Our first full day in Italy has just ended, and I’ve taken over 100 food photos already. There has already been a lot to digest here, to say the least.
Let’s give you a taste of last night’s dinner at Trattoria del Rosso. After sitting down in the private dining area at a table made for our large group, I knew this meal was going to be fantastic. The wait staff was energetic and responsive, injecting the room and myself with a sense of eager anticipation of the meal to come - the first real meal after coming off of a travel day with too little rest and too much airplane food.
First, a dish of cold cuts was served that included ham, salomi, and mortadella. These cuts were crisp. The aromas wafted over the checkerboard table-clothed tables. The very thin cuts were sliced with precision to give these edible artifacts a fluffy texture. The best way I can describe the taste is smooth. The different spices and various components in each different cut were truly interwoven to produce one delicious experience. Bellissimo! The meats lacked a lot of the grease and chewiness you will find in typical cold cuts in America. The flavors were so smooth that no one particular component of the flavor poked you - such as saltiness or spiciness. I won’t have enough time to talk about the dynamic flavors of the tortellini ragu and the blissful coolness of the tiramisu. . .
For your second course, you’ll get a slice of our visit to FICO Eataly World. To begin with, how cool is it that this the largest food park in the world? I didn’t even know food parks were a thing. And it recently opened up in November 2017! Learning about the many ham curing processes, making pizza, watching cheese ferment, and eating plenty of meals are some of the many different things you can do. You can also play beach volleyball, ride bikes around inside, watch a show, and see a Bugatti - because why not?
What stood out to me? The details. Details, details, and more details! There were a lot of them! Ham curing with the leg vs. ham curing without the leg. Dry aging vs wet aging. Milk cows vs. steak cows vs. cows that do both. Regions in which certain ingredients and a certain process produce parmigiano reggiano vs. different regions in which the same ingredients and same process do not produce parmigiano reggiano. Olive oil with a low acidity vs. olive oil with a high acidity. Aged rice, black ginger paste, hydroponics, balsamic vinegar, robotic production of panettoni, aging culatello (€120-130/kg), chocolate fountains, the list goes on and on. The building itself didn’t feel like it had an end! My favorite part - a sample of mozzarella cheese that was minutes out of production!
Note: In the picture, the tour guide is cutting us samples of the fresh mozzarella. In the foreground, fresh milk produced that day waits for consumption. In the background lies some of the food production equipment.