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Report 415: Foodies Trips to Italy 2000 - 2002

By Gavin Crawford from Australia, Summer 2002

Trip Description: Food and restaurant reviews and recipes collected over 21 weeks traveling in Italy in 2000 and 2002.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Amalfi Coast, Campania, Cinque Terre, Florence, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Piemonte, Rome, Tuscany, Umbria

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Vacation Rentals; Foodie Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 14: Grazing Across Italy

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Cheryl and I have enjoyed two trips to Italy. In 2000 we spent 15 weeks and in 2002 seven weeks. On both trips, we decided to only stay in accommodation with a kitchen where I could cook using produce we would buy in the local markets (vacation rentals).

We also decided to try to dine out (primarily long lunches) two to three times per week, and to collect as many Buon Ricordo plates as possible or that the airlines would allow in our carry on luggage. (Referred to as "plates" in this report.)

Our kitchens ranged from a wardrobe in our Rome apartment, with two electic elements, a frying pan and a saucepan, to fully fitted out kitchens at Rebecca's near Assisi, Carlo's in Florence and Mary's at Vellano. Cooking in most regions of Italy is based on the principles of fresh seasonal produce prepared and cooked simply, so basic kitchens offered the challenge to "keep it even simpler". Rebecca, Carlo and Mary's kitchens offered the opportunity to "practice" on the recipes I collected along the way.

The highlight in home cooking came in 2002 when Cheryl and I took over Carlo's kitchen and prepared dinner for the Nocontinis and Grillos. The Nocontinis offer the best apartment accommodation in the outer suburbs of Florence and the Grillos offer the absolutely best Alimentari in Italy. Eat their Pecorino Fresco and you won't be satisfied with pecorino fresco from anywhere else ... and Roberta's uncle's Parma proscuito cotto sliced on their 100 year old hand operated slicer (so that no heat is generated to taint the meat when slicing) ... you get the message ... I'm obsessive.

We enjoyed a long dinner late into the evening in the courtyard outside the kitchen. For the recipes, go to the Firenze pages.

Having previously buried our restaurant, pizzeria and caffe reviews and comments on produce and food in hundreds of pages of our online journal, with the recipes alphabetically at the end of our journal, I decided to extract them, edit and embellish and add recipes and organise by region.

Recipes that follow are based on the following:

PL - Pino Luongo (Barbara Raives & Angela Hederman), "A Tuscan in the Kitchen", Headline Book Publishing, London, 1988 LF - Leslie Forbes, "A Table in Tuscany", Webb&Bower, Michael Joseph, Exeter, 1985 RB - Belford et. al., "Lazy Days Out in Tuscany", Cadogan Gourmet Guides PG - Paola Gavin, "Italian Vegeterian Cookery", Little Brown and Co GC - Gavin Crawford, "Gavignano’s Italian Kitchen", Unpublishable, "Velano" in title signifies it was cooked at Vellano near Pescia. CC - Cheryl Crawford (also called Ches).

In some recipes, I follow Pino’s example and there are no quantities or precise times for cooking any dishes (except for the odd one where you could end up with a disaster without precise quantities and times, and the cooking time for pasta and risotto which is a "must"). Every dish is slightly different, according to the quantities of each ingredient used. Adjust them to suit your own taste.

Cooking time? If it's meat or seafood; check it occasionally. If it's vegetables; less than more. If it's a sauce; when its the right consistency.

Finally, there are a number of recipes that are uncredited. They are recipes that I went searching for once home. They were for dishes that we had while in Italy or most closely matched meals we had while in Italy.

We hope you enjoy dipping in.

Note from Pauline: This is a long (and wonderful) foodie trip report. Some pages may be slow downloading. The printer friendly version will probably generate too many pages for printing.

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