting a post meal cafe sugared up and ready to roll.

The driveway with the future main house under construction in the background

The patio area

The side of their home houses the BBQ pit

A bathroom using recycled wood from the vineyard days

Looking up to the kitchen, the aromas were beyond explanation

The view from the back patio with Mt. Etna in the background

The view from the kitchen into the open spaces below

Although Angelo, Adriana's husband, is an electronic maniac with every modern pushbutton gizmo imaginable, Adriana still uses old techniques to transport items between her upstairs kitchen and the dining area.

This chandelier was fashioned from the metal hoops holding the wine vats together when this house was a working vineyard.

The boys from the Dorm are never afraid to eat!

A VERY rare photo of Eduardo Gulisano, Pony and Ika's oldest boy.
Looks like a future Elefanti Wide Receiver to me.

Chocolate anyone?

Believe me, Sicilians know their BBQ!
They are not afraid to cook twice the amount needed to feed the gathered multitudes.

Another BBQ, another photo op for Federico

My interview with Tony Call Me Pony, below, at the BBQ is interrupted by the presence of Tony's brother-in-law who runs the Teatro Bellini and scored me the INCREDIBLE tickets for the opera about two months ago. I had to stop filming to take a knee and kiss his ring!

1 comment:

ika said...

all my family and i loves you, big gentleman!
thanks for being so kind!