It was around this time seven years ago that I first visited Rome with my husband, and was so inspired by the place that I felt I must have been born there in another life! I don’t know why, but it was like coming home. It may not seem very festive, but a stroll along the Via Condotti in December, festooned with fairy lights and bathed in the golden glow of the Valentino and the sparkle of Christmas luxuries at the Cartier boutique (window shopping only!). That memorable trip sparked a love affair with all things Italian, from food to fashion and beyond so it seems only natural that I should pay a virtual visit to my favourite country with this feature. First up is the food…
Oh how I love olives – there are olives, and then there are Bella di Cerignola olives. These come from Apulia in southern Italy and get my vote as the tastiest and most deliciously flavoured olives I have ever tasted. Thought to be the largest olives in the world, they have a good bite to them and have a subtly fruity flavour.
Whether enjoying anti pasti or settling down for a full Italian feast, Prosecco is my drink of choice (though a great Italian red wine would also go down well!). It’s sparkly and refreshing, light and just sweet enough, what more could you want? Oh I know, a dash of sweet pomegranate juice… perfection.
Pasta pasta pasta, well it’s not really Italian if there isn’t any pasta so can you blame me for including one of my favourite pasta recipes. Spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola is a simple but delectable dish featuring garlic, chillies, tomatoes, rocket and fresh meaty prawns folded into spaghetti. Mmmm my mouth is actually watering at the memory of the last time my husband cooked this up for dinner.
Street food is so much more than a greasy burger or soggy hot dog that you might expect from a street vendor in the UK. If you have ever eaten pizza from the Mariotti take-out in Rome, you will know that the quality on offer is arguably amongst the best in the world. Who’d have thought such good comforting food could be handed to you through a shop window outside of an underground train station. And yet it gets so much more interesting the more you travel around Italy. Fish soup, bite size calzoni, deep fried risotto balls, salami, cheese, pastries and more can all satisfy curb side cravings so well.
So, that’s a very brief overview of my Italian food fixes. Next stop…. Fashion perhaps?!