24 Jan Travel Tuesdays #No.8 – Italy, Part 1
And so we reach the final leg of my journey, two weeks in fabulous Italy. I’ve decided to divide this into a few parts as, in all honesty, it’s a bit long winded!
I figured I could roll all of my findings of Italian cuisine into one bumper section, partly because if I’m honest, I’m finding it hard to mentally separate Rome from Venice and Modena from Bologna in terms of food. This might be further evidence of my disorganised methods or sieve-esque memory, but perhaps it’s quite telling of what I found to be the Italian food scene, in the five places I visited there; all were quite similar.
Of course I know there to be great regional diversity in Italy, regional cuisine that are of great pride to its citizens. But from my own experiences and from places I was able to find and eat in, this holds true. I just thought I should point that out! Any mafia out there reading, I mean you no disrespect and I’d like to say I thought you all came across really well in that Godfather trilogy thing. Also, the food of Sicily is my favourite. So we’re cool, ye!?
I structured my whole two weeks in Italy around a visit to what was at the time the world’s third best restaurant, the three Michelin starred Osteria Francescana (more on this later). So out went Cinque Terre and Milan, and in came Bologna and Modena.
Not to state the obvious, but Italy is certainly the place to go if you want to eat Italian food… just Italian food. You couldn’t move for pizza joints! I did once stumble across a tiny, ever so slightly dingy looking Sri Lankan restaurant, with restaurant being used in its most stretched form. I didn’t eat there.
But as I say, if you go to Italy for Italian food, you will not be disappointed. I found the pizzas to be wholly satisfying, even in places that I chose to eat in for purely money saving purposes; pizzas are a pleasingly cheap dining option; four euros or so was the going rate.
I was a little naive with my Italian portion size awareness. I often forgot that pasta is usually served as a starter. This caught me out a few times, particularly in the infancy of my Italian leg. This is probably why I went through such a huge quantity of tiramisus in an attempt to silence my stomachs yearning for fulfilment… though of course that wasn’t the sole reason.
I will now post the pictures of all the tiramisus I ate on my travels below, it shocked me; both the sheer number I ate and also that I haven’t since died of a tiramisu induced heart attack. Bear in mind, the below collection is missing a few tiramisus, as I only started documenting the number I was eating when I realised it was getting slightly out of hand! (Unfortunately there are too many photos to upload so you’ll just have to imagine the tiramisus, look up tiramisu on google images, or you know, you can always buy ‘Travel Like a Foodie’ for the full shibang!)
Exciting insight: the two best tiramisus were eaten in Rome. Perhaps surprisingly, Ghent was home to the third best tiramisu I consumed.
Quite interesting how many different variations I was served. Well interesting to me anyway, after-all I’ll probably end up doing my dissertation on ‘the history of tiramisu’, which I will ensure involves a lot of practical research!
As explained in the introduction, the motivation behind this trip was to eat, this meaning I had to make certain concessions, saving time and money on things that could impede on my food indulgences. If the entrance to see Michelangelo’s David was too high, I would graciously decline the admission, saving my money for an extra course at dinner*. This all to ensure I could give you the reader as much detail on the European food scene as possible. A true act of altruism in many ways.. you’re welcome!
*To my fellow uncultured types reading this, there’s a replica of the David statue nearby the real one, which was impressive enough… if you like that sort of thing. As well as this, the location was perfect, with free Wifi on offer. This particularly handy as I had yet to find my eating place for that night, cheers Dave! Always rated that Michelangelo fella, he’ll get somewhere one day!
Anyway, reviews time…. (Next week!)
That’s the introduction to Italy for ya. If I’m honest, it’s probably one of my least favourite sections of the book, I remember at the time finding it difficult to word.. probably should have written this bit first so you didn’t have to read the above drivel!
Back to reality soon with more plant based recipes.
Enjoy your Tuesdays oh wonderful readers.