Home Restaurant with My Italian Friends Vittoria and Domenico
If you are looking for an unusual experience and an authentic meal in the home of an Italian family try My Italian Friends. A website guiding tourists to Italian home restaurants.
As travel and food bloggers we are often approached by companies and tourist organisations wanting promotion for this product and that initiative. The answer is plain no 19 out of 20 times. Italian Notes is a private blog and a work of passion, and we are not interested in recommending or endorsing things, we don’t believe in wholeheartedly.
One of the things we do believe in, however, is meeting ordinary Italian families and hearing about their lives and their passions over a nice meal. That’s where myitalianfriends.com fits in.
How it works
My Italian Friends is a website promoting Italian home restaurants, so even foreigners can find these shebeens that are spread all over the country. You simply enter a date and a city on the website, and seconds later you are presented with a list of home cooks willing to share their meal with some strangers for the price of 18-50 Euro per person all included. You pay through the website, so there is no awkwardness or pecuniary embarrassment involved. It’s just a perfect opportunity for meeting the locals and having an extraordinary holiday experience.
At least that’s what we thought, so we accepted the proposal, and were invited to visit Vittoria on a Friday night in April. On the website. it says that Vittoria is a retired banker and a passionate cook who particularly likes to prepare old regional recipes. It sounded promising, and we were not disappointed.
English speaker present
At the appointed time we set out to find Vittoria’s house in a suburb of Taranto, and after some confusion in dark alleys and meeting an Italian couple of fellow diners, who were as lost as we were, we managed to locate the address.
The gate opened and we were received by Vittoria’s husband Domenico, who guided us into a really nice house, where the table was set for 7 people. Knowing there would be foreign guests, Vittoria and Domenico had invited his English speaking work colleague Rossella to join us for the night, and after a short round of introductions we all sat down to eat.
Nice meal in good company
Vittoria had been busy in the kitchen most of the day, and for starters she had served mozzarella di bufala from the prime producer in Battipaglia, a delicious cream of goat cheese and dried tomatoes, a gratin of fava beans and cicoria and three kinds of bread with different fillings as one of the guests was allergic to onions. Her husband Domenico served a nice local red wine and a ‘Brindisi’ toast was proposed.
Right from the start there wasn’t an awkward, silent or boring moment around the table. Everyone was talking, finding similarities and shared interests and experiences from the the word go. Over the next couple of hours, we talked politics, pollution, taxation, education, health services, retirement schemes, YouTube videos, family status, gardening and military operations. And we were given a load of insider tips on what to see and where to go in the region. I ended up feeling quite sorry for our hostess, who had to leave the table every so often in order to attend to things in the kitchen.
I’ll be back
The antipasti were followed by a pasta dish of Timballo con polpettini, local sausages with homegrown broccoli rape and a homebaked bread with crunchy seeds. The last course was a divine homemade custard cake known as bocconotto pasticiotto leccese. By then the time was approaching midnight, but before we left we were given a grand tour of the spectacular garden and an open invitation to come back for a guided city walk next time we visit this part of Italy.
I’m sure we will take them up on the offer and use myitalianfriends.com again for an unforgettable meal and a chance to mix with the locals.