I was blessed to have two very good Italian teachers during my time in Verbania. Both Andrea and Luca were energetic and quite patient as well. The penultimate evening Andrea invited Fr. Fasano and me to dine at the home of his friend, Signore Rocco Minerva, who is himself a teacher and well versed in many languages including English. While I was not excited for the lengthy steep climb up the surrounding hills to get to the house, I was excited to be there since this was my first time in a real Italian house and not a monastery or large institution. Fortunately, Fr. Fasano took some photos and is kind enough to let me use them here.The evening began with introductions and the enjoyment of typical hors d'oeuvres: peanuts, almonds, pistachios, olives, a sliced rich salame and chilled sweet vermouth.The first plate was a risotto (rice) dish, quite typical and this one was quite good too! Soon thereafter we were served the secondo piatto, the main dish which consisted of roasted potatoes, carrots, and uccellini scappati - that is, "little birds flew away". The birds have fled and so we have to eat beef. The strips of beef are rolled with a large sage leaf and a gorgonzola related cheese, giving the look of little birds.For both the rice dish and the main course, three wines were served: a pink, a red, and a white. The meal was capped off with an torta di mela, an apple dessert. We also enjoyed a coffee and cookies. Walking away from the house a bit heavier we all made it safely down the mountain back to Intra in Verbania. Many thanks to Signore Minerva for his kind hospitality and interesting Italian conversation and insights.
Here is pictured, from left, our host Rocco, one of our tutors, Andrea, and Fr. Eric Fasano of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY.