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Archive for October, 2010

Last week was our final week of Italian language school in Sorrento. We decided to stay on a few days longer as our study limited our time to explore and linger over meals.  The extra time has given us the opportunity to try some local restaurants.

 

Inn Bufalito antipasti

 

First, Inn Bufalito in Sorrento. This stylish and friendly restaurant specialises in meals based on the local water buffalo. We had excellent antipasti of buffalo milk cheese, buffalo salami and buffalo pepperoni. This was accompanied by a lovely sharp pecorino (sheep) cheese, broccoli greens, marinated artichoke hearts and foccacia. The antipasti would have sufficed for lunch, but we had already ordered a main course of pasta each.

One dish was a buffalo ragu served over pacchero pasta. The second was fusilli con zucca e salsice, pumpkin and sausage.

Wisely, we refused desert offers and had a macchiato each.

As if the scenery on boat ride to Positano weren’t enough, we were also treated to a stunning view over the Mare Tirrenia from Ristorante Bruno along the via Cristofo Colombo.

 

view from via Cristofo Colombo Positano

 

It was the 1oth of October so we toasted Italy and Chris Columbus with a glass of local red and a plate of scialatielli, a local hand cut pasta. Mine was dressed with lovely little prawns, black olives and a fresh tomato sauce.

 

Scialatielli at Ristorante Bruno

 

A final bliss point has to be the Frittura de Pesce that we ate at the Feste Sagra del Pesce (festival for the blessing of the fish). A feather-light batter on rings and tentacles of squid, sardines about the size of my middle finger, prawns with crunchy tails, a giant chunk of lemon (Sorrentine lemons are fabulously juicy), a crunchy roll and a cup of wine.  All for 5 Euros!

 

Sagra Del Pesce

 

Last week was our final week of Italian language school in Sorrento. We decided to stay on a few days longer as our study limited our time to explore and linger over meals.  The extra time has given us the opportunity to try some local restaurants.
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Almost a whole generation of my grandfather’s family left Italy for life in America between 1909 and 1930.  Three brothers and one sister from the same family made the voyage by boat. Some went alone, like my grandfather Giovanni (Johnny), with zero English and a mere 14 years old.  One of our grandfather’s nieces, Argia, stayed behind when her mother and father went to Philadelphia.  Argia’s son Walter lives here in Roseto.  He is in his early 70s now and together with his wonderful wife Adriana, manage a business that has been in the family a long time. A Cartolibreria, a shop that sells cards, books (particularly children’s picture books), toys, stationery and small gifts.

Also in Roseto is the niece of our beloved late Zio Vittorio, Anna Maria.  A fabulous large-hearted woman with a most infectious laugh.

We have had such a wonderful time with all of them. And some great meals.  These women can cook! Just to prove it, here are some pics of the food.

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

Triglia - red snapper

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

Torta, fruit and coffee

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

The sauce and the meat

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

The pasta afterwards...got too excited to photograph before

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

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There are seven gates in the ancient walls of this cittadina (little city). And a walk around town to each of the gates takes less than 45 minutes.  But there is a lot to see if you just go slowly. Chat with the nonna who get the keys to the church so you can have a look inside. Gossip with the old men sitting in the piazzas. Enjoy a panino and a coffee. There is, however, only one  public toilet in Norcia, just outside Porto Massari, and it costs 50 euro cents to use.  So go easy on the coffee!

Norcia is famous for its pork products, truffles and the lentils that grown between Norcia and Castelluccio. We sampled all of these in the form of prosciutto and salami panini, cooked lentils as a side dish and a bruschetta smeared with black truffle!

Outside the wall are beautifully forested and somewhat forbidding hills intermingled with pastures and planted fields. This is an out-of-the-way place with only one bus going East each day, but I recommend it heartily. We stayed the night because of  misinformation that had us miss the bus to Ascoli Piceno. The Ristorante Albergo Benito was clean, comfy and super cheap.  The restaurant does a mean pork chop for lunch too!

Porta Romana

Annie with giant tartufo nero, Norcia, Umbria

With all of the wild boar (cinghiale) in Norcia,  you’d expect a road for the hunters to live on…

Via Dei Cacciatori

Norcia Umbria, municipal building and Basilica San Benedetto

Rustica

In somma, vale la pena.  To summarise, it’s a place worth the effort, but if you can, rent a car to get here and out. The onward journey to Roseto degli Abruzzi, via Ascoli Piceno, is another story…

Tartuffo Nero, Norcia, Umbria

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The last week has been an exciting time.  We left the comfort of two weeks in San Giovanni Valdarno and headed to Umbria, then on to Abruzzi.  In Assisi, Annie was suffering with the respiratory infection that I had just gotten rid of. The hills of Assisi are challenging for even those with lungs functioning at 100%!  But she powered on, not wanting to miss a nook, cranny or vista.  Brava sorella!

I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

Piazza di Chiesa San Rufino

Basilica di Santa Chiara, from Rocca Maggiore, Assisi, Umbria

Veal, artichokes and greens (with wine and bread of course)

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