Monica took us out to lunch yesterday with Irene, who works at the hotel, and Sonia, who used to but is now retired.
We drove the windy roads through the hills until we came to Volpaia, a tiny town even compared to Castellina. Our restaurant, La Bottega, boasts to have been in existence for 300 years. Wow.
But with this view, it’s no wonder.
This lunch was a full, 3 hour, four-course Italian meal, including wine. Oh my goodness, it was incredible. First we had crostini with various toppings, like tomatoes, cheese and spinach, and pate. Then I had pici, a special tuscan noodle sort of like fat spaghetti, with a duck ragu. Then meat stewed in Chianti wine, and then chocolate panna cotta for dessert. I’m amazed I was able to stand up.
Thank goodness after dessert we had coffee, otherwise I think we would have all passed out at the table. The meal was amazing. Afterward we walked around the town, digesting what we could before getting back in the car.
Though walking through the town could have taken all of five minutes, we took our good old time strolling. I think I’m getting the hang of it. Then again, my stomach was full beyond capacity, but maybe that’s the reason why everyone moves so slowly.
Upon arriving home, we slept. It was the only thing we could do, and after an hour or so of rest, we were back on the road. This time for Firenze.
We were going to the opera. There is a church that has regular opera performances and this night was Italian Love Duets. We got into the city a bit early and had time to walk around, and we just so happened to be walking by all of the high end designer shops. Nana and I had a very Italian moment, stopping at each window to admire and discuss.
And the evening was not complete without a stop for gelato, which we called dinner since none of us could stomach another full meal. So there we were in a small piazza, sitting on the bench the three of us, thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
Then, since we still had time, we sat outside a bar for aperitivo. And no aperitivo is complete without stuzzichini.
Stuzzichini. If you are to remember any Italian word I’ve ever used on this blog, it should be this. I dare say it is one of the things I remember most from when I studied abroad here two years ago. Whenever you stop to have a drink somewhere, a glass of wine, maybe a spritz (if you’re into that sort of thing–aperol, prosecco and a little citrus), they will bring you a little dish of chips, or nuts, or just something to snack on.
Ok, Ok. So my favorite Italian word just happens to be bar food. But after all the time I’ve lived here, one of my favorite food combinations is white wine and potato chips. It’s the only time I ever eat potato chips, and it’s just grand! Plus, usually the hunger has set in by the time you have this pre-dinner glass of wine, so it’s not only delicious but also practical!
The way I learned to remember it too, is “stew” and “zucchini” but with an i. Try it with me now…Stuzzichini!
Now you know. Don’t ever forget.
And don’t ever hesitate to invite me over to drink wine and eat chips with you.