They call it Bancomat over here. It’s fast. There’s no talking involved. You take the money and run. Yesterday I had to go to the bank in San Marino. In the bank. It’s difficult to get in there. And even harder to get out.
Just push the button, you think. No, it’s not that easy.
You’re standing outside the Cassa di Risparmio, in front of a security system that’s been in place, not just in San Marino but all over Italy, since local terrorism in the 1970’s. Next to the entrance is a panel of secure lockers where you’re supposed to stow any bags you’re carrying. The green push button activates a reinforced steel door, which opens and admits you into a secure cylinder. You step in. The door slides shut behind you. Continue reading →
We’re driving home from the grocery store, where we have just bought a couple mozzarella balls to slice and lay over tomato slices at lunch today.
I am surprised and delighted. Forty-two years of marriage and I never knew this about her. I tell her cheese seems like a perfectly good word.
She shudders just a little.
One syllable, it must have Anglo-Saxon roots, I think, also considering the ch in the word. “Cheese,” I say out loud, testing it. In Italy, I’ve heard groups of people lined up to have a picture taken together, everyone saying “cheese,” in English. I remind her of this. “Cheese has caught on in Italy,” I say. Continue reading →
The truth of the matter is, much of what I’m eating today is an excuse to consume olive oil. Salads with spiral-cut zucchini and arugula and tuna–it’s a dish that wants a generous anointing with extra virgin olive oil. Fava beans with chopped tomato–oh, yes, let there be oil. On a steak or a slab of fish, oil provides a definite enhancement. Last night, snacking lightly, I ate a chunk of bread leftover from lunch, giving it a drizzle of olive oil to soak into those dried dimples and crevices, topped with a few slices of mozzarella and leftover scraps of zucchini spirals.Continue reading →
Above, a local delight called cassone. The flat bread they make in the Marche and Emilia-Romagna, called piada, is folded over mixed greens or tomato and mozzarella or onion and sausage or mixed grilled vegetables, then grilled and cut. You can make a meal out of cassone. Often, however, they are served as a little appetizer with apperitvo. Shown above, an exceptionally good cassone from Il Sentiero, an agriturismo in the Marche region. Continue reading →
I Malardot–local dialect for malridotto–those who are in bad shape
The drive, the ambiance, the food–all well worth it at I Malardot. Start with the food. We’ve eaten at I Malardot 4-5 times now. With confidence, you can begin with a tagliere, mixed sliced meats and cheeses. For primo piatto our current favorite is artichoke ravioli with fosse cheese. That might well qualify as a desert island food for me. I could never tire of eating it. Continue reading →
It’s not the same, but almost. And mind-blowing good to eat.
In Santarcangelo, where legend has it the Sangiovese grape gets its name, my wife and I have lunch and dinner at Trattoria del Passatore. We go there for many things, chief among them ravioli served with a rosole sauce.
Rosole, also known as papavero in Italian, are young poppy leaves. You see fields of poppies in Italy, with their brilliant red flowers. The leaves are harvested and used in a pasta sauce, well before the plant flowers. Continue reading →