Thursday, 7 February 2013

SABINA TRAVELOGUE PART 19 - April 8 - Easter in Casperia - Gusto Al Borgo

Resurrection by Fra Angelico, San Marco Convent Museum, Florence
Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter everyone. We slept in a bit today, then got up and had a light breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast (thank you Candace) then got dressed up and went out for a bit of a passeggiata to make room for our Easter lunch at Gusto Al Borgo.

Three years ago we had our first lunch in Casperia there... And it was at that first lunch at Gusto Al Borgo that we knew we were in heaven and that somehow we wanted to come back to Casperia, and soon...  

I can't remember whose idea it was, and this set of photos may have been taken during our second visit to Gusto Al Borgo in 2009, but to symbolize our determination to be able to come back to the Sabina we took pictures of each other, ahem, grabbing life by the balls. We have a framed set at our house, and Candace has a framed set at hers. I thought I looked fiercely determined but get a load of Richard and Candace. Now that's determination!

So here we are back in Casperia in the heart of our beloved Sabina three years later. I don't know but between you and me, I think the magic of those funny pictures have worked.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, since our last visit to Casperia three years ago, the owners of Gusto al Borgo have moved operations, at least during the cooler part of the year, to their beautifully restored house on Via Massari in the centro storico. Though I miss eating at the beautiful outdoor farm location, the new digs are not only better in inclement weather, but also easier to walk to if you do not have a car at your disposal. Three years ago when we visited Gusto al Borgo, Franco, the affable and proud owner, very kindly picked us up and ferried us back and forth in his car the two times we made reservations. Once he even offered to drive us to Farfa to see the Abbey. Knowing now just how far Farfa is from Casperia, I am glad we did not take him up on the offer, and even more glad that he doesn't have to be both host and taxi service at the new location.    

Dining at Gusto al Borgo, whether for lunch or dinner, is a festive occasion. We all got dressed up and took a long long walk through the winding streets and alleyways, upstairs and downstairs, to build up our appetite for the coming Easter feast.

It was a beautiful sunny Easter morning. The Spring hill air was fresh and bracing, the town cats were friendly. 

But there was a bit of melancholy mixed in the joy of the day, at least for me, because we were now more than half way through our Sabine sojourn. Though I knew there were many more discoveries and fun times with friends ahead, and even though as our friend Nicoleta says that every day in the Sabina has 48 hours, I was keenly aware of the clock ticking... 

I took tons of pictures and so did Richard. Maybe he was feeling the same way I was... and that by taking pictures at each corner, of each antique wooden door, of each stoney house that we could really bring the whole village, the region, and even our friends back to Canada with us...  Magari!

As it got closer to lunch time though the rumblings of my stomach slowly but surely drowned out the violins in my heart. I wondered what was on the menu. In a completely different mood I followed Richard and Candace as we wended our way to Gusto Al Borgo. 


The menu from beginning to end was amazing. Paola, Franco's wife, e' veramente la regina della cucina... Queen of the kitchen! Franco, the ever-affable host poured us huge glasses of his own farm-made wine... Robust at the beginning, by the end of the lunch this wine had opened up like a flower, all elegance and wonderful depth of flavour. 

Everything was delicious but I have to say that the highlight of the meal for me was the artichoke lasagna. Heaven! The egg noodles were paper thin and so beautifully flavoured. My vegetarian daughter Jayka and our friend Keith would have loved that dish. 

Photo courtesy of Franco Angelelli, Gusto Al Borgo
The desserts were amazing too. Thank you Paola and Franco, and all your wonderful staff for a truly memorable meal. What a wonderful way to spend an Easter afternoon. 

Franco and Richard relaxing after lunch

The funny thing was that when we finally got outside a rain and wind storm had sprung up. We sprinted home up and down the stone stair alleys taking the most direct route possible, but we still got soaked. We giggled all the way. Candace lead the way and Richard and I followed behind. Here are some great pictures of Candace in her red shawl racing home. These are slightly out of order.

When we got home, our laundry that we had put out to dry was blown over and soaked. We brought everything in and have it now drying in the upstairs bedroom. I think it is time for a nap.

Tomorrow we head out to Fiumicino to visit our friends Paola and Massimo and their family for another "Roman" lunch. Thank God for the many stairs of this hilltop town or I would be going back to Canada looking like Santa Claus in civies. 

Facebook post from Massimo: Hello James ....... we are waiting for tomorrow and we will make a mess and have fun ......

p.s. The menu is traditionally typical Roman.

I can't wait. A domani. Ciao! Ciao!

Sabine Sunset and Monte Soratte, courtesy of Alessandra Finiti

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