Happy New Year to all of you!!
Now, rewind to December 24th, 2013 – Christmas Eve dinner, the so called “La cena della vigilia”.
I am still thinking about what I ate for dinner on that day. Why? Because on Xmas Eve Italians eat seafood ( and I go nuts for “i frutti di mare”). Not only they prepare delicious dishes, but they alternate their Holidays menus. Think about it: we are all stuffed and tired of eating meat based delicacies throughout our celebrations. Italians play it smart, they indulge on spaghetti alle vongole, or a great boiled sea bass, together with other frutti di mare scrumptious treats. However, on Christmas day – like most of us – they eat meat.
There are times when you have the opportunity to see a place that is so breath-taking that anything you can write about will fall short to describe its beauty; and there are times when words won’t come out easily in writing. Combine these two things, and Houston (or may I say Bolzano??) we have a problem.
Making this post was a tough call: not only because I did not have daylight on my side for food photography, but mostly because I was about to experience (probably) the best dining experience of my life – an evening with Massimo Bottura’s cuisine at Eataly Roma. Having said that, imagine my biggest food photography challenge combined with the pressure of having to photograph Massimo Bottura’s remarkable dishes.
What brings you back to the eighties? Well, in my case – as far as music – this song from Wham!
What brings me back to the eighties in terms of food? Buttered pasta and tomato sauce on the side.
We all have childhood memories about eating, and we all can relate to a certain food during a specific period of our lives. When I was a child, I still remember pasta cooking in the boiling pot and, as soon as it was done (not necessarily al dente), we used to add butter to prevent spaghetti from sticking together. To eat spaghetti, a simple tomato sauce with dried oregano was served to pour over the pasta. I thought that was so Italian. However, little did I know that this was not the way Italians ate their spaghetti.
A view of the crystal clear water of Santa Sussana well
“If I am a river, you are the ocean
Got the radio on, got the wheels in motion
We were silenced by the night
But you and I we gonna rise again
Divided from the light
I wanna love the way we used to when”
Nope! This is not a post about love. However, I could not find a better way to star this post without citing the song Silenced by the night from my favorite band – Keane -. Not just because we always play their music while we are driving, but because we were also heading to a river with the stereo on (with Keane’s Strangeland of course!) and our wheels were in motion to Rivodutri, where you can find a marvelous restaurant specializing in fish river called La Trota (the Trout).
Amalfi coast is probably – in my opinion – the most panoramic and picturesque place in the world. Because of its unique topography and landscaping, Costiera Amalfitana – like Italians call it – is one of the most visited spots in the Mediterranean during summer. Unfortunately due to its popularity, Amalfi Coast has become a touristy zone and very expensive, therefore it is easy to fall into turist traps.
While in Ponza, I was impressed of the quality of this island’s street food. Due to its proximity to Naples, Ponza is well known for its scrumptious pizza, the most ubiquitous staple of the Italian gastronomic culture. Yet pizza doesn’t taste the same throughout Italy, and the best locations for eating pizza are Rome and Naples, where locals brag rights to the best pizza in the country. Indeed, in Italy there are two different kinds of pizzas: the Roman and the Neapolitan, and you can read the differences of both pizzas in my post Pizza in Rome.
Before travelling to Favignana, most of our friends advised us to be careful about choosing where to eat in Favignana since we could easily bump into tourists traps. In fact, while walking down the streets, we noticed that there were quite a few touristic spots.
My husband, who is very picky about eating out, always does research by consulting Italian Restaurant Guides beforehand. He relies specially on Guida del Gambero Rosso , Osterie d’Italia di Slow Food , and Ristoranti d’Italia dell’Espresso. To complete his homework, he further reads reviews on Tripadvisor.
Being a small island, Favignana is very easy to get around by scooter or bike. In fact, most people you come across in the island either are riding scooters or bikes. Another option is renting a boat, but we refrained from doing so because we were only staying for three days. Had we had a week in Favignana, we would have definitely rented a boat. The best way to discover Italian seacoast is by boat. Being able to take a bath while admiring the Mediterranean coast from the sea is an experience worthwhile trying.
“When I am an old man and live by the sea, will all your thoughts fly to me? When I’m far away from the places we’ve known, will all your love bring me home?”
That was the chorus of the song “Fly to me” by my favorite British band – Keane (Fly to me – Keane). That haunting, beautifully written song I was listening upon my arrival by ferry to Favignana was just perfect to describe my feelings throughout my journey in this wonderful island.