We spent this very memorable day visiting a dear friend, Roberta (Roby) Businaro in her home in Rovino in northern Italy, just a quick jaunt up the road from Bologna. Roby was an exchange student for a year with our former next-door neighbors Kimberly and Shawn, and used to babysit for Molly and Theo when she was in Denver. Roby and her entire family (her sister, Silvia and her parents, Laura and Francesco) extended the warmest welcome imaginable to us in their fantastic home. Roby first gave us a tour of the lovely town of Rovino.
Then we returned for a feast—a lunch that Americans only dream of, but that Italians might enjoy on any given day. Our meal included risotto as a primo piatto (first plate), then a variety of dishes as a secondo piatto (second plate), including sautéed mushrooms, insalata caprese with two kinds of mozzarella, an egg dish, fried cheese, a simmered mixed vegetable called “salsa” (we were assured it was not the Mexican kind), roasted peppers and homemade puff pastry stuffed with cheese and olives. For dessert they brought out three kinds of cheeses, fresh figs from their trees, cantaloupe, watermelon, apples and peaches followed by a beautiful homemade nutella tart. Add in a lovely red wine and some home-made Spumante with dessert, and we were halfway between heaven and wondering if we would be physically able to leave our chairs. Traveling brings many blessings. The opportunity to make new friends and to experience their customs (particularly their culinary customs) is perhaps the greatest blessing we have enjoyed so far.