I’m very excited to have the fabulous Victoria Blisse on A Hopeful Romantic today, talking yummy food memories and talking about her hot story, Tasty Italian. Welcome, Victoria!
I love food. I love to cook it and I certainly love to eat it. It’s something we all have to do every single day and eating is an integral part of many special occasions. Some foods we don’t only love because they taste delicious but because that experience reminds of us a special moment in life.
Burnt roast potatoes, oh, I’m sorry, well done roast potatoes reminds me of a Christmas when I was small and my sister was smaller. She was very passionate about potatoes and when a few weeks before the big day she got a potato with a burnt bottom she told our Nanna in no uncertain terms that such sloppiness would not be tolerated on the big day.
We have a photo taken around the table groaning with Christmas food and each of us wearing daft paper hats but with one strange addition. My sister grasping a fork in her hand proudly displaying the evidence. One roast potato with a burnt bottom.
Every year since I was four with very few exceptions I have been to Scarborough on the east coast of England for a holiday. The one thing I look forward to most is a jaconelli’s ice cream. Rich, sweet and creamy the real genius is in making it a lemon top and having a dollop of sharp lemony sorbet on the top of it. One of those ice creams and the scent and sight of the sea is contentment for my soul.
12 years ago I prepared a pavlova. I made the meringue base, whipped the cream and scattered the juicy ruby red raspberries over the top to make it glorious. I made it especially for my boyfriend of the time. After eating his portion he proposed to me and now we’ve been married for eleven years. Pavlova is one of my most treasured desserts.
I’m pretty sure that the food item in the next excerpt from Tasty Italian will have become a definite food memory for Fiona and I’m sure you’ll be able to work out why!
Roberto beamed. “I knew you were a lovely girl the moment I saw you. You have great taste, mia bella, great taste!”
“So, have you been coming here long?” Carlo asked.
“Not so very long. I only came in for the first time last week.”
“Really? I thought you must have known Roberto all your life or something the way he goes on about you.” Carlo looked genuinely surprised.
“No, no, no. I knew I liked her the moment we met. Roberto gives his love freely, you can tell, you can taste love in my cheesecake and see it in my smile. Fiona is a special lady, Carlo, so look after her, okay?”
“Oh, Roberto.” Fiona giggled. “I’m so glad I gave in to the urge for garlic bread last Friday, you’re lovely.”
Even so, she was rather taken aback. She’d never inspired such instant admiration in a person before and some people might have found him a little bit overwhelming. If she were honest with herself, she’d admit she probably was a little overawed. He wasn’t creepy, though, and it was wonderful to be pampered. She hadn’t felt so cherished for a long time, not since her mum passed away.
“Shall I leave you two alone?” Carlo asked playfully.
“Oh hush, you silly boy, I am old enough to be her papa. She is too beautiful for an old man like me. You, you are more her style.”
“She is too beautiful for me, too but it does not mean I will not try, you know?”
Fiona didn’t know where to look or what to say, so she took a quick mouthful of cheesecake so she wouldn’t have to say anything. Roberto was being his usual extravagant self, but she just wasn’t sure about Carlo. Was he genuinely interested in her or was he just playing along to keep in his boss’s good books?
“You’re embarrassing her, Carlo, do behave will you? You’d never see me being so extravagant with my affection.”
Carlo, Fiona and Roberto all broke into peals of laughter and continued to devour their desserts.
“I can’t eat another mouthful.” Fiona gasped when she’d eaten just over half of what she had on her plate.
“I shall put the leftovers in a box for you to eat later then, love, okay?” Roberto said.
“No, really, you don’t have to, I really shouldn’t.”
“Oh, hush, hush, you take it, you eat it. It’s good for you, keep those curves soft and appealing, okay? No arguments.” He stood and carried her plate away.
Fiona looked at Carlo.
He just shrugged. “Best just to go along with him, it’s easier. Now, I better get on. I’ve enjoyed eating you, I mean, sorry, I mean with you, my English needs work.”
“No problem.” Fiona smiled. “Your English is brilliant and one hundred per cent better than my Italian!”
“Ah, maybe I shall teach you my words and you can teach me yours, yes?” Carlo smiled.
“Sounds good to me, Carlo.” Fiona yawned and delicately covered her mouth with her hand. “Oh, but now I think I need to get home to bed.”
Fiona was sure Carlo’s look resembled a leer for a moment but then he was all smiles and leading her to the door.
“Good-bye Fiona,” Roberto shouted and rushed across the restaurant towards her. “I will see you next week, yes?”
“Yes, certainly. I can’t keep away.”
“Bellisimo,” he cried and leant in to kiss Fiona on both cheeks.
She responded in somewhat of a daze as she hadn’t been expecting kisses. “I shall look forward to it. Well, maybe I’ll see you next Friday, Carlo.”
“Oh, you for sure will.” He unlocked the door. “I always work here in the evenings while I live with Roberto. It’s to pay my rent, you see.”
“All right then, I’ll see you next week.”
She shuffled forwards anticipating Carlo opening the door, but he stepped back. They crashed into one another.
“Oh, sorry.” He grabbed Fiona around the tops of her arms. “I’m so clumsy.”
“No, no, it was my fault,” she replied, holding her hands in fists as she fought the urge to reach around his waist and pull him close. “I’m sorry.”
“An accident.” He grinned, then leant forward to kiss one cheek then the other.
Fiona’s skin blossomed with heat with each touch of his lips, her nostrils flared to take in his spicy, male scent and her hands trembled with withheld desire.
“See you next week, Fiona.”
She expected him to pull back away but he didn’t. His gaze focused on her lips and split seconds before he did it she realised he was going to kiss her properly. She would have panicked but she didn’t have the time so she just accepted the press of his lips against hers.
If she had thought she felt hot before she was greatly mistaken. When his lips touched hers she felt as if her body was on fire. She pressed her lips harder against his to ease the burning in her veins but a moment later he pulled back just as she expected the kiss to deepen.
“Bye,” she whispered, her voice hoarse and her throat dry. She thought that maybe Italians did two cheek kisses and a snog as a regular thing.
To read more of Fiona and Carlo’s love story pick up Tasty Italian from Total-E-Bound. One lucky winner could win a copy though. Simply leave a comment about one of your food memories and you’ll be popped into a draw to win a copy of Tasty Italian.
Many thanks to the lovely KD for hosting me here today, I had a great time writing this and I look forward to reading all the food memory comments.
It was a yummy pleasure to have you on my site, Victoria, and you’ve made me VERY hungry! AND anxious to read Tasty Italian.