Giancarlo and I both agreed that last years birthday just couldn't be topped (Surprise visit from Nicole & Jefe, Erin and Andy visiting from England, Gutter in Brooklyn, Cupcakes from Magnolia, Ronin and a nice ride home courtesy of a company which can't be named and mama Gelsie's "death by chocolate." Check it here and here and here). But this year was the first year we'd be celebrating Italian style.
Giancarlo had everything planned out so that it was all a surprise for me. I got home from work Saturday morning, and the celebrating officially began with a beautiful aperitivo spread, some beautiful tulips (my favorite!) desserts from my favorite bar, Bar Gamberini, and a bottle of Pignoletto before heading out for an afternoon of shopping.
Later that afternoon we tried a bar down the street from us that we've been eyeing for quite some time (because it reminds us of New York) Bar Boavista. If you're in Bologna, I HIGHLY recommend this bar. The drinks were a little expensive (6 euros for Prosecco) but they bring you a huge aperitivo plate, plus a "serve-yourself-if-you're-hungry-and-want-more" bar up front... for free!
After a drink at Boavista, Giancarlo mentioned that we'd be going to a "locals only" type restaurant outside of the city. In true Italian fashion (i.e. making no sense) he told me how he called a month ago to make reservations for the restaurant, only to get an answering machine that informed him to leave his name and number. If the restaurant DIDN'T call you back, it meant that you had a reservation. Seeing as he didn't get a call back, green light go. Sure enough, we arrived and had a table all set up for us, of course placed perfectly next to the desserts.
On Sunday, we were invited over to Giancarlo's cousin's apartment for a little celebration and afternoon lunch. He of course made homemade C'ic'atiell the traditional pasta from their hometown in the south. Think gnocchi without the potato, much lighter and much better.
An afternoon of good food, good conversation and as always, good company. I couldn't have asked for a better Italian birthday! And a nice little piece from my writer buddy here! Next weekend, Cinque Terre!