Wild Boars are common throughout Italy.
I am so glad you stopped by today. I promise not to disappoint.
You will find new stories daily and old stories that have been expanded.
Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see what you have missed.
You will find that I have inserted some new posts farther down the page. Happy reading.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
On the last night in Amalfi we went to Ristorante La Caravella 6/10ths of a mile straight down hill from our hotel. The restaurant was small and unpretentious. We ordered the 7 course tasting menu. The Ristorante added an appetizer to the beginning of the meal and a desert to the end of the meal. That made for 9 courses and a painful hike back up the hill when it was time to go. Ristorante La Caravella has been in business 50 years. They have a wine shop and a ceramics shop.
It was a white table cloth kind of place. And the owner seemed a bit stuffy when we first appeared requesting dinner without a reservation. However, they soon warmed up to me after I not only dropped my fork for my second course on the floor but then the one for my third course too. A game of place the silver as far from the edge of the table as possible, ensued prior to each successive course. By the end of the meal even the guys in the kitchen were rooting me on. They loved us!!
We loved our meal, which was a medley of seafood and pasta courses. Al's favorite was the black Squid ink Ravioli. The most unique dish was a potato encrusted pasta. For desert we had a very decadent lemon filled pastry and to top it off an even more decadent spoonful of chocolate surrounding a moist bite of cake.
As usual we tried a local wine. Tonight it was Greco di tuto, 2006, from Montefredane Italy in the region of Campania.
We saw 2 dishes come out of the kitchen that we will definitely try next time we are at La Caravella. The first, Salt Baked Fish, is fish baked encrusted in a thick rock salt. After being baked the salt is removed with a hammer. I think it would be fairly easy to imitate this recipe at home, so follow the link to the recipe. The second, is a lemon souffle for 2 that was slightly bigger than a football. I kept thinking if I stared at the guy at the next table long enough he would bring me over a bite. It didn't happen.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
We visited the City of Pompeii. Destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and buried under 60 feet of ash. The excavation of the city continues today. We spoke to American archeology students who were chiseling away in an attempt to further uncover the remains.
Some of our favorite flavors were Pistachio, lemon, green lemon, ciocolatte, and bannana. Gelato is made with fresh fruit, chocolate, nuts and lots of air. The colorful arrangements in each window were beautiful. This picture does not do the temptation justice.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Grappa is a colorless Italian brandy distilled from the pulpy mass of skins, pits, and stalks left in the wine press after the juice of the grapes have been extracted. Young grappa is fairly fiery, but mellows with age. There are many different kinds of Grappa depending on the variety of grape and the aging period. Grappa is quite strong and reminds me of Tequilla. You drink it as an after dinner digestive.
Friday, July 10, 2009
One of the highlights of our trip to Amalfi was the day we spent at Mamma Agatas cooking school. We arrived at 10:30am and departed at 5:00pm. The day was a tasting, eating, drinking and cooking experience. We made pasta, eggplant parmesan, and chicken. We drank wine, limoncello, tangerinecello, fennelcello. And we ate the best lemon cake.
At Mamma Agata's cooking school we learned a lot about how to successfully fry eggplant. The 4 most common mistakes made when frying eggplant are 1) using the wrong oil 2) buying eggplant that are too fat, 3) slicing eggplant improperly, and 4) not getting all the water out of the eggplant prior to frying.
Mamma suggests using peanut oil, never olive oil. Peanut oil allows you to fry the eggplant at a higher temperature.
According to Mamma, long skinny eggplant are best. These have the least amount of water in them. One variety suggested was the Japanese eggplant.
Eggplant should be peeled in stripes, leaving intermittent rows of skin. They should be sliced length wise.
You can remove most of the water by sprinkling with sea salt and letting set 15-20 minutes then wringing out the eggplant as you would a wet rag.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
While staying in Montalcino we had dinner at La Taverna, the restaurant at Castello Banfi. We enjoyed a delicious 5 course tasting menu with wine pairings. The Banfi property is a beautiful countryside Tuscan estate. We do admit to getting lost en route from our hotel to dinner, which made us a good 45 minutes late for our reservation. Despite our set back the staff was gracious despite our tardiness. The service, the food, the drink and the location were all perfect. We highly recommend La Taverna, we would return again should the opportunity present itself. The next day we returned to the wine shop, Enoteca, at the Castello Banfi to purchase some of the wine we had been served the night before, as well as, to purchase some local pottery with paintings depicting the beautiful cypress trees seen throughout Tuscany. The pottery will forever remind us of our visit to Banfi and the beauty of the Tuscan countryside.
Friday, July 3, 2009
We were so lucky to stay as guests of Cecchi at Castello di Montauto, one of the estates owned by the Cecchi family. It was everything I every dreamed a Tuscan estate would be. High on a hillside the estate had a enchanting view of vineyards, the valley below and of the medieval hill town of San Gimingnano in the distance. That day we ventured out to explore San Gimingnano. We were not to be disappointed. Al and our friend Doug both bought hats to complete their attire. We brought back sandwiches for dinner at the Costello and sipped on the delightful wines left for us by our hosts. High on the hill there was a cool breeze. We thoroughly enjoyed having the windows and doors open. What a delightful evening in Tuscany.
The next morning we slept in late and awoke to an Italian breakfast set out for us by Sylvania. Thank you so much for sending us off in such style Sylvania. Our stay could not have been more wonderful.