Pasta la vista
It’s no surprise that, as a massive grubber, I’ve been to Italy several times. The land of pizza, pasta and ice cream holds great sway over those of us who like to spend our holidays basking in sunshine, looking at beautiful scenery and stuffing delicious food into our mouths.
We were staying in an incredibly beautiful air bnb villa near a teeny town called Montebenichi. It was utterly rural, half an hour to the nearest shop, dusty, bumpy tracks and windy roads with breathtaking green Tuscan hills.
And the food was, obviously, delicious. Every time we made the trip to the supermarket we’d stock up on piles of cured meats, bread and cheese and that’s what we would have for breakfast and lunch every day.
One of my favourite things about group holidays is sitting round a huge table outside eating and drinking. Everything tastes better in that situation, particularly piles of creamy mozzarella with tomatoes from the garden we were sitting in.
We day tripped it to beautiful Siena one day and wandered around slowly taking in the incredible architecture, the winding streets and the sloping, sun drenched square and stopping every half hour or so to eat.
A couple of Euros bought us a massive slice of ham, mushroom and olive pizza to share with a light, beautifully crisp base which we tore through like we hadn’t been fed in months.
Slightly more expensive was the gelato shop we went to en route to the square.
A double cone (coconut and nutella) came in at 7 euros but was well worth it. I had nutella ice cream three times on holiday. Still wasn’t enough. There were little pockets and seams of pure nutella running through it that made my mouth do a happy dance. Which looked weird.
That night we ate out in Castelnuovo di bardegna. One of the nicest meals I’ve ever had was a wild boar stew in Tuscany years ago on holiday with my parents and, since it’s a Tuscan delicacy, I was keen to have some more.
This plate of wild boar pappardelle was delicious, rich, meaty ragu, soft, perfect pasta. Totally hit the spot.
One of the best things about Italy was the quality of the ingredients, we ate in a lot, just simple recipes made out of stuff we’d bought from the Coop (Jill made an incredible seafood risotto and I tried my hand at one meat, one veggie lasagne) but everything just tasted really good. Partly, I’m sure, because we were on holiday and partly because all the ingredients were just so fresh and delicious.
I ate so much antipasti I’ve had to go cold turkey on bread, meat and cheese for a wee while since we got back. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy. I woke up in a cold sweat dreaming of fresh bruschetta and bresola the other night.
I love Italy, this was the 4th time I’ve been and, each time, the food has been just incredible. Marry that up with cheap wine, good weather and lovely scenery and it’s a total winner.