01 Jun When Life Gives You Lemons…
To be clear, our culinary tour of Italy was the proverbial trip of a lifetime. From Florence to Venice to Positano and everywhere in between, we had the tremendous fortune of dining at some of the best establishments the country has to offer.
From Tavola Caldas to Trattorias and even high-end Ristorantes, we delighted in the fresh, farm-to-table culinary traditions of the old country. We were inspired by the flavours, tones, notes and aesthetics of Italian cuisine and will most certainly be infusing this gastronomic greatness into our creations at Savoury City!
Indeed, there is nothing like going directly to the source to experience time-honoured culinary traditions–traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation in a culture that believes food is life and life is food.
So yeah…if you are even marginally into food, it’s hard not to leave somewhat inspired–it’s in the air!
A “Not So Dolce Vita” Experience
So, it was with high expectations that we enrolled in a “Cooking with Lemons” class in Positano. We were excited to learn all the different ways to infuse fresh lemons in our creations–so excited, in fact, that we arrived a little early. We are eager students!
Unfortunately, instead of being welcomed with open arms, we were met by a decidedly grumpy chef who looked at us with what can only be described as “disdain” and informed us we were early and to wait.
Not a great start. Did we offend his delicate sensibilities? Was it something we said? We don’t even speak Italian! We waited in silence, hoping that perhaps things would get better from here on out. It didn’t.
Attitude, Table for One!
As soon as Chef Antonio started to instruct the class, it became clear that he wanted to be somewhere else–like anywhere else: Colonoscopy appointment; root canal; an Adam Sandler film retrospective…
Atteggiamento means “attitude” in Italian
Antonio berated Blaine for not chopping the lemons properly and glared at us as we tried to follow his orders. Maybe if we tried to speak Italian that would soften him up? “Grazie Mille!” we said with a smile. This was met with a look of confusion from Antonio, followed by a stern correction of our pronunciation. How do you say “attitude” in Italian?
Making Lemonade out of Lemons
Well, the class literally turned out to be a lemon. But Donna, ever the optimist, decided to salvage the experience and create her own dinner using lemons as the central ingredient. She figured she could do a better job than Antonio–she was right!
Off to the Market
Donna sprung into action! First stop–a lemon orchard, where she hand picked lemons right off the branch. Second stop–the pescheria to get the freshest sea bass, or as they call it, “Spigola” or “Branzino.” And no one questioned our pronunciation!
Doing What Donna Does Best
Before we knew it, Donna had prepared a feast for the ages! Fresh, organic, locally-sourced and gorgeous!
The sea bass was roasted to perfection in lemon leaves, and the pasta was made with lemon zest and finished with olive oil, lemon juice, pecorino, and S&P.
The cocktails were made with 1oz. gin, 1 oz. Limoncello, 3 oz. Prosecco, 1 oz. fresh lemon juice and a splash of lemon infused simple syrup.
Dessert was a lemon Panna Cotta with candied lemon peel and a little left over simple syrup.
The salad was picked fresh from our B&B garden by Alphonso, our gardener!
Turning a Negative into a Positive
Donna’s culinary creativity and spontaneity saved the day. She took a negative experience and turned it around and provided the most lovely meal, bringing together friends and food.
We understand the power of food–that it can create lasting memories, bring people together and infuse joy into our lives. We can alway find a way to turn the “aspro vita” into the “dolce vita.”