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Italy Christmas 2007
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
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Ilaria and I spent Christmas 2007 in her hometown of Latina.
Ilaria with Micra car
It was nice to see the little Micra,
beach Latina Italy
the beach,
sport  85 latina
and Sport'85 again.
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It was also nice to have some Italian food for every meal.
Fernando Mogno pasta
Fernando prepared a pasta
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full of shellfish.
Mariassunta Dalessio polenta
And Mariassunta
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made one of my favorites:
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with sausages
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and (optionally) parmigiano.
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One of our small adventures in this Italy trip was to see the baptism of a little girl (Isabella) we knew from Boston.
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Isabella is the daughter of Emanuele and
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On this trip I learned that Italian churches don't really have heat in the winter. So everyone stands around the cold-humid church with a coat on.
When we got back from the baptism, it was time for some homemade gnocchi
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with a spicy red sauce.
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Then I got to help Fernando with the wine
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on the vineyard and olive grove of Armando.
olive trees
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I really want to help pick and crush the grapes one day, but that's done in September.
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In December the wine was close to ready, so we transferred some of it to take back to the house where it will be ready to drink in the spring.

We didn't have an efficient system of moving the wine from the giant container to the smaller containers. So we filled this little jug over-and-over
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and poured it into Fernando's larger storage containers.
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It took quite a while to fill them all up, but it was fun to pour so much wine.
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We carried the heavy wine jugs
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and packed them into Fernando's car
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wherever there was some space.
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I decided I need to buy Armando a real baseball cap. I just don't know what size his head is.
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Late that nite Ilaria and I met up with the Latina crew for some conversation.
Aldo Ilaria Alessandro
You know everyone's getting old, when the longest conversation of the nite was about investing, banks, and credit cards.
Ilaria Matteo
I figli.
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More tasty
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Like my previous Italian Christmas, we went to Lino and Maria Rita's (Fernando's sister) house for Christmas Eve.
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The brother/sister team cooked
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and served a typical multi-course Italian meal.
Fernando Mogno fish
On christmas eve in Italy, it's tradition to have fish as the only meat. Italian's cook the fish and then clean it.
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We also had some giant shrimp.
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Fernando cleaned the meat off the fish.
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And his mom cleaned the remaining scraps after he was done (apparently she learned to do this during the war when you had to eat every last bit of every meal)
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My favorite part of the meal was the non-traditional sausage and potatoes.
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For dessert we had christmas cake from Napoli (struffoli)
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and some Cannoli,
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freshly stuffed
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by Ilaria and Maria Rita.
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Then everyone opened the presents.
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The next day
Matteo Mogno
Matteo drove us to Priverno to the Christmas get together amongst the D'Alessio family (Ilaria's mom's family).
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They were cooking the sausages in the fireplace.
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We had hen-broth soup with egg pasta,
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and buffalo stew.
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Ilaria's mom read some sort of traditional Italian writing (her mom really wanted someone to read it),
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and then it was time for some cake.
Italian cake
The birthday of Ilaria's cousin Tommaso is near christmas, so we ate the cake for his birthday. Italian cakes are usually really good (much better than American ones),
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and this cake was no exception.
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After the meal, Mariassunta brought the coffee around to everyone.
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Then we went on a field trip to
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Kitty's (Ilaria's aunt) new apartment.
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The top floor had this fantastic Italian-landscape view.
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Pretty soon Kitty might give up doctoring for poetry with a view like this.
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Back at the house folks were opening presents
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and just hanging out.
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Then Ilaria, Fernando, Felicetto, and myself went out for a walk around Priverno
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We walked around quite a while looking for the house that
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Ilaria's mother grew up in.
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Along the way we bumped into Ilaria's great aunt. I would've thought it a completely improbable event to see (and recognize) a distant relative on a walk through a small town, but that's Italy...
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Driving in these little towns must've been better in the horse days. It's nice when someone parks their car to block half of a narrow tunnel, but that's Italy too...
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This is a note too myself, so I can remember to buy some Zibibbo desert wine for when guests come over.
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After Christmas, Ilaria and I took a quick trip to Vienna. When we got back, Mariassunta cooked a potato pizza
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and a classic pizza (including a portion with no cheese for me).
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Then it was time to pack
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our bags
Alps from airplane
and fly back (over the Alps) to Boston.