Within about 5 seconds of meeting me, you'll know of my obsession with Italian culture. My ancestors from both sides are of Italian heritage (my mother's fam is from Tuscany while my father is from a small fishing village down south called Bari), and I am currently in the process of becoming bi-lingual. This passion is only fueled by my love for Italian food, and in Italy I (naturally) had the best Italian fare of my life.
EMWTE Part II: Italy
Squid ink tagliatelle with lobster ragu from Ristorante Giardinetto da Severino in Venice was one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had in my life
The hotel I stayed at with my family (my parents came for my spring break!) recommended this restaurant as a local hotspot, and it did NOT disappoint. The pasta melted in my mouth, and the lobster was insanely rich and decadent. I will probably never forget this meal.
Pear and Pecorino Ravioli from La Giostra in Florence was absolute perfection.
My friend Steph from high school was studying in Florence for the semester and is a true lover of good food. When she took me to a hidden gem called La Giostra and told me I couldn't miss this ravioli, I knew I had to try it. The dish perfectly balanced fruity and creamy, light and indulgent, delicate and dreamy. I'm still can't stop talking about it.
Now for my biggest regret of the semester: I took no pictures of the meals at my relatives' house.
I had the amazing opportunity to spend a few days with my mom's relatives in Lucca, Italy, a small medieval city a half hour outside of Florence. I wanted to take pictures of my food, but their lives were so simple that I felt guilty flashing my fancy camera and iPhone5 around their home. I even shoved my Missoni scarf in my purse when I realized I was being too flashy.
My mom managed to snap a few pics of my relatives cooking.
However, I did take (very detailed) notes of my favorite meals there. I vividly remember the tagliatelle con funghi, or pasta with mushrooms. My great uncle collected the mushrooms while hiking through the hills of Tuscany (!!!). Similarly, the coniglio con prosciutto, or rabbit with prosciutto, featured rabbits that were IN THEIR BACKYARD PLAYING AN HOUR BEFORE THEY WERE SERVED. Kinda freaky, but devastatingly delicious.
Beyond delicious eats, staying with my relatives gave me a true taste of Italian life. The majority of my relatives did not speak English, with the exception of my cousin-in-law Simone, who spoke a little. I was forced to use my (limited) Italian language skills and immerse myself into their beautiful, simple lives. La dolce vita.
La mia famiglia Italiana.
Arrivaderci amici, ci vediamo!