Dear Chef Claudio
I trust this letter finds you well. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere regret for the way I left things the last time we met; while I don’t want to make excuses, I would still like to offer an explanation and apologise for my appalling behaviour at the time.
After all the kindness you and Signora Piantini showed us, and the pearls of culinary wisdom you shared over the preceding four days, one would think I could have summoned the strength to look you in the eye so you could see the gratitude that came from the bottom of my heart, yet I was barely able to utter a simple word of thanks.
The truth is, all my words were trapped behind a giant lump that had been forming in the back of my throat since the night before. I was also afraid that if I caught your eye for even a split second, I would instantly turn into a blubbering mess. Instead, I simply shook your hand and gave you what I thought was a polite smile, but in retrospect probably looked more like something between a grimace and a snarl…and I have been berating myself about it ever since.
If I could turn back time and take away the over-emotional-not-good-with-goodbyes side of myself, I would give you a quick hug and then holding your hand, look into your eyes and say “Grazie mille” for the most incredibly inspiring, deliciously decadent and breathtakingly beautiful experience of my life.
Grazie for demonstrating the ultimate in Tuscan hospitality, and welcoming us to your home and restaurant amid the olive groves and vineyards of Figline Valdarno.
Grazie for trusting us amateurs in your beautiful professional cucina, and for sharing your recipes, genius cooking tips plus – above all – your infectious passion for simple, delicious food prepared with only the freshest ingredients. We will never fail at lasagne again!