Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rediscover the dining experience

  It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago I was sitting outside eating lunch in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. This morning I awoke to snow covering the grass and a chilly wind that sent me to my car instead of on my walk to the bakery for a morning meeting. 

Regardless of how snowy or cold it might get this winter, one thing I’m carrying with me into the season is the Italian way of eating. Here in the U.S., many of us have developed poor eating habits. We stand and stuff something into our mouths. We eat supper in front of the television. We “drive through” to pick up a meal. Doing any of these things typically diminishes our enjoyment of the food and the entire eating experience. When’s the last time you looked at your plate to truly admire its artistry? Have you appreciated the aroma of the food before you took your first bite? 

I’m as guilty as the next person of not fully participating in all of my eating experiences. Being away on vacation when I wasn’t rushed to get to a meeting or distracted by the evening news helped me rediscover the joy of the meal.

During the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about the cooking class that I attended at the Villa Bordoni in Greve in Chianti, Italy. We spent a little more than three hours working on the meal, which the chef carried to completion after he dismissed us to relax with before dinner drinks and some of the focaccia bread we made. We then had a meal that lasted more than three hours. That was a truly wonderful dining experience. 

This week, let me simply share photos of the lovely breakfast spread we had to choose from each day. Oh if only this were waiting in my own dining room every morning when I awoke!
Breakfast breads included these lovelies and small loaves from which you could cut what you wanted.

Breakfast meats

The ever-present San Marzanos

I loved this fruit salad!

Who can resist three types of cheeses?

Toppings anyone? They worked nicely with the yogurt, cereal or fruit salad.

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