Let’s talk about food. Not too much, because you know, Italy + Food = it has all been said before. But I thought a brief chat about cheese and pesto and pizza wouldn’t go astray. Oh and wine! Always wine. Red wine, this time, because we were in a sea of Bardolino Classico and Valpolicella, bathing in the stuff.
Pizza and pasta were, of course, abundant, to feed the masses of tourists clamouring for their authentic Italian food. Despite being in a part of Italy not necessarily famous for either. But, hey, it’s Italy, one would be utterly remiss not to eat pizza. Not in any danger of being remiss, we ate plenty of it, awarding our final pizza of the week the highest rating of 9/10. Zucchini, marscapone cheese … I mean. I was too busy eating it to photograph it, which is a good thing.
There was one evening we went off course and had a risotto, purely because the restaurant didn’t serve pizza (SG couldn’t hide his disappointment.) Not that it wasn’t a creamy, peppery delight.
Pizza aside, for a good portion of the week, we did our own thing. After a breakfast of, essentially, a cheese and ham toastie at a cafe on our first morning, we discovered what the hordes of Germans were beelining for every morning – the bakery on the campsite. So we did the same. We beelined every morning and picked up fresh bread and this sensational butter for every breakfast, which we topped with the spoils of our supermarket hunts (I love supermarket hunting in other countries) – cheeses, meats, olives, sun dried tomatoes, sweet treats like Nutella filled pastry cigars, and pesto. I went crazy on the pesto. Two pots in one week. These supermarket hunts also formed the basis for most lunches and a couple of dinners, the only difference being that coffee was replaced with wine. And strawberries were added at one point, because I saw them at a food market and everyone knows you should buy things at food markets in Italy because it feels and sounds great to do so.
There were trip ups and slip ups, namely The Worst Bruschetta in the World which was consumed at a cafe in Verona. Two slices of toasted white bread, a sliced red-green tomato, a sprinkling of dried basil. I still can’t talk about it. An unimpressive sort of sandwich also eaten in Verona, but that was my fault for going off pizza-book. There were olives ordered that came as fries (I mean, not a mistake one can really resent). But you can’t win ’em all and such slips make the triumphs that much sweeter.
As well as our enthusiastic engagement with wine, we really got into the Aperol Spritz groove, surrounded by Aperol Spritz loving Germans and Austrians. SG savoured his Italian beers. We brought back four bottles of wine from the region, oils, and, of course, pesto.
Ah yes, and there was gelato, obviously, shop after shop of tub after tub of soft, colourful gelato that was scooped out and tucked into waffles and cups and attacked by gelato-covered mouths.
The pants are a little tighter this week.
Tomorrow, the final Italy post, phew: Verona