Monday, June 10, 2013


Anchovies or sardines? Still not sure, but marinated in various ways on the Amalfi Coast and Capri, they have been absolutely delicious. So much so that at our final dinner together and on our last night in Capri we all chose ALICI for our antpasto or Primo.


After we arrived at our villa in the hills behind Lucca, and decided to make bruschetta to snack with afternoon drinks, we immediately noticed the absence of salt at the villa. It's usually provided.  So yesterday when in San Gimignano we headed off to buy some.  With no supermercato to be found, we bought some excellent local Extra Vergine Olive Oil, and enquired after salt.  Where can we buy it?  None of the many delicatessen type shops were selling it. "Tabaccheria" a young woman outside a leather shop told us.  I knew that's where you go not only for tobacco, but also postage stamps, SIM cards and to purchase recharging, but salt?? With a little trepidation, I found a tabaccheria nearby, and asked if he sold salt, expecting to be looked at as if yet another strange or stupid straniero.  To my surprise , not only did he stock salt, but I had a choice of fine or coarse, big or small packet.  And even more surprising , the cost was only Euro 1.20.

Medieval Corteo Florence

June 24 is a special day in Firenze/Florence, and a holiday for their patron Saint San Giovanni. The Medieval corteo (The Parade of the Forentine Republic) commenced in the afternoon at Palagio di parte Guelfa, led by 2 police on horseback. At the first corner, 20 metres from the start, one of the horses pooed, so for the entire corteo it was necessary to slightlt break ranks to avoid the large round yellow pat, causing some toilet humour, so to speak, moments . This Medieval corteo is fabulous, and worth planning your trip in Italy to ensure you are in Florence on June 24.

Buffalo Mozzarella

Does Mozzarella cheese actually come from Bufalo?
YES the real mozzarella does! And as we were interested in finding out more about the genuine Italian soft and delicate Mozzarella di Bufalo we visited an organic farm not far from Napoli.  The milking was all done by machines and the big black buffalo were well trained and extremely patient. After being milked they walked straight to their individual food boxes, with a greeting and a nuzzle from their neighbours on arrival.  Later we watched the cheese makers - such strong thumbs!   And realised why Mozzarella is so called: "mozzare" translates as "to cut off", and the mezzatura is the skilled process of doing that by pulling pieces off the main cheese stock. A simple light lunch served in the Vannulo dining area was perfect: wonderful  baby deep red pomodori, fresh bread, and mozzarella naturally. With a touch of Ricotta.