Jun 21

Italy 2011

Breakfast really isn’t a big deal in Italy, which was a bummer to find out our first morning in Montepulciano. We had been traveling for just about 24 hours straight, got into our apartment at 1 am with nothing in our stomaches but chips we had eaten at the train station. If there was ever a morning to want to dive into a fluffy stack pancakes that was the one.

I quickly got over it after sipping this creamy cappuccino and devoured the toast and honey it came with.

Just one of the many meat and cheese appetizer plates we shared. The cheese in the middle was my favorite! It was a creamy goat cheese and it went perfectly with the salty salami and a nice glass of red wine.

Hungry yet?

Bruschetta was on every menu, and the toasted bread was topped with every combination of veggies and meats you could think of!

This one is made with tuna, cannellini beans, artichokes and is drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Super simple, super good!

Sardines! Do you like them? No? Well if you ever get the chance you should try them there. Instead of the heavy, fishy ones we serve here, the sardines we ate in the Cinque Terre were perfectly cured and had almost a lemony taste to them.

Ryan was so patient waiting for me to take this photo of his lunch. Thanks again babe!

Another beautiful salad complete with huge chunks of feta and the yummiest tomates I have had in a while.

P.S when you order a salad in Italy there will be no salad dressing to accompany it. There will however be a nice bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your table for it. I’ll be honest I did kinda miss ranch dressing.

More bruschetta, more sardines!

I wish I could have taken some home. The fishy smelling clothes would have been worth it.

We found this amazing seafood restaurant in the town of Monterosso. It was right on the water, there was a full moon, and we had a front-row-seat watching a large American wedding-party drink and act silly. We kinda made fun of them at first, but later that night we wound up at the same bar and ended up having the time of our lives with them! Another story for another time.

There we had wonderful fried calamari and shrimp…

…and the best seafood pasta I have ever eaten. I hate when people say that too, but really this was my second favorite meal I had that week.

Here is a little kitty I met at dinner that night who was happy to eat some seafood with me. I couldn’t resist that sweet little face!

You knew it was coming.

Yes, we ate at McDonalds.

Yes, it was good.

And yes, I though all of the Italian on the packages was neat.

Panini’s as far as the eye can see at the Autogrill.

This is what you’ll find behind the counter at the Autogrill. You can ask for an espresso, water, or have a cup of wine. I asked the guy working, “Do people really order wine here?!” He answered “If they want a glass, why not?”

I like that. Why not?

Ok, this may look like a simple bowl of pasta with meat sauce but it is anything but that.

This particular pasta shape is called “Pici” and the town of Montepulciano is known for it. The ragu on top was perfectly simmer for hours creating a rich, melt in your mouth, you’ll want to lick the bowl clean sauce.

I had the Chicken Cacciatore at the same restaurant and I ordered it because it was the only somewhat familiar item on the hand written menu I recognized. Just like the ragu sauce the chicken was slow simmered to perfection on the bone, skin and all, and with a few sliced porcini mushroom.

I was definitely in love with this place.

To wake myself up out of my food coma I had a espresso…

and asked the owner if I could take a picture of his kitchen to which he replied “Why not?”

I was met with this beautiful piece of dry aged beef and asked Ryan if we could come back tonight for dinner.

Later that night Ryan and the owner had a serious discussion about the size of the rib eye we should order. Hands down that was the best meal I had in Italy.

I didn’t get a picture of it because I was in heaven at the moment, but just imagine a slice of that beef coated in sea salt and seared just enough to create a crust on the outside.

No wine reduction sauce, no au jus, no bechamel. Just me, a bit of salt, and that beautifully aged rib eye.

What a night.

As instructed by our friends we ate gelato everyday…

…and every bottle of wine we had was dreamy.

Are you looking up prices for airfare online yet?

A cool sign I saw outside a cafe in Rome…

…and a pizza I ate there was definitely not pre-made.

Thin, crispy crust, delicious sauce and toppings

I bet you these guys are talking about Prosciutto or maybe Pancetta.

Just a guess.

Bags and bags of spices at an outside market in Rome.

So many tasty dishes just waiting to happen.

One of the last meals we had on this amazing getaway.

A simple ham sandwich compliments of Lufthansa airlines, and you know what? It wasn’t half bad.

4 Responses to Italy 2011

  1. maria says:

    Just beautiful Melissa! I love your descriptions and am happy for you two – what a wonderful experience! No kids, good food, wine, cured meats and cats (loved all the cats in Italy). Makes me long for another trip there.

  2. Melissa says:

    Thank you Maria! We had the best time together! I told Ryan I would love to relive this life as a nice fat italian cat.:)

  3. Mom says:

    Yes.. a wonderful time for all. Our house is way to quiet now, no shoes to pick up, no stepping over Bwk, no nap time with Lucca…..that went by way to quick.
    Thanks for all the goodies babe, I hope Ryan had a wonderful Father Day.
    XO

  4. Nancy Howell says:

    Ok now I want to go! Looks like you had a great time! :)

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