Italians are great, but sometimes you just need some expat love! Thanksgiving is one of those times. Luckily mine keep getting better and better. I think back at my first attempts of just going out to regular dinners but missing the food and the ambience, trying to make pumpkin pies from scratch and then settling for pumpkin breads. One year I even busted a gut by trying to make a sweet (dolcissimo) mashed potato dish along with unintentionally flat cornbread made from polenta. Epic fail (especially because I never even liked sweet potatoes in the first place!). Then last year things improved thanks to my lovely English teacher colleagues who organized a homemade fantastic dinner with polenta and squashy type dishes all set in the right ambience.

However, this year we skyrocketed to a whole new Turkey Day level by having not just 1 Thanksgiving celebration … but 2!

Thanks to some new expat acquaintances in Bra who attend the University of Gastronomic Sciences, we were invited to an over 20 person dinner on Thursday night. Not only were there fellow Americans but there were also Germans, Austrians, Swiss and more. The lights were dimmed, the table was festively set, and we had a whopping 14 kilos of turkey which might not sound like that much until you hear it translated to 30 lbs! We had all kinds of food like stuffing, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, gratin potatoes, celery root purée, salad, homemade bread, brussel sprouts and tons of homemade pies from the pastry students! We all brought great local and international wines like a Hungarian merlot which was actually one of my favorites of the night. The best part was getting emotional as we all got in touch with our inner feelings and expressed what we were grateful for. I was obviously grateful for having them invite me to my best Thanksgiving yet!
That was until Thanksgiving #2 came around on Saturday night.  I got my first Saturday off from work so I could cook which made it even more enjoyable. Plus, Sunday I could finally sleep in. Our American friend Shira, is an awesome cook, also an ex-pastry chef, artist, and just an all around amazing person! We were super excited to go to dinner because she always makes the best food. We were joined by our other expat friends who you probably know by now from Living In The Langhe, who were up for some Anglo-Saxon celebrations! Apparently they eat lots of stuffed turkey during the holidays too. (Allegra we will be waiting for your chestnut stuffing for next year!) Again we had great wine, huge plate of stuffing, corn pudding (which was a first for me) but so delicious, mashed potatoes, turkey, my attempt at cornbread again which came out flat, quiche and carrots. Of course we had 3 delicious desserts until I really felt like it was time to explode. The fun twist this night was to write what you were thankful for on the tablecloth which we might add to again next year! Both dinner parties were by far superior than my last 9 years of trying to celebrate in Italy.
Can’t wait to see what next Thanksgiving will bring! How did you spend your Thanksgiving this year?
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