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The first 10 years

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blog groupYou don’t want to rush things in Italy, a key lesson for assimilating and fitting in like a local. So after many years deliberating we have decided to confront our narcissism and launch a Blog.

Here goes: The Casal dei Fichi 10th anniversary Blog. That’s 10 years since we moved to this beautiful part of Italy, nearly 12 since we first saw the house, 11 and a bit since we bought it and slightly less since, over a wonderful lunch in Rome, the name Casal dei Fichi was coined and blessed not only by the waiters but crucially by our friend and still sometimes teacher Diego’s mother. No Italian ever makes a decision without phoning Mamma.

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To celebrate we invited some of the people who have helped to make our life here so successful and so much fun. We are proud to be about the only foreigners we know who are still friendly with their builders, so father and son team Rosario and Fabio had to be there along with Rosario’s wife Anna who fed us on many occasions, welcoming us into their family at Christmases and holidays. Add Maria and family who not only invite us for more superb meals and when we say, sorry my Mum is visiting replies “bring her along, and her 3 friends, we’re only 16 already”.

Internationally know artist Piero Principi’s culinary generosity to us has been more restaurant orientated, not to mention a magnificent piece of his art which he gave us on our civil partnership. So last Sunday lunchtime we all sat down to a long long lunch to mark the event.

We prepared a selection of dishes that I’d never made before from Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”; it seems that Ottolenghi is as well known in Francavilla d’Ete as he is in Islington. Plates were cleared and we learnt that in this part of Italy Jerusalem artichoke is known as Girasole selvatico.

After many hours our guests left following toasts of “to the next 10 years” oh yes – and more.

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