One thing about eating in Abruzzo is that you will be surprised and even embarrassed at the bill when it arrives at your table. Eating out in Abruzzo is cheap – cheap as in you probably couldn’t eat cheaper if you made it yourself – not compromised ingredients. Flavours are fresh, vibrant and delicious!!
Last Friday night I ate at a Pizzeria in Bominaco for the princely sum of €13.50, for which I received; 1 woodfired pizza, a large mixed salad, 1 litre of sparkling water, 1 non-alcoholic beer and 1 espresso! On paying I was rewarded further with complimentary chocolate liquor.
Saturday afternoon I hesitantly stopped at a touristy looking bar in Sulmona called Bar Centrale di Agostino Pierluigi in Piazza Annunziata for a quick bite to eat. I chose a bottle of water, bottle of Coke Zero and their Caprese: a generous plate of fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella (not the industrial variety) and chargrilled bruschetta drizzled with quality olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Total price €11!!
Ristorante Il Castello in Fagnano Alto, Abruzzo
A last minute invitation to dinner had me at this wonderful out of the way yet ‘close by’ restaurant in a town largely uninhabited since the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake. The restaurant is run by 2 husbands who were our hosts and their wives who do all the cooking according to methods handed down through their families.
We received 4 dishes comprising of the following:
Plate of charcuteries
Truffle salad: rocket, shaved truffle & shaved grana padano
Fritto misto: zucchini, aubergine, zucchini flowers, sage & cherry tomatoes fried in a light batter
Mozarella and bocconcini with grated black and white truffle!
I think there were 5 types to choose from and we were able to have half portions in order to try 2 types – we had no idea the portions would be so huge!
Ravioli – truffle & funghi
Spaghetti – sundried & pomodoro fresca
Gnocchi – saffron & local chickpeas
We struggled at the thought of eating any more but agreed we just had to TRY one!!
Chicken breast – almonds and saffron
Porchetta – calvados and roasted apple
Veal – vino bianco
Reaching the outer limits of what is possible for any person to eat in one evening we persisted scared of missing out on something wonderful!
Chocolate mousse with raspberries and mint
Peach torte with meringue and pistachio
Yoghurt semi-freddo and peach
I nearly exploded!! Generous portions, fantastic simple flavours and at a ridiculous price!! Including water and wine our meal came to €30 per head! I could not believe it – just 2 weeks earlier I paid €75 in France for a very nice but certainly of a similar quality meal of 3 courses, wine and water!
After reliving this meal I feel the need to rest and eat no more! Happy and content!
WOW – my very good friend and fellow writer/blogger has nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Talk about honoured!
In accordance with the rules I must thank the person that nominated me, tell you 7 interesting things you may not know about me and nominate 7 bloggers and their links also.
7 things about me:
- I have a degree in Psychology
- I work as a chef for multi-millionaires but I am not culinary trained
- I am currently on my 3rd career and working on starting my 4th
- I hope to be semi-retired this time next year in order to spend more time writing
- I speak a little French, Greek, Italian, Japanese and Turkish while English is the language I can most easily be understood in!!
- My first ever full-time job was in a factory in Christchurch, New Zealand making suit jackets for men. I worked in the clothing/fashion industry for 8 years.
- My second career was in Workers Compensation specialising in rehabilitation and Injury Management – this I managed to do for 7 years!
I guess I am a long way from where I started!
Fellow bloggers I would like to nominate for the Kreativ Blogger award are;
- http://www.renovatingitaly.com/ Lisa is a fellow renovator in Italy she is inspiring and knowledgeable
- http://www.anitalophile.com/ Cathy is a fellow self-confessed lover of Italy, she is also a book lover and reviewer
- http://foodloversodyssey.typepad.com/ Kathy is a fellow foodie and shares a wealth of food info from France and Italy
- http://ars-opulenta.com/category/news/ Eugene is a wealth of information, has a wicked sense of humour and is your ‘go to’ man about Florence!
- http://becomingitalianwordbyword.typepad.com/becomingitalian/ Dianne provides a wonderful weekly introduction to the Italian Language and I look forward to her informative updates each week
- http://www.dimackey.com/blog/ Di is a fellow Kiwi living and working in Europe she has a great blog and is a fantastic photographer
- http://inspiredinitaly.blogspot.fr/ Emily has moved countries for love her blog shares her exploration of her new life inside the Italian Culture
I could go on but the rules are 7 bloggers so I apologise to those I have missed there are so many who inspire me. Thank you again Kim @ http://kimtalksbooks.com/
Grazie a tutti
I must apologise for this late post – but it is for a good reason. As you are aware I cannot afford the luxury of renovating full-time and as such I have a day job. Last Monday I dropped my captain off at the airport and due to the slow progress of painting the yacht we work on he advised I could ‘do a course this week’ if I wanted. It was rather short notice to say the least but I managed to arrange flights, classes and to stay with a very dear friend in Paris.
As a Yacht Chef it is often difficult to take the time to find suitable professional courses that are convenient to the yacht schedule. I was fortunate enough to find a Paris based school aptly named ‘Cook’n with Class’ run by professionally trained Chefs: http://www.cooknwithclass.com/
So Tuesday morning I was up frightfully early (5:30am) to fly to Paris, arriving just in time to grab some lunch and head to a French Dessert Class at Cook’n with Class with Pastry Chef and Tutor Briony Laberttoniére. Despite participants being a mixture of cooking abilities the class was fun, interesting and informative. We made classics such as Créme Brulée, Financiers & a Strawberry Tarte. Briony also teaches other classes at the school and has her own business if you are ready to dream why not take a look at her website: http://pretarever.fr/
Wednesday Evening was spent on an introduction to Molecular Gastronomy by Chef Alex Dreyer who was found to be a very talented and energetic teacher. We learnt to froth, foam and ‘caviar’ a range of ingredients in the very popular and fashionable Molecular Cuisine. The menu included a Sidecar cocktail with Picon Foam, Carrot Ravioli with a pea puree, Eggwhite Foam with Mushroom Velouté, Herb crusted Tenderloin with Apple Foam and Chocolate Mousse with Mint Caviar.
Thursday was a free day enabling me to spend time with a very dear friend in the city as well as catch up on some retail therapy!
Friday was extremely busy with an Advanced French Desserts class from 9am to 1:30pm with delicious desserts including a Chocolate Sphere with Mousse Gianduja, Paris Brest, Raspberry Mille Feuille Napoleon, and a Charlotte aux Poires. This I followed with a Bread Class from 2pm – 6pm spent making traditional Baguettes, Brioche, Fougasse with the knowledgeable and fun Chef Pino Ficara and while being experienced in breadmaking techniques I certainly learnt a lot from Pino.
Saturday was spent with Chef Alex taking a Market to Table Class where we toured local specialty shops Fromagerie/Cheeese, Boucherie/Butcher & Poisonniere/Fishmonger before returning via Boulangerie/Bakery and Fresh Produce stall to Cook’n with Class. On arrival we donned aprons and had a quick espresso while sampling a local olive bread before launching into a very busy period as we prepared our lunch. Our lunch included Monkfish with Scampi and Seafood Bisque, Pork Chops with Smashed New Potatoes, Garden Fresh Peas and a delicious reduction, Cheese Board (a selection of 7 cheeses to acclimatize the taste buds to the wonders of French Cheese) and ending with a perfect Tarte Tartin! All courses were accompanied by some very good French Wines.
Whatever brings you to Cook’n with Class you are most certain to learn something no matter how knowledgeable you think you are about cooking and/or French Cuisine. Others who took a class with me and shared their experiences from other classes attended at the school all spoke highly of their experiences. Class sizes are kept small to ensure you get a hands-on experience and a chance to ask questions. Next time you are in Paris and have a little time on your hands why not book a class or two?