Who is this guest-blogger any way? Well as Anne has already told you my name is Lena. I have known Anne for almost two years know and we have become really good friends, we have quite a lot in common, we both live with computer-loving guys, we both love cats (Anne actually sold me my first cat, that is how we met) and as you might have guessed (since this is a food blogg..) we both love food. I especially like to eat food, but also to cook if I have the time and good recipes. In any case I am not as advanced or as good as Anne at cooking so what I will share with you is some of my eating experiences from my summer vacation in Italy. We had the best vacation in the small village of Celle sul Rigo in Tuscany, we were staying at the hotel Il Poggio and in our reservation it was included half board so all our dinners over the week we had in the hotel restaurant. When we arrived we were not sure what to expect from this half board, so the first evening we were really delighted to learn that it was a full Italian gourmet dinner waiting for us. For those of you who are strangers to the ways of how Italians eat dinner, I can tell you that they eat well and give large servings. A traditional Italian dinner has four courses, first comes the antipasto which typically can be some cold cut meat and cheese or an omelet. Second there is the primo which is normally pasta and after that comes the main course, the segundo, which can be veal, chicken or fish together with vegetables, potatoes or rice. Last is the dessert, a sweet pie or ice cream.
The antipasto of our first dinner at Il Poggio was a selection of cured meat and salami from the farm that is a part of Il Poggio, therefore I took a picture of this nice dish as a way to remember what to buy to bring with me when we go home. But when the next dish was served, I just had to take a picture of that one too, and after that I was caught up in the food picture taking so... I ended up with pictures of all our courses (except for one antipasto when I was too hungry and took a big bit before remembering the camera) and wines for the whole week.
Well well... back to the dish that caught my eye, it was a generous serving of small bit size gnocchi covered in a rocket salad sauce and fresh tomatoes. The sauce, which I can best describe as a pesto but with rocket salad instead of the basil and a generous amount of ricotta cheese instead of the nuts, had the most beautiful light green color that made a really nice contrast to the bright red tomatoes lying on top. So did it taste good? Oh yes! It had a fresh taste of rocket salad a soft touch of garlic and a very distinct flavor of the most wonderful olive oil (the Il Poggio olive oil is one thing I brought home with me several bottles of, it is the best one I ever tasted) on top of that came the taste of ricotta which was also mixed into the sauce and the sweetness of the tomatoes that also served as the garnish. The bit size gnocchi was just perfectly cooked, not too hard and not to soggy, soggy over cooked gnocchi is too common in “Swedish-Italian” restaurants and not something I like. So to summarize it was good really good!
Oups, this contribution to the blogg got a whole lot longer than I planned, sorry for that. To my defence I can say that this is my first blogg entry (ever) so please have patience I will try to be more to the point. So to finish of I will tell you about the last course of this our first Italian dinner. It was an almond cake with raspberry jam and raspberry sauce. The cake had a nice crust with a soft taste of almonds and a touch of vanilla, inside the cake was a sweet tasty raspberry jam. The best part of this desert was definetly the raspberry sauce it had the most beautiful intense ruby red color and a strong but not that sweet raspberry taste, in fact the taste was so strong I do not want to think about how long the chef had worked to reduce the fresh mashed berries in to this heavenly sauce.