Stasera ci ceni ?Local Traditions
Stasera ci ceni ?
‘Ci ceni?’ It might sound like a generic question that would usually require at least two clarifications: where and when. But there is a place where there is no need for any further explanation: in Livorno, on the beach, among the sun umbrellas and beach huts of one of the many resorts in the area, that seemingly generic question becomes clear and precise! When one asks this question, they want to find out if the other person intends to spend the evening dining on the beach.
If you are thinking of a sandwich eaten on a beach towel or a more fashionable aperitif at sunset, sorry but you are far off the mark! Dining at the seaside for the people of Livorno is a rite of yore which is reenacted without much variation, almost like we were still in the ‘60s! It all kicks off early in the cool morning hours when people prepare the dishes for the evening in their homes. What delicacies does the menu include? With dieting and healthy trends being all the rage, some people stick to lettuce and a traditional cold pasta salad. To tell the truth, it’s only a small minority! In most cases, in fact, standards are up to a level that can rival professional catering services: highly sealed plastic food boxes are open to reveal stuffed mussels, seafood spaghetti, lasagna, roasts and legend has it that on special occasions things stretch out as far as cacciucco!
How is all this put together? First of all, it’s down to planning, as these dinners on the sea shore bring together several diners, entire families and friends of all ages. Then there must be tables, chairs, tablecloths and dishes! Everything is placed in the beach hut which, unfortunately, will no longer be used to change one’s clothes on that day. At the right time, just before sunset, preparations get underway until the high point of the day: the opening of the treasure trove, i.e. the cool bag where the food was kept all day.
Are you wandering if you can sit at one of the tables? You certainly can, people from Livorno are hospitable and friendly and if you present yourself with a nice bottle of wine they will be even more so! But if this turns out not to be the case, don't worry, book one of our food and wine tours and there will be food and drink aplenty!
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