Buon Giorno!! I just got back from a great trip! I won’t get into specific details about the trip (sometimes I’m not sure if people listening to me are as excited as I am about places I have been so I won’t be ultra chatty) but I will tell you that when I travel (even if it’s to Pittsburgh for a hockey tournament), I always like to find out what people who live there eat (btw, in Pittsburgh, we were told to eat their version of “the garbage plate”…baked beans topped with macaroni and cheese topped with a burger topped with a fried egg…incredible). My inlaws were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary (pretty awesome, huh?), so 14 of us went on a pretty cool trip (a cruise to Venice, Bari, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and then a land tour of northern Italy). I will tell you that we sampled some pretty awesome meals…and the best came from local eateries made with simple ingredients from people who have been cooking for a very long time. So, come along for a ride to some incredible places for some of the tastiest food around!
Homemade tortellini in the streets of Bari
Making pasta as onlookers walk by…typical Sunday around here!
She doesn’t skip a beat as someone asks for directions!
Catnap after too much pasta!
Selling herbs at a local market…
…and some sun dried tomatoes
Now onto Greece…a short stop in Katakolon (site of the very first Olympics) where we visited this agroturism farm
All homemade…jarred zucchini, homegrown tomatoes made into a fresh bruschetta, homemade sausage from farm hogs, homegrown and cured olives, freshly made feta and a mix of feta and tzatziki on toast
a peek at their store inside…
Turkish covered market selling the best Turkish delight I have ever had!!
While we waited for prayer service to finish to visit the Blue Mosque (an incredible structure), we saw the Four Seasons…and who am I to turn down a luxurious lunch! Here are some dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) done to perfection! And since the Four Seasons was my former stomping grounds (I worked as a sales manager at the Yorkville property before I had kids), I always visit the hotel when I am in a new city!
A platter of typical turkish starters…yum!!
Turkish flatbread with fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs…I think they were called lahmacun.
We had a great lunch of locally caught fish in Croatia…unfortunately it was so good, it was all gone before I could snap a picture…this was all that was left!!
Now onto Udine…my father-in-law’s home town in Northern Italy. We asked if we could help in the kitchen while the owner’s wife made our meal. She let us help her make linguine that she used for her porcini and truffle pasta…incredible!
….and it was incredible!!
Her red wine risotto was so good and served with a pool of thickened panna (savory cream)
…and for dessert….chocolate souffle!
Next, onto Cinque Terre (it means 5 lands)…a wonderful place to explore and hike! We did a white wine tasting with 2 kinds of local sardines…here are the simply fried sardines…so fresh!
…and here served with pickled fennel, raisins and pine nuts!
and…don’t forget the wine!!
A pizzeria in Cinque terre that we stumbled upon. We were so hungry but we learned that pizza, although fabulous, was not what we should have had…
apparently, they won “best pesto in the world” so we had to try…it was so luscious!
Chocolate shoes in Milan…imagine!!
A storefront with a popular northern Italian sweet – Torrone or nougat!
Although you can find the occasional gluten free meal in Italy, storefronts like this make is really hard to say no to a wonderful dish of pasta!!
And, as we finished our tour in the lake regions of the north (the views were so spectacular that it almost seemed photo shopped at times!), we stopped to have a bite in Lake Como (land of George Clooney!)…we had a yummy plate of brie with local figs and walnuts drenched in honey!
Now that I’m back at home, I will miss the acres and acres of vineyards…sad that I could never grow them like this where I live…
I will miss stumbling onto outdoor tables where you can eat the best simple food and talk for hours…
Those wonderful thoughts will get me through the piles of laundry I have to finish now that I’m home….oh well!