Also known as Eataly, Italy is my new favorite country for a number of reasons–not the least of which is due to its amazing gastronomy. These folks take their food and drink seriously. Like, super seriously.
My most adventurous food experience took place while Hubby was working. I had the hotel desk staff phone a nearby café to pick me up. Five minutes later, I found myself standing beside a busy highway on the outskirts of Naples, about to get into a stranger’s car and be taken to who-knows-where. It was then that I began to question the wisdom of every choice I had ever made.
Thankfully, the owner of Café CoffeePoint was as sweet and hospitable as could be; and as the driver of a toenail-sized Smart Car, how could he be anything but adorable?
My set-menu lunch consisted of four cheese risotto with toasted almonds for the first course, and chicken steak with citrus glaze for the second course. (They brought out BOTH courses at the same time for me–a major faux pas–because I had casually mentioned that I wanted to take a photo.)
The price included the cover charge, water (not free in Italy), bread, and an espresso. Everything was incredibly delicious. Did I mention that this café is in a GAS STATION and the whole gourmet meal with pick-up and drop-off service only cost €7.90?
I was so impressed with CoffeePoint that I had to bring Hubby one day when he was available. We had complimentary antipasti starters, tagliatelle pasta in a porcini mushroom cream sauce, white eggplant parmigiana, and a café macchiato.
We also had the privilege of visiting a restaurant at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius.
In traditional Italian fashion, the owner met our bus group with a warm, lively welcome that made us feel like family.
She then gave us an in-depth tour of their establishment that prides itself on “zero kilometer” food and drink. This means everything is made on-site, except for the fresh, never-dried, handmade pasta that came from 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) away.
I gave “Porky” to my neighbor, but was impressed that I could actually read a newspaper through it.
Did I mention that they live and work at the base of a volcano that’s overdue to erupt?
We also ate more than our share of pizza. We were in Italy, after all!
Our first pizzas in Napoli:
Passing the time at Pizzeria de Franco in Sorrento:
Lunch is finally served, and it was worth the brief wait!
This is possibly the world’s best pizza (no joke) from Gino Sorbillo’s in downtown Naples. Words cannot even begin to describe our experience at table #27…
As we wandered through the streets and alleys of Rome, we came across a lovely in-door market. Hubby thought we needed more carbs in our life, so we got a huge slab of warm, chewy focaccia to share as we walked around town.
This market really had everything a Roman citizen could want!
Our inexpensive AirBnB in Rome was kind enough to serve us a typical, light Italian breakfast–heavy on the cappuccino.
Directly across the street from our B&B was il Mercato Centrale, a glorious eatery with many food vendors from which to choose. We had some of the most delicious fare here, and I got to try truffle pasta for the first time.
And of course, we HAD to try Roman pizza and legitimate gelato!
Our cafeteria-style lunch by the Capodichino Airport was also understated and amazing!
And last but not least, Italian coffee (café) matches Italian attitude. It packs a punch. Basically, café is the lifeblood of Italy and it is served at every meal in various forms.
Are you hungry yet? Buon appetito!