Tuesday, March 27, 2007

London Food - FB2B, part 49

Wow! I didn't expect such dramatic passion from my Italy photos. Seems that our adventures in eating might have inspired a few folks to make their vacation plans for la bellissima Italia.

I had bookended my trip with stop-overs in London. This enabled me to check out my former neighborhood and check out the scenery there. While the British Isles have never been considered a gastronome's paradise (or even pit-stop), each time I visit or have lived there, I've really been surprised at how far the food culture has moved. When I first lived there at the end of the 80's, it was pretty bleak.

The last time I resided in the UK, about ten years later, I was fortunate enough to live in Notting Hill (not the chi-chi part, but the more funky "hmm, that's an interesting smell" part). One of the hidden treasures of this neighborhood, in my opinion, is that it is filled with great shops and food stalls. There is such a range of tastes and ethnic flavors (in addition to smells) that I felt as though I'd fallen into a culinary wonderland.

Ah, I do sometimes miss hearing the Cockney vendors shouting at each other in the morning. Oy!

They have spices from everywhere. Kaffir lime leaves?
Yep, got them, too.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why are so many of the photos about food? - FB2B, part 48

Not exactly a direct quote, but about 3 people emailed me the same question about the photos I emailed around from my recent trip to Italy. I guess I didn't realize how focused I'd been on the edible delights of the places to which we went, but now flipping through my pictures, I can see that I didn't take any of the cities we visited.

I took a few days to escape the long work weeks I've been having recently (hence, why the blog has been a bit dormant) to travel to Europe. I flew to London and then on to Italy, where I got to explore a foodie heaven - Bologna - and to take a couple of day trips to Florence and Venice. As I'd written about last year on my trip to New Zealand, for me, one of the most interesting things about visiting other countries is to view cultures through a culinary lens.

Kicking off our trip, we flew into Marconi Airport in Bologna, landing amid the red rooftopped houses and green fields of Emilia Romagna. To break our fast from an airport lunch of sandwiches and crisps, we started off with a typical Italian pre-dinner snack of bubbly prosecco, meaty green olives, and warm tigelle stuffed with cheese and proscuitto:

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