A little slice of pastry heaven

When your colleague has a birthday, (and he is from Napoli) you know it is going to be a good day!

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Too beautiful to eat, or too delicious to share?!

Italians have got pastry baking down to a fine art.  You find these little bites of heaven in La Pasticceria (pronounced pa stee cher EE a), which is the Italian pastry shop.

All the little cakes are called pasticcini!

Buon appetito!

A rainy Saturday evening in Verona 

It is just before Christmas ….. it’s cold and dark outside. 

There is the perfume of rain in the air. The urge to hibernate is strong. 

This is the time of year to pull your loved ones close to you. Wrap your arms around each other. Hold each other close and battle the elements together. There is a strange intimacy in the dark. Snuggled under layers of clothes, jackets, hats and scarves. 

I love to snuggle. Maybe I was a koala bear in another life?

If I could only have you near

To breathe a sigh or two

I would be happy just to hold the hands I love

Upon this winter night with you

(Gordon Lightfoot)

A few weeks ago we ventured to Verona for a Saturday evening. Verona is always beautiful. Full of elegance, history, culture and romance.

Piazza delle Erbe
Arena di Verona
 

Of course any decent Saturday evening in the city starts with an aperitivo. Our drink of choice an aperol Spritz. 


The veronese like to socialize.  It was fantastic to see old and young alike, grannies rubbing shoulders with ‘millenials’ …. and even the bar men sipping away on hot whiskeys! 

Pizza, potatoes, rice salad and more all laid along the bar. To be enjoyed at your leisure as you sip on your delicious glass of orange nectar ! And all for €2.50! 

I think I like this place. 

We have a friend who has just opened a music venue in the Centre of the city.  So we popped in to listen to some good tunes, enjoy some chat and nibble on some good cooked Italian food. 

If you are ever in Verona and fancy something a little different in the evening I can say you won’t be disappointed at Cohen’s


This is a live music venue where four nights a week you can pay €15 for a hot meal and concert! Sounds like a winning combination! 

The night we were there, the very talented Manuel Tavoni was playing with his blues band. 


Note to self: must listen to more great music! 🎶 

A gluttonous weekend at Cesenatico’s fish festival.

Italian Riveria you say? Yes please!

Especially for me when its autumn and ‘fuori stagone’ (off-season)…..because traditionally the Italian coast of Romagna looks a bit like this:

See the source image

Which while might be for some the ideal of complete relaxation, indulgence or party (depending on your age group and marital status) …… has always been my idea of a nightmare.  Blame it on my country bumpkin girl next door upbringing if you will.

However, out of season, well that is altogether a very different story ……it is then that we truly experience something magical with the Italian Riviera its unique brand of charm.  It is for me at once relaxing yet charming in its very special way.  Long walks along the pristine beaches.  Fresh sea air.  Long lazy lunches.  Sand dunes.  A special seaside feel to the little town and canals which are filled with fishing trawlers.  It doesn’t get much more authentic than this.

Just before the Christmas craziness kicks off Cesenatico (Emilia-Romagna, Italy) hosts an almost week long event called “il pesce fa festa” … which literally translates to, ‘the fish make party”.

il pesce fa festa

Our weekend started with a stroll along the canal.  Where the life of the fisherman becomes apparent ….

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The Cesinatico Canal

 

 

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The fisherman’s home

 

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Inspiring art

Once you have strolled along the banks of the canal a few times.  It will be time for lunch.  On this occasion, we travelled a few kilometers to Milano Marittima where we dined at the fabulous Mi.Ma restaurant.  Positioned right on the sand dunes and with a genuine Italian ‘Mamma’ in the kitchen we couldn’t go wrong!

Lunch started with a few plates of ‘Primi’ (or pasta dishes), followed by a fried seafood platter (fritto misto)…. which by the way is not optional when at the Italian seaside! Then heaven knows how but we found we found enough space to manage dessert! This was all washed down with a strong espresso.  Otherwise we would have needed to take an hour long siesta!

So what is a girl to do if she has just eaten 1 million calories in one sitting?!! Why stroll along the beach of course!

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The wine keeps following us!

 

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Pretending to exercise and walk off lunch

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The romantic in me

The fish festival is an opportunity for all to set up their market stalls and sell their wares.  Food and wine, arts and crafts, food and toys …. the list goes on.

We have been firm favorites of Claudia and her very special brand of art for a long time now. Claudia is one of the founders of rici-CLA-rte. So who is Claudia? Well Claudia strolls along the beach, but not just for the sake of walking….. but with eyes wide open.  She sees pieces of beautiful, natural or abandoned man made materials in the sands and decides to give each piece a second life. Rici-CLA-rte, is the name Claudia gives her master pieces.  Wall or table art, each piece unique and authentic.  Channeling the ocean.  Lighthouses.  Small seaside villages. Majestic fish.  The list goes on.  But most importantly, Claudia has a good heart, and you feel this in her work. She remembers all of her customers, and we cherish her!

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Rici-CLA-arte

If you ever get the chance to dine in Romagna, I suggest you try a spot in Cervia.  Away from all the tourist spots, you will find yourself with plenty of local eateries to choose from.  This weekend we opted for the traditional Osteria Il Cantinone.  One word of advice. Please do not eat lunch first , but save yourself for this place:

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Cheese filled pasta, served with a healthy helping of ragu!

At this point a quick stroll in between the local alleyways and beautiful architecture is a must… even if we know it is to ease the guilt and to ‘help the digestion’ as Italians are so fond of saying!

Good night my fellow food travelers!

Sleep well and dream of the sound of ocean waves crashing on the beach…….while you look on with a full belly and happy heart!