Italy--Food Utopia

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meowzart
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2003/09/26 13:29:41 (permalink)

Italy--Food Utopia

Hi all!

I've just returned from 10 glorious, magical days in Italy. 5 in Tuscany, 5 in Emilia-Romagna. To give a quick report, in a nutshell: YOU CAN'T GET A BAD MEAL IN ITALY!! Nope. Can't be done. Impossible. I ate so well, every damn day. I mean it. It must truly be where the food gods exist.

I had many transcendent food moments. One being the discovery of ribollita, Tuscan bread soup. Maybe the setting had something to do with how incredible it tasted (al fresco, looking over the hills of Chianti), but I will be trying to duplicate it here at home. Pizza, salami and figs, pecorino and pears, veal with butter and sage...I could go on and on. And I will. But it will take a while and will probably do it in several posts like CheeseWit did with his honeymoon write-up.

Ciao for now!
Meowzart
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    scbuzz
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/09/26 13:40:14 (permalink)
    Oh Man ... I'm sooooooo jealous !!!


    Looking forward to your blow-by-blow (or should I say plate-by-plate) travelogue !


    I hope to spend some time in Italy one day !!!!
    #2
    Bushie
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/09/26 13:48:56 (permalink)
    Fantastic! REALLY looking forward to this one, meowzart. Italy is my main dream destination.
    #3
    tiki
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/09/26 14:25:19 (permalink)
    scbuzz beat me too it but i really am SO Jealous!!!----i have never been there and have always wanted to. i have family there too that have invited me to come --my wife and i are planning to get out there in two yrs---she has family in Vienna--where" they have food that you dont have to grow uo to appreciate!!!'--meaning its covered in chocolat or sugar!!Even in Vienna,my brother in law said that all the besyt chefs ther are Italian! We figure we will fly there and rent a car and head south to visti my grandfathers family in the north of Italy and then down to Capri to my grandmothers homeland---can wait to go---been reading Italian regional cookbooks all my life and figure it will only take about six months to try the dishes i already know that i want to eat!!! My daughter went to Italy a vegetarian---THAT DIDNT LAST TO LONG!!!!
    #4
    Bushie
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/09/30 10:09:19 (permalink)
    Meow?
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    lleechef
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/09/30 12:38:46 (permalink)
    Meowzart you are absolutely right, no such thing as a bad meal in Italy, I lived in Europe for 7 years and have family in Italy so I spent a lot of time there. Many many enjoyable afternoons were spent dining and drinking wine al fresco. Looking forward to hearing more of your details of la cucina italiana!
    #6
    meowzart
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/10/01 16:42:55 (permalink)
    OK...sorry for the delay. Crikey! There is absolutely nothing like coming back to work after a vacation. The things that people leave for you!

    Anyway.

    First, let me start by saying that before this, I had never been anywhere I needed a passport before. So I was floored by the beauty of Florence. And OLD! Europe gives new meaning to old. Here in the US, old is the 1700s. Over there? Try 6th century! Ay yi yi! It really took my breath away. Our first night there, we started out in search of our first dining experience, and literally stumbled on the Duomo. Hubby and I just stood there and gaped. I wept a little. It was hard to believe I was really there.

    Food in Italy was wonderful. The emphasis was definitely on fresh, seasonal food. Looking pretty on the plate was not what it is about over there. I think I was watching M. Batali on the Food Network when he said something to the effect that a lot of people like to make their food look like it came from a restaurant. In Italy, restaurants like to make it look like they cooked it at home. That is so true!!

    While we were there it was mushroom and truffle season, so we tried to indulge when we could. Tagliatelle con tartufo was a "special" many places. It was wonderful to have fresh porcini, too. We can only get them dried here. In pasta, on pizza...just wonderful. Our last night in Italy, the restaurant we were at offered a 5 course Menu Degustazione featuring mushrooms. Yeah, we ordered it.

    In Florence, there are some signature dishes that we sampled and fell in love with. In Tuscany and Florence the cheese of choice is Pecorino. It is like a sharper Parmigiano. It is also made with sheep's milk (Parmigiano is made with cow's milk). Our first night there we had a terrific Insalate con pere e pecorino, salad with pears and pecorino. Fresh crisp greens, julienned carrots, wedges of pear, and thickish slabs of pecorino. You dress it yourself with olive oil and vinegar. Simple and beautiful!

    Crostini are a typical antipasti. They are small slices of bread, toasted, and topped with a paste or sauce. If you see Crostini misti on a menu, it meant you got a sampling or a mix of three or four different toppings. I sampled ones with a tapenade, an aioli, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes. But my absolute favorite one was Crostini fegotini--with chicken liver paste. Divine!

    Crostini differ from bruschetti in that bruschetti are larger, thicker slices of toasted bread, usually without a topping. Sometimes you would see bruschetta con pomodoro on a menu, and that would be what we would usually associate as being bruschetta here in the US.

    One of Florence's signature dishes is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Florentine beefsteak. This is a dish for two. It is basically a porterhouse steak that is platter sized and an inch or more thick. I am not sure what gives this steak its special flavor, but it is extremely tender and almost has a sweet taste to it. It is grilled, or rather seared, and served almost rare. It's not marinated or anything, but was obviously cooked with salt, pepper, olive oil, and some herbs (rosemary?). This is serious eating and would certainly more than satisfy any bbq-hound on this board. It was amazing!

    Usually after our multi-course dinners, the hubby would say "Time to fill in the cracks with some gelato!" Mmmmmm...gelato! I'm not sure what makes this so much different than ice cream, but it is. It is lighter, not as heavy and is not full of a bunch of bits like cookie dough, chocolate chips, or oreos (unless it is nuts). It is smooth and full-flavored. Even mild flavors could knock your socks off with the trueness of their flavors. I'll never forget strolling over the Ponte alle Grazie at night, licking a gelato, hand in hand with my husband. Pure perfection!

    I just realized how long this was getting, and I'll break here. My next installment I will give restaurant details...all about where we ate in Florence (and two in Tuscany)!
    #7
    lleechef
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/10/01 17:44:54 (permalink)
    Meowzart, I'm drooling, remembering all the wonderful meals in Italy. Did you have Paglia e Fieno? Spinach and white fettuccine tossed with peas, prosciutto, Pecorino Romano and cream?
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    Bushie
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/10/01 21:18:15 (permalink)
    Meowzart, that was wonderful. You are an extremely talented writer!

    I especially loved that line, "In Italy, restaurants like to make it look like they cooked it at home." (Mario Batali)

    As mentioned earlier, if I could pick ONE country to visit, it's Italy. You are verifying my desires, and I'm looking forward to more "chapters" of your trip.

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    Chef Susan
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/10/07 01:10:24 (permalink)
    Welcome home, Meowzart! We probably walked past each other on the streets of Florence! I was there for the first two weeks of September.

    I have a list of favorite places to eat in Florence as I am lucky enough to work there for 2 weeks at a time...and spend every spare moment eating or looking for fun food places. The central market has to be one of the most incredible places to find, look at and drool over food. I love to buy mortadella with pistachios, finochio/fennel salami, marinated goat cheese and assorted olives to eat on the plane ride home. Upstairs you will find some of the most beautiful produce. Fall brings porcini season...but if you get there in late summer, the Italian prune plums and fresh figs are available.

    In the winter one of the great joys is eating the shaved raw artichoke salad with thin slices of parmesan, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

    Florentine food is so simple, yet so pure. This is the epitome of having quality ingredients that are cooked so perfectly as to let the integrity of the item reveal itself. Finding the best white beans in Florence becomes a passion (right now I think that is at Da Ruggiero just past the Roman gate) or the best arugula and parmesan salad...or grilled pork chop with lemon(Trattoria Antellessi on via Faenza has the best so far!)

    I look forward to hearing which restaurants you got to eat at!

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    meowzart
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/10/20 14:50:47 (permalink)
    Whew!! Sorry about the lag in between chapters. Had some family drama to attend to. Thankfully it is all over with and I am back to normal. Herewith, highlights of the places we ate it in Florence--

    The most amazing place we ate in Florence was Il Ritrovo (via de Pucci, 4A, Firenze, 055/281688). I have to admit here that my husband read about it on that **other** foodie message board. I am so glad the person there posted about it, because it was a real find. It isn’t a mom and pop place, it is a husband/wife place—Marco and Rosetta. Rosetta is the hostess and waitstaff, Marco is the chef. Rosetta doesn’t speak English, but we got along great anyway. Anything we couldn’t communicate through pointing, and gesturing, and my fractured Italian, she would go get Marco. Marco is a real character in his floppy toque. The food was so delicious and the atmosphere so amiable, we ate there two nights. Our second time there, they were so happy that we had decided to come there again, that they sent us away with a bottle of their house wine. “You drink it at home and think of us, OK?” OK! If this little vignette hasn’t convinced you to try there when you are in Florence, maybe the food will persuade you…our first night there our antipasti was their antipasti sampler. A bit of everything they offered from their antipasti selections, perfect for two. It consisted of my favorite, crostini fegotini, as well as bruschetta pomodoro, salume (prosciutto, salami, etc.), and a little cheese soufflé. The bruschetta was the best! The tomatoes were fresh and fantastic, with a little bit of salt to make them extra juicy. I am so hungry for it just sitting here typing this. For our primi piatti we shared tagliatelle with a duck and rabbit ragu. Rich and wonderful! Our secondo piatti was grigliata mista or mixed grill. It was a selection of grilled meats: sausage, chicken, pork, and steak. Incredible. We had a platter of seasonal vegetables for our contorni. For dessert, tiramisu. And this is nothing like the tiramisu you get in the states. As with everything in Italy, simple is best and so the tiramisu resembles nothing like the whipped layers you get here. It was simply two ladyfingers, soaked in espresso until dark brown, crisscrossed on a plate and topped with zabaglione and cocoa powder. It was SO good! Rosetta wouldn’t let us leave without a digestif, so she gave us some limoncello on the house. Superb experience all around!

    A picture of us dining at Il Ritrovo…


    Our second favorite place in Florence was Ristorante La Posta (via Lamberti 20r, Firenze, 055/212701). We were heading down the street to find a different restaurant, when we were greeted with a hearty “Buena Sera!” by the host of La Posta. They had a beautiful outdoor seating area, and we were tempted, but really wanted to find this other place. We told him we might come by on another night. He was disappointed, but understood. The restaurant we were trying to find ended up being closed, so we decided that La Posta and we were destined to be. As we were nearing the restaurant, the host saw us coming and quickly readied a table for us. He had the chairs pulled out as we walked up. The outdoor area is ivy covered and candlelit. Perfect romantic spot for a romantic Italian dinner! The food did not disappoint either. We had mussels with leeks, more crostini fegotini, squid ink risotto, lamb with fried squash blossoms (definitely not served enough here in this country!), and the most amazing yet simple veal chop with butter and sage. It was a delightful dinner alfresco!

    For a more trendy experience (I would call it Italian with a California twist) we ate at Beccofino (Piazza Degli Scarlatti 1r (Lungarno Guicciardini), Firenze, 055/290076). We ate outside there, too. It was noisy, but it was also within view of the Arno. How could we resist? The food was unique and delicious (i.e. sea bream carpaccio with apples, pears, and herbed cheese; risotto with frog’s legs; langoustines with baby onions and polenta) and the wine list was excellent.

    The best pizza we had in Florence was at Trattoria Baldovino (via San Giuseppe 22r [Piazza S. Croce], Firenze, 055/241773). They have an extensive pizza menu, but also many other yummy and wonderful sounding dishes that I hated passing up. The wine list was terrific, too (they have a wine shop right next door). I had salami and porcini on mine. So good!!

    One of the things we did was take a private guided tour of the Chianti region. Besides getting to try some Sangiovese grapes (the main grape of Chianti wines) right off the vine, we had my favorite meal in Italy in the small town Volpaia as part of the tour (http://www.chiantinet.it/bottega/botteng.html). It was a seven-course lunch arranged in advance by our tour guide. We were seated outside, overlooking the Tuscan hills. The mother-daughter team of Gina and Carla cooked the meal. We started out with crostini misti, followed by ribollita and homemade spinach ravioli, and then by guinea fowl, pork, and veal. We closed with tiramisu. Throughout we poured from the big fiasco of chianti on the table. It was truly the Italian meal of my dreams! All of it Italian home-cooking. It was such a roadfood-worthy experience!

    A picture of us (with our tour guide Dario) at La Bottega in Volpaia…


    My hubby with Gina...


    The next chapter will be all about where we ate in Emilia Romagna. Until then, I hope this keeps you salivating...

    Meowzart
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    lleechef
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2003/10/21 03:52:39 (permalink)
    Meowzart, I was asking about you in another forum.........what happened to her?????? Lovely reading the above, and yes, we're all salivating of course. About the squash blossoms, that is a beautiful morsel is it not? I used to eat them at my grandparents' house all summer/fall and my mother makes them too, so do I. Many Americans and even Italians (from the south) do not know this delicacy. And of course the simply prepared pasta dishes and veal and ravioli......well, it's la bella cucina. Love the pics.........keep up posted on Emilia Romagna!
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    meowzart
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/03/01 15:45:23 (permalink)
    Gee, it has only four months...but I finally finished! Finally! The second-half of our trip! I don’t know why it has taken me so long. I swear I think about our trip there everyday since we’ve been back.

    The second half of our trip took us to Emilia-Romagna. My desire at first was to stay all five days in Bologna, Italy’s food capital (they don’t call it Bologna la Grassa [Bologna the fat] for nothing). But after reading about the area and talking with our travel agent, there was more in Emilia-Romagna we wanted to see than Bologna. So we decided to say someplace central and take day trips to places we wanted to see.

    But in between leaving Florence and heading to Emilia-Romagna, we took a side trip to Montalcino for my wine-loving husband. We wanted to find some Brunellos. Well we found some, as well as some terrific olive oil, chestnut honey, a beautiful town high on a hill, and wonderful food. My lunch that day consisted of roasted lemon flavored guinea fowl. My plate was wiped clean with bread…a complement to the chef, I understand. Our lunch started out though with an antipasti of affetati misti or mixed cold cuts. There was prosciutto and mortadella and salames, arranged artfully on the plate with toasted bread. In the center of the plate was a small mound of thinly sliced white “stuff” with a peppery edge. I asked our server what it was (I had an inkling and needed to confirm), and she proudly responded “Larda!” Just as I suspected. It was smoky good and melted in your mouth. Together with the toast, it was heavenly. And no, I have not been to have my cholesterol checked since I’ve been back.

    After a few hours of strolling and some gelato for dessert,



    we headed for the Po River valley.

    Our travel agent led us to an Agriturismo farm between Bologna and Modena. It is a working farm with small apartments for guests. It was such a smart suggestion. It was lovely to stay in the countryside but still be close to the cities. The setting was picturesque; the food was locally made, if not produced right on the farm. We had breakfast on the farm every morning. Breakfast consisted of a neighbor’s Parmigiano-Reggiano, a neighboring local prosciutto, farm-made preserves and pomegranate juice, and a sweet cake. Oh yeah, and wonderful Italian café, which we became addicted to while we were there. The farm also serves dinner 6 nights a week. We indulged one night, and it was the most serious and filling meals of our trip. It was 8 courses. The plates are stacked as you sit down. As you finished each course (served family style) the dirty plate was taken off the top, leaving you a clean one for the next course. I am not sure what all we ate, either. Some things that stand out was the farm-produced Lambrusco (slightly frizzante), triangles of fried dough and proscuitto, fried squash blossoms, friend zucchini sticks, balsamic meatballs, and tortellini in brodo (hubby picked up his bowl and slurped down the broth—it was that good), and nocino (a walnut liqueur). The women on the farm make the tortellini everyday. In fact, the smell of chicken stock came from the kitchen everyday we were there. They are very serious about the simplest of foods. It was inspiring. If you are curious, here is the link to the place: http://members.aol.com/gaidello/index.html

    Our first day trip was to Bologna, of course. It was very different from Florence in that in Firenze I felt the tourists out numbered the locals. In Bologna, that was NOT the case at all. Bologna is a center of commerce, and there were times I almost felt we were in the way of getting business done! However, walk into a different quarter of the city and you will undoubtedly feel old and unhip, as Bologna is a university town. Dreads and body piercings everywhere! Since it is home to a university, the town is full of book stores (books are almost as much a passion for me as food). Food and books: Heavenly!

    But of course, what we came to Bologna for was the food. It lived up to our expectations. Our first meal was at Rosteria Luciano (via Nazario Sauro 19, tel. 051-231240). We were obviously the only tourists there, because everybody else was in business suits. When we were seated, the waiter announced they had just gotten a basketful of truffles (black and white ones) and the chef was making tagliatelle with truffles special that day. My husband ordered the special, and it came out with not only truffles in the sauces but generous shavings on the top. Exquisite! Since it was a hot day, I stayed with a lighter meal and had carpaccio of swordfish…see below.



    It was draped over a mound of radicchio and arugula and other lettuces and topped with carrots and peas. It was dressed with vinegar and oil. SO good!

    We were the last ones left in the restaurant and our waiter was bantering with us a bit. He told us owner was allowing him to take some of the truffles home with him and he was excited because he knew his wife made a wonderful truffle sauce. Then he said “uno momento!” and disappeared into the kitchen. He came back out with a small sack and pulled out whole truffles to show us. Now I have seen them on cooking shows and the like, but had never actually held one before. I couldn’t believe how dense and heavy they were. I swear if you threw it at somebody, you could knock them out cold. And the smell!!! Kind of like wet, almost mildewy, earth. Like a dirt cellar or something. It was so cool.

    For dinner we went out for our only snooty, expensive, dress-up dinner of the vacation. It was at Trattoria Battibecco (via Battibecco 4, tel. 051-223298). The name makes it sound casual, but it isn’t. Battibecco is known for its seafood, which is what we indulged in. They had a “chef’s discretion” seafood sampler. Three tastes of different seafood at the whim of the chef. We ordered it and could not have been more happy that we did so. But I am getting ahead of myself a bit. The dinner started out with an amuse bouche of a small cup of leek and barley soup with a large crouton. And THEN came the three tastes: Tuna tartare with avocado, balsamico, and apple slivers; smoked baby octopus salad with tomatoes and arugula and olive oil; and my favorite, baccala (salt cod) cakes on white polenta and drizzled with balsamico, with zucchini and chives. Our primi course was pasta for me (spaghetti with tomatoes and monkfish and roe) and risotto for hubby (with sea scallops and saffron). And finally for our main course we each had sea bass. Mine was with fresh porcini and baked under super-thin slices of potato. His was oven roasted with lemon chunks and capers with a lemon/wine reduction. It was a tremendous meal with lots of courses that took us well into the night. We felt truly Bolognese afterward!!

    The next day was spent in Ravenna to see all the incredible mosaics. I don’t remember where we had lunch that day, but I do remember what I ate. It was the perfect example of how the simplest of foods taste better in Italy. It was nothing but a tuna sandwich but it knocked my socks off with how good it was. It was crusty white bread spread with aioli with big chunks of tuna and tomatoes and some lettuce. That was it. But, man! Was it good!! I can still taste those ripe tomatoes and the fresh fish and the garlicky aioli. Mmmm.....

    The following day was spent visiting Ferrari in Marenello. They have a great museum. The test track wasn’t open to the public as we had hoped, but you could hear it no matter where you went in the town! We ate at a trattoria in Vignola (where there is an incredible castle). What was cool about this place was that there was no printed menu. The waitress just told us what they had that day. Hubby had the classic tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce. I had gnocchi in fresh tomato sauce. Simple and divine!

    We also visited all around Parma and visited various Verdi sites. In Parma, we had lunch at a lovely restaurant called “I du brasse” (Piazzale Cervi 5, tel. 051-21-286098). And since we were in Parma, I made sure our antipasti was some prosciutto di Parma. Check it out:



    We also had cipollina (onions) in an agrodolce sauce (sweet and sour sauce made with balsamico), along with tagliatelle with a rabbit ragu for me, and risotto with pears and gorgonzola for the hubby. It was a great lunch!

    Our last day in Italy was spent doing foodie-tourist things. We visited a farm to learn about Parmigiano-Reggiano production,


    (I believe that this is what heaven must look like)

    as well as to a “Casa del Balsamico” to find out how balsamic vinegar is made.



    The older the vinegar gets, the thicker and more concentrated it becomes. Our guide showed us a barrel of 150-year old balsamico, and it was like a paste!! They enjoy it on special occasions, such as weddings and births. Now I know why the good stuff is SO expensive. Of course, the stuff in the supermarket pales in comparison now, too. Balsamico could become an expensive habit.

    Our last dinner was in Modena, at a very tiny restaurant (10 tables) called Cucina del Museo (Via San Agostino 7, tel. 059-217429). There were celebrating the season of mushrooms with a special 5-course mushroom degustation menu. Since we can’t get fresh porcini here, we decided to indulge for our last night in the country. The five courses were: thinly shaven slices of fresh porcini mushrooms dressed only with salt, pepper, and olive oil; a trio of warm antipasti—onion and mushroom tart, fried squash blossoms, and seared foie gras dressed with balsamico; gnocchi cooked in a mushroom broth and served with porcini, morels, and chanterelles; roasted chicken breast (skin on, bones removed—why don’t we do this in the states? It’s either skinless-boneless, or skinful-boneful), with a mélange of mushrooms sautéed almost crisp with breadcrumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano and fried sage leaves; and lastly, a savory mushroom “napolean”—puff pastry layered with a mushroom ragu. Dessert was vanilla ice cream topped with balsamico (I know it sounds horrible, but it was fantastic!!).

    In the Roadfood vein, we made sure to stop at one of the incredible autostrada rest stops. We bought stuff for a picnic dinner back at the farm. Cheese, proscuitto, salami, olives, bread, and vino. Yes, all this from a rest stop! They have gourmet food and small grocery stores, not to mention espresso bars. Check it out: http://www.autogrill.it/site/it/default.htm

    One night we ate a pizzeria in the town near the farm. It had THE most incredible pizzas—the best of our trip! It is on the second floor of a hotel just off the via Emilia (kind of like Rte. 1 between Baltimore and Washington). The pizzas were huge! And the menu was endless. Of course we took pictures of the pizza. Mine was with grilled eggplant, fresh tomatoes, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano:



    and the hubby had one with prosciutto, peas, and cream:



    Yes, there are plates under there somewhere! Pizzeria Maté, Via Leonardo da Vinci 3, Castelfranco Emilia.

    All in all, a food-lover’s dream vacation. I wish I had the money to go every year. ****sigh**** Maybe when my Powerball dreams come true!

    If anybody is interested in the details or more pics about the Parmigiano-Reggiano or balsamico being made, let me know. I can post a travelogue appendix!
    #13
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/03/01 16:00:58 (permalink)
    Oh, my. What wonderful stuff. Envy's not really a bad thing, is it?
    #14
    lisajocole
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/03/02 13:26:34 (permalink)
    Meowzart -

    All I can say is "WOW". Wow. I'm sitting here at my computer at work and dreaming of Italy - thanks so much for the wonderful post. You made my day!
    #15
    shanklemsw
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/05/26 20:14:59 (permalink)
    Meow, what a good job. I just got back from Italy in April. We were in Sorrento-lemons dripping off trees and artichokes growing in neat rows. The food was so awesome I still can't believe it. The game of "Find the best gelato" was my favorite. Ciacolatta! Don't they just make you want to speak Italian. By the way, where does Dario live??
    Sue
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    meowzart
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    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/05/27 09:42:32 (permalink)
    Dario Castagno is based in Siena. He'll pick you up for your guided tour wherever you happen to be staying in Tuscany. If you want, I'll try to dig up my contact information for him and email it to you. In addition to the wine and food, he'll also take you to some Etruscan tombs. It was so much fun.
    #17
    shanklemsw
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 169
    • Joined: 2004/05/10 08:05:00
    • Location: Mt Pleasant, SC
    • Status: offline
    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/06/02 18:41:19 (permalink)
    Meowz would you agree that the Italians keep all the good cheese, wine, prosciutto, and truffles for themselves and send us the leftovers?
    #18
    meowzart
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 773
    • Joined: 2001/03/28 17:31:00
    • Location: Laurel, MD
    • Status: offline
    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/06/03 11:32:09 (permalink)
    Gee I don't know. But I think fresher is definitely better. So what we get here isn't nearly as wonderful because it isn't as fresh. But I also think the fantastic atmosphere of the whole country makes the food taste better. Eating prosciutto in my dining, though good, does not compare to alfresco in Montalcino, you know? And the wine is definitely different. The wines here in the states contain sulfites. Over there, none. It isn't supposed to affect the taste, but man it sure does affect whether I get a headache or not.
    #19
    Kristi S.
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 712
    • Joined: 2002/07/23 20:31:00
    • Location: St. Petersburg/Tampa, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/06/03 13:20:05 (permalink)
    That eggplant pizza looks great. I think the simpler the pizza the better. I love eggplant anyway. Maybe I will give this a spin at home sometime instead of the usual cheese-sausage-peppers!
    #20
    lisajocole
    Hamburger
    • Total Posts : 72
    • Joined: 2002/09/12 10:53:00
    • Location: St. Petersburg, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Italy--Food Utopia 2004/06/07 14:58:03 (permalink)
    Kristi -

    Just had a great eggplant pizza at Carrabba's the other night. Ordered it margarita style (tomatoes, basil, mozzarella), then added grilled eggplant, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese. I then drizzled the whole thing with their olive oil/herb mixture. The smoky, wood-grilled flavor of the eggplant combined with the tart, creamy goat cheese, tangy dried tomatoes and those herbs made for mighty tasty eating, even if it was in sunny St. Pete and not in Italy. LOL ...

    #21
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