Friday Fun | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Do you have a ritual in your life, something you do that makes you feel good? I do. Two rituals set me in place. The first and most important is a spiritual ritual to start the day: my salutation to the sun in the morning.

The other is Friday Fun – Tapas Chez Moi at 7:00 pm to celebrate a week of work. I prepare morsels of a variety of food cold and warm, finger food, cheese, breads and charcuterie board, all to accompany wines, bubbles, conversation and music. Some of my friends discover new food, some enjoy food their palates already know and the night evolves in a convivial gathering. (Click on each photo to view it larger).


Aperitif is not a modern invention, I am only continuing the ancient Roman tradition to appreciate working brakes during the day and spend them with a fun activity: food, wines and company.
Today we have the bad habit of meeting people for lunch to talk about business, it is actually scheduled on purpose to save time and to pack as many possible appointments or activities in one day. Romans disliked talking business during apéritif time. They conducted business either in patricians’ office-home, or while swimming in spring water and even in the sauna.

Let’s travel back in the Roman’s time and their taste, we might find some affinity to our fun apéritif of today.  Apéritif in ancient Rome started around 4:00 pm with a “gustatio” a tasting of various small bites, as we do today, then a “cenula” dinner followed ending in a “comissatio” a type of debauchery, where one person was in charge of the guests drinking shifts, in other words, that person decided who was going to drink and who wasn’t. Sympathy or antipathy for a person guided his decisions, which invariably caused heated discussions among those guests who didn’t get the chance to have many rounds of drinks during the night. This “comissatio” fun drinking party went on until the small hours of the night in company of wines and complacent women.

One of the most favorite apéritif food was chicken in Salsa Apiciana with cumin and cilantro, all spices brought to Rome from the Middle East, a sign that Rome Empire was expanding in the Mediterranean Basin. Romans liked to drink spicy wines such as Paradoxum a wine flavored with ginger and laurel leaf and the Mulsum a wine flavored with honey. Romans concocted their own fun cocktails by mixing white wines with red wines, it’s almost as we mix our cocktails today.

Bread has been one of the staple food in every culture. Romans too had their own specialty bread the Libum, a type of sacred bread also used in wedding ceremony as a symbol and a good wish for the newlywed to break bread together forever.
It was a privilege to break bread with someone sitting at the dining table with the Romans. Today, breaking bread together has the same meaning. We would not dare to sit and eat with people we don’t like.

Catinus (bowls) and Patella (flat plate), crocks and clay for eating and drinking embellished the table of Romans.

More modern tableware embellish my Friday Fun table, my food is tied to my traditions and these in my gallery are some of the most popular food among my guests. Enjoy.


Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


ValHatCelesteStampValentina Cirasola is the designer who cooks. She has a deep interest in food that led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition, well-being and learning food of the world. She wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and one book on color theory, in which she included one recipe for each color.
Robert Taitano, a friend and business associate of says:
“Valentina – an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”.
Get your copy of Valentina’s books on



Party With A Puzzleboard | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

I did and after being in that awkward situation a couple of times, I decided to attend them to meet people without even tasting one ounce of food, which it takes all the fun out of doing business after hours.

On DesignBoom, I discovered the puzzleboard made by OOOMS a design studio based in the Netherlands.
It’s a multipurpose board made of beech wood blocks that can be used both for cutting or as serving plate. By inserting boards together, you can extend your workspace when cutting French breads or preparing hors-d’oeuvres. Wineglasses can also fit conveniently into the indented groove of the board.

Using these boards at parties allows guests to enjoy both wine and delicacies while still having one hand free to greet other friends.

Self-serve and buffet style food is less than a 100 years invention. Food was always consumed sitting down at a table with many servants around.

Service à la française (French style) of the middle 1800’s in the Victorian era is the closest way to buffet style, food were brought out at once in an impressive, but often impractical display.
Often food arrived covered with silver domes, but due to the distant location of the kitchen in respect to the dining area, they arrived cold.
Guest could see the beautiful display of food on the table and could help themselves to dishes close by, but had to rely on servants to bring other dishes and wine and to change plates and cutlery.

The table for service à la française was beautifully made up generally with a minimum of three-course meal in addition to desserts. Soup and various terrines were on one side of the table, meat and fish on the opposite side, many other specialties in the middle of the table and all sizes and shapes cutleries around the edges of the table. The host duty to carve meats at the table with all that production of food was very challenging.

In the early 19th century Russian Ambassador Alexander Kurakin brought to France the service à la russe (service in the Russian style) which is a manner of dining that involves courses being brought to the table sequentially up to dessert, when everything on the table gets cleared out even breadcrumbs before serving desserts.

This resembles the way we eat today in restaurants without the 14 courses of the previous eating fashion and without the elaborate dishes preparation and presentation.
We have also adopted service à la russe for home sitting down dinner parties in those few rare occasions of family gathering and important holidays we use the formal dining room.

As a designer, I can tell you that formal dining rooms are disappearing from homes. That space is now used  to make a great room, which includes living and family room in an open space attached to the kitchen.
The buffet serving style is more congenial to todays’ living, no servants are required, only good food and good time spent with our guests.
Most of us organize parties outdoor, in the garden or by the pool, the puzzleboard (only Euro 19.95)  is ideal to carry food and drink from the buffet table to anywhere we like to sit without worrying about having both hands occupied.
It is interesting to me that the wine glass inserted in the proper groove will not leave my site easily. Ciao,

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola transforms and creates spaces realizing people’s dreams in homes, offices, interiors and exteriors.
She infuses your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living.
As an interior designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking she loves to remodel homes and loves to turn ugly spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos.

She is the author of two Italian regional cuisine books available here in this site on the Books page and in various other locations:
©Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity  and ©Sins Of A Queen


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