I read recently that dinner parties are going out of fashion in London. Not in Casabasciana. Last night the boar hunting team from our group of three villages threw one of their dinner parties to which I took some cultivated clients from Los Angeles. Toward the end of the evening, as we sat on hard wooden benches at trestle tables among the 263 other diners, they raved that it was the best evening they’d had in years. I admit, I was relieved. Being scientists by profession, they helped me analyse the intangible pleasures of an outdoor dinner in the unsophisticated setting of a village piazza.
The contagious spirit of community and togetherness. Even as foreigners, they felt welcome and accepted.
The inclusion of people of all ages — young, old, babies in strollers, teenagers with spiky hair.
The traditional dishes prepared by volunteers from the hunting team and our village who worked all day preparing them in the community kitchen.
Carlo’s high-spirited band composed of electronic keyboard, accordion and occasionally saxophone and tambourine, all doubling as singers and performing popular Italian music that drew the dancers to their feet. My guests couldn’t resist, despite not having danced together since their wedding 28 years ago.
The ebullient crowd, who having bought lottery tickets to benefit the village, cheered each winner enthusiastically, especially when a young man won the wild boar prosciutto cured by a member the team.
It was well organised, but not slick or staged. It was genuine.
There are many village parties up and down the valley, each with its own authentic character. Who’s going to join me at the next one?
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