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I spilled a glass of red wine. The table was wild with the thrill of conversation, the room warm with the heat of friends. I was gesticulating, probably, emphasizing some exaggerated story with the exclamation point of my arm. I do this anyway, when I speak, but Italy and a few glasses of Chianti will really get me going.

The wine glass tilted and I tried, unsuccessfully, to catch it. It landed on the table but did not break and a wide swath of deep red wine stretched out across the golden tablecloth. All conversations stopped and, as 14 sets of eyes turned to look, I felt my cheeks redden. Someone chided me playfully. Someone else laughed.

Then, just as I began pouring out chagrined apologies, Anna, the wife of everyone’s favorite chef Morgaro who looks after us at Borgolecchi, came to the table with a few extra napkins. She threw them over the mess, smiling, and took both my shoulders in her hands, “Non c’e’ problema! Non ti preoccupare!”. Her face brightened and she put one hand on her hip, the other making a sweeping gesture to the mess in the middle of the table. “Allegria, Heidi! When this happens, we say, ‘Allegria!’”

The word means glee. And used in the context of a wine-soaked table, it’s an acknowledgement that what has just happened is merely a natural physical expression of the joy of the moment, inevitable and welcome.

I’m not the first person to spill a glass of wine during an inGamba trip and certainly, I won’t be the last. It’s the unavoidable consequence of dinner tables that are quick and lively, marked by conversation, storytelling, laughter, the crumbs of crusty homemade bread, the din and clatter of flatware, the endless passing of platters, plates and bottles.

Around here, each meal takes on its own personality, informed by the pulse of the restaurant and the spirit of the dishes we share. The restaurants are always unique, but what happens when we gather around the dinner table shares a common theme: celebration, conversation, allegria.

There are still a couple of spots left on the 2018 Women’s Week trip with Heidi, so why not treat yourself to an unforgettable adventure in Portugal this summer?

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