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!
I was surprised and excited to find I had received a nomination from fellow blogger Cathy Powell at http://www.anitalophile.com/ for the ‘Capture the Colour’ competition organised by http://www.travelsupermarket.com/c/holidays/capture-the-colour/ .
The rules state that I am to post and provide stories of 5 photographs: BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW, WHITE & RED and at the end of my post nominate another 5 fellow bloggers for the award.
Not such an easy task to pick out pictures that represent a colour and give a new expression to a colour but I will do my very best!
I was working in Turkey and Greece on a luxury sailing yacht and we found ourselves on the little known Greek Island of Kastelorizo. We had heard about a blue grotto that was one of the islands must sees but it was also a very well kept secret by the locals who would charge a fee to those looking to view it. We awoke very early morning around 6am as we had guests on and escaped in search of the grotto. We came across a tiny hole in the cliffs on the western side of the island and wondered ‘could this be it?’. As we approached we doubted out tender could even fit in the gap and we all ducked as we surprisingly managed to enter through the tiny opening. This is the last I saw of the blue grotto as we left after swimming in the azure blue waters – as you can see the white of the grotto walls are very close to the motor of our tender!
While driving through the Champagne region I came across this war cemetery rather unexpectedly. People travel for many reasons, to see and experience other cultures or to see the past and where man has come from. I had no thoughts of visiting War Memorials on my first ever trip to Europe in 2006 however, I was struck by this vista: the perfectly manicured green laws, the perfect symmetry from where the crosses sprouted from the lawns. But most of all I was struck by the sadness of lives lost and grateful for the respect shown to these fallen soldiers more than half a century later.
Also on my first visit to Europe I found myself visiting the ruins of Pompeii, the striking imagery I viewed inside Pompeii of frescoes depicting Vesuvius billowing dark smoke and knowing everyone remained despite this constant threat. Outside you get a sense of WHY the people stayed there, these enormous lemons as big as a man’s head show you the bounty of fresh produce that was available in the area and still today! Lemoncello is an art form as are the lemons grown in the region!
It is difficult to think of anything BUT white in the Greek Islands – but I will always remember looking up this lovely street and seeing a young girl consumed by her own thoughts and fantasies as she goes on her way; perhaps home, perhaps to friends but with a spring in her step and happiness in her heart.
I was torn between two pictures for the colour red – both were taken in Dubai. This one of the local Taxi ferries where for as little as 1 Dirham one could cross from one side of the canal to the other. The rich colours and the oppressive heat blended well together – I was surprised how this particular ferry had so few people on it. My friend and I hopped on one for the experience later in the evening and their was barely enough sitting room for everyone!
So this concludes my colours expozay!
My Nominees for CAPTURE THE COLOUR in no particular order are;
- Toni from http://orvietoorbust.com/
- Emily at http://inspiredinitaly.blogspot.fr/
- Di from http://www.dimackey.com/
- Sam at http://www.lifeinabruzzo.com/
- Pete from http://www.lazioexplorer.com/
I hope you have found this wander down memory lane as enjoyable as I myself have!
The Guitar - La Chitarra
La Chitarra or ‘the guitar’ is used to form a traditional Abruzzese pasta which is probably best described to you as a ‘square’ spaghetti. Pasta dough is rolled through the strings of the Chitarra to produce the unique shaped pasta. Traditionally this pasta is served with a ragu usually with a meat base.
An Old Washstand & Basin - Un lavabo Vecchio e del bacino
On my last visit to Abruzzo my neighbour informed me that during strong winds the unsecured window shutters on my house would bang loudly keeping her awake at night or during her siesta. In order to rectify the situation with what little means I had I went around the house securing the window shutters as best I could. This included going into my ‘bathroom’ which has been filled with rubble from the terrace which fell in on it due to water damage and 40 years of neglect. I used the old terracotta bricks to stack behind the shutters on the window ledge to keep then closed as I had no other means of securing them. In the process I noticed some ironwork underneath my feet and decided to investigate further. The result was that I excavated the wrought iron washstand and enamel basin. A few days later I was introduced to some more neighbours and they have a very similar washstand but one that is more ornate and has a jug with it that sits in the bottom ring. I was impressed with theirs and my neighbour has offered to restore mine as a housewarming gift!
Old Bottles: Different Shapes & Colours - Vecchie Bottiglie – Forme e Colori Diversi
I found quite a collection of old bottles – not on my last visit but I thought I would share these with you. I found traditional wine casks in wicker (bottom shelf), old soft drink bottles, glasses a jug and storage bottles with stoppers on them. Some are clear, some blue, some green and some brown. I am not so sure of what I might do with these – maybe I will clean them up and display them somewhere as they are really quite pretty and they were part of my home before I arrived.
Old Keys – Vecchie Chiavi
I found some old keys around the house also – but what they unlocked no longer appears to be held within the house at all.
An Old Quilt - Una Vecchia Coperta
You will have to wait for a picture of this I am afraid. I was looking at the mess on top of the iron bed in the room that will be my master bedroom and I had previously thought the old bedding was completely ruined. At one stage there had been a small fire on the mattress, however I was surprised to find a hand made quilt in a very pretty red colour and as I pulled it out from underneath the other covers I realized that perhaps it would be possible to have it cleaned and given life once more. I will keep you wondering about this one as I need a few days to be able to give the quilt the attention it needs and to take photos.
On the way to Turkey from Athens in 2009 I was amazed at this enormous Greek Flag ‘painted’ on it’s landscape and visible to the Turks on the mainland near the party capital of Bodrum. It is a reminder of the love-hate relationship that seems apparent in many countries around the world with their neighbours. Relations between Greece and Turkey have always been somewhat tenuous over the centuries although there are still many Greek families living in Istanbul however the dispute over Cyprus still remains.