In This Issue
Feast of the Seven Fishes
Italy Travels this fall
2016 Italy Tour Dates
Louisville News - At the Italian Table
Napoli Fish Market
Quick Links
 

 

Trip Advisor reviews

 

 

2016 Food & Wine Tours


Tuscany:  

Spring:

 

May 28-June 4; June 4-11, 2016
Fall:
October 1-8; Oct 8-15, 2016   

 

NEW! Piedmont/Bologna
Sept 24 - 30, 2016
  

Join us for a full immersion to the regions of Tuscany, Emilia- Romagna and Piedmont - great food, wine, history and culture!   

 

Vacation Villas
& Farmhouses

Casa Marta
Great accommodations for either a night or a week. When planning your stay in Italy, begin your 'country living' on a Saturday and depart the area the following Saturday for the best selection of villas and houses! 
Call for more information.
Contact Mary: 972.342.8308 
  
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Ecco La Cucina Cookbook

gina's cookbook  

 

Gina's revised and updated cookbook is available. It has more than 20 new recipes! This collection of traditional Tuscan cooking, features dishes of the Siena area and some of her favorites. 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER 

Cari amici,
As the year comes to a close, we hope you're enjoying this holiday season with friends and family and savoring some special dishes! We remember fondly some of our family traditions - making ravioli, seafood pasta and panzerotti (chestnuts pastries)!

We are especially thankful for the friendships we've made through our culinary tours. The connections we've made in sharing cooking, wines and the culture of Italy are treasured by us both! Grazie mille!

May your new year be filled with joy, peace and love.

Buon Appetito and Buon Natale a tutti!
Gina and Mary
Feast of the Seven Fishes   
The Italian Christmas Eve celebration of the Feast of the Seven Fishes is considered ubiquitous to all Italian Christmas festivities, but in fact in Italy you will only find it in coastal communities such as Naples, Palermo or Genoa. The custom arose from the Catholic church's restrictions on eating meat during Advent, and with the abundance of fisherman and fish, the last day of Advent being Christmas Eve, the tradition took hold of eating an elaborate fish dinner before meat returned to the table on Christmas Day.

Since a great majority of immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries came from Naples and other seaside villages in southern Italy and Palermo, the feast of the seven fishes entered the Italian American vernacular as the accepted way to celebrate the holiday in Italian style.   In my family, where my grandparents came from mountainous areas of southern regions (Potenza in Basilicata and Avellino in Campania), we celebrated with cheese ravioli and in later years a huge seafood pasta dish.  Since my grandparents passed however, my family has always celebrated with a huge platter of spaghettini tossed with seafood: rock shrimp, lobster or shrimp, roasted in garlic and herbs - all accompanied by copious amounts of wine!

This year in my new osteria in Louisville, we will be celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes in the days leading up to and following Christmas. Scallop shells filled with seafood, bread crumbs and herbs and baked, drizzled with great Sicilian olive oil; mussels steamed in white wine and tomato, served on toasted bruschetta doused in the new Tuscan olive oil; baked snapper or branzino, drizzled with lemon and orange olive oil from Sorrento - heart-healthy all around!
Here's my recipe for Zuppa di Cozze:  Enjoy!
Zuppa di Cozze, Tuscan mussel soup

2- 2 lb bags of fresh mussels
╝ cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed and cleaned
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
Sea salt
Bread for bruschetta

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a pot big enough to accommodate all the mussels, add half the parsley and the tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt and sautÚ on high heat briefly. Add the white wine and simmer for a few minutes; you want some of the wine to cook off.  Add all the mussels and put the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally to bring the open mussels up to the top. It's done when all the mussels are open, they give off lots of liquid so you'll have a nice soup base.

Toast the bread (Trader Joe's has a great Tuscan Pane loaf already sliced!), very lightly drag a whole garlic clove once over each slice and drizzle with great Tuscan olive oil. Place a slice of bruschetta in each bowl and top with mussels and juice. Serve extra bruschetta or garlic toast on the side. Enjoy!
2016 Culinary Tours
Our small group intimate food and wine tours are a excellent way to experience the real Italy. It is a wonderful balance of wine, food, culture and history. Click here to see a sample Tuscany itinerary.

We're adding the Piedmont region this year - September 24-30!  In this special tour, we will explore this northern region known for their excellent wines - Barolo & Barbaresco, the stuffed pastas, hazelnuts and UNESCO towns. We'll then move on to Emilia- Romagna and one of our favorite cities - Bologna. This truly is a foodie town and we'll see how Prosciutto di Parma is made along with Aceto Balsamico, Parmigiano Reggiano and tortellini. Look for an itinerary on the website soon!

Our Tuscany tour for the spring has good availability - air tickets are down right now for late spring! We'll stay in beautiful Villa Pipistrelli all week and enjoy the wonderful foods, wines and culture of the area around Siena. We'll take you on
excursions, do cooking classes, winery and cheese tours and visit the famous hill top towns of
Siena and San Gimignano.
Spring: May 28 - June 4 and  June 4 - 11.
Fall:October 1-8 and
Oct 8-15

For availability and more information on click here or call Mary 972.342.8308.
Louisville News
For those of you in and around Louisville or traveling there soon - Gina's micro restaurant -
At the Italian Table
is going incredibly well!

This winter Gina has several special wine dinners planned. Here are some dates - Call now for your reservations!
January 10th - Banfi Vitners, Tuscany (sold out)
January 27th - Featuring foods and wines from the southern regions: Puglia, Campania and Sicily.
February 17th - Featuring foods and wines from Piedmonte region (northwest Italy). 
March 9th - Featuring foods and wines from the northeast regions: Veneto, Alto Adige and Fruili.

During these winter months, we'll feature warming winter dishes just as they do in Italy. The menus will often include wild game like Tuscan wild boar ragu, venison stew or roasted meats.   
 
We are booking for dinners weeks in advance.
Please make reservations only by telephone: 502-883-0211. Leave a message and the phone calls will be returned in the order they were received. In the event there's a last minute cancellation and seats become available, we'd like to let you know! We'll be posting on Facebook. So, "like" us on Facebook and check to see if there's any last minute space!

See you At the Italian Table!