Wednesday, July 11, 2007

May 2007 - Taormina, Sicily - Flowers & Food

The two things we enjoyed most about our stay in Taormina was the presence of flowers everywhere and our roomy apartment with a top-of-the-line kitchen allowing us to cook Sicilian meals (Long Island style). The small city is immaculate and maintaining this landscaping requires a 24-hour crew. While this creates an artifical setting, intended for the enjoyment of cruise ship tourists which disembark everyday at 9 a.m. and reboard at 5 p.m., the flowers also create an amazingly lively, tropical atmosphere.

We could not get enough photos of the violet-colored bougainville which grew in monstrous porportions all over the walls of the city's buildings.

Here is a particularly red bougainville - the only one this color we saw in the entire city.

When we were not busy strolling about town taking pictures in front of the flowers, we were shopping for ingredients, meat from the butcher and fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables from local stands. We would bring back our daily finds to our kitchen stocked with German appliances and professional pots and pans. Then we would plan out a great meal. It is amazing how all of this travelling and eating out has made us yearn for home cooking.Here is Kenny making his famous sauce. When we were first dating he would invite me over for dinner and make fresh sauce served with chicken, ricotta and fusili. Needless to say he made a great impression on me with his culinary skills.
For awhile, he tried to keep the ingredients and technique a secret, but I am just too nosy for that. So I convinced him to teach me so I could cook for him.
This meal was a team effort, I made the meatballs and Kenny made the sauce. We topped it off with fresh ricotta and its a combo that can't be beat. Watch out Martorano - we're on your heals!Wow, all those meatballs will really put you in a food coma. We spent a lot of time relaxing at home and avoiding the pub crawling crowds that came out in the evening.

Not in the mood to cook one night, we discovered that the cafe in front of our apartment makes fresh pizza in a wood burning oven.
The thin, crispy crust is the best we have had in Italy. Who would have thought in a tourist town like Taormina?!?!Sitting out on our terrace and eating the leftovers for lunch may have been the best part.We had a great view of bustling little street below full of colorful buildings and local shops. We were fortunate that our apartment was not in the middle of a tourist area.We spent a lot of time out on our terrace which the owner had landscaped with small lemon trees and we watched the world go by. We were starting to feel a bit Sicilian in our curiosity over strangers walking by.
In the mood for a night out, we headed to the corner restaurant which had a beautiful trellised bougainville covering its patio. It was a great spot for some fresh fish and cold, white Sicilian wine. We selected the Principe di Corleone and found it so crisp and refreshing. We hope to find it again in America.
This kitty smelled our fish dished and came a beggin' . . . you know he picked the right table.

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