The food in Italy this year was as good as ever. A simple plate of pasta topped with exactly the right local cheese was transformed into a luscious culinary delight reflecting the exacting traditions of the region we were visiting.
We tried some new dishes not for the faint-hearted – octopus was one of these and the vegetarians amongst us raved about the range and appearance of beautifully presented dishes available to them.
Special mention must be made of the exquisite multi-course dinner served to us in our box as we watched the opera La Traviata at the beautiful Teatro Salone Margherita situated close to the Spanish Steps. Having dinner there while enjoying Verdi’s magnificent opera was a highlight of our time in Rome and a tribute to Beniamino’s ability to secure the perfect entertainment for us at short notice.
Another highlight for us was visiting the world famous seafood restaurant Zi Teresa situated on the Bay of Naples and overlooking the Castel dell’Ovo.
This restaurant was started by a young Neapolitan woman, Teresa, in the late 19th Century. Her fame as an exceptional cook quickly grew and eventually the restaurant was reviewed in the New York Times. Anyone who is anyone has eaten there, including Churchill, Toscanini, Greta Garbo and Sophia Loren and now of course our Connectitalia-NZ group! The taste and presentation of our food was outstanding and we could not have asked for a better setting under a canopy with the gentle waters of the Bay lapping a few feet away from us.
As always, the gelato was incomparable and enjoyed almost daily whether we were relaxing in the piazza after visiting the outstanding Etruscan Museum in Tarquinia or people-watching (Bradley Walsh) in Amalfi. Not to be outdone, Beniamino introduced us to some truly exquisite flavours on offer in his hometown.
Our base a couple of kilometres from Beniamino’s home town was a wonderful organic farm and agriturismo, where Francesca and Tarzio produced their home grown food and wine for us to sample. One night they put on a special meal for us featuring lots of different local Basilicata dishes for us to try. Beniamino’s extended family joined us for the evening, which made it a very special event for our clients. The opportunity to mix with the local people while sampling authentic local cuisine was a million miles away from eating a menu turistico in a humdrum setting alongside a lot of other tourists. These are the experiences which Connectitalia-NZ tours offer and they are the experiences that really delight visitors to Italy.
And as for the wine……that’s another story for another day.