The second annual Tuscan Dinner was a success.  It was very similar to last year’s except that we had four couples this year.  We rigged up a table extension, which accounts for some of the lumpiness.  I didn’t realize that my tablecloth wouldn’t fit, so I also had to do some last-minute adjusting with what I have in the house (which isn’t much!)

My typical Friday schedule involves planning a weekly menu and grocery shopping.  This week I woke up to a gurgling toilet while I was in the shower and a sudden odor of sewer gasses.  I quickly got out, flushed the toilet, (dressed) and ran outside to talk to the sewer workers.  They said I should run all the faucets and flush the toilets, that they were “hardly applying any pressure”….well, I went to our downstairs bathroom and the toilet had gurgled so much that the WALLS were sprayed with toilet water!  Ugh….so I got my Murphy’s Oil Soap and washed all the walls.  Then I cleaned and scrubbed both bathrooms and disinfected the floors.  THEN I went grocery shopping.

By this time, the Italian wines were looking pretty good, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t 5:00 anywhere.  So I slowly prepared for our dinner.

Inspired by all those lovely, romantic movies that take place in the Italian countryside, my fascination with water bottles and outdoor dinners was born.

My two little bouquets were easily spread among so many bottles that I had to grab a few old wine bottles that I placed around the house, including the (squeaky clean) bathroom!


We set the table under our deck, which creates the feeling of an arbor.  My husband and I hung white lights which gave a perfect glow as darkness fell.

I was thankful that it was a sunny day, but it was only supposed to reach a daytime high in the 50s and our guests were not arriving until 7:00 PM.

We had some Reisling from my 5K winery, some Chianti and a Tuscan cabernet.  We had two varieties of Italian beer.

The evening is all about food, conversation and friendship.  We simplified the menu this year and changed up the order a bit.  We started with a simple cheese and antipasto plate, followed by bread sticks and a baguette and dipping oil.  Next, a fantastic wedding soup with toasted pine nuts and veal meatballs.  We served the salad next, although it is supposed to be served after the main course.  The main course was a Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables.  The roasted dinner is easy for me to prepare ahead of time and cook while I am enjoying the other courses.  We were considering a Tuscan steak, but then that would require fussing with the grill.  This evening is truly about sitting around the table!  We ended the meal with a delicious Taramisu.

I was excited to use the wine barrel candle holder that our neighbor’s made for us last year!

We did have the chimenea to warm up by.  But we didn’t need that because one of our guests brought Grappa.  It is typically drank (drunk?) after dinner.  I was expecting something of a dessert wine, like ice wine.  Noooooo Grappa is more like turpentine!  Us ladies politely tried to sip it.  I suppose you need to drink it like a shot!  The guys gathered up some of the waste Grappa and poured it down the chimenea.  A four foot fireball shot into the air!  But somehow, the guys managed to finish the entire bottle of Grappa.
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As evening fell, the air was still and our “arbor” was quite cozy.

Another year, another wonderful evening with friends. Tradition.


Note on my blog:  I have never blogged on any particular schedule, but recently have been inspired to do so.  My goal is to blog five days a week with the following topics:

Monday – Design – Design ideas I use in my home, design by others
Tuesday – Inspiration – People, shops, and anything else that I find inspiring!
Wednesday – Sewing – My own tutorials, tutorials I find interesting, sewing tips, etc.
Thursday – Thoughts on Life – family life, practical tips, recipes, …
Friday – Shop updates for myself and Annie

Thanks for reading.  I am truly grateful for the blogging community!