Is it wrong to say I didn't eat everything I wanted to eat in Italy? That I left wanting more? I suppose who doesn't?
(I also left with an ungodly number of books and yet I still wanted to buy more!)
Of course, I had a mental list of the things I had to eat. And topping that list:
Not just any ciambellina. A fresh one. An airy one. An obscenely large one, or just simply, a very good one. With just the right amount of sugar crystals dusting the top.
There’s a reason it’s the name of this damn blog. These donutesque delights (above left) are the best pastries you can possibly put in your mouth. Especially if you like something that’s uncomplicated and pure. And honestly I would say that’s the essence of Italian cooking: not fussy, not overloaded with a thousand ingredients or dependent on some tricky sauce or filling. Just the genuine article.
I also ate a lot of savory foods, too, of course. Here's a partial list:
Pici al granchio (in photo above; pici is a type of thick spaghetti often found in Siena and granchio, well, just ask Leo. It's crab); Fiori di zucca fritti; prosciutto crudo; paccheri sul coniglio (photo at top); a selection of cheeses one evening as a second (which included a lovely gorgonzola, of course, that when spread on a piece of crusty Italian bread became a snack worthy of the Medici), crostini with chicken fat and carmellized onions, and so on.
Oh and gelato. Nocciola, of course, the only gusto worth my time (even if the others are pretty good, hazelnut ice cream? You kidding me? Bring another coppetta over here, right quick please!)
And I could have eaten a lot more. I didn't get around to having anything with cinghiale -- wild boar -- which amounts to a felony in some parts of Tuscany. I also didn't have suppli (or arancini) in Rome, which produces a pretty good fried rice ball, if you ask me.
I also didn't have a Conca D'Oro, or enough red wine or fettunta with pomodorini or spaghetti alla carbonara or spezzatino (stew).
But I guess that will have to be for the next time.