February 26, 2010

Ah Italia!

Forgive me for not posting in a while, but I just got back from a most wonderful, glorious vacation in Italy. Until last week, I hadn't been to Italy in about ten years, and I had forgotten how much I loved it, how when you've lived in a place it really gets under your skin and touches your very soul. The landscape. The people. Speaking my mangled Italian. And oh the food, the food.

How we ate. And drank. We all had our particular delights. Mr. Coffee loved getting reacquainted with the coffee. The Soccer Monster couldn't get enough of perfectly al dente spaghetti with tomato sauce. And the Vegetarian was thrilled with polenta and spinach gnocchi and pasta with pesto sauce.

And me?  I loved it all, though my favorite thing may have been simply the way food and drink are so important there. The small restaurant with outdoor tables good for watching the world go by, except that instead of being in a piazza it's beside a ski slope. The morning market in the Rialto in Venice, where they list the provenance of every beautiful vegetable or fish you might want to buy. (This being winter, a lot of the produce was from Sicily.) Italy may not be good for the waistline but the gustatory pleasure it brings is worth every calorie.

I was too thrilled with being there and too new to this blogging thing to remember to take any pictures of the incredible risotto or gnocchi or plates of polenta with sausage that I consumed, but I will leave you with two iconic images from my vacation.

This was the Nutella jar put out every morning at breakfast in our ski hotel. The soccer monster's eyes got big as soccer balls the first time he saw it. Honestly, the jar was almost two feet high. We were there during Italian school holidays and that jar was empty by the end of the week.

 And this was the prosciutto slicer that sat in the corner of the breakfast room of our Venice hotel. Cranking the big red wheel would result in a plate covered in thin pink luscious slices of prosciutto—as many as you wanted.

And believe me, I wanted a lot.

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