Sorrento was a revelation for me. A mid-size city directly by the sea, situated on a spectacular cliff, nearby the famous Amalfi coast. A shopping tour before dinner is recommended especially for hand made leather sandals – I bought mine for example at: www.sandalisiniscalchi.it/en/ you can have them made individually with every imaginable leather, coral or crystal… The region is also known for its delicious lemons, which can be seen in every shop as fresh fruit, cuddly toys, soap, perfume or even decorated cups and household goods. After the shopping you can relax at the big main piazza which is ideal for an nice “Aperitivo” (in Italy pre-dinner drinks are always accompanied by small bites).
The dinner at the Antica Trattoria was spectacular: An interior could hardly be more kitschy and seemed like a scene from an Italian film from the 60s where Sofia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida would enjoy an extended dinner. The waiters wore traditional uniforms and the walls were decorated with painted tiles, framed pictures and plants hung from the ceiling in the cozy pergola.
The food was local and traditional. We shared some starter of Calamari, Fior di Zucca and Melanzane. As main course I had Tagliolini al limone….not just a plate of long noodles with lemon sauce, but homemade fresh pasta with fresh lemon sauce, part of the portion neatly rolled into a hollowed out lemon half. It was simply DELICIOUS! My hubby had the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. A special thanks to Vincenzo, the mandolin player, who entertained the guests in the restaurant with his passionate play and made our evening even more special: Grazie mille Vincenzo. www.lanticatrattoria.com
Matera is the European Capital of Culture 2019 and rightly so. We made a stop in Matera on our road trip through Italy and could not stop being amazed. (read more about the history of Matera, 3rd oldest town) The place is really very special, because the old part consists of caves – so-called Sassi. The people lived there with their animals until the 1950s, when the mayor of Matera had everything cleared for hygiene reasons. In the 1990s the Sassi were rediscovered and prepared for flats, hotels, restaurants and shops.
We stayed in a beautiful cave hotel – the Sextantio – , which was a very nice and extraordinary experience.
It was also astonishing to discover that in this relatively small village there are two restaurants with Michelin stars. But we relied on the recommendation of our hotel – it was worth it. The restaurant Baccanti with local cuisine is embedded in a cave and although it was still 30 degrees outside, it was pleasantly cool inside. As starter I had animelle (sweetbread on artichoke cream, hazelnuts and black truffle), my hubby chose the “probably” best cheese flan in the world (Podolico cheese flan with pork sausage) and as main course I went for calzoncelli (filled pasta) with black garlic and tomatoes. Of course our stomachs were already full but we still had to try the Tiramisu and the Ricotta dessert. Everything was excellent and I can warmly recommend the restaurant. Reading the menu back home now, I am dreaming of going back to the Baccanti for a great dinner tonight.
That is why I wanted to include this Osteria in our Italy culinary road trip. I was not disappointed and the diversion via Torino back home was worth it. Actually, I shouldn’t write about it here, because I think it is still an insider tip among the people of Torino 😉 The crew welcomed us extremely friendly and patiently explained the food and wine list. We decided on a Vitello Tonnato – excellent – as a starter. As primi I chose homemade taglierini with porcini mushrooms. As main course I absolutely wanted to try the guinea fowl with grapes. Everything was incredibly good. I can’t wait to come back to Turin to dine there again.
Olevano Romano – Have you ever heard of Olevano Romano? Me neither – before I visited this lovely town in the heart of Italy.
This year, we finally did our road trip through Italy. The way was the goal and in order to plan this trip in a culinary optimal way, we also kept to the list of the awarded “Trattorie” in Italy: https://premiatetrattorieitaliane.eu/ I made it already to 6 of the 13 locations. I would really like to emphasize the Trattoria “Sora Maria e Arcangelo” in Olevano Romano. Our expectations were exceeded. The restaurant is homely and the service very friendly and helpful in choosing the dishes and wines. Unfortunately, this also led to the fact that we totally overeaten ourselves, especially with 2 (!) desserts. Luckily we were there for lunch, so we could digest in the afternoon and evening with a walk through the beautifully decorated village.
As a greeting from the kitchen came a fried piece of mozzarella, very tasty. Then we chose fried stuffed courgette flowers (fior di zucca), which is very typical for this region. A plate of raw ham Prosciutto di Bassiano (http://www.prosciuttodibassiano.it/prosciutto-di-bassiano/prosciuttodibassianoriserva), figs and Falia di Pupillo (bread between pizza and normal bread). Simply delicious! For primi, I chose the house specialty Cannelloni and my hubby the pasta with mushrooms, mountain mint (mentuccia) and parmesan. I think one of the best pasta dishes I ever tasted. It sounds very simple, but sometimes the simple things are the most difficult.
We have discovered a new grape variety for us; the Cesanese. It is cultivated in the region around Rome. The wine from Abbia Nova https://www.abbianova.com/ was a perfect match for the meal. For dessert we chose blackberry (called “more” in Italian) with whipped cream and cat’s tongue biscuits and as a second dessert a millefeuille with ice cream.
Be sure to reserve a table early enough in this wonderful restaurant. I would love to go there again today.
In this Corona summer I have not yet been abroad….as many other people around the world too I guess. So I thought I need at least some culinary short trip to Italy. Santo Brevitore in Zurich is the right choice for this. The restaurant is located in the middle of Zurich Wiedikon. The menu card will treat every taste but will melt the heart of every pasta lover. So I just HAD to order the “Tris di pasta” three kinds of pasta on one plate. I can only say that the portion was huge but every gram was worth it. One pasta with mussels, one with minced meat and truffle, the third with some kind of Italian cream cheese….mouthwatering still when I think about it now. The appetizers and the wines are also worth the visit. The atmosphere is very relaxed, in summer you can also sit outside on the troittoir. On our Saturday evening out, an alphorn player (no joke) passed by and gave a short performance – in the middle of Zurich.
Valdenas Rhine gorge – The hotel “Gasthaus am Brunnen” in a 500 year old building is exceptional. It is far away from tourism and crowds of people. It has only 7 rooms and all of them are very different, simply furnished. The house is almost only made of wood and so the room smells wonderfully of wood, one can relax very well in this place.
Restaurant and Dinner
The restaurant in this hidden place is really fantastic. Meat, vegetables and dairy products are from the surroundings/region. The jam for breakfast and homemade and just very delicious. The great thing is that you can simply eat a main course or a whole menu with various delicacies, you always get full. In the afternoon you can drink coffee by the wooden well or have a cocktail in the lounge in the garden and watch the ducks from the farmer next door.
In the surroundings you can visit the Rhine Gorge or take a hike to Lake Cauma and/or Lake Cresta. The nature is beautiful and there is something for every fitness level.
The Hacienda Colomé (by Swiss entrepreneur Donald M. Hess) is not only worth a visit for its wines, but for the special place. The next small village is about 45 minutes away by car. From Salta you can do the zigzagging roads by going over the top of a pass (Cuesta del Obispo) and “Parque Nacional de los Cardones” about 5 to 6 hours, depending on road conditions (partially dirt roads). This means that one does not go there spontaneously for a winetasting. For a long time we had the idea to include the Bodega Colomé on our next trip to Argentina because we know friends that stayed there. Since the hotel has only 9 rooms, this was the first thing we booked for our trip and planned everything else including flights only afterwards. It was really worth it. It is a place with a certain magic. You can relax, get some peace and quiet, do walks and besides; taste the best wines of the region. We spent New Year’s Eve at the bodega and had a really wonderful evening with people from France, Brazil, Switzerland and Argentina. Bodega Colomé grows their own fruits, vegetables and herbs in their garden and cooks only regional and seasonal meals. The staff conjured up a delicious multi-course menu for the guests that evening, including wine pairing. At 12 o’clock we all toasted to the new year on the terrace under the roof of stars and there was – still on top – a huge dessert buffet. Those who make it to Colomé should stay at least two or three days, as the James Tyrell Art Museum is also very worth seeing.
A friend from Switzerland knows the wine region Mendoza (Maipu and Valle de Uco) very well. She was also the one who gave me the contact to Alejandro Vigil to book a table in the restaurant. The bodega was founded by Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena in 2009. I had already tasted the Malbec from El Enemigo wine in restaurants (for example La Lucia) before and was thrilled. So my anticipation was even greater. I was not disappointed at lunch and included tasting. It was an extraordinary visit with excellent food, wine and service. We were happy that we didn’t have to drive ourselves that day.