Waking from a long hot sleep, we joined the other guests at the breakfast table for brioche and nescafe instant cappuccino (when oh when am I going to get a decent coffee in Italy?). Thankfully the rain seemed to have stayed away despite the forecast.
Once all suited and booted (or jacket and sandled in my case) we got into minibuses and cars for a ten minute drive to a medieval monastery turned registry office on the bank of lake Como. A string quartet greeted guests as we huddled under the shade of olive trees and the local mayor took control of the ceremony and wedded the happy couple. All very fairytale perfection with a twist Italiano!
The just married couple made their getaway in a vintage fiat to be met back at the ranch over looking the lake from high up in the valley. Drinks and nibbles were served on the lawn, nibbles being locally cured meats, salami and dried, smoked hams accompanied by at least six assorted Italian cheeses. Children played on lawn and the trans-euro-pan-asian guests drank strawberry juice with prosecco.
Debbie and I are the only guests direct from the UK except for the bride’s mother and step dad. Most of her guests are friends and family that live and work in Hong Kong. On the groom’s side, from German and Italian heritage with a curve ball of Greek, this is possibly the most global and certainly multi lingual wedding I’ve been too.
As the day drew on, speeches happened (in English and Italiano) and dinner was served; it seems Italian weddings are a gastronomic challenge. Absolutely delicious, but a challenge non-the-less. After the cold cut appetizers (in Italy, it seems it’s all about the cold cuts and cheese), we sat down to the first of the first courses… risotto and courgette flowers followed by ricotta ravioli and dried pancetta. Meals are a three course affair before dessert here: starters followed by a first plate, which is usually the pasta or risotto course, then the main course is a meat or fish and possibly a token vegetable. It’s hearty and honest food, but a celeriac-vegan-vegetarian nightmare. The main dish, which on the menu was also a two course affair was paired down to one, much to the relief of the diners, to a beef and pork fillet with potatoes.simple, but really well cooked.
Staggering back onto the lawn where fruit and chocolate mouse or panacotta awaited us, the sky had clouded over as the sun had began to set. The greaser three piece band arrived and the lightning light show began. The air was eerily still as a storm made it’s way over the Swiss border and the dragons played a rockabilly cover of white wedding. The wine flowed and like a scene from a thriller, the wind picked up and began moving the garden furniture and leaves swirled around the building above our heads as the flashes from the sky lit up the clouds with greater frequency.
Then the clouds dropped their load. Like a scene from a bourbon advert everyone ran into the veranda as the shutters came down and the band got more raucous – at least their was no excuse but to dance the rest of the night away.