If you’ve been a loyal reader of this blog or have spent a little time playing around on the pages, you’ll see that I’ve started a “series” that highlights some of the differences between Italy and our native America. Some of the differences are strange to us, many of them make perfect sense and others are just plain silly. If you’d like to see where the series began, take a look back here:
Most people visit Europe in the spring or summer. Of course, these are great times of year to see such a magical and historical place. But may I suggest to you a unique alternative?
Come in December, when the weather is at it’s coldest and the people are their warmest. When the cobblestone streets are strung with lights and the ancient buildings are trimmed with garland. Imagine your most magical place for the holidays – a winter wonderland, if you will. You will be sure to find something that fits your image here in Europe. There are amazing markets and festivals across the continent. Some countries boast cities that are particularly renowned for their holiday cheer. Finland, Germany and Austria are at the top of the list. Denmark and Switzerland are there as well. And of course, our personal favorite place to be for Christmas is right here in Italy. Before you plan your next Christmas vacation, add Europe into the running.
“Boy, Clark – I think we should go to Europe next year”
It’s likely that you may think I’ve gone off my rocker. Vinegar on a salad – of course. Vinegar on french fries – sure. But vinegar on ice cream?! Greg, you must be crazy?! I assure you, I am not (well, at least when it comes to this point). Provided one very important detail is in play… that the vinegar used is aged balsamic vinegar from Modena. This dark, delicious treat becomes sweet and thick (almost, syrupy) once it has been aged 12(+) or 25(+) years.
Old fashioned equipment used to make vinegar now stands as decoration
I have been a fan of all things vinegar for as long as I can remember. Admittedly, a strange condiment choice (above ketchup or mayonnaise) – but the heart wants what the heart wants. Although we use apple cider vinegar every single day, I have always been quite fond of balsamic vinegar. Just the right amount can add the perfect hit of acid to round out a caprese salad. However, I recently learned that I have become accustomed to eating the equivalent of a McDonald’svalue meal when a readily available filet mignon was just around the corner. But let’s back up and find out how I discovered this… Continue reading Vinegar and Ice Cream – A Delicious Combo!→
Before I’ve even written the first word of this post, my OCD brain is trying to figure out if this post should be categorized under the “Food” or the “Travel” sections of the blog. I will be taking you along with us on our travel adventure to go eat some of Italy’s best food. It’s quite the dilemma…
A selection of salumi (cold cuts), formaggi (cheese) and the cinghiale (boar) that gave his life to the cause
You may have read about part of our visit with Aunt Deb and Uncle S where we ventured into the wine region of Piemonte during the first portion of their visit. Their two week sojourn in Italy included a mission to explore the best of what the country has to give. It was no coincidence then, that their adventure had been neatly divided into three of the country’s best offerings. Part I was Vino (wine). Party II was Cibo (food) – the subject of today’s post. Lastly, Part III was Storia (history). Since they experienced the rich history of Pompeii and Venezia on their own, I will let them tell you all about it at their next dinner party. I’ll simply report on the parts during which we were present… and luckily for us, we were present for a three day trip into Italy’s richest “food region”, Emilia-Romagna. Continue reading Loosen Those Belt Buckles – Some Serious Eating Ahead→
In my most recent blog post, we embarked on a cruise throughout the Mediterranean. I’d love for you to continue the adventure with us as we head to Istanbul, Turkey and the beautiful Greek island of, Lesbos. I’ll finalize our voyage in an upcoming post that will include the final ports of call and some more stories about our shipboard life.
“Oh, tell me… tell me all about it!”
When I last left you, we had visited Venice, Olympia and Athens. By this point in the cruise, we really hit our stride and had fully immersed ourselves in everything Holland America’sNieuw Amsterdam had to offer. We were overeating delicious food (and then trying to work some of it off in their state-of-the-art gym), spending time in the casino (maybe too much time… literally every casino worker knew me by name), taking in shows and making friends all over the ship. We found a couple of other families with small children, but for the most part – we were in the minority (not fitting into your typical “cruise-goer” demographic). I’ll tell you what… if you ever want affirmation about your kids cuteness – go on a cruise with thousands of grandparents missing their grandkids. They were all so happy to pay us compliments about Julia that it made us excited to take her anywhere on board. Continue reading Come Here, You Turkey!→
I know its really, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” but it’s not his home in the middle of Verona that draws thousands of visitors each day; so I took a little creative liberty with the title. More on our visit to this popular tourist destination in a moment. Let’s back up and set the stage…
Soaking up the view
Verona is a beautiful city in the Veneto region of Italy, in the Northeast Italy. The capital of Veneto is Venezia (Venice) – the world famous city built on canals. While Venice is usually one of the most well-known destinations in this part of the country, it should not overshadow Verona – a charming and breathtaking city unto itself. Since Jen’s parents bought their home in Como a few years ago, Verona has been on our “bucket list” of desired destinations. Continue reading Wherefore art thou Julieta? Oh… Your Home is in Verona→
It still tickles me that when I wake up and ask Jen, “what do you want to do today” – the answer might be something like, “let’s go to Switzerland”. What a great idea!
Our home in Lake Como, Italy is very near the Swiss-Italian border. We have always been fond of a neighboring lake town, Lugano, Switzerland. Since the trip is only about 30 minutes, the idea to hop over the border for lunch appealed to us quite a bit.
Switzerland is a beautiful country with some of the most breathtaking landscapes you’ll see. The most interesting thing [to us] about Switzerland is that it’s a country that in many respects, assumes the identity of its neighboring countries. It is a landlocked country bordered by Germany, France, Italy and Austria. The Swiss do not have their own language; each Swiss “region” instead adopts the tongue of the closest neighboring country (either German, French or Italian). Additionally, the food served in each region follows the same trend of marrying the food of it’s neighbor-country. However, we have found that the architecture seems to be uniquely Swiss throughout most of the country. Despite not having a shared language or cuisine, the Swiss have found a strong sense of pride in their country and it’s ideals.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday there is a market on the north side of Como. It exists just outside the old fort wall that surrounds the original city. There is a collection of over a hundred vendors, most which arrive in their vans and vend from open doors.
Vans – vending on the other side
We strolled through and decided there was nothing we needed before moving on to a late afternoon snack (more on that in a subsequent post). Below you’ll see a collection of the random items you can purchase if you so choose. Continue reading Saturday Market in Como→