First off, I've let an embarrassing amount of time lapse since my last post. No excuses, but here's a glimpse behind my life recently to at least fill in the blank between the Stephi's post and today: workworkwork ITALY workworkwork THE FLU.
Okay, now you're pretty much up to speed.
To make a long story short, Dish Mom and I were given an amazing opportunity to travel to Italy with some family friends. Keep in mind that Dish Mom is 50% Italian by birth and 100% Italian in attitude and demeanor, and had never been to Italy, making this trip a life long dream for her, and a life long dream of mine to visit WITH her.
As I've said in the past, I think vacation blog posts can be kind of boring for readers. So instead of Zzzzing you with photos of all the gelato I had (that'd probably be around 50 photos in 7 days), I'll just quickly recap my favorite meals.
The best meal we had was at a restaurant in Volterra called Ristorante Del Duca. We ate lunch outside in their beautiful garden, and unknowingly stumbled upon what became my favorite meal I've ever eaten in Italy: handmade ricotta & spinach gnocchi with shaved Volterrean truffles.If that photo doesn't make you drool, you're not human.
My other favorite meal/food experience was also in Volterra at an enoteca called La Vena di Vino-- clearly the Volterrean hipster hangout, with polaroids and bras decorating the walls, and Italian rock music playing from a laptop in the corner. I wish I could post the photo of me behind the wine bar with Bruno, one of the vivacious owners, but alas, it would give away my anonymity. And Bruno's.It was at this amazingly charismatic wine bar that I introduced Dish Mom to one of my favorite European past times: drinking wine at 4 p.m. We sampled the "Super Tuscan," a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, which is apparently very popular in the "wine world" right now (all these facts are straight from my Rick Steves guidebook, so any errors you can take up with him), as well as a Chianti Classico from Greve in Chianti-- the town our villa was located! How cool, I thought, to be drinking wine straight from where I had slept each night before. Finally, we also tried the Brunello di Montalcino, which Bruno touted as his favorite but was our least favorite.When our friend, let's call him DR, came over after visiting the Etruscan Museum (we had opted for wine...oops), he ordered an antipasti plate of cheese and tomatoes. Sounds boring, right? Very wrong. Amazingly soft cheese, like none we'd ever had, paired with crusty Italian bread and tomatoes so fresh Bruno had to run across the street for them-- this was the Italian experience I had been waiting for.Other highlights of the trip: having gelato in Florence at the exact same place Ann and I had enjoyed gelato in 2006:
Ristorante di Lamole, a restaurant perched on the side of one of Italy's highest mountains:
Pappardelle with wild boar:
Pesto in Cinque Terre: Sigh, La Dolce Vita. Is it time to go back yet?