Saturday, June 9, 2012
We flew into Venice-Treviso last night to spend the week with my brother Jonathan, who lives in Sacile (sah-chi-lay), Italy. The city centres on two islands in the middle of a crystal clear river, the banks of which have been built up with palaces over the centuries.
Everything I expected Italy to be, Sacile is: narrow cobblestone streets, towering brightly-colored buildings with tile roofs, steep pedestrian bridges, paintings on the sides of houses whose walls plunge into the river, gelato shops on every corner, and beautiful people, well, everywhere.
This morning we strolled from Jonathan's condo about two blocks to Bar Trattoria Cavour for breakfast. "Uno macchiato per favore," I said to the stunning middle-age women lingering around the counter. That's about all the Italian I know, unless prosciutto, prosecco, sangiovese, melone, or parmigiano reggiano count for anything. But none of those sounded so great for breakfast.
We dined outside under khaki umbrellas, where I enjoyed my coffee and a warm slice of torte salate--an egg-custard with prosciutto and spinach in a tart shell--which I begrudgingly shared with baby Cole.
After breakfast, we tried to get ourselves lost. We turned whenever the mood struck, new vistas of beauty and ancient history coming into view with every bend. Eventually we decided to find a children's playground and on the way stumbled across Rivaletto Alberto, a chaming little market replete with everything I needed--and so much I didn't--to make a superb Italian dinner.
I picked up a package of fresh gnocchi from the refrigerated section and Alberto emerged from the counter and filled the shop with mellifluous Italian. Unfortunately he didn't use one of the nine words I know in the language. I stared blankly at him. I don't even know how to say, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Italian." It's not that I don't value learning other languages or think everyone should speak American. No excuses, I really should have learned a little more before hopping on the plane. Alberto knew enough English to get by and said the gnocchi was made with fresh potatoes in Treviso. Perfect. I quickly filled a shopping basket and emerged with dinner and snacks for aout 21 euro.
After reposo, we took the kids out to find some gelato. While we ate in front of the shop, the sky opened up and big fat rain drops fell, filling the air with the most amazing aroma of honeysuckle, cigarette smoke, expensive perfume, and warm rain. We walked all over the city. The baby's hair formed into tiny ringlets.
When Jonathan returned from work, we enjoyed fennel and chili-marinated olives, a local red wine, mixed baby greens with oranges, balsamic vinegar, and shaved fennel, and fresh gnocchi with caramelized fennel, leek, fresh tomatoes, and grana padano. A perfect end to a perfect day in Italy.
Posted by Pamela at 2:45 AM