Monday, June 16, 2008

The Diva in Italy! Divertiti Amores!

I've been trying to find the words to describe Italy and all that it meant to me. I saw sculptures and art, beautiful men and women, ancient buildings and even more ancient sidewalks. I swam in the waters of the Italian Riviera. It has been a month now and I still have to do this weird thing of looking at my pictures to believe that I was actually there and present in the moment that the picture was taken. The Sis and our bff traveled there for different reasons and with different expectations but I think we bonded over the fact that the city and its people and places and food exceeded both reason and expectation. There were many times, on the side of a dusty road, hungry, sweaty and lost that we took moments to pinch ourselves, to remind ourselves that we were in ITALY. We have pictures, several of them, which we have labeled "We're in Italy" pictures. In my mind, we had to do this because for most of the time, even with map in hand, we could not believe our luck and how would we be able to describe to everyone back home how amazed we were at everything before us?

I think we were all happy to get home not because anything went awry or because we were homesick but because Italy was almost too much of everything - too amazing, too awesome, too rich, too expensive, too delicious and simply too beautiful to take in for more then the week that we were there. It's very true that you can only take so much of a good thing and Italy was beyond good. Italy taught me the definition of fantabulous.

Because this is a blog about food and because all my fun divatastic experiences are for another time and another blog, I will leave you instead with some pics of the amazing food that we had on our little stop to this side of the world.

Here are the Diva's Top 5 Meals during her Italian Adventure:
  • Anchovy Pizza. Before I left someone told me it was impossible to have a bad meal in Italy, unless, of course, you went to Planet Hollywood. My girls and I stayed far away from touristy places and like true divas hit up only the quaintest, fantabulousest out of the way places imaginable and I think that was the key to our success. This anchovy pizza was buttery and salty and the crust so charred and crispy in all the right places. I wanted to take it home with me carry-on style.
  • Mozzarella and Cherry Tomatoes with sea salt and basil. The cheese is like no other that I can get in DC - delicate, creamy curds that melt in your mouth- add on the sweetest tomatoes and the freshest basil and this can be the most awesomest meal on its own, and really does deserve the double superlative! We ate this at Cul De Sac near the Pantheon, a place where the Fendi sister's apparently eat and I know why! The food is so SPECATCULAR we came back twice, once for lunch and another just to watch a rainy spell pass through with wine and some yummy desserts.
  • A whole fried fish with pesto and gnochhi on one of the islands in Cinque Terra (Really there are no words for how fresh the fish was or how awesomely rich and earthy the pesto tasted. A totally awesome meal, topped only by our view!)
  • All desserts in Italy. If I had to choose, it would be the ricotta and pear cheesecake and lemon torte I had after the fried fish pictured above. I don't know if it was the hike to get to the restaurant, the fact that I nearly died on my way or that I could no longer feel my toes and didn't give 2 damns about it but this dessert was so good. It didn't feel sinful at all, it just felt right - light, refreshing, creamy and tart in the best possible ways. It felt like it was a gift from God with one of the best sunsets thrown in to top it all off.
  • All wine in Italy. We only drank cheap wine and it was AMAZING! It has now spoiled all hope for 2 buck chucks here in the States. Time to get my Diva of Wine on!