Monday, 12 October 2009
The 50% off Mille Miglia extravaganza (Part 2)
(continuing where we left off previously … from Verona)
After milling around Ms Juliet’s balcony, feeling hot and bothered among the hundreds of tourists doing the same thing, we decided to jump into the Fiat and continue on our journey. Using the Mille Miglia map that we took from the Internet (and thus, possibly containing incorrect information, thus rendering our journey baseless), the next destination we headed towards was Chioggia (via Ferrara where we checked in and dropped our bags in the hotel).
When Tom Tom first told us we had arrived, we took a good look around and saw:
- shops with shut windows and doors
- man with bored looking white dog
- a street with nothing more than parked cars
This could not be it, we thought. It was only lunchtime, how could this town be so silent, so empty, so like the City on a weekend? (I mean the City of London, ie Bank)
Reservations aside, we trudged on – sweat in hand, and everywhere else.
We walked down the one street next to the river, admittedly quite a pretty river filled with fishing boats, lots of fishing boats, and continued pondering on our previous questions.
Until we came to the bit where everyone was. Woohoo! We’d finally found some people!
Looking around the little square, quite obviously the main street or town centre, it was filled with people (I would say of all ages, but not really. It was mainly filled with people aged 40 and above).
Although it was only about 3pm, these carefree Italians were all out, sitting by their little chequered-clothed tables, sipping on their Campari Orange.
Even the dogs were relaxed, occasionally jumping into the little round bird baths located by the roads to have a dip (the pigeons didn’t look too pleased with that).
From what we saw, this seems to be a small fishing town, with the main town nearby being Venice. We saw quite a few people at the little boat stop waiting for the boat to get to Venice, and people returning from there carrying lots of shopping bags. Chioggia itself was more of a relaxed little seaside town, with tourists few and infrequent.
Not wanting to be one of those tourists who go into the first restaurant they see, we decided to have a little wander to check out the available places, until we realised that because this wasn’t really a tourist town, there weren’t that many touristy places, so in we went to the first restaurant which looked reasonable, had a reasonable menu, and had more than one table of customers.
Being in Italy, we had to have more pizza. While the choices of pizza here seem to be more on the, how would I say it, sustainable variety (ie not Hawaiian or Mighty Extravaganza). What I mean is that the types of pizza found here are the types I could eat everyday, which is handy because the people here probably did eat that everyday.
The base of the pizza was not too thick, not too thin, and stretched perfectly to retain the slightly chewy consistency of dough, while not being too crispy. What really made the difference was the fresh, top of the class ingredients put on top of the pizza. The cheese (not sure what type it was) was fresh, very cheesy, very chewy, and just so perfect that the pizza would have been edible and very tasty even without anything else being put on it. The rocket and fresh tomatoes on there just made it more fabulous.
Look, the cheese actually stretches.
I like pasta, alot. Whenever I get the chance to order pasta, I do it (unless that is superseded by the chance to order rice, which I like even more than pasta). So you can imagine how happy I was in Italy when it was pasta this and pasta that on almost every menu. Deciding to go off the beaten track, I shunned the carbonara (even though the versions I’d had here were delicious). Going for the mussels in white wine sauce was perhaps quite on the beaten track, but nevertheless, the taste was absolutely gorgeous. The slightly irony taste of the mussels contrasted with the acidic taste of the wine, slightly salty taste from the mussels, all absorbed happily by the pasta.
Another dish which fascinated me was the gnocchi. I’ve tried making this before, and ended up with potato dumplings the size of tennis balls, and wondered how people ate more than 5 of it at any one time. Now I know, and it’s because they’re not meant to be the size of tennis balls. These little dumplings of soft potato-ey loveliness were chewy, moist, and absorbed the cheesy, tomatoey sauce so well. If I make this again, I’m gonna have to try and make it this way/
Anyhow, apologies for the long absence to those who were wondering where I’ve been. Just been so busy at work, and with friends and family coming to visit that I’ve not had much time to blog about what I’ve eaten, and I’ve been eating lots.