Whether you have been in Italy for a few weeks or for fifty years, old traditions and seasonal treats are never forgotten.
Thanksgiving is perhaps the best loved American tradition for it means getting together with family and friends, relaxing and enjoying good food and music.
|Refectory, Abbazia di San Giusto, Tuscania
|tower and cloister, San Giusto Abbey
A few years ago the culinaryconcierge team of Mark and Ginger Medina-Rios brought the traditional Thanksgiving meal to Tuscania and now it is a consolidated “happening” loved by both expats, visiting Americans and local Italians.
This year both lunch and dinner sittings were offered along with a few special twists and additions.
The rectory of the magnificent 12th century Abbey of San Giusto, hidden in the Marta river valley near Tuscania was the setting for the Thanksgiving meal and entertainment.
Recently restored after centuries of abandonment, the Abbey is now a splendid example of medieval religious architecture where the church, cloister, refectory, and abbey rooms have been returned to their simple, original splendor.
|Ginger with some of the guests
|guests from Tuscania, Vetralla, Castel Cellesi
After admiring the Abbey and its resident cats and donkeys, the guests who arrived from as far away as USA, UK, Rome, Orvieto, Orte and towns in-between, were lured into the Refectory by the sound of music and the perfumes emanating from Mark’s kitchen.
|Some of the Orvieto group
|musicians from Montefiascone
|serving mulled wine
Under the high ceilings of the refectory appetizers, mulled wine and aperitivi were enjoyed along with ethnic and folk music by instrumentalists of Minima Mysticanza from Montefiascone.
Mark and Ginger, along with a small team of helpers, orchestrated the luncheon and evening meals to perfection.
|Mark carves the turkey
The location, the history behind the monastic complex, the music and good will all added to the special atmosphere.
As plates of delicious food and bottles of wine from the Sergio Mottura vineyards were passed back and forth along the long tables, strangers became friends, connections were made and consolidated .
The monks who inhabited these halls hundreds of years ago had never tasted most of the foods offered: pumpkins, turkey and sweet potatoes had still to arrive from the New World.
|mini pumpkin pies
|and then the dancing began
The afternoon evolved with guests enjoying mini pumpkin pies and some even added to the entertainment dancing the tango, jigs and reels .
|see chapter "Mysterious Sites of N. Lazio"