By the time we got to Tuscany, it had become very easy to find good food. Not necessarily fancy, or even especially unique, but always good. I love pasta any day of the week, so to be where pasta is supposed to be a daily menu item was like heaven. And given that it is usually quite affordable, it became a go-to order for us.
One night in Florence, we ordered canneloni Florentine, which I've always
understood to be a stuffed pasta shell, so we were surprised when it was
more of a crepe, filled with a spinach stuffing and baked in a white sauce.
|Osso buco, a traditional dish from Milan, was still delicious when |
we had it in Florence as a secondi after the canneloni above.
|This wasn't dinner, in fact, we didn't even actually buy any of this, but I love cheese, |
and love seeing these gigantic wheels of delectable parmesagiano reggiano.
|Tuna and white bean salad.|
|Stewed tomato and zucchini sauce on rigatoni.|
|Fresh tomato and zucchini sauce take on entirely different properties |
when served over wide, thin, smooth noodles.
|Pork scallopini with spinach. My favorite new condiment is balsamic vinegar, |
especially on any kind of cooked vegetables. Popeye would be so proud to see us
slurping up this dressed spinach!!
We'd been toting around a bottle of San Gimignano Vernaccia wine for 2 days and finally decided to crack into it over lunch in the lovely park in Cortona at the edge of town which looks out over the mountain side and down to the lake the next valley over. The light, cool white wine was perfect for a mid-day refresher, and this awesome artichoke focaccia filled with tomatoes, fresh mozerrella, and argula made for a memorable picnic.
We we needed another pick-me-up that afternoon after hiking up to the mountain tops and around the backside of the hill on which Cortona rests, we ordered an Aperol Spritzer and "Tuscan Night" cocktail from the most reknowned bartender in Tuscany. Italians don't really drink alcohol without food, so there will always be at least a bowl of olives or crackers served with your drinks. If you order food from the menu, you often miss out on whatever snack they serve, and this bar made a really awesome plate of cold canapes that came with our drinks during happy hour.
|Can you read the sign? It says Mandorlato, specialty of the house: Marzipan, almonds, sugar, orange, citron. It was a dense (and rather dry) fruitcake, that I was disappointed to not care for at all.|
|Ricciarelli are cookies we saw all over Tuscany, and made much more delicious with a dip in chocolate, but are a soft yummy cookie made with marzipan which gives them a tender texture and subtle almond flavor.|
|A giant mortadella (I think they are all this size, but it was the biggest sausage I'd ever seen) which|
comes from Bologna, but we saw this one in a shop in Rome.
|Wild boar again, this time as pasta sauce. I have no idea how they made this rich, saucy sauce without a tomato base.|