Thursday, October 21, 2010

hira: apertivo culture and fine piemonte dining

current location: pane amore, via madama cristina. with sarah. (friendly owners, the best chocolate muffins, and wireless. soothingly familiar feelings.)

there is a beautiful thing about food in italia--it is everywhere. but unlike the states, it's hard to find food that is produced in mass quantities, yet retains quality and taste. affordable yet classy. traditional yet diverse. enter: the apertivo. brilliant, really, and quite a social endeavor: in addition to eating and drinking for a mere fraction of the normal cost, you also mingle with italians, americans, and other europeans. perhaps a more hira-esque alternative then multiple, consecutive nights at the same pub (ahem, murphy's.)

this week, we decided to try a new apertivo at la drogheria, in piazza vittorio venetto--the piazza that is booming in the evenings, twinkling with white lights, and provides breathtaking views over the bridge and river. a simple 5 or 6 euros will buy you a drink of choice, and unlimited access to the apertivos set out--la drogheria had grilled zucchini and eggplant, tomatos, polenta with a selection of sauces, pastas, foccacie, frittate, mele con canella (apples with cinnamon), couscous, and baskets of bread with various oils and balsamics.

cafes and small ristorante hold apertivos nightly, drawing in a number of people who love food and love to mingle. ergo, it's difficult to whip out the camera and snap photos while simultaneously balancing a glass and plate and smiling at the stranger talking to you. also, the lighting is less than stellar. i do what i can.

a beautiful night-view of piazza vittorio veneto

the road down to the bridge and river

drinks, couscous, apples and frittata

when we are not apertivo-hopping, my usual ragazze (amiche) and i are taking restaurant recommendations from the amazing daniele (i say this in hopes that he will read this...) and venturing out to try new foods. this time, we decided to celebrate at a piemonte ristorante called scannabue--located under a beautiful church at the corner of via baretti and via saluzzo. dining outside with torches of fire to provide warmth, we were first served the ultimate bread basket. i like options. this basket gave us 4 choices. next, aqua naturale and .5 litres each vino bianco and vino rosso. the owner came to greet us, and explain some items on the menu--upon his recommendation, i chose the 'guancia'--deer cheek. tipico piemonte. very soft and succulent.
getting warm--sitting outside because it was too crowded indoors!

clearly not skimping on the chocolate here...

celebrating. (hahahah)

and when i'm not eating or hiking, i am teaching this little one her english verbs. don't tell her nonna that we really spend the majority of our time simultaneously playing hangman and listening to shakira on my ipod (elisabette is a big fan).

this week: i was doing well by cooking at home and buying fresh fruits and vegetables--well, in the past week, i have eaten out too much. so this week, i am instituting clean week, italy. this includes 5 visits to the new gym i just joined (mostly because it is closed on the weekend) and cooking at home every day this week for dinner. i'm craving a detox.

obsessions: truffles. chocolate muffins at pane amore, dark-toned paisley scarves, latinos, bicerin, the return of the headband, carelessness.

currently thinking about: settlements. new ones. the ongoing struggle for justice.

i think of you often, dear. remembering the long summer days. love that you are reflecting back on the mountain and bringing it along with you. reminding me to reassess.

our story is not over.

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