On Trafalgar’s Italy Bellissimo trip in September 2011, my husband John and I had the pleasure of enjoying not one, but three distinct Italian eating experiences all of which delved into the rich Italian culture, each one as enchanting as the next.
Night one in Rome, we embarked on an evening excursion of immersing ourselves completely in the Italian nightlife, which included our first dining experience in this great country of my heritage. After taking in many sights of the city, we dined alfresco at a restaurant across from the Colosseum. The weather was perfect, the sunset beautiful, and the accordion music magical. ‘Mangiare’ means ‘to eat’ in Italian and eat we did, we had insalata, pasta, pizza margherita, tiramisu and a bottomless glass of vino or birra. Deliziosa!
Day five had us travel to the Isle of Capri, but along the way we stopped at a farm for a demonstration on how to make extra virgin olive oil, cheese and more cheese. Maria (our host) spoke very little English but as she held up her creations she proudly said ‘CHEESE!’ then we all proceeded to take her picture! The meal that followed was out of this world, fresh bread with olive oil, garden tomatoes, farm grown olives, Italian lunchmeats, and my best choice was the Limoncello, made right from their lemon orchards, and of course, the very cheeses that we saw being made with love. There was even a pound cake soaked in Limoncello cream for dessert!
Later, while we were discovering Venice, we had the adventure of taking a water taxi to the island of Burano, a small fishing island where the men fish and the women make lace. That memorable evening at sundown we partook in a seafood extravaganza, including red snapper pate on crispy crackers, seafood risotto that was to die for, fish lasagne that melted in your mouth, shrimp, calamari, and biscotti for dessert. And, you guessed it, another bottomless glass of wine.
Italy was a true delight from all points of view and each repast could be a story in itself. One region could never be ranked over another but simply should be lived.
By Paula Schnoblen