Foodie Friday: Ski Food

Earlier this month, I read a great article from Italy Magazine about Skiing in Italy.  You can check it out here.

Reading it took me back to when I was living in Rome as a student in business school.  After our midterm exams finished up in February, we would hop on an overnight train to the town of Brunico in theDolomites for a long weekend of skiing and German culture.  That’s right:  German culture.  The region of the Sud Tirol is more like Germany than Italy.  We stayed at a bed and break that looked like it belonged on the set of Heidi.  We slept under the most incredible down comforters which were so cozy that I was tempted to forgo the slopes and stay in an Alpine induced coma all day.  But then I smelled the aroma of apple strudel wafting from the kitchen.   There really is nothing like the smell of apples and cinnamon to drag one’s sorry butt out bed.   The big slab of apple strudel and a caffe latte kept us fortified for a morning of incredible skiing.  We took a break at the mountaintop lodge, settled ourselves into the lounge chairs and tucked into a lunch of, you guessed it, bratwurst and German beer.   Buon appetito!   The afternoon was as stellar as the morning.  Apres ski we had a walk around town before feasting on polenta and mushrooms with a great bottle of red wine.  Bellies full, legs aching and a little sunburned, we headed back to the inn.  It was time for bed.  And the countdown to our morning apple strudel.   

I have searched high and low for a recipe that takes me back to Brunico and that wonderful BandB.  It must have been the mountain air or the expert hand of our hostess but nothing is quite as good.  This apple strudel recipe did come close however.  I hope you like it.   And if you make it, PLEASE eat it for breakfast.  Trust me. 

Tastefully yours, Ashley


The Lost Art of Hospitality

Dining Room ready for a great evening of food, friendship and laughter

Dining Room ready for a great evening of food, friendship and laughter

I can't tell you how many hours I have spent in Italy at a table long after the plates have been cleared, just enjoying great conversation and the comfort of being with friends and family.  In fact, often at the end of a meal, your server will come over with a few bottles of digestivi  - grappa, limoncello, Strega (more on that another time) - and will leave them on the table with glasses for everyone. Unfortunately, that is not a tradition that has been adopted here in the United States and more often than not, a check will be presented promptly upon the completion of dessert with a strong expectation that you vacate the table quickly.

To me, this is a sad way to end an otherwise delightful evening but I have a remedy: entertain at home.  I know it can seem overwhelming with everything there is to do....packing, wrapping, shopping, baking. More often than not in the month of December my kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it, strewn with baking supplies that I am loathe to put away just to have to pull them out the following day. But despite the chaos that is my life (and my house) we are getting together with good friends this weekend and we're going old school - dinner at home. Our little dinner group started this fall and I have to say, I am a big fan.   The hostess does the main course and drinks and the others bring salad and dessert.   We all love to cook so we do, but no one cares if the dessert is store bought or if the salad is from a bag.    This weekend I am making camembert & honey crostini and spiced nuts for an appetizer.  Dinner is a fabulous seafood casserole.  There will be wine, of course, and a aperitif to get the evening started.  

I love going all out but you certainly don't have to - that is not the point.  It is about sharing the evening in the company of good friends.  I happen to love my underused dining room, so any chance I have to spend an evening in there with good food, good wine and good friends is a treat.

It seems that people just don't entertain anymore and that is a shame. Having guests over is a great chance to use that wedding china (do you even remember what it looks like?), break out the cookbooks and have FUN!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Tastefully yours,