Friday, November 11, 2011


I promised you food to go with my Italian book and here Sarah and Matteo share lunch, starting with one of my favourites - antipasto.
Most cuisines have this lovely pick and mix starter - I had some wonderful mezza when I lived in the Middle East.
But wonderful spicy meats, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and creamy cheese served with fresh ciabatta on a shady terrace - perfect bliss.

There was a pause while Graziella brought antipasto for them to graze on and Matteo opened a bottle of the golden sparkling wine that was the pride of the Serrone vineyard.
‘You must taste this,’ he said, pouring a little into a second glass before she could refuse. ‘The grape variety was bred by my grandfather. It was his lifetime’s work.’ He swirled the wine around his own glass to release the aromas, encouraging her to do the same. ‘There is a scent of herbs…’ — he took a mouthful, taking his time to allow the flavours to develop — ‘… and a honeyed aftertaste, enriching the peach and melon flavours of the classic Frascati. It reflects everything that is Isola del Serrone.’
‘You a clearly passionate about it.’
‘A man must be passionate about something. My grandfather produced the flavour, my task is to improve yield and disease resistance for the next generation.’ If only on a part-time basis. ‘The Serrone vines have always been grown organically.’
She took a sip – how could she possibly refuse after that? – and her smile was unforced. 
‘It’s delicious. Like drinking a summer’s day.’
She couldn’t have said anything more calculated to charm him. He would need to be very careful.
‘I’d have to pay an advertising agency a fortune to come up with something that good.’  He picked up the servers and piling cold meat, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, olives onto her plate.  ‘How much will it cost me to quote you?’  
‘A piece of that bread?’  Then, as he cut into the freshly baked ciabatta, ‘I thought the vineyard was run by a co-operative.  I looked up Isola del Serrone on the internet,’ she explained, as she picked up a fork.  ‘Maybe I misunderstood?  I clicked on the translation device but the language was a bit mangled.  Or perhaps there’s more than one vineyard?’
‘You didn’t misunderstand.’ He filled his own plate. ‘My great-grandfather set up the co-operative after the war.  He wanted to rebuild the community. Give the villagers a share in what it produced after all they had suffered. Give the young men a reason to stay on the land rather than join the stampede to the factories in the north.’
‘Was he here?  During the war,’ she asked.
Again, not the kind of question he expected...

Next time it will be the pasta.

So what is your favourite Italian food? Spicy sauces, fabulous ices?  Do you have a favourite recipe? Do share!


Jenny Haddon said...

Absolutely love this book Liz, from the alluring title through nail-biting backstory and heavenly Italian countryside to your sympathetic and resourceful heroine.

As for gorgeous Matteo- he's scrumptious. Who needs food?

Nell Dixon said...

Both the book and the food sound delicious.

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks so much, Jenny. Have to admit that I can't wait to go back to Italy - and write another book set there. Sadly, the food a is big draw!

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Nell. There something about food and romance that just seems to fit together. Deeply influenced by Albert Finney in the film Tom Jones at an early age!

MissKimberlyStardust said...

I can't wait to read this one, food&romance go hand in hand :)

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks, Kimberly. I have to admit that my whole view of food was changed by watching Albert Finney in Tom Jones at an impressionable age!