With Christmas, New Year and the much celebrated Epiphany now behind us and today being back to work I have finally had time to sit and reflect on the somewhat busy but beautifully family filled festive period that we have enjoyed.
On Christmas Eve it all began when we celebrated at our family home with my husband Emanuele, our 3 children, and our extended family including of course Nonna. This year Nonna Rita arrived armed with the most delicious fresh handmade ravioli. Our family gatherings alternate between homemade tortellini with brodo and homemade ravioli with sugo. This year we enjoyed ravioli which as always goes down an absolute treat with everyone. A comforting dish that covers all generations and has a taste of nostalgia that cannot be equalled on family gatherings.
The soft dough that can only be experienced with handmade fresh pasta was served with Nonna’s speciality “sugo” a light meat sauce that had simmered for hours the day before because it is one of the few things that is better the longer it is cooked. Nonna buys her meat at the local butchers where she has done since my husband and his brothers were children and since then has always asked for the most tender cuts… for the children… an excuse that has spanned my husband’s childhood, adolescents, adult life and extended into his own children’s younger years. The butcher wouldn’t dare to question the age of “the children” over the years however and he still cheerfully puts aside the meat just as Nonna requests!
The fresh ravioli was dropped into the lightly salted boiling water once everyone had arrived and was comfortably sat at the table. The conversation was cheerful with the children’s anticipation for placing baby Jesus into his crib in our family nativity and of course the gifts that would surely follow was clear to see. After just a few minutes the ravioli was ready and everyone tucked in. The very light meat filling inside the soft dough parcels of the ravioli were topped with Nonna’s special Sugo and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. And so gave way to what would be the first of many delicious family meals that carried us through the festive period.
I always appreciate the amazing food and wine that is produced in the Puglia region, it is absolutely my passion but there is something very special about the Christmas and New Year period in Lecce that reminds me and renews my enthusiasm for this fantastic region. The home cooking, the fresh locally produced ingredients and the moments shared in big family moments bring back to me the reason that we embarked on The Italian School business.
With all of this in mind we would like to personally invite you to Puglia this year to join us on one of group tours of the region. To try for yourself all that Puglia has to offer with its food, wines, liquors, spectacular sights and The Italian School team.
Contact us today!