Content sponsored by #deNigris1889
Have you ever travelled to Italy?
I have to admit that the boot-shaped country never was on any of my bucket travel lists other than the vague notion of “go somewhere internationally” that might have covered it. In 2009, ten of our family members packed up our suitcases and boarded a flight from Northwest Arkansas, to Memphis, to Amsterdam, to Rome. For twelve days we created a temporary home in a small working-class Mediterranean seaside town called Sabaudia. Halfway between Rome and Naples, it was both exotic and comfortably familiar.
Our hotel was one of those all-inclusive resorts, yet push away any thoughts that you have of Cancun, Bermuda, or Jamaica. This place was different. Hotel la Dune was all-inclusive in only the way an Italian can do it: homemade pasta, all you can drink sparkling water, red wine, white wine, and a bounty of fresh fruits and overflowing and incredibly tasty vegetables. Since we were a large family with a two-year old baby in the midst, the staff at the hotel went out of their way to treat us like their family, ensuring we always had a table reserved for our family and servings piled high.
Mealtime was my favorite memory of Italy.
Can you blame me?
Every day for lunch and dinner we started off with antipasto, a before-the-meal spread that included an array of lettuce, toppings, cured meats, and appetizer vegetables and grilled eggplant. I was amazed by the bowls of freshly torn romaine, butter lettuce, radicchio, arugula, shredded carrots, scooped cucumbers and sliced onions they placed in water to take the edge off the bitter. Dressing options were kept minimal with olive oil, balsamic, and white wine vinegar finished with a twist of pepper and salt. There was no rush to complete this antipasto and I learned the joy of a simple salad, enjoying leisurely conversation, and just being in the moment.
The one thing from Italy that became a new lifestyle habit for us was that antipasto salad array. Six years later a recreation of sorts is still a part of us, as it taught us to keep a mixture of lettuces, scooped cucumbers, olive oil, balsamic, white wine vinegar, and a twist of pepper and salt at our fingertips.
I also have a new Italian experience to share with you.
I am pretty excited to tell you that I will be sharing recipes each month for De Nigris, an Italian vinegar company that has been around since 1889. They have a portfolio of vinegars from organic, white wines, glazes, and balsamic that span the percentages of grape must that go best with light dishes, to hearty meals, and as finishing touches to desserts. If you’ve been following my blog for any time, you already know that I am obsessed with balsamic as it always pops up here and there in my recipes. Look for more of them in the coming months.
In honor of my Italian ramblings of that magnificent antipasto Hotel La Dune salad spread and De Nigris 1889, I decided to recreate it.
The next dinner party I have… this is happening.
The next dinner party you have… why not recreate it too?
|Add pepper mills, olive oil and De Nigris balsamic, De Nigris seasoned white wine vinegar, onions in water and arugula|
|romaine, shredded carrots, butter lettuce, arugula|
|Radiccho, scooped out cucumbers, onions in water|
|The only thing missing is the Tuscan yellow tablecloth (still searching for one!)|