Limoncello Making: Part Two

Last night we strained and bottled (and sampled!) out-of-this-world-delicious limoncello. The first time I had ever tasted limoncello that I found to be enjoyable was while filming at the Groppo Family’s Feast of Saint Joseph celebration. Nina serves her icy cold homemade limoncello in the traditional tiny glasses and I think it is so much better tasting than commercially bottled preparations. The flavor of her limoncello is intensely lemony fresh, sweet, and tart all at the same time, without the alcohol burn on the way down.

limoncello making ©Kim Smith 2014The limoncello doesn’t look that appetizing in the pre-bottled stage.

As part of the film’s sequence on Feast preparations, Nina and friends Cathy Gunn, Kathy Pratl, and Jane Beddus very graciously agreed to allow me to film during the different steps of limocello-making, along with inviting me to participate and make my own batch! Nina and her family and friends have been so wonderfully helpful and accommodating with Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project and I will be eternally grateful. Making limoncello with these sweet ladies has been so much fun and a wonderful reminder of the delight and joy that comes from sharing a project with friends.

Cathy Gunn, Nina Groppo, Kathy Pratl, Jane Beddus ©Kim Smith 2014Catherine Gunn, Nina Groppo, Janer Beddus, and Kathy Pratl

After bottling, we sampled each other’s batches, the reason being that they were all made in slightly different ways; several types of lemons were used, some had more vodka, and some had more simple syrup. Kathy pointed out that the because the recipe is so super simple, the only real error in making would be if you were to grate the lemons to close to the pith, which would make the beverage bitter.

Nina Groppo Kathy Pratl © Kim Smith 2014Needless to say, we had a ball sampling all, as well as indulging in the beautiful array of cookies and treats prepared by Nina. To see more photos visit Jane Beddus’s FB page here.

The sieve we found to be the easiest and most effective for straining the pulp was a simple wooden flour sifter, used with cheese cloth, that Nina had purchased in Italy (see below in the Vine).

Chestnuts ©Kim Smith 2014Nina served hot, freshly roasted chestnuts. To remove the shell, simply give the chestnut a slight whack. The nut opens and the meat is easily removed by hand.

Making Limoncello with Friends and Nina Groppo’s Cucuzza

Groppo limoncello Feast of saint Joseph -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Left to right, front: Nina Groppo and Kathy Pratl; back: Jane Beddus and Catherine Gunn

Groppo limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014

Kathy Pratl limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014 copyThis past weekend filming continued on the Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. Nina and Frank Groppo serve the most wonderful homemade limoncello during the Feast and we decided back in March to include limoncello-making in the story of how Saint Joseph’s special day is celebrated in Gloucester. Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane not only graciously agreed to allow filming, but also included me in the preparations and you’ll see what fun we had in the forthcoming film!Kathy Pratl cucuzza limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014

While at the Groppo’s garden you can’t help but notice their amazing crop of cucuzza (pronounced ku-koz-za, also goo-gootz), hanging from their handmade arbor. Cucuzza is an Italian squash that from what I understand, in English, means something like “super long squash.” A single squash can grow ten inches in one day!

For our first of several limonncello-making days, Nina created a beautiful lunch. She served cucuzza soup, made from both the fruit and the leaves. It was fabulous and delicious and like no other soup I had sampled before. She also baked wonderfully fresh hake filets and prepared a lovely tomato salad, with heirloom tomatoes from her garden.

Nina described how she hand pollinates the fruit ~ Each plant produces male and female flowers. She explains that it is easy to identify the female flowers as they have a small swollen fruit (ovary) on the stem, just behind the flowers. She plucks the male flowers off the vine and gently brushes together the male’s anther and female’s stigma, the flower’s reproduction parts, which insures good pollination. By removing the male flowers from the vine, you are not eliminating any potential fruit because the male flowers don’t bear fruit.

Cucuzza Groppo ©kim Smith 2014I have been planning an arbor for my garden patio for sometime and after seeing and tasting the Groppo’s fabulous cucuzza, I am not waiting any longer to build one!

Thank you dear Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane for your continuing help with the Saint Joseph Film Project!

Gloucester Welcomes Schooners with Loaves of Warm Virgilio’s Bread!

Joe Virgilio ©Kim Smith 2014 -2.This past spring while working on Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph film project, I filmed Joe Virgilio making Virgilio’s Saint Joseph rolls and wrote a post for GMG about Virgilios. At that time, Al Bezanson, owner of the Green Dragon Schooner, shared that during Schooner Festival, Joe Virgilio welcomes the schooners with warm loaves of freshly baked bread as they sail into Gloucester Harbor.

Al provides more details:

“Hi Kim

Virgilio’s started donating bread to the visiting schooners two years ago, and it now threatens to become a popular new tradition.  The first year Brett and Max Ramsey, in Brett’s high speed inflatable, met up with schooners as they entered the harbor and presented them with a loaf or two along with a pineapple.  In some cases the bread was still warm from the oven.  When that happened with Adventurer, out came the butter, and the bread was enjoyed in a flash. Last year Max and Dom Nesta made the deliveries, and more of the Sea Scouts may be handling it this year.”

Schooner welcomeIn the photos Al provided Green Dragon had just received a delivery in the outer harbor as she entered from Manchester.

Schooner welcome 1I was so struck by the Virgilio’s generous, welcoming gesture and thought what better time to pass along Al’s story than the night before the Schooner’s begin to arrive. As Al points out, “When you get around schooner people you may hear them talking about the need to have extra butter aboard in Gloucester. This is a very big deal in fending off other ports that are vying for schooners that same weekend. Thanks Joe and the high speed Ramsey/Nesta delivery guys!”

Joe Virgilio bread gloucester ma ©Kim Smith 2014Virgilio's ©Kim Smith 201410606178_718995488173406_6058799094986917975_nDuring summer months Virgilios makes fabulously delicious and delightfully refreshing Italian ice, created only with pure fresh fruit juices and cane sugar (not corn syrup).

For store hours and menu visit their Facebook page here.

Read more about Virgilio’s Saint Joseph rolls here.

Joe Virgilio St. Joseph Bread ©Kim Smith 2014Joe Virgilio Making Saint Joseph Rolls

New Film: Buona Fiesta!

Our beautiful Gloucester community is the inspiration for Buona Fiesta! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who appears in the film. I love it when you see me and smile and wave—it just adds another layer of fun to the film!

Buona Fiesta! begins with the opening of the Friday night ceremony at Saint Peter’s Square. The statue of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, is processed around the American Legion Building (Gloucester’s first City Hall), with the parade ending in a fanfare of confetti and cheers at Saint Peter’s Square. Joe Novello is the host for the formal opening ceremony of the 2014 Saint Peter’s Fiesta.

Highlights from the Friday and Saturday Greasy Pole events are followed by the Sunday morning Mass and the procession through the city streets to Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, and then back to Saint Peter’s Square. Tradition has the rallying Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers joining the feast well underway at the Giambanco childhood home, before heading over to the Gloucester House and Saint Peter’s Club for liquid encouragement. Highlights from Sunday’s Greasy Pole are followed by the midnight closing ceremony. Saint Peter and followers process around the Fort and are greeted with more confetti and a beautiful fireworks display over the water. As Saint Peter is safely tucked back into the window at the Saint Peter’s Club, all wish him good night with cheers of Viva San Pedro…until next year’s Buona Fiesta!

You’ll see all three Greasy Pole winners take their flags, Mark Allen, Kyle Barry, and Jack Russ; the Giambanco sisters, Sefatia, Rosaria, Marianne, and Grace, who provide a Saint Peter’s Feast for the entire community; House Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, Mayor Kirk, Melissa Cox; Oar’Dacious teammates and sisters, Janelle Sleepy Pallazola Puopolo, Leanne Pallazola, and Jamie Pallazola; Salvi Benson’s final Greasy Pole Walk; Nicky Avelis; Steven Le Blanc almost capture the flag; Crazy Hat Ladies, sisters Robyn and Amy Clayton; and many, many more.

A request for feedback: Is the film’s content relatively self-explanatory, or are more subtitles and commentary needed? Please, if you have a minute, let me know what you think in the comment section. Thank you for watching!

Next year I am going to just have to figure out how to film the Seine Boat Races, too, which happen further down the beach. I need two camera set-ups!!

With thanks and gratitude to the Giambanco sisters Rosaria, Marianne, Sefatia, and Grace for inviting me to film the feast and rally at their home. With thanks and gratitude to Nicky Avelis and the Greasy Pole Walkers for permitting me to film on the boat ride to the Greasy Pole. With thanks and appreciation to Nina and Frank Groppo for the invitation to join them on the beautiful midnight procession and fireworks through the Fort.

Buona Fiesta! is dedicated to Carlo Sleepy Pallazola, John Wagner, Dominic Nicastro, Salvi Benson, and Peter Black Frontiero.

Music:

“The Walker” by Fitz and The Tantrums
“Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic
“Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
“A Sky Full of Stars” by Cold Play

Happy 21 x 2 Birthday Ann Margaret Ferrante!

Happy Birthday Ann Margaret! Friday night Ann Margaret’s friends and family threw her a fabulous and fun 21 x 2 birthday party under the tent at Mile Marker One. The full moon made for a perfect summer evening celebration and, with music provided by North Shore Acappella and delish picnic fare, everyone had a grand and festive time. Happy, Happy Birthday Ann!

John Tierney, Robert DeLeo, Ann Margaret Ferrante, Lenny Linquata ©Kim Smith 2014

Congressman John Tierney, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, and Lenny Linquata

See Loads More Photos Here!

New Film: Mark Allen ~ Sunday’s Greasy Pole Champion Walking for Loved Ones

Mark Allen Walking for Loved Ones

Congratulations to Mark Allen, the 2014 Sunday Greasy Pole Champion! This was Mark’s first win, after 16 previous years of walking! Allen was walking for for his cousin Peter “Black” Frontiero who has the second most wins of all time, with a total of nine.

Each year I look forward to filming and photographing the greasy pole events. The determination on the men’s faces, the camaraderie, the ecstasy and pride in winning, the anguish of defeat, the hilarious costumes, and the Felliniesque antics combine to create a fabulous fiesta of stories and images.

The film opens at the childhood home of the Giambanco Family, with Sefatia leading the Greasy Pole Walkers and guests in the rallying “Viva San Pietro,” the cheer that is heard throughout the city of Gloucester during Saint Peter’s Fiesta. Giambanco sisters Marianne, Grace, Rosaria, and Sefatia continue with their mother Rosalia’s, “Lia’s” custom of feeding the Greasy Pole Walkers dinner before the walk. The tradition began years ago when their brother, Anthony “Matza” Giambanco, began walking. Sefatia explains that Lia had always held a huge family feast with relatives from all around the country attending. The first year her brother walked he told his mom he couldn’t eat because he was meeting everyone. She said I don’t care; you have to eat, and told him to bring everyone back to their home. That was in 1978!

Next the Walkers head over to rally at the Gloucester House, where they greet Lenny shouting his name over and over, to a packed restaurant full of guests. Several more stops are made along the way before the next rally at the Saint Peter’s Club. The Walkers make one last stop to say a prayer to Saint Peter, and perhaps pin a gold charm or coin to the statue, before departing for the greased pole platform at Pavilion Beach

*    *    *

With special thanks and appreciation to Nicky Avelis and all the Greasy Pole Walkers for allowing me to ride on the boat. It went by way too fast! And thank you to the skipper for giving me a ride back to shore.

With thanks and appreciation to Rosaria, Sefatia, Marianne, and Grace for inviting me to come film the Walker’s rally at your welcoming Fiesta Sunday Feast!

The song “Love Runs Out,” is by OneRepublic for the reissue of their third album, Native.

The song “The Walker” is by Fitz and The Tantrums from the album More Than Just a Dream.

Follow Kim on Twitter @kimsmithdesigns and be her friend on Facebook.Mark Allen Sunday Greasy Pole Winner ©Kim Smith 2014

New Film: Kyle Barry ~ Saturday’s Greasy Pole Champion!

Congratulations to Kyle Barry, the 2014 Saturday Greasy Pole Champion! This was Kyle’s second win. He was also the 2013 Friday Champion.

The first clip is especially Felliniesque but then again, the entire time I am shooting greasy pole events I feel as though I am in the midst of a Fellini film. Friday’s and Sunday’s films are coming in the next few days, with some Very Fun Footage.

I Loved this song when first I heard it and thought it perfect for Greasy Pole Walkers. Written and performed by Fitz and The Tantrums, “The Walker,” (that is really the title of the song!) is from their second album, More Than Just a Dream.

Previous Good Morning Gloucester posts about Kyle Barry: Kyle Barry for the Win!

Additional music note ~ Fitz and The Tantrums will be performing at the House of Blues in Boston on November 15th.

Follow Kim on Twitter @kimsmithdesigns and be her friend on Facebook.

Greasy Pole Kyle Barry for the WIN! Saint Peter's Fiesta ©Kim Smith 2014