Why did the wedding cake cross the road? Deep in Chianti in the town of Panzano, we had lunch at Solociccia a restaurant of Dario Cecchini – the Butcher of Tuscany. He has several restaurants near his famous butcher shop – Anticia Macelleria Cecchini. and the day we visited they were just bursting to the seams with wedding guests. I looked out the window from our table and noticed that traffic had stopped – so the cake could cross the road, TO GET TO THE RECEPTION ON TIME. Voila!
An evening in Firenze…. that’s all it took. Photo taken in June 2016.
The Colosseum in all it’s splendor. I arrived early and watched the sun come up behind it… rising into the blue sky. I craned my neck to see it. Up, up, up. It was glorious.
Last summer I visited this lovely winery, caseificio (CHEESE!) and olive farm located in San Casciano Val di Pesa, roughly halfway between Florence and Siena in Toscana. Nestled in a remote location with breathtaking views of the countryside, it’s well worth the drive. We had the normal tour of the place, learned about the cheese and olive oil production and then settled down to TASTE!
In 1968 a 6.1 earthquake rattled the Belice valley in Sicily, completely destroying Santa Margherita di Belice – where my grandfather was born. Over 400 people died. Every Italian American family has an earthquake story to tell – it shapes our lives and our future. The photo is of myself and my cousin Fabio Bavetta in the old part of Santa Margherita di Belice (devastation left in place, after the earthquake) when I visited in 2013. Please help those in Amatrice and the surrounding area recover by donating and helping with whatever you can do. Here’s one way to help – donate to the Italian American Relief fund
Dinner in a sea cave; no windows or ceiling; the ocean breeze wafting about as you listen to the waves crash on the rocks. This is the seaside town of Polignano a Mare in Puglia. The restaurant Grotta Palazzese is definitely a tourist attraction with over priced food – but it is well worth the price for the experience. We dined a bit early by Italian standards and were treated to the most prized table located on the edge of the cave, overlooking the ocean. For accommodations, we did not stay in the hotel associated with restaurant but rather in the neighboring town of Monopoli – a short 10 minute car ride from Polignano a Mare. I had seen this restaurant in a Facebook post of all places and just decided to make it a priority on our trip last October. I’m glad I did.
My first pizza. I used the pizza dough recipe from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook made the sauce and carmelized onions from http://zesterdaily.com/cooking/healthy-mediterranean-pizza/ and cooked on an Emile Henry pizza stone in an oven that goes to 550 degrees. Not bad for a first try. I will make the crust thinner next time but even with this thickness, the crust was perfect.
Do you have a pizza secret to share?
Have you ever been to Puglia? Lecce is a charming city nestled in the heel of the Italian boot. She turns on her charm on warm summer evenings.
Stop by a local shop to taste a local favorite wine – Salice Salentino – and enjoy the moment. Salice Salentino is a red wine produced mainly from the Negroamaro grape. Do not miss this or your evening passeggiata.
Nothing says love like a warm kitten and a pair of pink Superga shoes! Happy Valentines day from Italy and Me. Buona giornata!