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Rhode Island, United States

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Calabrese Paradise

I'm back at the Derada center, after another wonderful day and a half here in Calabria! I can't even describe how amazing it is here. I feel more and more at home every day, it's only been three days and I already know a month won't be enough. I won't want to leave!

Yesterday after we left the Derada center, we went back to the apartment to relax for a bit, I read some, and had a snack- I had a luna bar, and Danielle was eating some bread and nutella, so I decided to put a bit of nutella on my luna bar for a little italian treat! I also had a small cup of real blood orange juice- I told you I can't get enough!

After our siesta, we went back to the center for orientation, and to take a tour of the town. On our tour, we stopped at the Fruttivendolo, and picked up some fruit- here's a pic of my friend Carolyn outside, we shared this banana on the walk!

Dinner was indescribable. One of the best meals of my life. I ate SO much, I was incredibly stuffed afterwards, but honestly I did not care- it was absolutely worth it in every way. We started with some of the best spaghetti in a pomodoro sauce with basil, and we each put a few little pieces of hot pepper on it for a little kick! It definately made the dish even better!

The secondo piatto for me was a big plate of the most delicious potatoes I have ever eaten. They were soft, but slightly crispy around the edges- I'm guessing boiled, and then lightly sauteed in olive oil. I tasted oregano, thyme and pepper- delicioso! I shared this portion with my friend, I probably ate half. There was also some caprese salad (mozzarella and tomato in olive oil) on the table, that I had a bit of as well.

The third course was a special the chef prepared for me because I'm a vegetarian (everyone else had vitello- veal), a panino with arugula and fontina cheese. Incredible, again- but I was so stuffed at this point I only ate 1/3 of it.

Dessert was a special surprise- peaches (I ate 1/2 of one), and pineapple- with sparkling champagne, as a welcome gift! The champagne was IN the shell of the pineapple, and there were sparklers on it when it came to the table! I had a few pieces of pineapple as well.

Just when I thought I couldn't fit another bite in my mouth, they brought out the cake! They made us a special welcome cake, and I had decided to have just a bite... but after taking that one bite, there was no going back. I've never tasted a cake like that before. Spongey cake, hazelnut chocolate mousse, a lime creme top. Nothing better.

We were stuffed to the brim, so we sat around and talked for a bit before deciding to head home and pop open our bottle of wine to celebrate our first Saturday night in Italy!
Just as we popped open the wine, we had a knock on our door- it was Luigi, our neighbor Nella's son- welcoming us to Italia, with a BOTTLE OF WHITE WINE! And some fresh figs! I had 2, they were so sweet and delicious! We had already poured our other glasses, so we each ended up having a glass of both red and white wine to celebrate! I'm lucky alcohol doesn't have a strong effect on me, but I definately fell asleep easy! We hung around for hours and hours with Luigi and his friend Orlando, talking and laughing in Italian and English, sharing tastes in music and talking about beautiful Italia. It was truly wonderful!

This morning I got up to go for a run with Carolyn, but it proved to be a little hard in the very hilly area we were in. We ran for just about 10 minutes, before hiking back up three floors into our apartment, where I did some strength training before sitting down and having a peach while waiting for everyone else to awaken. The peach was the BEST peach I have ever eaten in my entire life, hands down. Juicy, succulent and pure- the taste was sweet in every way, I now truly believe you have never tasted a peach until you have one fresh from a tree in Calabria!

A couple hours later everyone was ready for breakfast, so we headed to the other breakfast option, hoping for something more filing for breakfast- but we found out pastries were basically the only option here for breakfast. So I ended up drinking 3/4 of another cappuccino, and having a berry filled croissant. As delicious as croissants are, honestly I'd rather have them for dessert. I'd definately prefer a more hearty, healthy breakfast!

So, after breakfast we took another trip to the fruittivendolo for some produce- romaine, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, bananas, apricots, white plums and apples. Then we hit the Supermercato, where we picked up some yogurt to go with the muesli, some fresh talleggio cheese and some other items for the apartment.

We headed back to the apartment to hang out again, It's sunday so we don't have anything specific going on during the day- I had a white plum when I got back to the apartment, and wrote a little in my journal, and had a good converasation with the girls downstairs. After they left we made some lunch- big salads with our fresh produce, drizzled with olive oil we had baasil soaking in, and fresh bread with taleggio! I also had one more small pieces of bread (not pictured) drizzled in olive oil. Danielle, Carolyn and I sat around and talked for a couple hours, laughing and loving the moment. We had bananas before we headed up to the center, and here I am- happily blogging before our next big Calabrian adventure!

I hope everyone is having as wonderful a summer as I have been having! Ciao for now!

**The rest of the pics will be posted soon, the laptop is being slow!**


mad about udon said...

Wow! I'm so ridiculously jealous of all that wonderfully authentic food! Enjoy your adventures, I can't wait to see more pics.

Italian Woman said...

I'm jealous too, especially the pasta. It never tastes as good in another country!