Where Lemons Blossom had the pleasure to participate to ‘Dinners at home’, last Friday, and the full team (Walter, Costanza and I) went to Candelara, to have supper with… perfect strangers at the SOMS (Società Operaia Mutuo Soccorso – Mutual Aid Society). Yes, I wrote ‘perfect strangers’ because this is the innovative (and yet so traditional) idea behind the initiative ‘Dinners at home’ (Le Cene in famiglia): a family hosting perfect strangers and treating them as ‘old friends’, sharing the food prepared traditionally and sharing with them a piece of their life as well (the families of several municipalities in the province of Pesaro and Urbino are involved: Belvedere, Tavullia, Candelara, Novilara, and many more).
The idea behind the initiative, created and promoted by Cristina Ortolani, is a strong one: promoting the territory through its inhabitants. Inhabitants who open up their houses, who cook for strangers as if they were their best friends (the traditional food served is that of ‘Sunday meals’), who open up their hearts and their personal stories too: at dinner, around the table, while tasting local wine and eating good food – which is good because it is prepared with natural, simple, traditional and genuine ingredients, but which is good also because it is cooked and served by genuine people who believe in hospitality.
Where Lemons Blossom was honored to be hosted by SOMS last Friday. We ate together with people who started cooking at 11 AM in order to serve us a stewed hen with tomato sauce (at 8 PM), according to our grandmothers’ recipes! We had tagliatelle with beans (yellow beans, no ‘borlotti’ no ‘cannellini’, but ‘yellow’ beans otherwise the sauce won’t taste as good as that of our traditional tagliatelle con fagioli!). As second dish we had stewed hen with tomato sauce and grilled meat. Then, of course, caffè, ammazzacaffè (coffee-killer as we call it in Italy: that is a liquor, generally a ‘grappa’ or a digestive liquor), and homemade cakes.
At first, when you sit around a table not knowing either the people who invited you, or the other guests, you feel a little weird. But then, after the first glass of wine, people start knowing each other, start sharing their opinions, their personal stories, their recipes, their lives. And you find out that we are all the same, and that sharing food is a bit like sharing souls.
Here are a few pictures taken last Friday, at SOMS in Candelara. Grazie to Lorenzo, his wife and all the cooks, and to all the other guests who made us spend a lovely, unforgettable night.
When we walked out of the beautiful, little medieval village of Candelara, the tower bell tolled, and a beautiful little silver moon lighted our way to the parking place.
Good night, and good luck to our hosts.