Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Italy food & drink

A lot of people go to Italy for the food, Russell's favourite cuisine in the whole world is Italian but I can take it or leave it. Apart from prosecco & tiramisu I'm not too fussed for Italian food & drink, it would be way down the list of my favourites - in case anyone cares, my favourite is Mexican.

So anyway, after 3 weeks & 3 days in Italy I've changed my mind. It was awesome!

Let's start with pizza - no pictures unfortunately because they were so good we'd eaten them before we even thought to take a picture. What i loved about the pizza was that you can buy it anywhere at any cost and it will be ace. We used to get a massive margherita to share from the local pizzeria in Bologna for 3 euros and at lunch time that included a drink!

Now onto pasta - i am a fan of pasta especially spaghetti bolognese & lasagna, i had my 1st lasagna in Rome on our last night & Russell had the best risotto he's ever had. It was truffle & musgroom. Best things he's eaten in 3 years. He was seriously excited about it. The lasagna was also really good - the best i've ever had.

So 'spaghetti bolognese' was invented in Bologna but really they invented tagliatelle bolognese/ragu, they would never serve the bolognese with spaghetti like we do. I ordered the tagliatelle bolognese on our 1st night there and i was in heaven, it was just perfect. This was at a really cool studenty restaurant that was really cheap aswell. We had tagliatelle bolognese , some veggie pasta, chips, bread, a bottle of water & a whole litre of really good Italian red wine for 24 euros - again no picture, it was too delicious to think of getting the camera out. I had tagliatelle bolognese once more in Bologna, it was still better than any i've had at home but not as good as the 1st night (and it was a lot more expensive). Here it is

In Italy instead of ice cream they have gelato & there is a gelato shop on every corner. Gelato is different to ice cream, it is made more manually, it's creamier and the best bit - its only 10% fat which is way lower than ice cream. The Italians believe it is good for you & you should eat it at least twice a day. Well let me tell you - we tried our hardest. It is soooo much nicer than ice cream and it is perfect for cooling you down on a hot day. I was surprised how many Italians were eating it - i thought it was a touristy thing but they eat this stuff like it's going out of fashion. When you order gelato you are entitled to 2 flavours, even if you're only buying the smallest tub or cone so that is pretty cool, you get to try more flavours and there are a lot to try!

Just as important as food is wine and Italy knows it. The price of wine is laughably cheap. By cheap i mean less than 2 euros for a litre in a supermarket or 7 euros for a litre in a restaurant. It was all excellent. I even found a gorgeous bottle of prosecco for 3.99. Our favourite thing was these little shops they have where you take an empty bottle in & they fill it up with wine for 1.92 a litre. In Venice we saw one of these shops un-expectedly so quickly downed our bottle of water and got it re-filled with wine for 1 euro (it was a 500 ml bottle) then we sat on 1 of the many bridges and drank it - ace way to spend 30 mins. My favourite wine story is that the club we loved in Bologna sold prosecco for 3 euros for a massive glass - i really took advantage on 2 nights but paid for it the next day.
Russell loved this Chianti. Tuscany has some serious skills apparently. 
5 litres of vino rosso

3 euro prosecco!

Something we were keen to try out was aperitivo hour. Basically at about 6pm all the bars open their doors and if you buy a certain drink you also get free food. The quality of these free buffets vary as you can imagine. We did 3 of them. The 1st was rubbish & we didn't even really mean to do it we just wanted a drink so we won't mention too much about that one. The normal deal is you buy a drink for an inflated price and get access to a buffet. So we bought cocktails for 7 euros in Bologna, the cocktails weren't too good but the buffet was pretty good. Pizza, sandwiches, pasta etc

In Milan aperitivo hour is called happy hour and boy did it make us happy. This one was 9 euros but i had a gorgeous cocktail and Russell got a pint that he spilt after drinking quite a bit & they replaced it for him. The food was ace - lasagna, pizza, cold cuts of meats, pastas, sandwiches, fruit, chocolate fountain with waffles. We had about 3 plates full each but it was all we'd eaten all day ;)

Now the bit everyone has been waiting for (well, my mum in law has definitely) - Tiramisu Wars!

I flipping love tiramisu - it is my favourite dessert so i was so excited to try loads in Italy, i even stated calling this trip Crust's tiramisu tour of Italy (if that confused anyone, Crust is our names amalgamated, a bit like Brangelina - the work of the mastermind that is Eleanor Harris) 

Anyway, so me & Nichola at work have been marking tiramisu from supermarkets for a while so i thought it only right to carry this on in Italy. I have put a few on Facebook but will put the whole battle on here.

Rome No1

This got 7/10, very nice and moist but could do with more booze

Rome No2

I can't remember much of this one to be honest & I didn't put it on Facebook (too much cheap wine) so I'll post the picture but can't rate it. It was nice though


Now this was a good one. Very chocolatey, even had hard pieces of chocolate in it. Still not enough booze though. 7.5/10


I was expecting a lot from this one as it came with recommendations and my expectations were met. It was a lot firmer than the others and had a great taste. Still not enough booze 8.5/10


We were trying not to spend money in Turin so I bought a tiramisu at the supermarket. It was nice but not as good as English supermarket tiramisu. 6/10


Again really nice and this was firm like the tiramisu in Bologna. Still need more booze for god's sake!! 8/10

So Bologna won surprise surprise - the food capital of Italy! However, I've made better tiramisu at home than i had in Italy and it's possible Sainsburys was better than all of them. I think I am used to boozy tiramisu but that just isn't that way it is done here.

The food & drink in Italy is really good - it seemed like everything we ate, was the best of that thing we'd ever had. Even something as small as a plumb was the best plumb ever. If you love Italian food i would definitely say get yourself to Bologna.

Hope i haven't made you too hungry ;)

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