You know that really tired feeling, when your head throbs slightly and things seem a little distorted? We had had such an amazing day but it wasn’t all over yet. Vita certainly had packed a lot into our Grundtvig week.
We walked in a chattering group, through the beautiful, noisy and vibrant streets of Lecce, past the Roman amphitheatre near Piazza San Oronzo. It was amazing how easily we made friends. I can understand a little Italian and a speak a good smattering of French, so with a few flowery hand gestures, was able to make myself understood. Bobby and Patrick, two other Embrace volunteers, were really relaxed. Bobby’s thing was film and video, Patrick’s teaching photography and both full of excellent ideas too.
Through a grand portico entrance on Via Augusto Imperatore, just west of Piazza San Oronzo, we were treated to a very special evening. The Risorgimento was where Vita had her wedding breakfast a little under a year ago she told us proudly.
Vaulted ceilings and golden Lecce stone, pitted and worn, were all around us. Although we did miss out dining al-fresco at the roof garden, I was relieved as the nights here are a little bit nippy in November. Feeling a little bit underdressed, it was rather sobering to think that here we were….The Risorgimento had partnered up with Wine Experience Cantele, a local family winery business, to give us the taste of Puglia.
With our starter, a beautifully presented vegetable terrine, (accompanied by Pittule local dish of deep fried dough) we tried first a Cantele Chardonnay, then Verdeca. The Negromara Rosé was quaffable and slipped down. The terrine was a little fussy for my taste and unexpected as up until now, we had sampled simply prepared foods. Our glasses were filled and refilled, so that by the time our main course of Crusted Sea Bream arrived we were at ease with the world. This was my favourite dish of the evening. The fish was succulent and soft, done to perfection. I wasn’t sure if the crust was polenta but nevertheless it was delicious, arriving balanced on a potato cake sitting in tomato broth.
On to the reds……. now….deep….rounded….Negroamaro……mmmmmmmm……then Primitivo…stronger….more robust……..mmmmmm………nothing wasted here I can tell you! I could get used to this…..very….
Here comes the pudding….dusted fruity orange torte finished off with a sprig of mint. And indeed it did finish me off.
We gathered around the chef for a photo-call….cheering and clapping. Saluté!