Hi everyone, I know that I’ ve been absent for a while but now I’m back with a new chapter of my blog. It is about my food travel experience. Lately I travelled to Alicante, in Spain; Helsinki in Finland and my hometown Ravenna,in Italy.
I’ve been to Alicante with my now ex partner for an end of the year holiday and we were both excited for the famous paella. We all know how a paella is cooked: rice with spices,fish or meat and vegetables. But….the one that we had was horrible,very disgusting and he had food poisoning from an uncleaned prawn. During our holiday we visited the city food market and it was amazing, full of uncredible products and the fish looked so good that we only expected the best from the paella but, OMG, what a disappointment!!
All the food that we had was incredibly good,starting from the salad and the pork chops to the “choose your own fresh fish and we’ll cook it for you” experience. I have to say that the last one was something new for me and it has been very interesting and full of local people…we should have understood something from that but sometimes we are stubborn. Apart from the paella,the defining plate of the spanish culture in the world, my food experience of Alicante has been good and I’ve still got a nice memory of everything.
Helsinki Helsinki, a dream became true!! I’ve dreamed to go to Helsinki for such a long time, 20 years to say the truth! But finally I’ve been able to go at the end of the last May. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of food because I’ve read something about it and everything seemed so expensive, especially the real authentic finnish food.
I’ve booked a cruise between the isles in the Helsinki’s archipelago with lunch included and I was excited by the experience, I was curios about the view and,obviously, the food. For a taste and an initial idea I went to the fish market near the shore and I had a starter made of salmon and soft cheese that tasted delicious and went very well with a nice glass of white wine.
In the picture above there is an example of local food, rye bread filled with sardines. It is very local and it can be eaten as a proper street food. But the variety of choice is incredible,especially the fish.
And what really hit me was the size of the meringues and the other cakes,they were huge and looking absolutely delicious. I wanted to eat them all, it was like heaven for me!
At the end we opted for a nice cup of coffe, a cake and a box of massive raspberries from the market outside. Everything was good,very good and also the weather helped me to enjoy the full experience.
On board of the boat there was a buffet filled of plenty of local specialities like fish, pork, charcouterie,vegetables and sauces. I had an amazing pork loin with a peppercorn sauce and boiled vegetables with a raspberries sauce. Honestly,it was so good that I had to go for a second ride with roasted ham,sauce and every kind of bread.
Everything was good and really enjoyable. The quality of the food and the attention to the details really surprised me. On my finnish trip I’ve visited my friend’s family at their cottage on the lake and they cooked for me one of the best hamburger that I’ve ever had in my life. The dedication that they put in cooking it really made me understand how they are proud of themselves. I really loved Helsinky but I’ve been completely blew away from Porvoo, the most ancient town in Finland. The streets and the small little coloured houses fascinated me and the way they revamped everything building restaurants and terraces all along the river is brilliant. Me and my friend had a lunch on one of the terraces and it was so good, a good way to show that finnish people can cook really everything, from meat to fish. The fish that I had in Porvoo is still vivid in my memory as unbelievably good.
I had an amazing experience of Finland and the Finnish people. They know how to cook, they welcome you like a member of their families, they are funny and loyal with a great sense of the nature. They really love to live their country in every aspect and I respect them for this. They live in anamazing country and I’m feeling a bit jelous… Definitely I’m going back!!! There are so many things that I haven’t see and so much food that I haven’t taste.
Ravenna Ah Ravenna, Ravenna!! My lovely hometown. Ravenna the historic, 3 times capital in 3 different empires. Ravenna the proudest, you can feel it in her people, proud of what they are and their roots. Proud of their 8 monuments in the Unesco list. Ravenna and the beach, the pineta and the long nights in the nightclubs and discos. Ravenna the cook, so many fell in love with our food starting from the piadina, our unique streetfood, and arriving to the cappelletti, cheese raviolis in the shape of an hat.
I went home to visit my family and it is always good to taste that familiar food that tells you to relax because now you are at home. It is what here in Great Britain people call comfort food. Our comfort food is a dish of mamma’s cappelletti, the ragu’, salami and prosciutti, the piadina…our typical “flatbread” that always put us in a fight with Rimini, our neighbour…it has to be thick or thin?! I honestly prefer the original from my hometown, thick!! It is the way how I always had it and I will always have.
Everytime I go home I can smell the food in the air, in the long streets of the city centre the food is everywhere, you can find it around every corner, in a restaurant or a taverna or a kiosk selling streetfood. What you won’t find here is the massive presence of ethnic restaurants, we are too proud of our cuisine to open at the world. Someone could call us stubborn and arrogant, and I reckon that in a way it is true, but I call it pride and heritage. My mum teach me how to cook in the same way her mum did with her, it is something that runs in the family… That secret recipe that will always be better than everyone else’s.
But if you don’t live in Ravenna or you don’t have any family there you can still have that feeling that we, ravennati, have everytime we sit around a table. There’s a relatively new restaurant right in the city centre called I Passatelli that cooks and presents the traditional food that made this small pearl of a town big. Here I rediscovered things that only my granny cooked and that taste,smell and pleasure that I thought lost forever. Even the building itself is part of the story of this incredible town because it has beem made from an old cinema and I still remember going there when I was a kid watching movies and loose myself in the story. Now I can still go there and loose myself in the food, the pleasure of sharing it with friends and family. But Ravenna is not only I Passatelli, there are other places like the more sophisticated Il Cappello or all the bars in Piazza del Popolo with their aperitifs and light meals
Ravenna is not only food, I know that. Ravenna is S. Vitale, il Mausoleo di Galla Placidia e quello di Teodorico, churces and basilicas, the mosaics that made the town a famous in the world and still make it… and then, then there is the sea, my sea. The sea that it is inside me, it runs through my veins and that comes with me wherever I go.. I honestly couldn’t live too far away from the sea and that’s why I’m here in Edinburgh, because in half an hour I can be on the beach and smell that odour, that smell, it is a different one, colder, but if I close my eyes I can listen to the waves and feel like at home, my home…. my Ravenna