It's been both an amazing and unbelievable year of tasty travels for me. Before we move into 2012, I'm sharing a few highlights from the year. Here are my picks for the "tastiest tales" of 2011 from Food Lover's Odyssey.
Chocolate and Pastries - You know I'm a firm believer in starting with desserts, so let's begin with the sweet stuff.
This year I attended two of the biggest chocolate festivals in Italy - CioccolaTo in Turin and Eurochocolate in Perugia. Along with tons of chocolate to sample at both festivals, the display of Italy and its monuments made out of chocolate at CioccolaTo and the views of the Umbrian valley from Eurochocolate's Spalm Beach and Piazza Italia stand out in my mind.
And even more chocolate, this time in Paris, Easter chocolates in Paris.
Again this year, I participated in World Nutella Day, making Nutella Love Cakes for the February celebration.
Carnival in Venice was truly magical and just writing about it makes me want to search airfares for Carnival 2012. Besides gawking over the costumes & posers in St. Mark's Square, I'm certain I consumed a year's worth of Carnival fritelle & thick hot chocolate. In between sweets, I also went on a fantastic food walk with Monica and ate my way through some of the best cicchetti bars in Venice.
Puglia - Another standout in a year of travel highlights was my trip to Puglia. I loved it so much, I actually made two trips this year. Pasta making with Nonna Vata, a special lunch for me at Cantine Menhir, the frantoio ipogeo (ancient underground olive mill) at Masseria L'Astore, cooking with Chef Paola, making and eating fresh cheese, dining on traditional regional dishes at Locanda Rivoli, and crashing a wedding were just a few of the many highlights from my culinary journey in Salento.
Napoli is a city I love as much as I love chocolate. I still remember how fat and happy I was after five days of Neapolitan pizza on my pizza lover's odysey. I met up again with fellow Napoli-philes, Bonnie & Steve from Napoli Unplugged. They took me to some of their favorite dining spots in Naples. Bonnie & I also attended a class on Genovese & other Neapolitan sauces at Citta del Gusto. Between all this food, I did do some walking, along Spaccanapoli & Naples' Historic Center, and driving riding, along the Amalfi Coast.
Rome - "una vita non basta." And if an entire lifetime isn't enough to discover the city, a few weeks is certainly not enough to eat my way through it. In that short time though, I was able to eat more pizza, pizza al taglio at Bonci's Pizzarium, take a food tour in Testaccio and sample one of the best carbonara's ever at Da Danilo. A walk in Rome at night and a day trip through the fountains at Villa d'Este helped me walk off some of those carbs. I'm hoping in 2012 to carve out enough room in my stomach for a month's worth of eating my way through the eternal city. All the artichokes I had during March in Rome, and elsewhere in Italy, inspired this Artichoke & Spinach ravioli recipe.
Paris - Besides all the aforementioned sweets in Paris, I did a little dining in the city that I once called home. L'Epicuriste was one of my most memorable meals of the year. Paris & its environs were the scene of two new series here on FLO, Food Lovers' Walks in Paris and the France Blogging Roundtable. For December's Roundtable blogging theme, I took an Autumn trip to Chateau Vaux le Vicomte.
Dining with a count in Lombardy - A combination of royalty & risotto definitely makes this year's tastiest tales highlight reel.
Christmas - I spent most of the Christmas holidays away this year, seeing the Christmas markets along the Danube River. While I was away, friends from around Italy and France stopped by to share Christmas treats & traditions from Rome, Venice, Naples, Salento & Provence. A huge thanks to them, and I so enjoyed the posts, I hope to see more like them next Christmas.
Here are a few things I'm looking forward to sharing with you in 2012:
- Cooking in Puglia - I'll be cooking in Puglia and am inviting you to join me!
- There will be even more recipes from my travels and a new series: Paris Pastry Stories
- So much more to share from my culinary travels, especially those in Provence, Paris - both the sweet & savory side, and Piedmont.
- Sunday's roundup, Italy on a Plate, will continue in 2012.
What are some of your tastiest tales from 2011? What would you like to see more of from Food Lover's Odyssey in 2012?