Overdue Updates

Once friends joined the group it is harder to find the time in the evening to blog, but we are in Miaori on the Costeria Amalfitana and have settled down a bit. Have a gorgeous view of the sea and the church, and yesterday was the Patron Saint’s day. Madonna di Mare. Mary of the Sea. Lots of small seaside communities have shrines to Mary for protection of the fisherman. It was a unique and wonderful opportunity to see a local festival without a cabillion tourists. Fireworks at 5 AM, followed by music from a 20 piece marching band.

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No pix yet from that experience, but these are the vegetable buffet from Bari with 4 types of mozzarella tons of veg and then my frutti di mare pasta dish. It was delightful.

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Now THOSE are the Tete di Monache (breasts of nuns) Historically they have been covered in a thin fondant and have a glazed cherry  on top – leaving nothing to the imagination. However, the glaze and cherries seem to be slowly disappearing and these, in a more naked form, usually with powdered sugar are seen more often.  I had a fantastic variation of this, now called Sospiro (a sigh) in Soverato. They had filling of cafe, pistachio, lemon cream,and hazelnut.

Picked up the friends in Rome,  nothing is easy, dropped off my car and all the STUFF I had already accumulated for tasting, and wandered for 1.5 hours trying to find them. Eventually we connected, got our bigger car and headed for Naples.

It takes courage for most Americans to go to Naples, guide books used to warn people away, but I love it there. It feels like NYC in the 60’s before Guiliani cleaned things up and the horn honking is just like back home.  You have to have bravado to cross the street and driving in town is an experience.  BUT, our hotel was a few blocks from the piazza Garibaldi and I just said to my companions, take a breath, relax and sit back. We managed just fine, found our place with Good ol Carmen the Garmin and had a lovely room, with the worst breakfast ever. We just went to a pasticceria down the street and had the best sfogliatelle I ever ate.  The place was 60 years old and everything they make is excellent, we know because we tried quite a few things  🙂  Hmmm, I am not taking enough pictures apparently because I have none of those fab pastries.

When we left the Museo we had to cross a very busy little street packed full with tiny cars all 6 inches apart and moving and honking, with the requisite motorcycles darting everywhere, passing on the left, on the right and at any moment. We were in front of a crosswalk so I knew we could cross at will, but my compatriots were a little hesitant. I took a step into the street and looked back to Margaret who had a wide-eyed look of apprehension but was following closely, a few steps into the crossing and you could see that the cars would stop for you. Felt a little like Moses parting the waters – MGM style.

We did the bright spots of Naples in a day and a half, including the Cafe Gambrinus, a lovely relic of the times when Naples was the last top on the Grand Tour of Europe and the literati gathered there to argue the finer points of life. It is beautiful, gracious and grand. I finally had a nocerino, which is hazelnut cream, coffee and sugar. It was a glass of dessert. Wonderful. I usually park myself at the stand up bar and watch the maestro at work pouring fast coffees from 4 or 5 hand pulled machines typical of Naples. It is a show for only the price of the coffee.

Via Georgio Amedeo, the street that sells nothing but figures for your Presepi – or nativity scene, did some shopping and headed out of town.

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