Generosity

Vice Misceo of La Casa Gelato

Try as I might to find ways to give, I more often find myself on the receiving end of unrequited generosity. This was the subject of a recent post.

An amazing example of this occurred on Saturday evening at La Casa Gelato in Vancouver, a fabulous place about which I have also recently written. We were greeted warmly, as always, by owner and gelato-maestro Vince Misceo, who insisted that we try his latest creations, made from the wild porcini and chanterelle mushrooms he hunts in the hills above Vancouver.

Vince’s gelato invariably produces rapture, but the clarity and depth of the wild mushrooms was as orgasmic as it was exotic. We must have said as much, for a second later, Vince dashed to the back of the store, leaving his two assistants to handle a rather large number of customers who had journeyed to this out-of-the-way neighborhood on a frigid winter night for ice cream. He returned with two bags of indigo-colored-something and two gorgeous porcini mushrooms, all of which he had recently collected.

The mystery fungi turned out to be rare and beautiful blue chanterelles, and Vince rolled his eyes heavenward as he described recipes that might display the subtleties of the mushrooms. But these were not merely display items in a round of show-and-tell. These were gifts for me and Yoo-Mi!

There is plenty to love about Vince. Leave aside his astonishing culinary talents and the joyous way in which he chooses to express them. Forget about the loving way he treats everyone who walks into his store. Ignore that we get to Vancouver only about three or four times a year recently, and yet he invariably remembers our names. Disregard the arithmetic, by which our purchase of approximately $60 in gelato each year somehow entitles us to a gift of wild mushrooms worth at least that much. The greatest thing about Vince is this: as thrilled as Yoo-Mi and I were to get those mushrooms, he was even more delighted to be giving them to us.

Incidentally, we had the porcinis for dinner tonight: sliced thickly; sauteed in olive oil with garlic, sea salt, and white pepper; then blanketed in a reduction made by deglazing the pan with white wine and adding a little herbs de provence. Delizioso!

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