October 30, 2007

ESD XXIII The Court of Count Dracula....

They say that putting on a mask or costume frees a person to behave in extraordinary ways. That was certainly true this Tuesday, when over half the guests at the special pre-Halloween party turned up in masks, cloaks, witches hats and other ghoulish disguises. There was dancing, there were horror stories, and brains, worms, and other gore galore--it wasn't your usual calm dignified Tuesday ESD. Also lots of scary new faces--or maybe they just seemed new--I didn't recognize them because they were in costume.

They also say that we choose costumes that are the opposite of what we normally are. And so there were wicked witches, devils, demons, a crazy paranoid chick, and of course, Count Dracula. Oops, well so maybe Luigi was pretty close to his costume character Count Dracula, just not mortally dangerous.

There was a special Halloween inspired menu too--ending with roasted chestnuts and ribolla to ward off the shivers and chills of the night. What better way to welcome the coming winter than cosying up to the fire with a coven of witches and whatnot?!

November will see the last three ESDs of the year, finishing with a special Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday November 22 (instead of the normal Tuesday). Please book your place soon for this special American holiday--space is limited. Hope to see you there!

Penny Heysen

October 23, 2007

ESD XXII A Real Multicultural Crowd

This week we had an authentic middle-eastern cultural meeting: Mustafa and Fra Jacques, an old ESD friend just back from the Holy Land, spoke intensely in various languages (including Arabic), attracting the attention of most of the participants. Among the new guests, we were glad to welcome an old friend Guido, a famous ecletic artist.

So it was a nice dinner even though Luigi wasn’t with us. We know that despite his absence (the lucky guy—he was escorting his daughter Margherita around Ireland), he was present in spirit if not physically in his usual place at the head of the table. We look forward to hearing all about his trip and the new ideas he might have collected abroad.

Gio Pontelli

October 16, 2007


Last night’s ESD was extra special: not only because of meeting Mark and Carol, who came from Aviano with their colleagues from the US Base Serge and Louise; not only for the send off Tiffany and her friends wanted to give Deborah--going to work in north America (good luck and have fun, Deborah!!); not only for meeting old and new ESD friends like Taira and Giulio who came with Alison, not only for having Kerry who drove from Verona to be with us… but also because it was Penny’s birthday!!! Happy Birthday, dear Penny, from all of us.

The home made style dinner offered by the Visconti Pugelnik family in front of the fireplace created a cosy and familiar atmosphere, and the Vin de Ville with labels taken from the Deciani family photo album carried on the homemade theme. Nice chats in front of the cast iron stove led to an Italo-Anglo-American agreement for the next big event: a Thanksgiving dinner to be held on Thursday 22 November with the help of our friends from Aviano. Places will be limited, so let us know soon if you'll be joining us for the traditional turkey dinner. Just send an email to esdfriends@gmail.com

And remember to break out your scariest costumes for Halloween--this year we'll be celebrating it a bit early, on Tuesday 30 October. Treats will be given for the best costume, and scariest ghost tale. So come along for what looks to be a fun night!

Luigi Deciani

October 9, 2007


Our ESDs have settled into a nice rhythm. Some regular attendees confessed that at first they felt awkward speaking in English, but now have gained a lot more confidence--which is great--one of our goals is to provide a place to use those all important language skills. I guess a lot of that must be due to the warm, accepting atmosphere--everyone is so friendly.

And even those who don't need to practice their English get a lot out of the evening. Many have taken the opportunity to bring their friends and family when they're visiting Italy--no more language barriers, or having to translate the whole menu to people unused to the Italian style of ordering! So it was that Alan Munford brought his mother Iris, who was over from England for a visit--now I see where Alan gets his charm from!

So whatever your reason for coming we hope to see you again soon.

Penny Heysen

October 2, 2007


esdphotos' ESD XIX October 2 photosetesdphotos' ESD XIX October 2 photoset

Another enchanting evening at the Villa Deciani--this time held in the evocative ballroom. A wonderful atmosphere created thanks to the magical touch of Glauco Venier, an accomplished international jazz pianist who has collaborated with some of the most outstanding contemporary musicians.

Appreciative talk of the evenings at the Villa has obviously reached such far flung countries as Iceland, giving us the pleasure of the presence of the rare beauty Erla. David, another new guest and entrepreneur who lives in Thailand, was so impressed by the evening he has decided to change his itinerary in order to be present for next Tuesday's dinner. The effect these dinners have on people!!

The appetizer was nice and light; a crispy local "frico" and a delicate herb mousse served with an equally crisp white wine. This was followed by a fine risotto with herbs, which complemented the Tocai Friulano. We then went on with a "tagliata di manzo " (slivers of tender local beef) which was accompanied by a Cabernet Franc selected by the friendly wine producer Paolo Comelli, Vignaiuolo di Nimis. The supper ended up with a fresh fruit salad perfectly combined with a sweet Ramandolo.

We would like to give a warm thank you to our new guests, Gunther and Markus from Munich, who we hope will put in another appearance at future dinners and naturally to the regular guests who contribute to the great success of the ESDs.

Gio & Ali