Italian Sideways 2006 – Day 18
After breakfast we take a long walk to the outskirts of town for some last minute shopping, then we go back to the apartment and start packing. We have the lunch with my mom, who prepares the topolini (mice) as hors d'oevres.
The topolini (see recipe) is actually a creation of my brother-in-law, Dante Malaguti, and consists simply of fresh sage leaves, dipped in a thin batter and lightly fried. They are delicious and I find them perfect paired with a good Lambrusco Grasparossa by the Barbolini Winery, from Casinalbo in the province of Modena.
The rest of the meal is the usual, as requested by Brigit, who is trying hard not to add a single pound to her waistline: salad dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar from Modena and salt to taste, followed by a small bowl of vegetable soup with a drizzle of the prize winning extra virgin olive oil from the Stasi estate from Apulia, which was awarded a prize as best olive oil on Thursday, April 8, 2006 by the Italian Agriculture Minister, Gianni Alemanno, at SOL, the olive oil trade show held within the Vinitaly.
Since it is our last day, my mom convinces Brigit to let herself go and indulge in another extra treat, typical of the Modena area, which in the past used to be the peasant dessert: typical bensone cake dipped in sweet Lambrusco amabile (semisweet) wine. The bensone is a simple pound cake flavored with fresh lemon zest and sprinkled with a little crunchy sugar. It can also be skiced and rebaked, so that it resembles biscotti.
After lunch we go back to the apartment were I have a late afternoon meeting with Luca Valentini, arrived specifically from Piedmont with a selection of Guido Gobino superior chocolate offerings, an assortment of Pastiglie Leone lozenges, a selection of rice varieties from Le Fontane (The Fountains) consortium, and a bottle of excellent organic wine Colli di Luni Vermentino DOC by Azienda Biologica Boriassi. Later we are joined by Natale Isalberti, head of the Consorzio Caribe Trading.
After the meeting, we go out for the last Italian pizza across the street at Pizzeria Il Medioevo, Brigit's favorite pizza place, with Gastone and Rita.