We took the loaf of pan bigio over to friends’ house last night for a feast. They knew we were bringing a big crusty loaf rustic Italian style bread and so it was decided over the phone that we would do some olive oil tastings before dinner. And I have to say that the bread really did turn out well. I haven’t yet mastered slashing loaves but the slashes I had made fit with the rustic quality. It was a good 14 inches in diameter, with a deep gold crust.
But in a sudden change of direction, they decided to use one of the olive oils to make a shrimp and garlic stew as the first course. Ten of us stood around their large kitchen, ripping pieces of bread from the loaf and using it to mop up shrimp stew. T decreed that this was my best loaf ever. I confess that wasn’t absolutely happy with the crumb but then I’m extremely critical and am always striving for the bread to be just a little bit better than it is. But the others seemed to think it was great….
We then moved onto the pasta course. P had cut lasagne into wide strips and we had these noodles with a boar, venison, caribou, duck, mushroom sauce – it was wonderful! I have never had caribou before and still wouldn’t be able to tell which piece of meat in the hunter’s sauce was caribou. But the combination was spectacular.
Then for the main course (as if we needed to eat anything more) we had grilled incredibly tender steaks with a chipotle sauce on the side, stir-fried whole baby bokchoy and garlic (I think I saw a little soysauce going in it.) and the rest of the bread. There were various dry red wines from which to choose – all very good but nothing particularly outstanding. I know I saw a SanGiovese….
And then finally, a double chocolate torte with whipped cream and raspberries. The torte was brought by S, who said that it had about 5 eggs, a very small amount of flour, a very small amount of sugar and all the semi-sweet and dark chocolate she had in the house. It was intensely chocolatey. But because it was not sweet, it was very very good.
It was a happy convivial evening. We finally pushed our stomachs into our coats at about midnight (way past our bedtime!!) and waddled home. I never want to eat again.