September 25, 2007

ESD XVIII Rule, Britannia!

Villa Deciani became an outpost for the British Empire Tuesday night, thanks to the enthusiastic participation of a group of visiting ladies and gentlemen in our ESD. The Italians were completely outnumbered by visiting and resident Brits (more than fifteen!!), and were almost outnumbered by their Austrian neighbors. The British visitors, led by the delightful Dorry Friesen, completely captivated their Italian hosts with tales of their travels and adventures, and Gemma Foa enchanted us all with her own stories.

Supper started with a humble Casatiello, and a variety of breads (homemade by Betti Morgante) with salami, served with a fresh Ariis Brut Prosecco. The Visconti Pugelniks, catering for us again, showed a bit of spirit by serving bowtie pasta with broccoli and olives (bowties for Englishmen!). But the simple dish worked perfectly with the fruity Sauvignon Blanc offered by Max di Lenardo. The Visconti Pugelniks then showed high courage in the face of the British invasion, serving Roast Beef all'Inglese--really a bit cheeky of them, but a winning combination with the excellent Cabernet from the di Lenardo vineyard. To see more on his range of wines, go to:

We hope our British guests enjoyed their stay in Friuli, and that they'll be back next year with more stories and laughs for our ESDs. They certainly conquered our hearts on Tuesday night!

October also looks to be interesting, with a special Halloween event at the end of the month. Come and celebrate autumn's harvest with us--space will be limited so book your place early by sending an email to: See you soon!

Penny Heysen

September 18, 2007

ESD XVII Neither rain nor hail....

'Neither rain nor hail, nor sleet nor snow shall stop ESDs from putting on a show!' Okay, so it's badly paraphrased from the US Postal Service, and even further from the original of the Greek historian, Herodotus. But the idea is the same. The huge storm that blew over upper Friuli may have delayed a little but couldn't stop us from having our weekly meeting, especially as this time we were honored with a special performance by the ladies choir of Aviano. These lovely ladies (and their lucky director Emanuele Lachin on the piano) sang us a selection of Broadway tunes, showing off the acoustics in the ballroom at the villa.

We started off the evening Italian style, with flatbread pizza and a superb Tocai from the Bastianich Vineyards. The weather cleared enough for the rest of the choir to arrive from Aviano, and we enjoyed their spirited performance of selected songs from some of the more popular shows of Broadway. After the concert we continued the 'Americana' theme at dinner, with jerked chicken wings and a crisp Zinfandel from California. The main course, a spicy Creole Jambalaya with ratatouille on the side, worked well with the Mexican beer, and there was a Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon from California for those who preferred wine. Dinner ended on a rich note with a trio of chocolate brownies, carrot cake and apple pie. The whole dinner was, as they say, 'as American as apple pie!'

We'd like to thank all those who braved the elements to join us on Tuesday--especially those who travelled so far through such awful weather. The choir from Aviano boosted the numbers of Americans present--making them by far the largest group of foreigners, though there were also quite a few Austrians, some who had made the drive from Graz in terrible conditions, and Canadians, Brits, Kiwis, Aussies, and of course Italians--all in all about 70 people--our largest gathering yet!

Given that the night was so successful we hope to hold more of these special evenings--if anyone has any suggestions for entertainment please drop a note below in the comment box. Otherwise, hope to see you at another ESD soon. Please reserve your place by sending a note to: as early as you can--advance notice helps us organize the catering better.

Penny Heysen

September 11, 2007

ESD XVI Reunited, and it feels so good...

Reunited...and it feels so good.

"It was really a very pleasant evening" said a shy Arigo Gobessi, probably still jet legged from his long flight from Vancouver to be reunited with his brother. He was surely surprised to find such a cosmopolitan ambience in the village that he had left over 50 years ago to emigrate to British Columbia, where he now lives with his wife Rosemarie and family. Similarly surprised was Ermes to be reunited with his childhood friend from Graz, Eva, who is presently living in Kenya!

It was the same nice, friendly atmosphere created by an international crowd, with German as a second language alongside Friulano.

All the better to appreciate the tasty home cooked dinner prepared by the Visconti Puglenik family, which was well matched with the wines of several good ESD friends: Coos and Zacomer, Vignaioli di Nimis, and Toniatti Giacometti, who is an important horse breeder, just to mention the locals. We also got to try an interesting Tuscan rosè from the cellars of Conti Spalletti which nicely set off the delicious maccheroni alla napoletana, a family recipe from Antonio Visconti.

ESD will continue with other interesting gatherings; next week the girls of Aviano will be bringing us a bit of Broadway.

Hope to see you all soon!

Luigi Deciani
ESD Committee

September 4, 2007

ESD XV September 4 "Not even in New York..."

"Not even in New York!!" These were the words of one of Tuesday night's dinner guests, amazed by the diversity of the people that were gathered to meet and chatter happily over fine wine and food. This distinguished journalist, along with her husband and two Polish colleagues, was a guest at Villa Deciani, and along with some representatives of the Friuli Venezia Giulia tourism board, witness to the merry band of ESD members who meet each Tuesday to share ideas, small talk, and just enjoy each other's company. Maybe she'll set up her own branch of ESDs back home in Greenwich Village??

We certainly were pretty cosmopolitan on Tuesday, with people from Sweden, Poland, the United States and United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, and Australia. All united by a common language--English. And united by a common desire to learn something new, whether it be the philosophical theory passed on by Luigi Deciani on the five levels of pleasure in life, or why Irish singers sing the way they do, or just the name of a new software guaranteed to make communicating between computers easier. Something for everyone, and as Eleanor Callanan put it, everyone brings something, everyone in some small way can contribute to the joys of the evening.

Of course Dario Coos and Roberto Toniatti were particularly generous with their contributions, giving us all chances to sample and compare their sauvignons and refoscos. Thank you, and may your harvest go well again this year so that we can enjoy your fine wines another time!

So come along and bring something--bring a friend, bring an idea, bring an open mind and a smile--any and all of these would be great gifts and always welcome at our weekly ESD Tuesdays. See you there!

Penny Heysen
ESD Committee