Sunday, 12 May 2013

What I ate, Italy (3)



Food, glorious food! How can you write about Italy and not write about food, you might ask. And you are absolutely right; it is impossible.

So, I will tell you what I ate, now that I can still taste my dear friend M's freshly made pesto. On our way home from Bologna, we drive into the hills surrounding Modena to visit her. Seeing M's gorgeous house again brings back many happy memories of large gatherings, tables laden with food and a very memorable summer party where we danced and drank under a starlit skye.
For our first meal, back on our old stomping ground, we go to a tiny Osteria, off Via San Vitale. It is one of those places where there is no menu, just plenty of freshly prepared, seasonal food, that the chef fancied cooking. As soon as you sit down the waiter will start bringing you the daily choice of antipasti: huge dishes filled with ricotta and honey, a delicious courgette souffle, chunks of mortadella, ruccola salad, freshly baked bread and polenta with fresh peas and carrots. You take as much or as little as you like, before the waiter takes the platters over to another table. After this feast arrives the pasta. I eat large tortelloni, stuffed with green asparagus and floating in a sauce consisting of potatoes, butter and saffron.
I do not feel that I can manage dessert after this, but before I can politely decline, the waiter starts putting down bowls with fresh strawberries, mascarpone, chocolate mouse and creme caramel. To resist this temptation clearly takes more self control and inner strenght than I posess.
The short time that we have to spare to wander around Bologna is filled with endless cappucino's and macchiato's for husband W. and me and fior di latte, crema and banana flavoured ice cream for the children. We meet up with our favourite French couple in Teresina, an old favourite of W. and myself. It is a bizar horseshoe shaped restaurant. To get from one end of the dining room to another you either have to walk through the kitchen, or step outside again in search of an obscure little extra door, that disguises like a shop window. The evening passes in a pleasant haze of sparkling conversation, pumpkin filled ravioli, beautifully carved mature beef and semifreddo made with fresh almond paste.
Our last night we decide to spend in Parma, in Palazzo dalla Rosa Prati, a beautiful house right next to the Duomo, divided in gorgeous appartments that you can rent for a night as well as for a month, or a year. Another great reccomandation brings us to La Forchetta where we enjoy an ecclectic mix of antipasti, some more pasta, a great local red wine and the best Tiramisu ever. To help our bodies digest all this the four of us play tag and hide and seek on the courtyard of the colossal 16th century Palazzo della Pilotta. It is a balmy night, the chidren run around like maniacs, W. and I hold hands and I wish I could savour this moment for ever.