I have never experienced a dinner quite like Saturday's. It was an intimate gathering of 55 close friends at an agriturismo (a working farm that doubles as a hotel and restaurant) just outside the center of Roncade. I was graciously invited to the bi-annual festa by my friend Patrick who was also a tutor this summer. His host parents, Riccardo and Maria were the masterminds of what was one of the most hilarious and festive evenings I've ever had in Italy, and certainly one of the most memorable.
It began like any other Italian dinner - baskets of freshly baked bread placed on long rustic tables, and jugs of red wine poured into decievingly small glasses. Then came the antipasti - plates of polenta smothered in cheese, sopressa and warm marinated mushrooms. But it was not the food that took center stage this night. Before I could even finish my second bite of polenta, Riccardo had switched on the microphone and began the show. It began with jokes and greetings, all in Italian and all sending the audience into roaring laughter.
Then came the guitar and singing, followed by a request for all guest to swing our napkins round and round in the air, followed by an impromptu strip tease (down to boxer briefs) by the two males hosts of the affair. By this point I was in tears.
After a frenzied sing-a-long of YNCA (as the Italians say), and Macho Man, I thought I had seen it all...but then came Riccardo and Carlos freestyle rap. I will not do this video any justice by describing it with words. You just need to watch.
Now the party is out of control...a perfect time for a conga line. Mind you, there are other diners in the restaurant (or "victims" as Maria called them) who were not part of our party but had no other choice but to jump on the line. Riccardo was the leader of my particular conga line and guided us into and out of the restaurant's kitchen several times until about the 4th time when the owner of the restaurant stood there shaking his head, "NO".
More sing-a-longs and then it was time for the gift presentation. One by one, each woman at the party including the waitress, was handed a bag with sexy lace panties. Some of the more overserved gals even tried their new lingerie on over their clothes!
By 1am the espressos had been served, and everyone happily stumbled out of the restaurant thanking their hosts and anxiously awaiting the spring when they will do it all over again.