As we had come to expect on a late October evening, the Cappelletti’s had built a roaring fire in the living room to chase away any sense of dampness arising from the breeze off of the waters of Lake Como. The doors to the dining room remained closed as the sound of cutlery and glassware being carefully placed on the tables melodically reached our ears while we anxiously waited for what would be another memorable meal during our honeymoon.
We were lucky enough to snag two of the overstuffed chairs in front of the fireplace as Bruno invisibly served what he had already learned was our preferred aperitivos with the bright green olives and salty chips. As we reminisced about our day in the villages of Lake Como a couple approached us and asked if they could join us by the fire. As they settled in we quickly learned that this was their fifth trip to Villa Belvedere and since it was our second we instantly found a point of mutual appreciation.
As the minutes ticked by we discovered that we both shared a passion for travel as well as the mussels that are served in the dining room of Villa Belvedere. And, we had both learned the secret. There was a small quantity of this coveted entree. We all had a chuckle when we realized that, armed with this insider information, both couples were waiting for the dining room doors to open so that we could place our orders for mussels!
Our shared goal created an instant bond and we decided to have dinner together. As the narrow double doors opened, we abandoned our aperitivo and queued for entrance. Recognizing that two of his favorite patrons were now a party of four, Allegio quickly combined our reservations and seated us at a premium table by the windows overlooking the lake. The moon was glistening over the water of Lake Como as we continued to share our travel adventures and life stories around the candlelight of our table.
As the dining room began to fill we quickly placed our order and were rewarded for our diligence when four steaming bowls of mussels appeared at our table accompanied by thick slices of grilled Italian bread to soak up the briny, white wine based sauce. Silence descended on our table as we began releasing the cozze (Italian for mussel) from its shell, popping the plump morsel of mollusks into our mouths. Tender, sweet, salty, and rich – all in one bite. And so it was that we discovered we had another interest in common – food! We all agreed that the opportunity to have steamed mussels Italian style at Villa Belvedere was a worthy goal of repeating as often as possible.
Allegio appeared as we began to dunk our grilled bread into the white wine sauce (now flavored with the salty brine of the cozze) and as we reached the end of our chilled bottle of Piedmont produced Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato DOC. After our light meal of mussels he expertly recommended that we finish with their house-made orange-infused olive oil cake. While we awaited desert, personally made by Allegio for the restaurant, the deep aromas of braised meats and hours-long simmered sauces served as the backdrop for further exploration of one another’s lives. We started the evening as strangers and concluded it as friends all because of the mussels!
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.