Monday, 21 November 2011

The Love of Antipasti

Michelangelo’s, “The Creation of Adam”, inside the Sistine Chapel.
Next on our list of famous sights to see in Rome, was the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. We followed the masses of tourists who were also heading toward the Vatican and once we were there it was truly amazing. The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is probably the only thing we’ve seen that compares to the sight of the Vatican City. As we made our way inside the chapel, we decided to tackle the 551 steps to the top of the dome which over looks the square and Rome. When we reached the top, the sight was everything that we had hoped for. A 360 degree view over all of Rome. After taking many photos, we made our way back down and took a short walk around the Vatican City to the Sistine Chapel. We were excited about seeing the famous paintings by Michelangelo, and by far the most famous, “The Creation of Adam”. As we made our way through to the Sistine Chapel we were amazed at the size and volume of all the paintings, every inch of the chapel was painted to depict many famous moments in time. As we made our way through the crowd, we got to the centre of the chapel and looked straight up, and there, in the centre of the ceiling was the painting we’d all come to see. So after a busy afternoon, it was that time again, time to eat and have a cocktail. After having lots of pizza and pasta on our first day, we were keen to explore some other Italian food, particularly antipasti.

Aside from the amazing pizza and pasta that there is to eat in Italy, it’s important not to forget about the other classic Italian dish, Antipasti. Usually before any meal, it’s normal to order a selection of cold meats, olives and cheese. When Cara and I went out to eat, we were sometimes served these dishes without even ordering them, free of charge. Prosciutto is by far the most popular of the cold meats featured on a standard antipasti dish. Prosciutto is the ham of either a pig or wild boar. It usually comes from the thigh or the hind leg of the animal. The meat is finely cut, cleaned and well salted, then left to age for a time ranging from 9 months to 2 years. The result is a delicious, soft, salty and chewy meat which falls apart and melts in your mouth.  Along with the cold meats, often come a selection of olives, cheeses and lots of bread. Every meal we ate we nearly lost our appetites due to the amount of antipasti dishes served before the main meal.  After our busy day, I was keen for a nice refreshing beer to go with our antipasti. I decided to order one of the beer cocktails that were on offer. The “Peach Lager” was a beer cocktail which consisted of fresh peach puree, peach schnapps and cointreau and topped up with Peroni. Peroni lager is by far the most popular beer in Italy. This beer concoction was sweet and refreshing. The puree made the drink quite heavy in texture, but it was still a definite thirst quencher after another long day exploring Rome.

“Peach Lager Beer Cocktail”
In a pint glass:
30ml Peach Schnapps
15ml Cointreau
45ml Peach puree
Topped with Lager

Sunday, 20 November 2011

When in Rome

The time has come for Cara and I to take another European adventure and visit a place that we’ve been excited about visiting since we left Australia... Italy. So we jumped aboard a short flight from London and made our way to Rome. We flew over the amazing Swiss Alps and a couple of hours later we were in sunny, warm Italy. What excited us the most about travelling to Italy, was the food. We are both lovers of Italian food and we were keen to get stuck into plenty of pizza and pasta.

Our first day in Rome was jam packed. We hit the streets early and had a long list of sights to see for the day. The Colosseum was first on the list. A place famous for not only it’s amazing structure, but also it's gruelling gladiator battles which took place during the first century AD. After a couple of hours of exploring and learning about this ancient Italian icon, we hit a local pizzeria, for a good old fashion Italian pizza. After a pizza and prosecco, we continued on our way and made our way to Trevi fountain. A popular tourist destination, Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. Standing 26 metres high and 20 metres wide, the fountain is a stunning structure. Built during the 15th century, It was seen as a source of pure water to the Romans. Today, It’s a place where people (mainly visitors) make a wish by tossing a coin into the pond. After a short walk from the fountain, we found ourselves standing at the Pantheon. Built as a temple to worship the gods, The Pantheon is another tourist hot-spot. Cara and I found ourselves just staring in amazement at these ancient buildings and places. So, after a busy day, we needed a cocktail.  Whilst looking at the Pantheon, we spotted and small cocktail bar which looked perfect for us to have a drink and reflect on an amazing first day in Rome.

Being in Italy, we had to order traditional Italian cocktails, and not many drinks are more Italian than the Bellini and the Rossini. I’ve mentioned the Rossini before when we visited Tower 42 in London. These two drinks consist of peach puree and prosecco for the Bellini and strawberry puree’ and prosecco for the Rossini.  The Bellini came first and was invented sometime between 1934 and 1948. The Rossini was a variation of the original Bellini. When our drinks arrived, they did not disappoint. Fresh fruit puree, topped up with authentic Italian prosecco. We sat back and enjoyed the sight of the Pantheon and set out our plan for the next day. We made our way back to our hotel amazed at all the things we had managed to do in our first day, and we were excited about what the rest of the week had in store.

- Fresh Peach Puree
- Topped up with Prosecco

- Fresh Strawberry Puree
- Topped up with Prosecco