I have a lovely group of friends from all over the world in Tuscany, Italy, where we live when not in Portugal. Surprised and touched by their genuine curiosity to “experience” Thanksgiving (in Italy!) I have enjoyed sharing this tradition with other cultures. This American and Canadian tradition dates back to the 1600s, by the Pilgrims in the US and the French explorer de Champlain in Canada, and is based on giving thanks for the harvest’s bounty. Now I must admit that at first I found it silly to even try to recreate a holiday in a country that has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, yet the enthusiasm and interest shown by my peer group and others (eg the revered Italian butcher who asks me how an American prepares the turkey, and the stuffing and the….or the greengrocer who asks me how to prepare the pumpkin pie as he shows me an enormous zucca or squash, hard as a brick to cut!) have won me over. By sharing Thanksgiving in a country that has welcomed me for years, it is also my way to say “thanks”. Cultural understanding can never be promoted enough, what better way than giving, sharing and reaching out. Every little bit counts, eh?
This Thanksgiving was celebrated on Sunday November 24, days before the actual holiday. A 8 kg/17 lb roasted turkey basted lovingly with Tawny port and orange juice, gravy spiked with Tawny port, Italian-influenced artichoke and Parmiggiano stuffing, roasted yams with a grated ginger and orange glaze, Julia’s delicious mashed potatoes, onions and brussel sprouts in a creamed mustard sauce, cranberry sauce, colorful radicchio/endive/pomegranite salad and melt-in-your mouth poppy seed rolls were enjoyed by all. Desserts included apple, walnut (pecans not to be found) and pumpkin pies with ohhhs! and ahhhs! from our guests as they disappeared.
Quinta do Tedo port, wine and olive oil were amply enjoyed, in the prepared dishes and during the meal – our Savedra Grande Reserva Douro DOC 2007 followed by Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1998 paired beautifully with the main course and our Vintage Port 2000 was a perfect match for the desserts.
I’ll be thinking of all who will celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, hopeful that there will food on the table for all. All the better if a bottle of Quinta do Tedo Port and our Douro DOC adorn the table, to be shared with others in loving company, giving thanks for all that we have.