Monday, September 01, 2008

Italy, Day 8, 6/22/2008

  • breakfast: bread and jam
  • lunch: fusilli with pesto; turkey cutlets with tomato sauce; salad; strawberries with sugar and lemon
  • dinner: cured meat, cheese, marinated mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts; rosticini (grilled lamb skewers); cheese, roasted vegetables; cheesecake with strawberries, cheesecake with mosto cotto, tiramis├╣

We had lunch with Giovanna's family again. The turkey cutlets were coated with the thinnest layer of tomato sauce.

In the afternoon Fabrizio and his wife Maria got back from the U.S. Despite his jetlag, Fabrizio was full of manic energy and declared that he had to keep doing things or he'd fall asleep. So we all drove up to see the cave where Pope Celestine V--the only man to ever turn down the papacy--lived before he was pope. (After he was pope, he issued a papal decree declaring the pope's power to abdicate and then promptly abdicated, according to Wikipedia.) We also saw the house that was supposedly Ovid's.

Looking down on Sulmona

Next we drove back into town to go to a restaurant, but it turned out to be closed. So we drove to another restaurant--also closed--and then on to another and another. The problem? Italy was playing Spain in soccer, and since everyone would be home watching, almost no restaurants bothered to open. After an our of searching, we ended up at a place in the nearby town Raiano. (They stayed open because they had a television.) We had rosticini, little skewers of grilled lamb so thin that almost all of it was crisp and charred. Each skewer cost €0.50 and five of them made a good portion.

After dinner we went down the street to a bar specializing in rum, where we got cocktails and dessert. The cheesecakes were in the American style but a bit less dense than usual. One had an intense layer of strawberry gel, and the other had mosto cotto, grape must cooked down into a sweet, slightly bitter syrup. The crust tasted exactly like graham cracker crust, though it was actually traditional to the region and entirely homemade. Fabrizio, who makes his living as some sort of consultant on desserts--he used to own a gelateria--had a long conversation with the chef critiquing what we had eaten. I don't know what he said, but the desserts were good enough that it must have been hard to come up with any criticism.

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