What comes to mind when you think of Italy? Most likely it’s the Italian wine or food. Arlena spent a week eating her way through Italy and dishes the goods on her favourite places to eat, drink (and eat some more). Warning: This WILL make your tastebuds salivate. Salute!
Seven days is simply not enough time to experience all the wonderful flavours Italy has to offer. There are so many things to say about it’s food and wine that it has left me longing to go back for more research. So, for now, I am going to give you a quick recap of the must have’s of Italy’s fare that I experienced in my short time there.
In Rome, I recommend going to the Trastevere district with it’s many restaurants. Pricing is much better and the hidden gems you can find there are incredible. Who can deny a table in a cobble stone alley, lit with a real candle in an empty bottle of wine? As we walked by, a little cantina caught our eyes and we simply could not resist. Our starter was their tomato bruschetta; crispy yet the soft flavourful tomatoes gave it the perfect bite. Then a plate of olives. As I ate one, I noticed the kick of spice going off in my mouth. Fascinating. The olives were soaked in a chilli sauce. Fantastic!
To drink, we started off with a Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. A good table wine made for drinking with pasta. I had heard about the delicious Barolo’s that Italy had to offer and saw one on the menu. With a hefty price tag of 40Euro, I though to myself…. “What the hell… when in Rome!” (as this 2005 Barolo Denominazione Di Origine Controllata e Garantita was some of the most fantastic wine I had ever tasted). Bold in flavours, rich in tannins. I simply could not get enough of this beauty. However, based on the cost, I decided to go with something only setting me back 35Euro. Amarone’s have a great reputation in Italy and having tasted a couple of their wines (CorteDeiCastaldi, Amarone della Valpolicella along with the Classico of this bottle), I would have to say that they stand up to their reputation. This rich in flavour dry red absolutely blew my mind. Well worth the cost.
Our pasta was a bucatini. Spaghetti like, but thicker with a hole running through the middle, glazed with a delicious tomato sauce and covered in parmasean cheese. You could absolutely taste the freshness of the cheese. Next was their ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta and equally amazing. And this wasn’t just the great wine talking!
Over on the island of Capri, every where you look you see lemon trees. The lemons here range in size from the typical to lemons that are bigger than my head. It is an incredible sight. We ended up on a beautiful patio overlooking the ocean through the trees. Having ordered a delicious Chianti, I decided to go with their signature dish, the Caprese Salad. Ripe and plump tomatoes with large slices of buffalo mozzarella topped with fresh basil.
The olive oil and vinegar was served on the side so you can control the amount you put on the salad and leftovers were mopped up with the gorgeous, fresh Italian bread. We then shared a lemon risotto, finished with lemon rinds and fresh ground black pepper. This simple dish was an explosion of flavours in my mouth! To finish, our cappuccino was accompanied by Caprese cake. An almond chocolate cake with a hint of Amaretto. It was delightful.
I could go on forever so to sum it up, Italy is a must for wine and food lovers and if you ever have a chance to go, I highly encourage you to do so. Saluti!
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