Spring in Italy
I recently returned from my annual spring trip to Italy. Every time I go back, I discover something new, partially because it’s virtually impossible to sample everything in one trip, but also because there are seasonal foods available in different regions. If you travel around the country, you’ll always be sure to come across fresh vegetable dishes prepared in a manner the local populations are accustomed to.
This trip I traveled with a friend and our two middle school aged sons. We went to Lucca with my sister-in-law Daniela and decided to ride our bikes along the great medieval wall that surrounds the city and then to have lunch in one of the local family-run restaurants called a hosteria. In Italy you have ristoranti, trattorias, and hosterias. Historically, each type of eatery has a different purpose and level of formality and therefore offer menu selections that are unique from each other. The place we chose had a limited menu in the sense that not everything you might get in a typical Italian restaurant was available, but the choices were many and each sounded better than the next.
We all selected different dishes so we could sample as much of the available vegetarian fare as possible. Our favorite that day, was a plate of raw baby artichokes, small and tender, sliced very thinly and topped simply with a little salt, olive oil, and shavings of pecorino cheese.
It was a memorable day all around and it just doesn’t get better than that.