So here’s the thing, dear readers: in case you didn’t already know this about me, I have a bit of a passion for traveling. Starting with a school trip to Italy at 16 and continuing throughout my twenties, I spent weeks and months traveling the continental U.S., Hawaii, Central America, and much of Europe. The foreign country I have visited the most is (magical, gorgeous, enchanting!) Italy. My three trips there ranged from ten days in 1999 with my Latin class (whirlwind, I tell you!), to four days in 2005 on my first solo trip through Europe (basking in the heavenly cliffside villages of the Cinque Terre), and most recently, I spent a month in northern Italy in early 2011.
Let me tell you this: staying in one country/region for several weeks or a whole month is the best, most rewarding way to travel. Even more than that, staying with locals is the key to understanding the foreign soil that you’re inhabiting. In a nutshell: hostels are a good way to a.)travel cheaply and b.) meet other travelers. What I’ve come to appreciate more are work exchanges or farm stays, where basically you stay with a family and they feed you in exchange for varying amounts of work hours per day. This method is a.) about as cheap as you can get, accommodation and food-wise, and b.)infinitely more enriching and educational than sharing a dorm room with four-twelve other tired/partying/lost/homesick country-hoppers.
Oh, how I could go on! But the meat (ha) of what I want to share with you today is Italian meals- or at least, meals I enjoyed while in Italy. This shot below was a breakfast I had in Bologna, located in the northern region of Emilia Romagna. This was before my farm stay began, and so I was couchsurfing (i.e., fending for myself food-wise). I’d gone to the city farmers market, and was blown away by the vast assortment of offerings: varieties of meats, fruits & vegetables, oils, eggs, olives, cheese, and fish, to name a few. I was, however, satisfied with my purchases (which also included garlic and fresh mozzarella, of course). Aren’t these yolks ridiculously orange??
Next, we have a couple of examples of what a heavily carnivorous English-Italian family serve their eager American helper upon learning of her vegetarianism:
I would also like to direct your attention to the very first picture at the top of the page: spaghetti with tuna fish! I’d never eaten these two things together prior to my stay in Dozza, but it turned out to be a common, and surprisingly tasty, midday meal.
The last featured meal is one that I helped to make, although the fillings I chose were not the traditional ones 🙂
For more information on the Italian piadina, check out the links on the bottom of the page.
Finally, how cute is this woodstove/oven?
If you’re interested in cooking, travel, Italy, or being told which websites to visit, here’s a handy list of links:
- How to make a Piadina Romagnola
- Italian Street Food Recipe: Homemade Piadine
- CouchSurfing: World’s Largest Travel & Hospitality Community
- WWOOF: World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
- Help Exchange: A work exchange similar to WWOOF, but not limited to just farms (I love the feedback feature!)
- Farm Stay Italy, the family I stayed with in Dozza
- Slow Travel, a movement and community dedicated to a more enriching travel experience
- Slow Food International, “a global, grassroots organization… linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment”. Worth a look 🙂
- I’m newly Twitter-ed!
Thanks for stopping by!
*Some of the material in this post was originally discussed on my Italy travel blog, Lovesong of the Road.
Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it. -Julia Child