Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mangiare! we survive Sunday lunch Italian style

The next morning we met our friends halfway along the cycling track at the old Stefano al Mare train station, now a coffee bar. There is no such thing as bad coffee in Italy and we enjoyed our espresso and marmellata croissant.

We meandered back to the promenade. what a day for walking under the crystal clear blue skies. The beaches here are really well maintained and in fact are designated Blue Beaches, the EU’s best rating. There is a huge breakwater that cuts down some of the waves for any swimmers, along with areas of sandy beach, which trucks were replenishing while we were there. Perhaps best of all, they bring in flat rocks for people to lie on. I can only imagine what they look like in the summer with every one occupied by a suntanned body.

It was lunchtime and time for us to meet our friends from San Remo for lunch, at an agritourismo just a little bit inland. It used to be a frantoia, where the olives were crushed. Now it was the site of a beautiful bed and breakfast and restaurant. Today would be one of my favourite Italian meals, where they just bring food. You don't order off the menu.

Jugs of wine and water were brought to the table as well as delicious bread. The Italians are so good at making bread. Plates of salami, proscuitto and a few other meats were brought to the table along with plates of focaccia, deep fried focaccia and sardenara, a typical Ligurian pizza baked in squares, usually with olives. Then we each got a plate with: bresaula, cured thinly sliced filet, with raspberry sauce; mushrooms and sauce in phllyo; stocchifishce, salted cod, soaked for a few days and cooked; and a Waldorf salad with apple, celery and walnuts but creamed together in a little scoop.

Next came a small dish of risotto with pumpkin followed by a dish of pasta with mushrooms and chestnuts. Two big plates of loin of pork with roast potatoes were placed on the table along with thinly sliced filet cooked on hot stones. By this time I was beginning to fade. It is an art to pace yourself through Sunday lunch in Italy. For dessert I had apple in a light pastry with cinnamon ice cream topped off with an espresso. It is common in Italy for the restaurant to bring a digestivo, something like limoncello or Fernat Branca but I had to pass on these.

We returned to Riva, where everyone walked us back to San Stefano. It was a slow walk along the promenade with lots of laughter, some Latin dancing and then sitting down on the benches for a rest. Back in San Stefano, two of the group had some delicious hazelnut and pistachio gelato. How could they?

Later we walked back to Riva for a very light watercress salad and some beautiful Bel Paese and the creamiest Gorgonzola for dinner. So much food!

No comments: