Yesterday we celebrated M's birthday. He's also my next door cubicle neighbor at work. Since I was in the holiday baking mood, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate cupcakes the night before. For some reason, cupcakes are not that well-known here. Strange! They were very well received even if esthetically, there was much room for improvement. The reason for that being it was getting late, and between dinner, washing up, a long work day, and more washing up... well, I was getting a little tired and grumpy. S can attest to that. At the end of the night, I was ready to throw the chocolate icing on the wall. But luckily he was sweet enough to offer to wash the last bowl so the wall was spared. Phew.
I used chocolate cupcake recipe from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook (thanks YL!) and they turned out exactly as described: a chocolatey, closed-crumb cupcake that was just delicious. I want to try one of her cakes next.
M had invited us for aperitivo to celebrate that evening. Now I must have mentioned this before, but in Italy, birthday celebrations are done a little differently. Everywhere else I've lived the birthday day boy/girl is treated to yummy meals/dessert/cakes/etc on their special day. And why not?! It's your birthday, and it only happens once a year. In Italy however, the birthday celebrant is expected to treat his friends to the yummy meals/cakes/etc. Huh? Yes, that right, the person pulling out his wallet is the birthday boy/girl. How wrong is that?!
(I'm still not totally on board with this by the way... I made S pay for my birthday dinner, haha) In return said friends usually bring a gift for the celebrant, so all's well that ends well. But I think this custom tends to make people shy away from announcing their birthdays. And where's the fun in that?
Anyway, back to aperitivo. We had a blast as usual. The place was hopping and I enjoyed the Christmas deco. I got to see V, whom I've not seen for over a year.
And I think M secretly enjoyed our gift, even if his reaction might have suggested otherwise. Tanti auguri, M!