Sunday, June 12, 2011

Goodbye to Castelvecchio, we will be back.

Well we've been back in Australia for 6 weeks now, and I am still suffering from the post-travel blues - reading about Italy and planning the next trip!! I discovered one unposted blog on my iphone from our last days -

We ended our incident-filled week with a visit to the Saturday morning market at Pescia, for once leaving not Mum and Dad, but instead a sick & traumatised Ryan to spend the day reading and recovering at the villa with Hayley. The market at Pescia is more of a flea market, where clusters of locals seemed to spend a lot more time catching up with local gossip than buying goods. A handful of food vans offered all sorts of delicatessen goods and thick, crema-filled canoli - in this incarnation more a cylindrical donut than a traditional pastry. We passed on the salty roast pork sandwiches and instead went with what has become our quick lunch-time staple: $2.50 panninis from a cafe, filled with mozarella, tomato and a bit of proscuitto for the non-veg's. We had good coffee on the edge of the square where the fruit and veg merchants had set up and then wound back to La Spinosa for some relaxing.

Our final night had been set aside for a farewell dinner (Hayley and Ryan are off to Genoa, Lake Como and then Venice, we are off to Venice). On Paul's recommendation we went to a Sorana restaurant call Da Sandrina. As usual the earliest table we could get was 7.30, and when we arrived the place was empty. Rather than offering a menu, the waitress came up and asked us in Italian what we wanted: "Allora - Antipasti, pasta, Secondi?" What a revelation, when it comes to food terms I can talk Italian " Non Secondi" I replied "Solo Antipasti e Pasta" She rattled off the names of the pasta, we made our random choices and she was off.

She came back with our antipasti: Huge plates carrying mountains of pickled onions, olives, pickles mushrooms arrived, with bruschetta topped with tomato for the veg's and chicken liver for the rest. There was also a large platter of salami, proscuitto and bresaola, and what we have come to expect but never quite gotten used to here: thick slices of bread made without salt. It has been notable throughout our Tuscan eating adventures - the food is often quite salty, but the bread is always unsalted, presumably as a foil to the salty food? The pasta was good but not as good as Montaione, and looking around the now full restaurant at what the other tables were having, I noted many of the same types of dishes we had at the agritourisma: the Sorana Beans, roasted chicken and goat, roasted potatoes etc. For someone new to Europe as I am, and coming from a country with very little notably regional cuisine (pie floaters aside!) this has been one of the - not surprises, because I knew to expect it - but one of the joys - eating food that emphasises what is seasonal and what is local. I am looking forward to lots of future trips - travelling Italy exploring the different regions by their cuisines!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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