Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Eating Civitaveccia

 It's amazing how much of my time is spent doing exactly this.

My first port of call in Italy is Civitaveccia, the coastal port for Rome. It gets several cruise ships and ferries in every day, and thus, is loaded with tourist-friendly cafes and pizzerias.

I stopped here for 3 days as an R&R stop after pounding the pavement in Barcelona and chose a little hotel in the hinterland with nothing around it but hills, sky, ocean views and cows.

One of the great parts of Tenuta dell'Argento is it has a courtesy bus for trips into town. And as the restaurant was closed on monday (and I was out of fags) I chose to have a drive into town and a little look around.

The town is how you would imagine any cruise-port-tourist-trap, with expensive boutiques and 'THIS IS ITALIAN FOOD' cafes.

I chose to head off the main drag and found a small cafe with predominantly locals in. I ordered a 66cl Heinekin and a Pizza el Funghi con Bufala Mozzarella- A Mushroom pizza with extra buffalo Mozzerella.

For my first 'Italian' pizza, I was very impressed.  

 A stone-baked base. Plentiful with mushroom and very very tasty.

 This little devil lives around 50 m from me.

 The stables.

A very pleasant view.
The meat, raised just outside.
A wee carafe of vino and some aqua.


Tantula's Hors D'Oeuvre: including carpaccio (right), and the one on the left tasted like slow cooked, pulled beef- both were to die for. The carpaccio had the most beautiful pink peppercorns which exploded to the bite in a pleasant, not-at-all overbearing pepperiness which was so complimentary.

ALSO on the hors d'oeuvres (yes this was just a starter) was deep-fried beef meatballs, and two pastry covered beauties which were both different but both resembled the most wonderful little pasties. So yum.

I partially chose this hotel because I had read about the steak, and I asked the waiter for the best one they had. Here... is.. my 1 kg organically reared on-site T-Bone.

Served au naturele, apart from some olive oil and strangly enough a scattering of meat charrings- which tasted INCREDIBLE! I only added salt and pepper to witness its' true flavour.

It tasted so beautiful and natural and wholesome. It was utterly divine and needed nothing else.

Cooked to rare.

I actually surprised myself by finishing the whole lot.

Needless to say, I need a lie down after that, especially seeing I had promised myself dinner in this restaurant as well.

Starter: Caprese- tomato and mozzerella. It's amazing how perfect such a simple dish can be with nothing but 2 fresh ingredients, plus virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Drink- persecco.

Main: risotto el funghi. Beautifully cooked and seasoned with the most intense Porcini mushrooms throughout.

I really love when I develop a repertoire with a waiter as I had here. It had literally gotten to a point where he would ask what I wanted, and I would give him free reign to bring me wait he willed.

He certainly didn't fail in the dessert department.

Behold: Puff pastry with chantilly cream, pepper and fragrance.

As hardcore as it looks, it was surprisingly delicate, and surprisingly light. The puff pastry was lighter-than-air, the cream was velvety and sumptuous. Quite possibly one of the most beautiful desserts I have ever eaten.

I called my waited back for a digestif (as you could imagine), and it was the perfect finale to a perfect day of eating.

If this is my intro to Italian food, I can't wait for the rest of my adventures.

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