Wednesday, August 13, 2008
When I was twenty one I stayed with my parents' friends in Chianti, Tuscany. Every evening after a busy day of churches, museums, and piazzas, we would motor back to their four hundred year old farmhouse built in the middle of a working vineyard and olive grove. As dusk fell, everyone would gather in the courtyard for an evening ritual of apperitifs and antipasti. Invariably, we would munch on pinzimonio: a colourful array of fresh, crisp, and fragrant vegetables. Fennel, radishes, celery, peppers, carrots and delicately steamed artichokes or white asparagas - all of these would be dipped into a flavourful homegrown olive oil, sprinkled with coarse salt, and then devoured with unpretentious pleasure. Sometimes a dip of hot crushed anchovies and garlic would be added, but I preferred the aromatic olive oil.