Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving at Tuscania's 12th century San Giusto Abbey

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 .

More about the history of the  San Giusto abbey    at this link and in  the book
see chapter "Mysterious Sites of N. Lazio"

 Signed copies can be ordered directly from the website .