an apple by any other name

Updated: May 21

Apple (Mela/ Öpfel/ Pomme/ Apfel) #13

What do you get when you throw 13 people, 5 languages, 3 nationalities, 3 generations and a birthday celebration into a room together?

An rich experience of family that is variously fascinating, funny, silly, warm, welcoming, fascinating, nostalgic, hilarious, moving, stimulating, delightful and happy. And tasty, of course. This was Saturday’s Bosatta family event in Bonfol, Jura, at the house of Luca’s brother Marco and his super-cook wife Elisabetta, whose son Maurice just turned 17.

Apart from putting my foot in it right at the start by suggesting that Elisabetta’s sister was her mum (argh, ouch, baaaaaaaaaaaad: just how nervous was I?!)(I was nervous)(my toes still curl at the memory) it was a lovely lovely time. Gave me a little pang about our choice to leave Switzerland 20 years ago to move to the UK, missing out on so much of the Italian/ Swiss family life of Luca’s brothers and their families. But we can’t have it all, can we? We love the UK family!

The “5 languages” thing I just have to explain: Luigi and Laura speak mainly Italian, but some Swiss German, the Bosatta brothers mainly Swiss German and Italian but also French, depending on who they are talking to, the friends of Michelle and Maurice mostly French but if German than Hochdeutsch, please, and one of Elisabetta’s sisters is taking a masters degree which is taught in English, so she explained me all about her passion in English … All no big deal, apparently.

How cool is that?!

It is simply ‘normal’ to speak 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 languages and jump flexibly between them all according to conversation partner or subject matter. In fact, Luca’s parents use their local dialect between themselves or within the family too, so that makes 6 languages in the room in all.

I did pretty well, too, with the multiple languages, although I say so myself, even if my French is really really really rusty.

And today’s apple* experience? “Apple crumble-pie”. No-one has named it as such before, but Michelle is right: if we Brits call it crumble when we put apple underneath and a sweet dough on top, and pie when there is pastry underneath and apple on top, you have to combine words as well as ingredients if you end up with this Swiss/Italian version: a shortcrust pie base, an apple filling, and a crumble topping. Quite delicious, thank you Elisabetta.

My wish for “many happy returns” goes to Maurice, the birthday boy; but also to us all, the blessed Bosatta family, for more great times together. Next year there is an 80th birthday to plan for, isn’t there, Laura?

* What’s in a name? Mela/ Öpfel/ Pomme/ Apfel/ Apple. Each as sweet as the other.


Nonna Laura and Nonno Luigi, the grandparents who gave us all of this family!


@2018 by Anna Bosatta