One of the things I love most about holidaying in Italy is cooking and eating at “home” in the villa. Frequent trips to the local supermarkets give you ample opportunity to be inspired by and experiment with the local produce. Whilst eating out gives you lots of ideas for recreating or rethinking dishes on your own terms back at the villa. On this trip to Puglia we pretty much did a one-night-in and one-night-out routine, and actually some of the meals we ate ‘back at the ranch’ were exceptional. Following on from the theme of pure and bold flavours, we generally kept the meals simple: penne arrabbiatta one night, spaghetti vongole another, and perhaps one of my favourites (but stupid idiot me forgot to take photos) was the calamari followed by spaghetti puttanesca. Beautiful.
Category Archives: F&G Travels
I’ve been to Italy dozens of times. My family (my entire family) is completely obsessed with the place and we all dart off there at any given opportunity. Being quarter Italian, my siblings and I have always felt a really strong affinity to the place. The food we ate at home had a strong Italian influence (my mum’s lasagne is still everyone’s favourite meal), which has carried through to my own cooking (as you may have noticed). As a child a holiday to Italy would have had far more sway than a trip to Disneyland or the beach. Some of my fondest memories are set against a backdrop of the rolling valleys and tumbling towns of various parts of Italy. And the connection always felt all the more real to us because of our much beloved grandma, who had a strong Italian accent until her dying day. We loved to be told off by her (lots of “mamma mia” and “manage”) in Italian and to hear stories of her childhood and look at beautiful pictures of her in the old country. My grandma grew up in Sorrento on the picturesque Amalfi coast and, although we’ve been there a few times, it is now so full of American and European tourists that it’s impossible to imagine life there in the 40s and 50s before the hoards descended. We can try to replace the throngs with the black and white photos in our minds, but somehow the loud and rude tourists break through and shatter the image. Puglia on the other hand is so wonderfully bereft of tourists that I finally felt like I had experienced something of the real Southern Italy.
I’m back. Well, I’m not really back. No sooner had I touched down I was gearing up to dash off again for a work trip. So right now I’m sitting in a hotel in Krakow, whiling away a couple of hours before I head off to dinner. But anyway, my trip to Puglia is now in the past tense and after so much gearing and building up, there was no small amount of pressure laid on Puglia’s shoulders to deliver a monumentally good holiday. We were absolutely gagging for it. I had got to the stage at work where someone only needed to begin an email slightly curtly and I was in floods of tears and calling up Sven threatening to quit (we’ve all been there, right?). My poor colleagues had increasingly been getting torrents of expletives on practically an hourly basis. Not good. Holiday muchos needed. Well, my friends, I’ll tell thee what. Puglia did not arf deliver.
Let me just get this out… I hate being alone. I’m not good in my own company. Never have been. I like to share experiences with other people and I feel kind of awkward eating or drinking by myself. So when I got stranded for a week on my own in Granada I was not as thrilled as I perhaps should have been. In fact, I have to admit that at times I was darn right depressed about it. But so it was, and I knew I had to make the most of it. So I sucked it up and got down to it.
As you may have noticed there has been a brief hiatus in posts of late. No doubt, those who know me thought that I had simply (and inevitably) got bored and that was the last they would see of my blog. But no! I was on a delightful “work-cation” in Acapulco courtesy of my lovely company. Thank you random psychologists for planning a conference in Mexico in February and thank you Psychology Press for choosing li’l ol’ me to attend.