Thursday, November 4, 2010

so much dolce, so little time!

The last twelve days have been oh so dolce, oh so sweet!

We left Burgundy with a bang after exploring Dijon with my aunt and uncle and eating a fabulously memorable French meal at Les Oenophiles, one that summed up all that we imagined French cuisine to be at its best. We had to hurry from the restaurant to catch our overnight train, and we fell into our sleeper bunks with bellies and hearts full.

(One sad note: I put a hazelnut cookie into my jacket pocket as we were leaving the restaurant, "for later," then used it as a pillow cover on the train. When I woke up and put it on, Andy pointed out three big butter and nut-oil stains across the front and back! They haven't come out, and I'm still wearing it.)

Let's just say that after two weeks in France, I am in love with some very delicious French food: baguettes, butter, foie gras, Kir Royale, lamb, multiple cheeses, chausson aux pommes...and any amuse-bouche that might pass these lips.

But moving on to Italy was just as good. Is there any other place in the world that I can justify having gelato three times a day? And three times we did, in Florence. Andy kept up his three-a-day while I brought myself back down to one.

In Venice, we found some excellent wood-fired pizza in a little area near our B&B. Right as you walked in, you saw an oval oven built into the wall, just doing its thing, and doing it well. And, surprisingly, my favorite gelato was found in Venice...Pumpkin! It was in this small little gelateria off the street from where the local produce and fish market is held, and we found it on the rainy day while trying to find a way through flooded streets and keep our umbrellas right-side out.
We spent the weekend with my aunt and uncle again in Cinque Terre, hiking on the coast of one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. And oh, did we feast. When you're on the home turf of pesto and the home surf of delicious seafood, and the vino blanco grows so close to the sea that you can taste the salt with every sip, every meal is memorable. And did I mention the anchovies? I'll devote much more to that trip on another day, because it surely deserves a lot of attention.

Well, my slow postings have caused a traffic jam of experiences that have now become one big RAMBLE, and now I'm just hungry. I planned to focus on the sweet things we've eaten, particularly gelato, but since the seafood has now shown up I guess it's become more about the sweet life we've been leading on this amazing adventure!

Granted, we've had our fair share of train strikes and crowded sleeper trains and bad lasagne (don't ask Andy about that one), but all in all it has, after five weeks and with three to go, truly been "la dolce vita."

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