Last weekend a few of my classmates and I rented a car to tear over hell’s half acre. We started on Saturday with a drive into Liguria up and down mountain roads, to the seaside, and an interior ‘island’ for eel and trout…this is one of the restaurants I went to in Liguria, called La Brinca. You think that means ‘on the brink’? It was nicely perched on a cliff overlooking a terraced green valley. And the food was pretty good, too! Here’s a photo album of the trip, complete with captions at the bottom of each photo.
After the restaurant there were more winding roads to negotiate until we got to the autostrada. This was the first time I drove a car in 4 months, and I thoroughly enjoyed being behind the wheel, both in the mountains, on the highway and right in the city. The city was Genova, where we made a whirlwind visit. Let me tell you, it’s kind of weird to see your last name plastered all over the place!
There was a very impressive duomo in Genova, but of course as foodies we were even more excited to find an artisanal food market just around the corner. It was loaded with little stalls selling cheese, cured meats and sausages, olives, honey, olive oil and on and on. I picked up a great selection of olives, including some pickled garlic that was the most mild I have ever tasted…don’t know how they do it! The other great find was a pork sausage laced with truffle. Should have bought two of them! Some of the cheeses looked pretty sketchy, actually. There were so old they didn’t even look edible, but obviously these cheeses had certain qualities appreciated by certain cheese lovers. Because we became just a little hungry after our explorations we stopped at a very typical restaurant and enjoyed dishes of marinated mussels, calamari and fritto misto, a mixed ‘fry-up’ of battered shrimp, squid and small fish. Wasn’t that great but hit the spot. We drove all the way back to Parma and Colorno.
On Sunday we went to a little town called Isola Dovarese, not far from Colorno, about halfway in between Cremona and Mantova. The restaurant was called La Crepa. It’s called Isola, or island, because of the river that surrounds it on three sides. We were surprised to find fish on the menu, so we had the fish antipasti, which consisted of marinated eel, as well as warm trout with polenta. I also enjoyed a rabbit ragu on top of thick but tender squares of pasta.
Then we went on to Mantova, one of the most significant religious towns in this region. Why? Because St. Andrew’s Basilica was built to house relics, vials containing earth soaked with the blood of Christ that were reportedly brought to Mantova by the soldier who pierced the side of Christ on the cross.
On the food side we tried some tangy yet sweet mostarda made of clementine oranges so I bought some to serve with cheese and other goodies, I’ll have a photo of that later, but here are more pictures of La Crepa and Mantova in the photo album.