Jack was turning 70 – that meant I had to throw a humongous bash. The problem is I had thrown Jackstock when he turned 60 and folks are still gazing numbly out from tents in our back yard. How could I top three nights of music and mayhem? Hmm, what’s a girl to do when she is in Italy and without the resources of her home team? 1. Make sure her BFF, Janet, is in Italy in time for the party. 2. Sit in the piazza, stare up the the hills and come up with a gimmick. While staring at the grape vines that range up and down the mountain it hit me – take over a winery – it would be a blast from the past.
My first call was to Tony at our favorite winery, Terra Di Briganti. (Remember the story I did a few months back – http://wp.me/p3rc2m-ji) Tony was a tiger and roared out ideas – starting with come on over and let’s pick out the wine.
Tony, his dad and his brother were pouring us a glass of Pidirosso. Then a glass of Aglianico. How about a Falanghina. Wait did you taste? We tasted and knew that we would have a cocktail hour with a lovely sparkling – well it doesn’t matter just know it is all good.
Then came the menu. Tony works with a chef – Gennaro – who by day is a policman! But Gennaro is a foodie who relishes the dishes of historic Casalduni. This is what we ate: Quenelle di baccalà, Risotto al’aglianico e salsiccia profumato al rosmarino, controfiletto di pelatella casertana al Martummè con papacelle al’agro, Zuccotto con ricotta di pecora e ciccolato! Notice that the Italian sings with the dialect of Casalduni.
Let’s just go to the video and you can see Jack’s 70th birthday at Terra di Briganti! Click on the link and be sure to sing “tante auguri a jack!”
A few nights ago the family phone tree clicked into high gear. We got a call telling us there would be a evening of theater at this incredible winery – Terra di Briganti in near by Casalduni. How could we not go. We love theater and we love all of the organic wines that we have tasted from Terra di Briganti. To get a feel for the space check out their website – http://www.terradibriganti.it/
Terra di Briganti
Società Agricola s.a.s.
Contrada Tacceto. 6 Casalduni (BN)
We met the vinyard’s owner, Tony De Cicco, last year and were blown away by his passion for the land, the heritage of the area and sharing the pure goodness that grows in Casalduni. Terra di Briganti deserves its own blog post, but I will save that for another day and talk about theatre as a marketing tool.
Chairs were set up on a hill above the rows and rows of grape vines and thousands of olive trees. It was a beautiful night and the audience was packed with folks of all ages. I’m always amazed at how little tykes are brought to dinner, events, festas – everything that an adult would do in the evening the kids do. Baby sitters need not apply – kids are introduced to all manners of culture at a young age.
The moment the four actors entered they captured and kept everyone’s attention. What really was amazing for me was that I actually understood them! The “spettacolo” was in Italian and the local dialect but the actors articulation was so incredible that I was able to not only capture the essence of the work but understood the dialogue! It truly was said “trippingly on the tongue.”
But what was the play about – you ask. Olive oil! Who knew that you could work an entire piece about the beauty, taste and uses of olive oil! I’m wondering if the local agriculture and tourism council underwrote a piece of the program. The play could absolutely be used to help sell local artiginal oils. It opened with a wee bit of the history of olive oil and moved into a tasting – one actor in a jacket being the “tastee”. A personal aside – how come I feel like I know the actor in the jacket? Anybody else recognize him or did I just bump into one night in a Manhattan bar? I never got his name.
Through comedy and music the company stressed that local oils taste best because they are made with the olives of one area. We learned that many oils that are marked “Made in Italy” are simply pressed here and shipped to places like the USA. The olives used are a big mystery and could come from Spain, Greece, Turkey….. You want oil that is grown and pressed in Italy. That means – when you can go to the source – buy your oil or order directly from the source. If you can’t buy from a vendor you trust.
We were all howling at the varied uses of olive oil. It only take three (3) drops in blessed water to cure the mal’ochio – evil eye.
Other uses of the precious oil? H’mm any of these guys could have given me the massage they were lampooning. Open that stuck lock – olive oil. Fix the crud in your hair – olive oil. The music really opened up my heart and hunger to pane con olio d’olive. The singer lovingly – I mean I was wanting some loving – sang a ballad to olive oil on bread. Be still my heart.
Foodies and non-foodies were all laughing, engaged and engrossed in the variety of ways to eat bread and olive oil – my favorite was with tomatoes. Again – how could four actors and a playwright turn olive oil into both an educational and entertaining evening?! I want to meet the playwright!
The talented quartet was from Solot Compagnia Stabile di Benevento. It is a theater school and agency. I wonder if these men are also on the faculty. it would be great for the students if they were.
As we left the playing area to have some wine we passed Tony’s display of products. Terra di Briganti has expanded their offerings to include their own olive oil – but you guessed that right? We can’t wait to try some. We left happy and with 6 bottles of Tony’s fabulous sulfite free organic Falanghina. If you are ever in the area or want to buy his products wholesale just visit his web-site.