How could we go to Italy and not include a small taster of everything we ate while here!
Firstly we spent a week in Tuscany sampling the local delicacies and some of Tara fantastic cooking. Caprese salad, wild boar meet, stuffed zucchini, cherry tart, truffle and porcini mushroom with chocolate pasta, free range chicken stuffed with mascarpone and lemon, juicy steaks and a not so local Black Forest cake!
Inspired by the dishes we had been eating and staying at a great place in Prevo, Cinque Terre, we decided to eat in for a few meals. Despite the basic kitchen I was able to whip up a couple of tiramisu's, stuffed zucchini with salmon and truffle, egg plant ragout pasta, spinach and ricotta cannelloni and a scrumptious (even if I do say so myself) breakfast of crepes with raspberries and mascarpone. I'm not sure Ryan has ever eaten so much!
Ryan also got quite inspired during one of our visits to the supermarket after seeing some particularly meaty ribs, which tasted even better then they looked.
On our way down to Latrium we stay a night in Assisi. After exploring the town in the afternoon we wandered into a popular little cafe and were quick to decided on the truffle local pasta (small version of gnocchi) with beans and the wild boar stew. Both meals were incredible rich but tasted amazing! We needed another walk before Ryan dragged me into a dessert place he had seen with panforte where I also discovered a fig and ricotta ice cream - a perfect sweet before heading back to our campsite.
A week in Rome would never be enough to taste everything that this great city has to offer, however we did attempt to taste as much as we could. One great meal we had was not too far from our hotel (recommended by our host) was the Machiavelli's Club, where we had an excellent ricotta, fig and salmon capriccio as appetizers followed by seafood alla puttanescaand an excellent gnocchi. Another place again recommended by our host was a seafood place where we had exceptional grilled squid and mussel pasta.
We also ventured to the Jewish quarter in the search for stuffed zucchini flowers, a dish I remember from my first trip to Rome. While we had no luck in regards to the zucchini flowers we did enjoy an artichoke a la romana, bruschetta with olive and tomato, lamb in rosmary and beef tripe (although we were not sure if it actually was tripe). Fortunately later in the week we were eating in the bohemian area near our apartment where I discovered they had the stuffed zucchini flowers - yum! - fried olives, peasant pasta (mozzarella, tomato and brazil penne) and roman style pizza. On our final day in Italy we traveled via Naples to visit Pompeii on our way to the ferry in Bari. Of course we were quick to seek out a pizza, and also had a beautiful octopus capriccio which was one of my favourite meals yet, combining two of my favourite - octupus and capriccio.
Rome wouldn't have been complete without sampling a gelato place our two during our stay. Taking this quite seriously I enforced a 1 or 2 a day sampling regime to ensure We tasted some of the best gelato in Italy. Firstly, my task required research consisting of reviews from our friends Tara and Caz, trip advisor and our host in Italy, Guiseppe. Perhaps my favorite was the place recommended by Tara and Caz - La Romana - the very friendly staff were quick to translate and give us numerous tastings, I settle on mascarpone with coffee and chocolate and crema de 1947 with chocolate whipped cream. The ice cream was so good I went back for a second helping of pesto and dark chocolate. . . Maybe not the best for the waist line but when in Rome. Another easy favorite was one Ryan found on trip advisor called La Rivareno where I sampled the creme a la balsamic, I've always been a fan of vinegar so I took a leap and ordered this strange flavor, surprisingly it was exceptional using more of a balsamic glaze, so it was more sweet then vinegary. Finally, another place we visited a number of times was near our apartment in Rome called house of ice, recommended again to us by our host, full of locals and tourists. While the ice cream itself was not as interesting, just a large selection of the 'regular' Italian flavors, it was experience to jostle with the locals and tourist to enjoy possibly the best value ice cream in Rome.
Another interesting drink we had seen numerous people drinking in cafe's was an Aperol Spritz, a bitter aperitivo mixed with orange, Prosecco and soda. After our first one it quickly became a new favorite and quickly added to our bar on wheels - to get 'on the spritz' as we travelled through Italy.