What a pleasure it was to return to the small town of Atina nestled in the mountains between Rome and Naples.
In between meetings last week, I took a day off to visit my friend Bruno in Atina, a town of about 4,000 in central Italy. Bruno grew up there before emigrating to the USA as a teenager and eventually becoming a very successful salon owner. Each year he returns in the spring and summer to his hometown. My trip happened to coincide with his.
The highlight of the trip, as it always is, was superb dining. The day starts with a cappuccino and croissant about 10:00 AM, but the culinary feast really picks up with lunch at about 1:00 PM. We ate at a beautiful little restaurant called Le Cannardizie.
Lunch included a delicious pasta with truffles followed by roasted lamb. A little olive oil, a little parsley, a little butter…what more is needed? It was a perfect lunch that ended with a strong espresso and a slice of “thousand layer cake” from a local bakery (it was actually a birthday lunch).
After a pennichella (afternoon nap) and some work, we headed to a seafood restaurant at about 9:00 PM.
As we entered, we saw the food that awaited us: all the seafood was still alive.
If you read me regularly, you know I love fish, but other seafood items…not so much, especially raw. But look what arrived for the first course:
I smiled. This is the year to eat everything put before me. So I did. All of it. And you know something? I liked it. Honestly, I liked it. I still don’t think It is ever something I would order alone, but I was happy to sample it.
Oh, that was just the first course.
There was more:
More, more, more…
And fruit for good measure:
I would have been happy with just the seafood ravioli followed by fish, but tonight was the night to exceed the comfort zone. In case you are wondering, all this food was for four people.
Back at Bruno’s house, I tried to nap before my pre-dawn departure to Rome. I was stuffed, but contented. It had been another great trip to Atina.
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