Our Fall 2014 La Passeggiata Tour began with a bang! Literally, a heavy rain shower with a few cracks of lightning kicked off our tour as we greeted all our guests at the airport. As expected, it was simply Italy’s way of welcoming our travelers to its confines. Despite a short downpour, a few intermittent showers, and some clouds, we were able to see the sun crack through right around sunset, assuring us that good weather was to come for the remainder of our trip…
Several guests have been with us on previous tours (including one guest having been on the Fall Tour once before!), some are in Italy for the first time, and all are eager to explore the cuisine and culture of Italy.
After a short drive and a quick lunch on the way, we arrived in Monterosso al Mare, famous as one of the 5 lands of the Cinque Terre. This picturesque town on-the-sea will be home base for the next few days. We are staying in the center of the old town, in an albergo meticulously run by Marina and her family.
After a bit of rest (and some small, traditional Ligurian snacks provided by Marina), we headed to a charming location above the town, overlooking all of Monterosso and the surrounding gulf. Our destination for dinner is a favorite of ours, and it did not disappoint.
The first meal of the tour is important, because it must be understood that Italian cuisine is not national – it is not regional – it is very much local. Looking down upon Monterosso, it is easy to see how prior to modern technology and transportation, a town only a mile or two away could speak a different dialect or have different culinary traditions due to impassable mountain terrain. So tonight, we were able to feast upon expertly prepared local specialties including acciughe fritte, ripiene e costolette (fried, fresh anchovies, stuffed anchovies, and “cutlet” anchovies), trofie al pesto, trofie al pesce spade (local pasta with pesto and swordfish), coniglio alla cacciatora (hunter’s style rabbit), monterossini (cream & chocolate torte), and sciacchetra (local wine).
Bellies full and with a full night’s sleep heading into Saturday, we are ready to tackle the Cinque Terre! Now if the weather would cooperate…!
In addition to the nightly blog of the day’s events, we have decided to include some of the inspirations that we have encountered during the day. These inspirations will be part of what we will be incorporating into our new facility in Spring Grove. This way you can not only feel transported to Italy with our cheese and food, but also with our space…we are bringing Italy to Main Street! Come and join us on our journey…
Inspirational note of the day: we enjoyed tonight’s meal with both white and red wines made from the grapes growing on the property beneath the cherry and chestnut groves. It was an amazing reminder how the Italians believe that pairing wine, in many cases, is as easy as recognizing where you are. In Liguria, trofie al pesce spade is a traditional dish, and while the white wine tastes one way alone, when the local wine is paired with a local dish, magic happens! Without complicating the decision, the local wine and local food go together. Our hope in the new facility is to be able to give a better idea of the wines you should bring along to compliment the night’s menu!!
Caputo Brothers Creamery is a 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards Finalist! Vote for us here!