Saturday, November 2, 2013

Buon Appetito!!

Corinaldo Halloween Festival
Plate after plate of delicious seafood arrived at our table at Gazebo, a restaurant halfway between Pesaro and Fano. "Basta basta" (enough enough) I sighed after an exquisite multi-course meal made up of all types of seafood.  The meal David, Fiona, Paul and I shared Wednesday started with  a variety of cold salads, such as calamari, and sole with tomato sauce.  This was followed by a polenta dish whose rich creaminess was interspersed with tender mussels and clams, after which came a mussel, clam and shrimp risotto that while salty was flavorful and satisfying.  However the feast continued. An abundance of fried calamari, shrimp, anchovies and trilla arrived and although we were stuffed we just couldn't resist the lightly fried and crispy morsels.  All of which was topped off with a lovely, refreshing lemon sorbet and an assortment of sweets.  This was my first experience with seafood in Italy and I sincerely hope it won't be my last.

Thursday was Halloween!  Halloween has only recently become a holiday in Italy and as such is not as widely celebrated.  However since I am here only a short time I feel I must take advantage of all opportunities, so I convinced David and Fiona to drive about an hour away to Corinaldo where a huge village Halloween festival was taking place.  It appeared as though the entire historic city center had been transformed into a giant party.  Witches, and zombies wandered down the streets and into niches that had been transformed into bars and clubs.  We danced the night away and ended the night with a literal bang at the fireworks show finale.

My week of gastronomic deliciousness continued yesterday afternoon when David and Fiona invited me over for lunch at their home.  There I was served fresh cavatelli pasta made by David's grandmother, in a sauce created with homegrown tomatoes and mutton from a friend's sheep.  This delicious meal was served with two types of wine both of which were made by David and Fiona's fathers and were accompanied by homegrown melons for dessert.  I was speechless at the difference between homemade and locally produced food and that which you buy at the supermarket. Following this entirely too satiating meal, David and Paul showed me around the fire station where they work and where I learned all the tools of the trade.  It takes a lot of skill and knowledge to be a fireman!
Scala (ladder) truck

Friday night arrived and it was time for me to have my first clubbing experience in Pesaro.  Most of the clubs in Pesaro are located in Baia Flaminia, and my group of friends was headed to the Factory Lab.  We didn't make it to Baia Flaminia until 12:30am, and when we arrived at the Factory Lab it was still devoid of people.  However after meandering around and stopping at Gusto down the street for about an hour, we returned and it was packed!  Unlike in the U.S., clubs don't close down at 2am so we rocked out to old school American music until 3:30am before heading home to sleep.  I don't think little old me can keep up with all these late nights!

All of us in San Mauro Pascoli
Today Elena, her friend Franci and I traveled to Rimini about 30 minutes from Pesaro where we met another couchsurfer Frank and his friend Dan.  Before catching the train, Elena took me on my first vespa ride.  It was exhilarating feeling the wind in my face as we raced down the street! Frank and Dan were absolute gentlemen and took us out for gelato, aperitivos and pizza as well as showed us around the city center.  In one of the central piazzas we saw a fountain with an inscription written by Leonardo da Vinci and some of the ancient buried ruins.  Rimini is also surrounded by astoundingly beautiful hillsides and rolling valleys that are incredibly peaceful, and we took a brief respite at the monastery of San Francesco where San Francesco himself planted a tree in 1213; after which we continued on to San Mauro Pascoli where Frank fed us something called a jujubee.  Dan and I could just see the headlines: three Italians and one American tourist end up dead from some random fruit taken from a tree.  It tasted familiar but I can't place anything like it in the U.S.  I also tried roasted chestnuts for the first time; it is surprising they aren't more common considering we have a Christmas song featuring them ("chestnuts roasting over an open fire").

Anyway it was a delicious week which will continue tomorrow when David, Fiona and I return the mill for a wonderful homemade lunch made by Phillipo!
Adventures in Rimini

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