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Feast of 6 Fishes....and 6 desserts

The apartment is in the old part of the city, up a very steep flight of stairs to the apartment door which opens into a coat-lobby, then a less steep set of stairs leads to the first floor of the apartment. Tables put end to end filled the main room, leaving a small seating area next to the kitchen and that was about it for the space--bedrooms are up another flight of stairs. Incidentally, it's not just Americans who leave the TV on while entertaining, though in this case it was re-running Juventas soccer.

The other guests were all relatives or close friends, and one cousin had enough English to converse with us before we sat down to eat. With the others, we exchanged a word or two or just introduced ourselves by name and relationship to Laura (Nancy, tia). Our hostess's reasonable solution to the language issue was to cluster us at one end off the table, with Laura and Emilia's two children as buffers to the rest of the table.

We were well fed, indeed. I don't have names for most of these, but here are general descriptions.

First course: shrimp in a dressing on red cabbage leaf, salmon on buttered toast, sardine (3 fish)
Black rice with shrimp and a vegetable, maybe zucchini (+1)
Pasta tube filled with ricotta with salmon blended in, served hot (+1)
Eggplant stack layered with a tomato/onion/shrimp mixture (+1=6)
Somewhere in there was a cabbage salad, too.

Then started the progression of sweets:
Plate with a semifreddo(?)--thin layer of a frozen dish, lightly sweet and made of beets, plus a little pillow-shaped pastry filled with cream, smeared with nutella, and with white chocolate chips on top
Nougat-looking thing with hazelnuts and a chocolate coating, but the "nougat" was a hard candy
A sort of jumbled mass of pastry strips covered in a mixture of finely chopped hazelnuts and chocolate (the pastry was very tough)
White chocolate with hazelnuts and dark chocolate (see a theme here?) passed in chunks on a plate
Then came the tiramisu!
We toasted Buon Natale with a sparkling wine at the end of the meal, and of course had still white wines with the main dishes.

Presents exchanged just before midnight, and Emilia offered us the excuse to leave early so we could get up early for our train. We heard the bells for midnight as we approached Porta Fiorentina.

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Fish-Fred
nlbarber
Nancy Barber

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