Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Milan

Our final stop was Milan and while a great place to end the trip, I would not necessarily add it to my must-hit list for Italy.  That being said, the Duomo at sunrise, the saffron risotto, the pizza at Piz (not photographed) and the Last Supper still stand out in my mind as I look back on this epic trip.








And with that, I am left to plan my next adventure.  Ciao and Grazie Italy.  Trip of a lifetime. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Firenze

Oh, Florence. Firenze. It is so many things for so many people.  

For me, it was the place for sandwiches. Let me explain. I do not like sandwiches. Yes, I know. I'm a terrible person. We can't be friends. BUT, I liked sandwiches in Florence. So, for me, Florence will be the place I discovered a love for sandwiches (see SanwiChic and All' Antico Vinaio).  

Of course, my favorites - the sandwiches and Michelangelo's David - are the only things I did not capture with my camera (the latter due to David's magnificent size).  

Foods I did capture:


Wood fire pizzas from Gusta Pizza.


Italian tripe.


Buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto.


Florentine steak. 

In addition to eating our way through the city, the sights were of course a great backdrop.  Some highlights:



Our walk to town.


Boboli Gardens.


Ponte Vecchio.


Our hotel rooftop view.


Biking through Tuscany wine country.


The Florence Cathedral.


La Menagere, a beautiful restaurant/store/flower shop, which provided the perfect long escape from the rain.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Cinque Terre

What better way to start a new year than to finish what you started last year...ha.  So my Italy diary continues.

One of the best things about social media is discovering new places I want to visit.  Cinque Terre quickly went to the top of my list after gorgeous, colorful photos infiltrated Instagram, and the reality did not disappoint.

After several days in Correggio and the most amazing wedding I have ever attended, we headed for Cinque Terre, opting for relaxation over scaling mountains for the rest of our trip.

What I didn't know about Cinque Terre: there are 5 villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore) and you can hike through all of them.  The hiking difficulty varies but it's totally worth it.  The two villages with the most going on (everything closes pretty early) are Monterrosso and Vernazza.  We stayed in Vernazza and loved it.  Monterrosso is on the far end and is where the beach is.  Also, must-try foods: pesto, focaccia, calamari, and seafood generally.








Friday, October 28, 2016

No. 1: Modena's Osteria Francescana

After our trek through the Dolomites, we headed to the center of the wedding festivities - Correggio - a beautiful town near Bologna/Modena.  Not only did the area serve as the the perfect venue for my cousin's wedding, but it also served as the perfect backdrop for my birthday.

After all, given how close we were to Modena, we had to check out Osteria Francescana.  (For those who have seen Chef's Table, Chef Massimo Battura was even more lovable in person and personally greeted everyone dining.)

Well worth it and not hard to see why it was crowned the No. 1 Restaurant in the world.  A few of the dishes over the 4.5 hour meal from our Sensations tasting menu:


Tribute to Normandy.



Lentils are better than Caviar.


Mediterranean Sole.


Autumn in New York.


Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in different textures and temperatures.


Crunchy Part of the Lasagna.


At the dinner of Trimalchione: fowl in the ancient Roman style.


Croccantino of foie gras. (Foie Gras Ice Cream Bars with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena.) 


Caesar Salad in Bloom.


Oops! I dropped the Lemon Tart. (Customized.)


Camouflage of Vignola (Chocolate, Cherries and Pop Rocks.) 


One of several dishes not on tasting menu but offered as additions.  Some sort of exploding cherries and pistachio deliciousness. 


Me. Way too excited about it all.  Especially with Massimo's parting gift, a bottle of his own aged balsamic vinegar! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dolomites

Despite being one of the most picturesque stops in Italy, the photos still failed to do the Dolomites justice.  We drove from Venice to the Dolomites and stayed in Alta Badia - specifically Val Gardena. We stayed one night, hiked to the top of Lagazuoi-Lagacio per this map, and took the gondola down.

To be honest, I still have no real concept of the areas/regions but because we had a car, I think we were able to drive through what seemed like a lot of the Dolomites.

Truly one of the most exhilarating experiences ever.











Not only did I not fall off a cliff, but I didn't even break a nail and I got to use my new Apple watch!