|Whirwind tour by car and I think we all still love each other, amazing.|
Our goals were to have the best (not the most expensive) of the regional wines, seasonal courses, fresh pasta until we didn’t want pasta anymore (and yes that can really happen), and to experience foods from rustic to fine dining. Oh yes, and to walk enough to not gain weight, get gout or have an immediate heart attack from the salt, carbs or the “dolce”. Some in our group of four, well all of them except me, also seemed to want to guzzle the very strong coffee (I just don’t get it.)
|I know the translation doesn't say their coffee is as black as ink but trust me it is.|
For some reason I do understand gelato. Who wouldn’t understand that poetry. Just as in poetry there are rhymes and there are sonnets. Most gelato, as one walks down the streets of Italy, is just a rhyme but I didn’t know that until I experienced Grom (Turino it’s birthplace) and Ci Gusta in Rome. There are plenty of experts out there on the technicalities of the art of gelato, so I will just say there is a big difference in frozen artificially flavored milk, and a gelato sonnet. Gelato melts faster than ice cream so enjoy with gusto and purpose, always try more than one flavor at a time (it is like a symphony for your mouth) and finally, if the display is mounded high and covered with syrup beware your tastebuds will wonder what is the point. It dawns on me that I don't have a picture of how gelato should be displayed, it was sublime, possibly another example of Foodie Failure?
It is going to be hard to just focus on the "culinary" portion of this whirlwind tour because there are so many stories to tell, I will save those for another post. All this being said let me start with the picture that we all fought hard NOT to have happen. The dreaded FOODIE FAILURE pic.
|Foodie Failure brought on by tourism "gladiator style" in Rome|
The Pour Panach-ie was typically pretty good at preventing the team from a foodie 'loss' but this time even her good senses succumbed to the fried meatballs, fried artichokes (peak season) some incredible zucchini mousse with yummy creamy topping. We were done with the regional wine and regional appetizers before we barely caught a breath. However, the Pour Panach-ie also seemed to have the gift to quickly scope the menu and almost without fail pick something that was not available. The waiter would patiently say that is "finished", was it ever there? Italian menus would seem to be suggestions of what the chef is capable of doing when he is in the mood, or perhaps had the ingredients that day that inspired. It was quaint really, a part of learning about the culture.
Although the Vittle Viking was the true warrior of the menu, willing to take on the culinary challenge and always helping us with the Italian (good idea to have someone in the group that can wade through the language barrier with aplomb), our Brew-haha ordered the most beautiful dish, we all know that was accident. He can spot the beer menu from a mile (or rather kilometers) away and always tried the regional birra, so we had all the bases covered by our team.
|Fresh pasta with gamberetto (prawns) piled very high., the most elegant dish.|
|A little nice wine for a birthday dinner, Vittle Viking turned 29 (wink)|
|You can't have a proper celebration without a few bottles of wine, right?|
|One should have the right champagne with ones birthday Tiramisui|
We had a tremendous amount of fun along the way as well as some tense moments (like when the Vittle Viking tried to give away our guy to the stranded gypsy girls). We saw things that will never get old no matter how many times you see them and of course we saw for the first time very ancient things that we had never seen before, like Pompeii. The food was always a big driver for the day and part of the adventure.
|The Fuzzy One sitting on the counter of an ancient Pompeii restaurant|
|Can't wait to get home and try it, Stephano says everything matters when making pasta but call him if we had trouble. That's commitment to the art.|