Friday 6 September 2013

Food highlights in Italy

We were going to Italy for 5 days, we would be spending 3 nights in a house on the side of a mountain in the Asti province and then moving on to Turin for 2 nights. Here are some of my food highlights that I discovered whilst there..

On the journey from Genoa Airport to Asti my wife spotted a fruit stall selling giant watermelons. It lasted 3 days and was the juciest watermelon I had ever tasted!

We were having a beer in Roccavarana and some bread, cheese and nuts arrived at the table. What interested me most though was this delicious lightly seasoned fat, it may not sound too appetising but tasted amazing!

 This delicious goats cheese comes from the farm on top of the hill just a short distance away.

These giant cucumbers came straight from the kitchen garden.

 We were invited to a pizza party and the hosts house had its own pizza oven. Paolo was a pizza making legend, he prepared and cooked an amazing selection of excellent pizzas for well over 3 hours!

The first pizza I tried was pepperoni, the thin and tasty base was topped with sweet tasting tomatoes, great mozzarella and plenty of meat.

 The pizzas kept coming and each time different toppings appeared, this ham and mushroom pizza was excellent and I seem to remember loving the smoked salmon pizza that followed this one. With the pizza came plenty of wine and was followed by a selection of tasty homemade desserts including tiramisu and an apple tart. A great night and a great pizza experience!

These giant tomatoes were also growing in the kitchen garden, I have never tasted such a sweet and juicy tomato before.

 It went perfectly on top of some toast with a fine spread of goats cheese.

One lunchtime we decided to eat outside looking out over the valley below, the local wines we drank with each meal are excellent and come from less than 20 miles away in Acqui Terme.

We ate plenty of pasta, each one with a different sauce. These giant pasta tubes were served with a sauce using the tomatoes from the kitchen garden and topped with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Before heading to Turin I had the pleasure of eating this pistachio and crema ice cream in Roccaverano, ice cream doesn't get much better than this! 

We got the train from Montechiaro to Turin, before heading to the station my wife looked for some chocolate for the journey. The shop didn't have any but the nearest thing we found were these happy looking chocolate filled shortcake biscuits, nice!

Once in Turin I couldn't resist another ice cream and went for pistachio again as it was so nice before, this time I chose nocciola as my second flavour and I was in nut heaven!

After eating a doner kebab for lunch (What can I say, I really  fancied one!) we sampled a tasty strawberry macaroon with a perfect texture and crunch.

 In Valentino park we stopped for a drink. This bitter cherry Granita was a bit like a slush puppy but much smoother and with a much better flavour too.

It was our last night in Italy so we decided to have another pizza, this place looked good and had a proper pizza oven so we stopped here.

I couldn't decide on toppings so went for a quattro stagioni topped with asparagus, mushrooms, ham and olives. A truly sensational pizza!

 The espresso was equally sensational and served with a decent quantity of sugar in the sachet, a rare find these days!

As we waited to pay the bill we spotted a nice selection of anti pasti.

These baked eggs with parma ham cooked in cupcake cases really stood out though, I really wished I had tried one!

 Back home in England my wife suggested we tried baking some eggs, when they came out of the oven after about 10 minutes they were looking quite good for a first attempt!

 They were a bit overdone inside but I look forward to making these again and maybe adding some bacon or ham.

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