The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Italian tea party!

Italian tea plate with figs, Stella d'Oro cookies, Sicilian Orange marmalade, Blood Orange soda, and Earl Gray tea.
Most Italian-Americans don’t see Columbus Day as a celebration of the subjugation of native peoples, as many others do, because Italians have experienced their own share of subjugation at the hands of foreigners, over the yeas, and they know that's nothing to celebrate. For them, Columbus Day is a memorial to Cristofero Colombo, one of the “little people” (i.e. common Italian, not foreign aristocrat) who had big ideas, and who braved ridicule, danger, poverty and complete ruin to bring his idea to life. The day is also a memorial to, and celebration of, the other Italians who have done the very same thing, repudiating the easy life of crime, and making a better life for themselves and their families through hard work, faith and dedication.

While Italy is better known as a coffee-drinking country, tea has a long-standing, although small, presence in the hearts of many Italians, both in Italy and in the wider world. Italian-Americans comprise 6% of the U.S. population (as of 2006), the 4th largest European ethnic community in the United States, as passionate in their love of food, family, culture, and community as they ever have been. These are values that all cultures can share and celebrate, so what better way to do that, than with an Italian-inspired tea party on Columbus Day?

Italian Tea Party menu:
Antipasto plate -- green & black olives, pickles, salami slices, prosciutto slices, peperoncini, sweet yellow peppers, pickled baby corn, marinated artichoke hearts.

Earl Grey tea (bergamot is grown in Sicily)
Italian mineral water
Orange or Pomegranite Juice with sparkling water

Foccacia topped with melted mozzarella, sauteed portobello mushroom and onion
Open-faced tuna salad sandwiches on ciabatta bread, with sliced fresh tomato and basil
Roast beef and roasted red pepper tea sandwiches with Parmesan cheese
Zucchini bread
Mushroom Bruschetta
Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Panini

Grapes, figs, blood oranges and melon balls in sugar syrup flavored with rose water
Dates stuffed with Mascarpone cheese or Stilton
Biscotti, amaretti, cuccidati, or Stella d'Oro cookies
Sliced Strawberries marinated in Balsamic Vinegar, Sugar, and Pepper
Jordan almonds

“Belguardo for refined relaxation Italian-style: Afternoon tea and Italian delights”
“Tea in Tuscany” by Mary Caliendo
“Tea’s popularity grows in Italy” by Jane Pettigrew, Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
"Columbus: fact vs. fiction"
"Columbus: a biography"
"Columbus and the Indians: friend or foe?"

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)