Posts Tagged With: Piadina

Part 3: Fried Green Sage at the San Salvador Hotel

Buongiorno a tutti,

Well this is the final part of my Bellaria Blog Tour Trilogy! If you haven’t seen the others yet have a look:

The Blog Tour was hosted by the San Salvador Hotel run by the lovely Poggi family. The hotel is practically on the seafront, just a minute’s walk from the beach, if that. The common areas of the hotel are bright, clean and well-maintained and the owners and staff are very friendly and welcoming (and speak English!).  There’s a lounging area outside with comfy seats and swinging chairs where you can relax with a drink from the bar.

The buffet style restaurant is on the first floor. I was really impressed with the quality and range of food and even more so by their vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes. The hotel takes great pride in their cuisine – most of it being freshly made at the hotel using their own produce. In fact, have a look at their own write-up here, their photos are better!

Now, I could turn my nose up at buffet style places – you never know how long the food has been out and it’s a bit exposed to the elements eh? But the food was always obviously fresh and the buffet style meant you could take whatever you fancied and go back for seconds.

These are a few snaps from the restaurant. I was particularly impressed by the juicer which clients could make use of. You can eat as healthily or as unhealthily as you want. They even have chia seeds to have on your breakfast.

Life as a vegetarian in Italy is sometimes a challenge for me – my options can sometimes be limited to just pasta with tomato sauce. At the hotel though they were serving stuff I didn’t think you could actually get over here: different dishes including tofu, soya and tempah.  See below for some of my meals.

The hotel offer cooking courses on occasion and on one rainy morning we learnt how to make biscuits called ‘Gialletti’ (the name coming from ‘giallo’ which means yellow, the yellow tinge coming from the polenta used to make them) and piadinas Emilia-Romagna style. For those that haven’t come across piadinas before, they’re a sort of flat bread – a fat tortilla. Italians heat them up in a frying pan and put tasty thing inside like rocket and squaquarone cheese (squaquarone is a very tasty soft cheese). Our piadinas contained lard so I didn’t get to taste the final result but it did encourage me to give it a go at home (using oil!).  The bottom right hand photo below shows our final efforts with the rocket, squaquarone and slices of meat.  I was particularly impressed with the biscuits – we got to keep them and my pack of 30 or so biscuits lasted for all of about 2 days.

I mentioned above that the food in the restaurant was made using local produce – well the bulk of it comes from the Poggi family’s own land a few minutes drive away from the hotel. On our final day we were given a tour of the estate and given the opportunity to harvest some of the food for that evening’s dinner. It was good to see how vegetables should be grown properly. I’m currently growing just salad which keeps getting eaten by slugs and herbs which are looking suspiciously brown. During our harvest, we collected marigold flowers, fennel fronds, courgette flowers and sage leaves to be fried in batter for our dinner later. In fact, it seems there’s nothing that they don’t fry in batter (I didn’t see mars bars admittedly).

And this is the end result of our harvest – fried things in batter (highly recommended – particularly the sage!) and vegetable pasta with some marigold leaves to garnish and some purple flowers (I can’t remember what they’re called).

The hotel rooms were bright, spacious and clean with comfy beds. My room had a large shower but other rooms had baths.  I had a balcony complete with clothes horse to dry clothes. All in all, a nice place to come back to after a day at the beach or touring around the local area.

The hotel also provided entertainment…. Outside the hotel there are various dance clubs and places running karaoke nights etc. Back at the hotel though, it was nice to chill out in the seating area downstairs. On one night I discovered just how stressful Connect 4 can be – who knew?! It’s very strategic and our ‘board’ was huge!

On our final night a local dance group came along and showed us their moves, and dragged us onto the dance floor with them! It was great fun. Some of the group dances reminded me of Zumba – in fact, it was the same music and almost the same moves! I really should start that up again.

So I think that about sums up my stay. I really enjoyed it and I’m so pleased to have been invited along. Thank you San Salvador Hotel!

If you want to see what some of my fellow bloggers had to say, check out their blogs here:

Forchetta e Valigia

Profumo di Follia

Giorni Rubati

Martinaway

I’ll b right back

21 Grammy

Petali di Margherita

Big Shade

Viagem na Italia

Non Solo Turisti

x

PS. I am available for all blog tours. I would particularly encourage luxury hotels in the Maldives to make use of my reviewing services.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ferragosto, Falling stars and learning new things…

Ciao a tutti!!!

How is everyone?! Not loads to report on this week…

Monday, I headed out with a friend to Marcelli for a drink and found a good spot in a bar right next to where there was a polish/argentianian dancing and singing (not together mind) extravaganza.

IMG_20130818_033458

The Polish dancers. Polish dancing is not about releasing unbridled passion as opposed to….

IMG_20130818_033700

The Argentians… Now that’s how to do it…

Then we headed down to San Michele beach in Sirolo for some star gazing. Every year around the 10th August it’s a busy time for shooting stars (or falling stars if you’re Italian), The Italian theory is that Saint Lorenzo cries and his tears come to earth in the form of shooting stars. There have been so many that worried for the state of the sky, I investigated. I have problems enough trying to find the Plough without stars missing. Anyway, they’re not shooting stars at all. They’re shooting meteors. Phew!

I’ve been feeling rough for a few days and by Tuesday, I decided I should probably go to the doctors. I found an English speaking doctor (thankfully!) that’s a couple of minutes walk away and who seems to be nice yet credible (a rare mix). It was a bit of an odd experience. I wandered into this guy’s house and sat in his front room whilst an angry man glared at me (angry because I didn’t know that the front door made a large booming echoey slamming sound when it closed) and hoped there was a doctor behind one of the closed doors. I have now learnt the terms for a variety of symptoms, ailments and body parts in Italian “bleeding, sore, swollen, ulcers, gums, glands” etc. Apparently I have a virus of my upper respiratory tract. Alas, I think next week I’ll have to learn the terms for “BUT WHY WONT IT GO AWAY?”

I’m confused by the doctor situation here – I thought the way it worked if you were European was this: You go to the doctor, they’ll see you, they’ll want paying for the appointment and so they’ll take your European Health Insurance Card details and set about getting a reimbursement from the country where you usually live. But he didn’t take any details down and when I asked him about it, he said he’d only need them if he was giving me a prescription (he didn’t). I think that must mean he only gets paid if he gives me a prescription but then that would lend support to him giving prescriptions out willy-nilly which he didn’t. So, I think he’s a good’un.

My neighbour, the artist, popped in this week and we had a productive chat. He’s seen a few of my drawings now and has asked me to be part of an exhibition with him next year in Camerano. I’d want to do some big canvases inspired by the local area – though I’m still sorely missing a shop in Italy that sells big canvases (oh Hobbycraft, how I miss you). I still think there’s a market in portrait drawing too and I still need to get better particularly at drawing beards/stubble. Unless of course I sell a combined “wet shave / portrait drawing” experience.

Anyway, that would be for 3 months next year during Summer in what sounds like a disused building by the main piazza. He’s done an exhibition there before and made a fair bit of money he says so on the face of it, it sounds interesting (though I’d have to share the cost of hiring the place – though sounds cheap).

He also told me about his house in Cuba that I can stay for free whenever I want which is jolly nice of him……….

There’s a big event starting on the 23rd August and running until the 29th for “la contesa del sacro Vassoio di San Giovanni”. So, in the unlikely event you don’t know what that is, I’ve copied some text from the Camerano Tourist website

 “The 29th August is the Patron Saint’s Day of Camerano – St. John Baptist. Every year the Contest of the Sacred Plate of St. John is held in Camerano in which the eight suburbs of the town participate with great enthusiasm. There are also food stalls, bands, pageants and shows while the day ends with the late-night lottery”.

Who knew we had 8 suburbs?! I thought we barely warranted enough space/people to be classed as a single suburb!

And after that, there’s the “Rosso Conero”  3 day wine festival on the 7th, 8th and 9th September, also in the hip and happening Camerano. It’s well known in the area and sounds like the centre will be full of wine stalls where you can taste wine from the local areas and buy some if you like. I will be taking part in the tasting of the wine (and I will most certainly spend some time considering buying the wine too… all the way to the corner shop where the wine is a lot cheaper and tastes the same).  Friends/family – I’ve been suggesting you all wait to visit until I eventually get a car but actually, if you come down in the next two or three weeks then I think there’s enough to keep you occupied without a car.

Thursday was Ferragosto. Ferragosto marks the date that Mary was “assumed” into heaven and so the Italians like to mark this occasion by going to church, to the beach. I went to a new beach called Misano in the next region up (Emilia Romagna) with a new group of people. Going out with a group of Italian people always fills me with mixed emotions: Hooray – I’m going out with a new group of people! 🙂  And boo – I’ve no idea what they’re saying 😦  This time though, it was alright – I could pretty much keep up with the conversation. Having said that, I do have a habit of filling in the gaps with random flights of fancy that bear no resemblance to what they’ve actually said and not realising. So though I think I coped alright, perhaps their impending trip to the moon to buy a snow leopard wasn’t an accurate interpretation.

The beach was lovely – sandy and wide with actual beds to sleep on (though there’s nothing that could convince me to actually touch them let alone lie on one).

Beds! On the BEACH!!!

Beds! On the BEACH!!!

I learnt a few new things that day too:

1) I learnt that there are breathalyser tests in pubs there (see exhibit A below). Alcohol in Italy is called “Alcool” which I think glamorizes it…

Breathalyser machine in the bar/ restaurant where we were. Great idea - if you get caught drink driving, you lose your license for 3+ months.

Exhibit A: Breathalyser machine in the bar/ restaurant where we were. Great idea – if you get caught drink driving, you lose your license for 3+ months.

2) I learnt how prostitution worked in the old days (see exhibit B, thanks to Catherine for the photography)

Apparently this is a real sign (as in actually used!).  So, prices go up from a er, quickie, "twice", 20 minutes, half an hour, a full hour and two hours. I'm a little confused by the "doppia" - two times. I don't think it makes good business sense. I've thought about it - if I were a guy and wanted a couple of hours, I would just pay for a "Doppia" and string things out.

Exhibit B: Apparently this is a real sign (as in actually used!). So, prices go up from a er, quickie, “twice”, 20 minutes, half an hour, a full hour and two hours. I’m a little confused by the “doppia” – two times. I don’t think it makes good business sense. I’ve thought about it – if I were a guy and wanted a couple of hours, I would just pay for a “Doppia” and string things out…

3) I learnt how to play beach tennis. I use the term “learnt” loosely. I’ll never understand tennis. Why don’t the numbers go up properly? Stupid game (we lost).

IMG_20130818_044243

Exhibit C: Picture of the beach tennis…….

4) I had my first piadina which is an Italian delicacy but which tastes exactly the same as an Indian bread that I can’t remember the name of. Anyway, delicious and I had mine as a sort of “toastie” with tomato and mozzarella.

Camera 360

Exhibit D: Tasty tasty tasty

So let me tell you about my health insurance quest. Italians – you may want to look away now. I hold my hands up – at times I *may*  have given the impression that Italians are a bit workshy (admittedly this would have more weight coming from someone who had a job) what with their daily 4 – 5 hour supermarket lunch break closures, Sunday closures, random other day of the week closures and I-don’t-really-want-to-work-today unplanned closures. But Ferragosto really is something to behold – EVERYTHING IS SHUT! For at least two weeks!

So, I just want to take some time out to summarise my varied thoughts and feelings about Italy: The countryside looks like it’s been painted by a grand master, the sea is like a warm crystal clear bath of splendor, the villages are stunningly picturesque whilst being bathed in history and architectural delights, the wildlife never ceases to amaze me with its sheer variety, the food is heavenly (particularly the tomatoes)… but I just can’t hide it under layers of sarcasm any longer:  HOW DOES THIS COUNTRY FUNCTION?! I just want to buy health insurance! There are about 30 (a slight exaggeration maybe) insurance companies in the centre of Camerano – every single one is closed until the beginning of September. It is INSANE. I.N.S.A.N.E.  And, and, and…no, I’m going to stop. Launching into a string of suggestions about how the country I think I’m illegally squatting in, might improve their economy is rude. However, I shall be providing a short private thesis on this for my therapist.

I did actually make it to an insurance company in fact, a few minutes before they closed down. In short, I need health insurance to get the carta di residenza (which I need for a whole bunch of other things). But (deep breaths) it turns out I need a carta di residenza to get health insurance. I have no words…

Yesterday I went for a long walk in Monte Conero national park. Since my first walk here I’ve been determined to try and find a round trip as so far, my walks have been characterised by me walking for hours in one direction in the hope of finding a convincing looking return path, giving up and walking hours back the same way. But yesterday I found a circular path (still 5 hours!). My next task will be to try and find a circular path without a couple of kilometers teetering on the side of a busy road. The walk was lovely all the same – the countryside has completely changed in the last month or so: wheat fields have been ploughed, the sunflower fields are all dried up, the blackberries are out and I have never ever seen so many butterflies! Beautiful!

Camera 360

The white specs aren’t your eyes going…there’s a million butterflies in this photo…

For this week’s “what’s a bit odd” – see all of the above.

Not much else to report. I have new housemates – a family. I don’t think I can have made a very good impression – they lock their bedroom doors when they leave the apartment! I can’t believe they don’t trust me! (Thank goodness I made copies of their keys).

Right, onwards and upwards. Have a lovely week all!

xxx

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.