Spring Greens

Easter in Italy was of course fantastic. Not only was the weather better, so was the company, wine, food…

We were adopted by a local family to celebrate Pasquetta, Easter Monday, which families normally spend having picnics and barbecues, but instead we went to a local restaurant where all the tables had been pushed together to accommodate families of a dozen or more. It was noisy, overcrowded and full of delicious smells. The 15 of us soon demolished the tempura vegetables set before us whilst we contemplated the menu. The highlight traditionally is roast lamb, served in this area with the young shoots of the poppy plant, papavero, which you have to be careful to pronounce properly, otherwise you end up saying “the real Pope”. It looked and tasted like spinach, and was served sprinkled with Parmesan.

The feast lasted until about 4.30 and then we all drove up a track into the hills to a weekend cottage for more feasting with everybody’s cousins popping in for a slice of salami and a chocolate egg or three. The sun set over an ancient mulberry tree on the terrace, and we staggered indoors for the necessary digestivi.

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