A Dinner with Italian Politicians

Last night I went with my boyfriend and his dad to a dinner for Visconti, some guy running for municipal position in Rome. From what I got it was to restore and take care of monuments, parks, playgrounds, etc. General stuff.

Anyway the restaurant was this large open, but not decorated place outside of Laurentina, located within a sports club. Dinner was perfect, they did four courses. First a plate of appetizers, prosciutto, cheese, salad, bruschetta, fried mushroom and small parmesan zucchini.

Here I should make a note most often when you just say “Salad” in Italy you will probably just get lettuce and arugula. Sometimes with tomatoes or corn, but usually it’s just that, so when ordering, be sure to be specific.

Second course: pasta. There were two kinds on one plate, spaghetti with some red sauce I am not really sure about on one half, penne with some light cream sauce on the other.  During this part Visconti arrived, shook everyone’s hand and made a small speech before he headed off to his next event. From the little I understood of his speech it was the normal politician “these past years have been great, let’s keep it up, wooo!”

Third Course: I am pretty sure it was turkey…. At least it tasted like it and was absolutely my favorite.  Also served with it were the Patate al Forno, potatoes soaked in olive oil and rosemary baked lightly in the oven.

Here is where the dinner got really fun, the whole time disco like music had been playing in the background, and now someone turned up the volume and switched it to a set of songs including a number of Italian dance songs I did not know, Disco Inferno, Mambo Number 5 and YMCA. Except every single person new a choreographed dances to every song. YMCA is obvious, but all the others, I was so jealous that everyone had a prepared dance for it. One song was also a Salsa song, and every Italian over 45 knew how to Salsa! (Yes, I really should have listened to my mom and taken ballroom dancing). During YMCA there was also a man who had to be at least 70 if not older, dancing the whole thing, he was the most wonderful person I have seen in my life. This dancing continued from dinner into desert.

Desert was some cream/angel food cake, very good, though if it was supposed to be tiramisu I wouldn’t have called it that…  With desert came the karaoke.

These songs were all slow ballad like songs, I couldn’t hear the lyrics but it was clear they meant a lot, since about half the women were all crying.  After this we left, which is where I should mention another thing, dinner at an Italian restaurant will not be shorter than two hours. They love to take their time.

I guess what I learned from this is in Italian Politics, it’s not really the politician that needs to be there, shaking hands, holding babies, giving long speeches, he just needs his name on the tables, give the people are really great dinner, and that should do the trick.

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