Saturday, November 26, 2011

Italy 2011: Food!!!

I've got tons of pictures from our trip to Italy - about 600, in fact.  Here are a few highlights from the trip, and below are some food-related shots.

This is my empty plate from a place I can't remember the name of right near the hotel.  I suspect it MIGHT be Boulangerie del Rifrullo.  We also had some great paninis from ino, a hard-to-find panini shop in a dark alley.

I was totally enamored by the olive trees in San Gimignano.  They're everywhere!

The Museo del Vino in San Gimignano - they're famous for vernaccia.  We had some at a restaurant in Florence later that night.  On our last night in Florence we visited Il Re Gelato - an out-of-the-way place but worth the walk.  I had Greek yogurt gelato with honey and nuts, and ricotta gelato with figs.  Yum!

Food was more of a focus for us in Rome.  This is Gelateria del Teatro in Trastevere - super tasty gelato.  Among other flavors, we had some pumpkin gelato with amaretto cookies and chocolate bits, and I hear their chocolate-red wine gelato is pretty good too.

Here is Cafe Cafe, a nice little bistro behind the Colosseum.  We had some tasty paninis for lunch after the 5k walk from our hotel to the Colosseum.

On our final day in Rome, we went on a culinary stroll led by Brette Jackson.  After picking up some pizza bianca, seasonal chestnut bread, and pastries at Forno Campo dei Fiori, she took us to Caffe Peru, the only place in Rome that you can sit down to drink your coffee without paying extra.  We had caffe macchiato - coffee stained with milk.  Yum!

Later, we had some excellent potato pizza in Trastevere, and eventually we went back to the Campo dei Fiori area.  First we stopped at Forno Marco Roscioli, which apparently is owned by relatives of the owners of Forno Campo dei Fiori.  While Forno Campo dei Fiori is known for their pizza bianca, Forno Marco Roscioli is supposedly known for their pizza rosa.  It was super fun to watch them make the pizza through a big window to the back room.

Next, we went shopping in the Campo dei Fiori market.  I was obsessed with this market.  I want to go here every day and buy fresh amazing food to make my lunches and dinners and then go back the next day and do it all over again.  It would be my dream!  Anyway, we had a little picnic, with some porchetta and cheese, some kind of spicy pork jerky, grapes and a persimmon.  I bought some pasta but I wish I could have bought some of the minestrone mix - already mixed up carrots and soup greens and whatever you need to make minestrone.  So cool!  (I've got a ton of pictures from this, so I'll be doing a separate post on it soon.)

We stopped at a chocolate shop called Confetteria Moriondo & Gariglio.  This is the oldest chocolate shop in Rome, and they import the cocoa beans from Costa Rica and then make their own chocolate!  After a tasty sample, I decided to bring back some for a friend for her birthday (and a box for myself as well!) and it is super delicious chocolate.  You can tell everything is hand-packed because the foil in the box is ever-so-slightly unevenly cut.

Our final stop on this culinary stroll was this gelateria near the Pantheon.  You might expect a gelateria so near to a tourist area to be kind of sucky, but this place was good.  They have several granitas to choose from - I particularly enjoyed the sour cherry flavor.  After we sampled several flavors, we all went back and got more :)

The most important thing I learned about food on my trip to Italy was how to choose a good gelateria.  You should avoid the piled-high gelatos - these are usually artificial flavors.  A good gelateria will not have big piles of gelato in their case!  Also, it is OK - in fact, necessary! - to eat gelato AT LEAST once a day on your trip!  Since it has less fat than American ice cream (which I already knew) you can consume more with less guilt.

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