Date: 2/21/09 (Saturday) Location: Campania and Lazio Regions, Italy
In a rented Fiat 500 (cinquecento), we spent the past week on a culinary and wine tasting tour of the Campania and Lazio regions of Italy. We visited Benevento, Guardia Sanframondi, Castelvenere, Telese, Ceprano, Frosinone, Atina and Minturno. We also visited archeological and geological sites of interest in Naples (National Archeological Museum), Pompei (Pompeii Excavations and Mt. Vesuvius) and Pozzuoli (Phlegrean Fields).
Yesterday was market day in Gaeta. The sunshine enticed everyone outdoors for a shopping frenzy. The tomatoes looked redder, the fennel bulbs shinier, and the smiles brighter than they have in weeks around town.
Lisa does most of our shopping for fruits and veggies on via Indipendenza, but she can’t resist a lively market once in awhile. The fennel spoke to her this week, so last night we had it braised as a contorni (side dish) with a left-over red rice risotto with chicken and roasted butternut squash — yesterday’s food inspiration. The day before it was spinach soup made from the most delicious spinach bought from an older woman across from Da Natalino’s butcher shop. And then there was the ricotta cheese from our favorite deli — that became the inspiration for veggie lasagna. We are so lucky to have access to such wonderful foods here in Italy. It’s a good fit for our efforts at more mindful and healthful eating.
Part of our winter health and wellness program includes daily walks around Gaeta. Today we set out just before sunset and listened to the loudspeaker-enhanced flag lowering ceremony as we strolled past the USS Mount Whitney which arrived in port today, and we stopped in at Bar Bazzanti for a cafe macciato and to admire the signed print from the Lepanto series by American artist Cy Twombly who lives in town. He inscribed the poster with a short poem:
“By the sea, by the sea, how happy we will be, in the Bar Bazzanti.”