Friday, February 15, 2013

An Italian Platter

 Trattoria ZaZa in Firenze
The Holladay platter has gone International! In mid-November, I packed up and took off for a 9-day tour of Italia. While, I absolutely hate to complain and sound like a prima donna, I must say that a handful of dishes included on the tour package left a bit to be desired--a few horribly undercooked pastas and a salad consisting of simply iceberg lettuce and vinegar dressing for example. I guess I was expecting four star dining at every meal... However, I ate well overall, enjoying numerous tasty four course meals. Every morning began with incredible expresso and every night ended with some of the best red table wine this wino has ever consumed. 
 A cheese and eggplant pizza platter 

While staying in my favorite city of Florence, my bro Michael and I decided to splurge on a bottle of wine and a late-night dinner at an adorable spot called Trattoria ZaZa. It was a misty night with a slight chill in the air, which felt nice along with my wine buzz from our first dinner. We opted to sit on the front covered patio. The cozy outdoor space provided soft lighting and a lively atmosphere. I don't recall which cheeses were on the plate, but I certainly loved them all. The bread and jam served alongside complimented the cheese very well and we just couldn't stop gushing over it. The Eggplant Pizza also hit the spot. It was fresh and crispy, with just enough seasoning to linger a while before being washed down with the Chianti Classico. The food, wine, ambiance, service, and great conversation made this my favorite  Italian platter--perfecto!!

 Michael enjoying the Za Chianti Classico 

Apart from the unforgettable sight-seeing and fun gift shopping, each afternoon was all about GELATO, GELATO, AND yes, MORE GELATO!!

My first gelato experience - Rome

Shortly after our arrival in Rome, we ventured out for a walk and stumbled into a glorious gelateria. I was baffled by all of the choices and after tasting many samples, I decided to go with a refreshing combo scoop of Melon / Passionfruit. They were both delicous however, if forced to choose just one, I'd go with Melon--hands down. It was sweet and creamy with just enough tart.

Melon and Passion Fruit, Per Favore!!! 

The taste of heaven
In Florence we ducked into a busy cafe, intending to go for a gelato lunch. Michael savored his Mint
Chocolate Chip and I relished every creamy bite of my mousse gelato. It was rich rich rich!!

Gigantic gelato! 
Another gelato lunch in Florence called for two scoops, including Choc Chip and Pistachio. I believe I'd gotten a little too big for my britches at this point, because there was no way I came close to finishing this off. Although, I did enjoy every bite--especially the Pistachio. After sampling Michael's order in Rome, I was coveting this flavor big time. So I was excited to savor my own cup full. Mama Mia it was marvelous!! 
With all this talk of cool gelato, I'd also like to focus on a hot house favorite we discovered in the lovely city of Padua. This charming city located in Northern Italy (right next to Venice), contains an exquisite building called the Pedrocchi. It was founded in the 18th century as a sort of meeting house for townspeople and is well-known today for the cafe. We ordered the Cafe Pedrocchi--a mint flavored expresso featuring a dollop of mint ice cream on top. This was my fav expresso experience as I adore any mint flavor with coffee or chocolate. This warm and tasty treat hit the spot, especially on a chilly day that was filled with mostly outdoor touring. It also got me in the pre-holiday mindset as I noticed the festive decor along with the lively cafe atmosphere.   
Expresso with mint makes me smile
Be sure to check back next month for more Holladay Platter adventures. Live to Eat!

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