First, the magarita tale

by Rebecca Bricker on November 1, 2011

the margarita bar on Via Tavanti

On my first day in Florence – it was mid-June and already hot – I wandered up and down the aisles of the neighborhood market looking for three things: limeade, ice cube trays and tequila. I needed a cold, stiff drink. My cocktail-of-choice is a limey frozen margarita, lightly salted.

There was nothing resembling limeade in the freezer section, so I wandered into the liquor aisle. And there he was, like an old friend from home – Jose Cuervo. I hugged him and put him in my cart.

I was astonished to learn that limes are an exotic fruit in Italy – they come from Spain and Morocco. There was a small box of them in the produce section. I bagged up the best ones (about a dozen) and hugged them, too. I eyed the mounds of plump Sicilian lemons and filled another bag.

My apartment fridge had a small freezer compartment that could hold a couple cartons of gelato and a blender pitcher. I had no ice maker – a very foreign concept in Italy – only one flimsy ice cube tray. There weren’t any ice cube trays in the market’s kitchen aisle.  But I found plastic bags, with little compartments, that you fill with water and freeze. (I never figured out how to seal the bags, so I hung them from the freezer shelf with clothespins – very Italian, I thought.)

my Italian freezerIt took me a few days to make enough ice to fill a blender pitcher – and it took those few days to find a store that sold blenders – another very foreign concept. I also bought an electric juicer with a powerful motor…and went to work.

After a few attempts, I perfected the recipe. As you’ll read in the book, my taste-tester was an Italian playboy who likes his drinks sour and his women sweet.

Mamma mia!


And so it began, the year I lit up Italy – one margarita at a time. 😀






Nora November 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm

You will post the recipe in full soon, right?

Rebecca Bricker November 4, 2011 at 12:49 am

Si, signora. First you need a taste tester – preferably an Italian playboy. 😉

Denise November 4, 2011 at 3:40 am

Great website…’Love it!
Cheers Becky,

Pat November 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Great website Rebecca. ICE was one of the things I missed most when I moved to Europe 30some years ago. Looking forward to following your blog and reading your book.

Kathleen Pooler November 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

What a beautiful website! I’m hooked on”Tales from Tavanti”. it is so well written, bringing me right there with you! Did I tell you, Italy is on my “bucket list” now that I have retired? So I am soaking up all your juicy tales. My maternal grandfather was born in Dujenta, near Naples. He came over to this country in 1918,at the age of 16 and never returned. My uncle took his entire family over there several years ago and they returned to the home my grandfather was born in. They took videos of the family sitting around the table chattering in Italian as they leafed through old pictures my grandfather had mailed to them, including my parent’s wedding and one of my baby pictures. They told a story through an interpretor of making Limoncello wine and opening the window every Christmas Eve to send a blessings to their family in America. Your book takes me there :-) Talk soon!

Rebecca Bricker November 11, 2011 at 7:55 am

Kathy – thanks for your kinds words about the site and the book. I hope you’ll write reams about your trip to Italy. I sense a treasure trove of family stories there. I especially love the one of blessings sent on Christmas Eve.

Caroline OConnell November 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Ciao Rebecca,
Great recap of your party. This site is wonderful — fun to read, great photos, feel like I’m back in Italy. I’m sure your book will be a big hit!
Ci vediamo presto,

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