Last month, Brad and I joined the Italian Language Meet-up Group of the Desert. They are fairly new, and meet twice a month, either at a restaurant, or at someone's home. At our first meeting, we all got to know each other by saying a little something about ourselves in Italian. There are all different skill levels in speaking Italian, from Brad, who is a true beginner to being completely fluent. Everyone is very patient, and helpful, so it is safe to struggle and try out your skills. At our next meeting in two weeks, we are meeting at an Italian restaurant, with Italian speaking waiters, and each person will share a recipe, or something about a dish they like in Italian.
We began the evening with hot artichoke dip and prosecco or wine.
Dinner was interesting for me, as half the group are either vegetarian or vegan. I actually prepared a meal without cheese in every dish!
Brad grilled lots of veggies.
We had a big spinach salad with berries and pecans.
There was grilled flank steak for the carnivores.
The fresh berries were wonderful, drizzled with a little Italian honey.
Bean-Corn-Rice Salad was a hit with everyone.
Dessert: Another fresh berry tart!
Part of the evening's activities included a blind tasting...of olive oil! We tasted 5 olive oils, and three balsamic vinegars. Favorites were Mauro's Umbrian oil, Pasolivo Tangerine oil, and Fig Balsamic vinegar.
Here are some of our group members:
Chris and Cindy have traveled to various regions in Italy.
"Enrico" (Harry) and Armando have lovely pronunciation, and continue to practice their skills for a future trip to Italia.
Caterina studied Italian in Perugia, and Diana plans to WALK through Umbria next year!
Tony's skills are very good, and he will be staying with Ego during part of our trip. Frank (our meet-up organizer) owns an apartment and a "country house" in Siracusa, Sicily, where he lived the past five years.
We look forward to many more evenings with the group to chat and practice speaking Italian!