Saturday, March 25, 2017

{a guide of what to expect when you come to the tavernetta}

Imagine the tiniest of spaces in a narrow calle off the lagoon in Venice. The air is brisk and damp, the kind that seeps deep into your bones, and there is the pungency of woodsmoke spicing the air.  You are a little hungry and little thirsty, and there is a painted wooden doorway with no windows, but a sign to let you know that you might find something to sustain inside.  You've either stumbled across this door, lost because you've been following the faint music of a cello playing alongside a viola, hoping for an impromptu concert in a niche, or the sound of the instruments in practice coming out of an open window three floors above you, or this little wedge of a space has been recommended 
by an older woman you met last night
at the table next to you in a cafe on the piazza.  

She left a kiss of bright red lipstick on the edge of her white hot chocolate cup, but her nails were cut short and there were callouses on her strong fingers which made you trust her.  She told you to go during the afternoon, at that moment when you realize the lunch you ate was not quite enough, or that you forgot lunch all together because you had late breakfast at your hotel.  You don't need much, just a little something, and a glass, an n'ombra de vin, a shade of wine, as they say.  A bastardization of a notion from the middle ages when sellers would call out their wares, for spices, bread, cheese, wine in the piazza 
in the shadow of the big cathedral on a hot summer's day,
come and have a glass of wine in the shade!  
And while today it is too cold to look for shade,you like the idea of this shade of wine,or in another meaning, the spirit.  

As you walk into the tiniest of spaces, a glorified closet really, you narrow yourself between the few people sitting and those standing and come up to the bar.  You take a cup of hot soup and a small glass of something sparkling and find an open spot at the side of the room where you can lean against the wall.  You look at the shelves of wine thinking about what you might like to take home with you later.  Maybe you'll open a bottle from here at the hotel tonight,or you'll pack it snugly in your suitcase,a tangible memory of this very afternoon.  

You set your ombra down on the corner of the table because you see the other patrons standing do the same, and those few sitting happily make room for your glass.  When you are done sipping your soup, you head back to the bar and ask for another ombra, but something dry and white this time, and crostini
with smoked salmon and fresh ricotta.  And this is how the afternoon proceeds,
an interlude in a dream.

This is how we imagine our little space at the back of our barn, a garage really, a place to come and share in breaking bread and raising glasses together. It is casual and full of the bubbling of bright conversation just like the bubbles we serve in the glass.  On a cold, snowy winter's afternoon, or in the hot laziness of summer, you come to order one ombra, or two, or three, or four, a flight, because they are so small, and then you order one, two, or three little dishes for something to have with your wine.  You sit, or more likely you stand around the table, just like you would in that little place you found down an alley in an old, baroque city, and  it doesn't really matter because you are talking to your neighbor or the friends you
came with, and you are buoyed by the the warmth, the sustenance,
and the companionship of the moment.

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