We cannot think of Italy without conjuring up images of large plates of steaming spaghetti, topped with parmigiana cheese, with bread, perhaps foccaccia or bruschetta. This was probably preceded by an antipasti of local olives, basil, tomatoes, olive oil and a glass of local wine. And the outdoor markets draw us into the fresh produce arranged like artwork from the finest painter–ripe peaches, plump grapes, red tomatoes and asparagus and artichokes to name just a few.
There are many reasons I have chosen Italy for this Italy Retreat for Women to live La Dolce Vita, but one of them is that the food, fragrances, art, culture and Italians themselves activate all our senses for the enhancement of pleasure. While we’ll be focused on creating happiness, we’ll be surrounded by it every moment on all levels. This environment and culture will easily jumpstart us to being able to live the sweet life “La dolce vita” in Italy and when we return to our homes.
The mountainside terraces are lined with ancient grapevines and olive trees cover the hillsides, so wine and oil are a delicious addition to every meal.
The cuisine of the Cinque Terre preserves the traditions of the past using fresh local ingredients. For example, troffie is a kind of pasta made from chestnut or wheat flour and is one of the more traditional pasta. I love growing basil in my own home garden and then making and freezing pesto. This fragrant food is an original Ligurian sauce made from basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, grated cheese, pine nuts, and marjoram. It’s an ambrosia!
Tagliatelle, a broad handmade pasta, is used with sauces that contain mushrooms, cabbage and potatoes, beans, chickpeas or sometimes pesto sauce.
The vegetable pies, prepared with a stuffing containing borage (borago officinalis) and other local herbs that grow profusely in the Cinque Terre also includes artichokes, swiss chard, zucchini, potatoes, and leeks combined with egg and ricotta cheese or with stale bread soaked in milk or béchamel sauce (depending on each family’s traditions), parmesan (parmigiana) cheese, Italian parsley, and marjoram.
Each region of Italy has its own specialty dishes made to please all the senses! For this we are grateful.
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