It’s been a couple of months since I visited Le Casacce, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
Majestic Tuscan sunsets,
and beautiful roses
that frame the charming stone architecture with color and splendor.
I spent a couple of weeks in this paradise attending a conference and basking in the Tuscan countryside.
This post was supposed to be a review of the awesome experience I had at Le Casacce discovering more about writing and photography at the Plated Stories Workshop, and learning about Italian cooking from Enrico Casini, a renowned Italian Chef.
However, sadly, Enrico passed away in his sleep this past Sunday. So this is my humble tribute to him.
Enrico was a funny, dynamic person who loved to cook and share his villa and his creations with everyone.
This was his domain whether he was in the kitchen preparing a masterpiece or mingling with guests.
Everything he and his staff made turned to gold or at least tasted like it was made from some precious substance. He took great pains to make sure his creations delighted everyone.
At dinner every night, he would introduce each course as it was being served. He was proud of his land and especially his olive oil. He would enter the dining room with a smile on his face and say, “Excuse me!” and when everyone was silent, he would tell us in his broken English what each dish was made of.
He would say “… this dish is made with the meat (or cheese) from these lands (as he opened his arms to signify the land around him)and my olive oil … and my love … sokay! Thank you!”
One of the dishes we made in the cooking class is this ricotta gnocchi with creamed spinach and chard. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I hope to decipher my notes one day and recreate it.
Enrico reminded me of a flower child from the 70s. I didn’t really know him; I just observed his manner in the kitchen and around the villa. He usually had Barry White or Sade playing in the background.
He had a simple, yet captivating collection of paintings and photographs which hung in the dining room and patio area. The art provided a glimpse into his life and memories and made mealtime a precious experience.
Another endearing character at Le Casacce, was Enrico’s loyal sidekick, Socrates. Socrates is a friendly and woeful donkey. He would sing a song when he saw his master coming and sometimes the rest of us would hear it too.
Sweet Socrates, won’t you sing your song one more time?
Enrico, thank you for enriching our lives and our palates with your Roman traditions and welcoming us into your villa and your lands. We’ll cherish these memories forever.
Here’s to your olive groves, your lands and your lovely villa. May they forever hold your memory and your love deep within.
Farewell Enrico, you will be missed …