After the unexpected find of the great restaurant Vittorio, we had another pleasant surprise later in the afternoon. Our friends from the pasticerria called and invited us over for a casual Tuesday night dinner at their place. After accepting their invitation and apologizing for causing any inconvenience for our mainly vegetarian preferences, we turned up later that evening, not really know what to expect.
We were certainly not prepared to discover that their apartment, in a modest building above the pasticceria, looked like something taken out of an Italian interior design magazine. Everything in their apartment was designed by the 19 year old daughter, who was 16 when she did the actual design. We could only gasp as we entered each new room and our senses were arrested by cavalcades of colours, patterns and design touches. It was luxurious, colourful and rich in detail, the opposite of Swedish minimalism. It suited the family perfectly.
After the grand tour and after quickly feeding the little one, we were invited to the table, where a large display of fish, salads, cheeses, pizza slices, bread, wine and artichokes was awaiting us. Everything was lovely and we even managed to get some conversation going, about Italian eating habits, work, school and of course our little one, who again became the center of attention. Among other things we found out that our suspicions were right concerning the fact that Italians eat pasta at lunch and not later in the day, and that dinner often is something lighter, like a bit of meat or fish and salad. That is if you’re not having pizza of course, which in Sicily is only served at night. We also talked about how the area has been impoverished during the last years and how Ribera shrunk from 20 000 to only 7000 inhabitants. Luckily, the Italians really like their “dolci” so our friends will hopefully not be too affected by the situation.
As it was getting late and our little one seemed to have had enough food and attention for one night, we tried to excuse ourselves, thanking our hosts in all ways possible for the hospitality and the nice food The mother and daughter didn’t want to hear our gratitude and tried to explain that, “In Italy, if you’re really friends with someone you don’t thank for this, you just say good night” And although it felt odd – that’s just what we did.