mediterranean

At home in the Amalfi Coast - part 1

The tormented love story between the popular actress Anna Magnani and the intellectual movie director Roberto Rossellini was consumed at the outlet of a valley overlooking a tiny village called Furore that, with its 700 inhabintants, is part of the UNESCO world heritage. il-fiordo-di-furore-costa-d-amalfi-257

It's among the steps of this rural community that, in 1948, Rossellini set the shooting of the central episode of the film “L'amore”. Wild and overdramatic, Anna Magnani played the main character. It’s the story of a shepherd girl who becomes pregnant, convinced to be about to give birth to a divine being.

1292217_660554003954924_678559802_o

For those of you who, after my tiny hints spread out from my Instagram account, have been wondering about where my next location would have been for my foodie adventures, well there you have it.

The Amalfi Coast, an amazingly meandering piece of coast where rocky clefts fall sheer onto the most pristine Mediterranea sea.

6dc49c1457d85e35bcd842c72a4e57ba

Anna & Roberto (aka Magnani and Rossellini), tired after the day of film shooting, would go to have a meal at a tiny place overlooking the bay and its world-famous fjord, “da Bacco”.  Among the owner recollection is the memory of a furious (an adjective not to be attributed to the inhabitants of the village but, rather, to a state of mind) Anna throwing a dish right on the head of the celebrated director, who was splitting up with her over the passion for Swedish born actress Ingrid Bergman.

_MG_3717Of those dishes now it’s left nothing but a tradition, impeccably brought forward by the wise hands of Erminia Cuomo. This delightful lady is the wife of Furore’s well respected mayor Raffaele Ferraioli, who is known to be as very dedicated to his cause. Their children help run the business in a dreamy atmosphere that I couldn't imagine still existed in my adored Italy.

_MG_3468That's who I'd call an amazing character, one Rossellini would have loved to star in one of his movies. She was only 21 when she got married and took the reins of this incredible restaurant located on the hill of this village exploding with raw nature and unsurpassed tastes. This true lady of the kitchen doesn’t’ claim any gastronomic status, yet she’s just something else. Her humbleness and vivid generosity is the curtain to a universe of utter gastronomic delight.

_MG_3490She told me about the joys of cooking the "ndundero", a kind of homamade gnocchi which differs from it since the dough it's made with flour and ricotta (instead of potatoes). The perfect way to greet Santa Trofimena, the patron saint of the small Amalfi coast village of Minori. All over the south of Italy, celebrating the saint protector of any given town is a must. You'll see ceremonies, parades and religious processions. It's always interesting to have the opportunity to participate to one of these occasions, since the food abounds in the streets too. And there's no better way to get to know a population than by their foods, hands down!

_MG_3698Fish abounds in this area too, directly from sea to table. Hence not much decoration, just fresh crunchiness. Erminia cooked a seabass for me wrapped in a delightful transparent parchment paper tied with a lovely string. Not one plate is the same when this shy lady is around. There's no uniformity, no set style. So much personality. Every mouthful is just delicious.

_MG_3372

The tomatoes Erminia uses are protected by the Slow Food association, and her biscuits, well her biscuits... They were served to me dipped in a homemade red wine sauce called wine elixir: it's made with Aglianico wine, aromatic spices and accompanied by these truly amazing tozzetti biscuits. Typically from Tuscany, the original version has them with almonds but these ones were cooked with the most perfumed nuts, the amazing and protected type (as if animals in extinction), from Giffoni.

_MG_3780About this and a few others unique realities still existing in this fascinating land called Amalfi Coast I'm going to tell you about, in this following week filled with #foodhappiness, encounters, off the beaten track itineraries and the most fascinating stories. To find on my blog daily in 7 parts starting from today, in collaboration with Pasta Rummo_MG_3821With love from a room with a view.

Eleonora

photo credits @ Cibando

A night in Positano

Sooner or later, we all have been nurturing a dream where medieval towers overlooking the Mediterranean sea meet trouble-free states of mind. Or haven't we? Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

The switch-off mode is immediate as I visited the Amalfi coast, where these long wished for dreams got surpassed by reality, especially during the absolutely somptuous night I spent at the hotel "Le Sirenuse", the boutique-styled gem of Positano. More than an hotel the place is truly another dimension. The glorious hospitality linked with a unique off-the-etiquette approach of its glamourous yet down-to-heart owners, Antonio & Carla Sersale, made for a delightful stay among friends, by way of gently disclosing doors that would have normally been accessible to locals only. Until today.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

This magical corner of Positano looks very much like a very private key to the secrets of living: here the triptych for excellence binding "luxe, calme and volupté" is topped by one of many glasses of well stirred Martini's, preferrably served on one of the numerous terraces overlooking the gulf of this spectacular island that is Positano.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Yes, there's a pool, but not only. Enjoying the spa, designed by archistar Gae Aulenti, has been one of the highlights of my stay, as this movie by talented Poppy de Villeneuve shows, with breath-taking scenes capturing the enchanting scenario of the sorroundings.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Back in the kitchen, fully equipped with copper elements, Tuscan native chef Matteo Temperini blends tremendously well the Mediterranean gastronomic heritance with highly skilled local product sourcing. Not only did he treat us to a lavish dinner, perfectly al fresco on a terrace enlightened by the moon and a few shy stars. The breakfast ceremony, which on holiday is to be consumed (compulsorily as part of a #foodhappiness state of mind!) as if time stops, was dotted by smells and tastes of unimaginable purity. I was happy to find the local buffalo yogurt provided by Casa Madaio,

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

as well as a selection of signature breakfast delicacies from the Amalfi coast, ranging from the Capri Chocolate Cake through to the perfumed Sorrento lemon pie to the Babà , the epytome of Neapolitan bakery tradition. All prepared in an immaculate open kitchen. Just taste and see for yourself.

Luckily the whole place, which was Sersale's family summer palazzo turned into a hotel in 1951, is accessible to the general public for meals and spa treatments.  On our way back from what was a too short of a break, we couldn't help but going to the hip & chic hotel shop graciously run by Carla Sersale, the Emporio Le Sirenuse, and got ourselves the refinely scented Eau d'Italie, a fragrance originally created in honour of the hotel guests only and now widely sold around the world. For those who can smell it.

We then wondered around the area, finding delight in purchasing fresh products from Anna, picking the best anchovies from Delfino in Cetara and visiting Sorrento to pick some juicy lemons.

The moon is the same moon above you Aglow with its cool evening light But shining at night, in Positano, Never does it shine so bright

With #foodhappiness and love,

Eleonora