La Bella Vita - Mostly
How far would you travel for a superb lemon? Would you consider giving up eating shrimp after tasting fresh red shrimp and knowing this is the best you’ll ever have? Is the market your first stop in a new place even when you only have a hotel room and no kitchen and you feel as though you’ve been denied entry to Paradise? Do people still tell stories about that time in Puglia when you bought out half the fish market and invited a boat load of strangers to dinner? Do you hang around in coffee bars and restaurants eavesdropping to hear what people are cooking? Do you keep track of when peaches are at their peak in different regions of Italy?
When do you cross the line from culinary traveler to Culinary Crazy?
I know. You say you already know anchovies. You say you don’t like anchovies. What if I said, maybe not and maybe you should reconsider? Allow me to introduce you to Chef Maurizio, of Il Maestrale Pizzeria, in the tiny village of Le Forna, on the small island of Ponza.
What is a summer shrimp? It’s shrimp that are eaten when the sea is at your doorstep, the air is hot, and the wine is chilled.
A weekend adventure that transports and recharges. Bright cones of ground spices seduce with their colors and their aroma. A mosaic pattern on the floor is actually an intricate arrangement of rice, beans and peas. A bowl of black seppia ink pasta coats our lips and teeth, turning us into daytime ghouls. Meals that are more than memories…a moment of pleasure on the lips, a liftime on our hips! Welcome to Venice and Bolgona, exotic plantets of fantasy, light, art, water, fruity white wines, friends and the search for surprise and delight.
You have to like asparagus if you are in Italy in the spring. There is no escaping the spears, they are in every mercato, every supermarket, on every menu. Occasionally you’ll spot an exotic white or purple asparagus display, but for every day eating, it’s green asparagus.
In our mercato, you get a tightly rubber banded “mazze” or bundle of asparagus and it has spears from slender and tender to stocky and woody. Which means you can’t cook them all at once, on the same night, in the same dish, because each spear of asparagus deserves to be treated according to its girth.
Now onto the bells and balls. Those, unfortunately are missing.
Last October the bells started getting erratic, and apparently over the winter, the music died. The official rumor is that there isn’t enough money in the town coffers to fix the bells. The unofficial rumor is that someone with clout thought the bells were annoying and they won’t be repaired.