Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nicolosi, Mt. Etna, Cooking Lessons and the Bergamo Game

Our Friday was a busy one.  We started off the day by loading up the Nissan Micra with the five of us (Lynn, Wayne, Christie, Jason and yours truly) and driving to the top of Mt. Etna's Sud route.  To say the Micra was stressed is putting it VERY mildly but we made it.  Amazingly, the Micra went down the mountain much more carefree!

Part way up we stopped in he foothill town of Nicolosi.  It is far off the tourist radar scope but we can now boast of it's having a well stocked wine bar as well as a sensational cafe.


This concoction is mandorla (almond) topped with chocolate.  It is kind of a cross between gelato and a slushie, but oh so good for you!

Now that it is heating up, we are consuming these instead of our more wintery favorite cannoli.

La Dolce Vita Cafe

On the other hand, cannoli and other desserts at this Nicolosi cafe were still of interest.

The Silvestri Crater on Mt. Etna, altitude 1,986 meters

This is one of the relatively smaller side vents to the volcano.

It is rumored that in the cold winter months, when this crater is covered with snow, some crazy 20 somethings will actually drive up here around midnight to ride sleds down red face of this crater!  At least that's what I've heard.

Obviously when you live near a volcano accidents may happen.

Cooking Lessons by Katerina Barbagallo

We were invited to Gregorio's house for an Italian cooking lesson for Christie and her mom, Lynn followed by the dinner they themselves prepared.  Greg's mother, Katerina, was the head chef in residence and did a fabulous job teaching the ladies how to create Italian cuisine.  She even got me to peel the potatoes!

Katerina is a tour guide by profession and thus speaks great English.  She has a very elegant style about everything she does and lives in a wonderful home.  You may recall that she hosted us for the BIG Sant'Agata Day Parade gathering back in February.

The ladies had to learn by doing in the Katerina School of Cooking

Dinner was SUPERB!

From the left: Gregorio, Katerina, Brandon, Jason, Christie, Wayne, Matt and Lynn

After dinner, we retired to the Billiard Room

This is Gregorio's father, Bruno. He is VERY good at billiards.

But, he is even better at Ping-Pong!

Eventually, it came down to Gregorio vs. Jason in a 2 out of 3 Battle Royal!  Gregorio took the first game but after a short break for an exhibition match between Brandon and Matt, Jason stormed back to take the second game.

The rubber match was all Gregorio and even included Gregorio's trash talking to Jason.  Basically he told Jason that he should be happy that he even won 1 game vs. Gregorio!  We all laughed but I don't think Gregorio will have a ball thrown his away for at least two weeks.

Today we have our last practice before the Bergamo game.  Tomorrow we fly to Verona and then take a 45 minute bus ride to Bergamo to play the Lions.  This will be a VERY tough game for us!

The Lions are also 1-0 in IFL play and are the defending Italian National Championship team.

They have an excellent QB who runs the option and scrambles very well.  As if that wasn't enough, he is also very accurate throwing the ball.  The Lions running backs also performed at a high level vs. Parma in game 1 due in large part to an aggressive offensive line.  In short, they can move the ball.

Defensively, they like to blitz and attack the offense in a similar aggressive style as their offense.

Their kicking game is also solid with good return people.

As I said, we are going to have our hands full.


Heather Linderman said...

Gregorio is lucky he didn't lose his head in that match from Jason throwing his paddle at him! Let's just say Jason had a bit of a temper growing up and if J got mad that you beat him (which he would always be mad he lost) you would have to HIT THE DECK to protect yourself from Jason throwing his paddle at your head. True story. Ask my other bro, Chad....he's lucky he has his head too. :)

Good thing for all of us, Jason's temper has tamed down. ;)

CHOW (as my dad says)
~Heather (J's lil' sis)

Monello said...

Gregorio, pelato! Che cosa stavi fumando?

J TWICE said...

He's so mellow now that he's half Sicilian.