It’s the custom at midnight at the New Year’s Eve dinner in Casabasciana to pop open the spumante, take a gulp and then get up and greet everyone with ‘Auguri! Buon Anno!’ and a kiss on each cheek.
At my first New Year’s Eve dinner in Casabasciana, there were three or four generations present. Now the younger people have their own party with loud music. We oldies prefer good food and conversation. We’ve agreed an amicable devolution. Appropriately, our dinner is in aid of an old people’s home, an ancient building overlooking the car park that’s being restored as and when there’s enough money for the next phase of construction.
The exact time of starting dinner is never fixed. Even at restaurants, you just say you’re coming for lunch or dinner. They don’t ask what time. Tonight it’s not before 8.30, so we congregate in the bar near the community hall to be ready to strike when summoned. I stop on the way to the bar to check on progress in the wood-fired oven…
…and in the kitchen.
We take our places at the long trestle tables and the courses arrive in leisurely fashion. First, the antipasti misti, an assortment of crostini and, on New Year’s Eve, there are always lentils. Being round, they symbolise the cycle of the years.
My favourite is the thin focaccia with lardo.
Next two primi:
I can’t resist seconds of the maccheroni. As you can see, it’s not elbow macaroni, which is a southern Italian pasta; instead it’s simple squares or rectangles of handmade pasta.
Then two secondi. The hunting squadron donated a couple of wild boar as their contribution to the old people’s home. They’ve shot 173 since the season opened on 1 November. This one is young and tender.
The other secondo is roast beef, medium rare and thinly sliced.
Someone has a 60th birthday. A specially commissioned poem is recited and the birthday cake arrives.
In addition there are cialde (more about these on Befana, 5 January) and clementines.
At 11.45, a couple of the younger generation arrive, get the sound system going and insert a tango CD. Obviously they think us oldies can’t manage the DJ side of things. Usually we don’t have fireworks, but this year, the youngsters surprise us with a display in the piazza.
Hugs and kisses and auguri to all!
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