December 25, 2015
il mio bellissimo paese, 30 anni fachristmas 2015 – 3rd entry
click to read the christmas 2015 posts
Giovanni Covello, one of the Apriglianesi that I keep in contact with through FB, posted the image and the title – my beautiful hometown, thirty years ago.
It’s Aprigliano’s emblematic church – San Leonardo. Its campanile can be seen from anywhere in the valley and from any hilltop. It’s not my family’s church, rather it’s the church of the generation that didn’t leave Aprigliano and made a life for themselves in post-war Calabria. My cousins, the Femias, live very close to the church. Mario and Tonina raised their family in this new section of Aprigliano.
As much as the image has been doctored, it still suggests a snowfall that doesn’t stay long. You can almost see it melting. When we were kids, my mother and everyone else, would rush out and collect the freshly fallen snow in a bowl and add a vino cotto – a sweet wine made from the grape juice of the first press. The juice was heated in a large pot and reduced to a half or a third of the original volume and then fermented. My mother would drizzle the vino cotto onto the snow to make a sorbet-like treat – scirubetta. The Passito we had at Rose-and-Derrick’s reminded Rose and I of the scirubetta our parents used to make with the first winter snows, here in Northern Ontario. There’s a great YouTube video of an old Italian making – scirubetta. He adds fig-honey to the snow. Fig-honey was not something anyone in my family made; they made the scirubetta with the sweet dark red-wine.