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Nutella Party! Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in Food

Ingredients for a Nutella party:

1. Lots of Nutella

2. Home made pandolce (sweet bread)

3. A rocky mountain stream

4. VERY IMPORTANT! Children

Nutella parties don’t take place very often in our village here in Lunigiana. Nutella, pandolce, and rocky mountain streams are all pretty easy to find, but what we lack, unfortunately, is that final important ingredient: children. Like many small communities dalle nostre parti (in this area) we have a diminishing and aging population. Lack of work has forced young people to cities such as Parma, La Spezia, or Milano. I could count the number of battessimi (Christenings) that have taken place in our local church over the last six years on the fingers of one hand. Funerals, on the other hand, are almost a weekly event.

Nutella (5)

How lovely it is then, during le vacanze d’agosto (the August holidays), when younger families and relatives, along with their children, seek the relative freshness, unpolluted air, and tranquillity of our normally sleepy little village, bringing with them a touch of vibrancy and youthful enthusiasm. A short while ago we wrote a blog about The Village Feast, which you can read here. What better way to follow up an event like that than with a mini, ‘sweeter’, version for the bimbi (children)! A picnic besides the beautiful Torrente Terchio, one of the many mountain streams that flow down into the river Magra, which snakes its way through the valley below our village on its journey to the Mediterranean.

 

Nutella Party

Parents and older children set to work spreading lashings of Nutella on Oriana’s wonderful home made pandolce. Dried sticks were collected to build a little fire amongst the rocks where marshmallows were skewered onto bastocini (little sticks) to be toasted over the flames. Every now and then the children had a paddle, and of course the occasional hilarious splashing tumble into the chilly waters of the Terchio. End result: happy children, happy adults!

Nutella (1)

All this reminds me of my childhood, growing up in the English countryside during the 1960’s. As an adult, I realise how lucky I was back then. When young children spend time in these beautiful unspoilt surroundings they need so little to keep them happy. And parents, forced to the cities by the need to find work, realise that these are precious times for their little ones, who will remember experiences such as this and, hopefully, keep coming back, one day maybe bring their own children with them. Speriamo!

Nutella (6)

Serena, who loves cooking, managed to get hold of Oriana’s recipe for pandolce. Eccola (Here it is):

Ingredienti: Ingredients:
550 gr di farina 00 550 grams of plain flour
250 gr di latte 250 grams of milk
25 gr di lievito di birra fresco 25 grams of fresh yeast
1 uovo intero più 1 tuorlo 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk
1 cucchiaio di zucchero 1 tablespoon of sugar
1 cucchiaino e mezzo di sale 1 and a half teaspoon of salt
2 cucchiai di olio 2 tablespoons of oil

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl together with the salt and the sugar, and make a well in the centre. Slightly beat the whole egg. Heat the milk to lukewarm temperature, and pour it into the flour. Add the whole egg, the oil, and the crumbled yeast. Mix all the ingredients well, kneading the dough for a few minutes until elastic and non sticky. Make a ball with the dough and leave it to rise inside the mixing bowl, covered with a clean tea towel, in a warm, draught proof place.

Go off for a nice walk (as Oriana said to me), and when you come back about an hour later, knead the dough for another couple of minutes. Shape the pandolce like a sfilatino (a long, thin bread), put it on a backing tray lightly dusted with flour, and cover it up again with the tea towel. Leave it to rise for another 30-40 minutes. In the meantime heat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Beat the remaining egg yolk and brush it over the bread. Put the pandolce in the hot oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and put on a rack to cool down before slicing. It’s then ready to be spread with lots of Nutella (not obligatory, as it’s nice just as it is).

Buon Appetito!

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