Friday, 22 June 2012

Sorrento - Day 7

On our last day, we still had so much we wanted to do so got up early and after breakfast we spent a couple of hours relaxing by the pool trying to catch a last few rays while it was still early so not too hot.  I enjoyed my last cocktail at the pool bar to cool off as it was already turning into the hottest day so far at 34C!!




  



We walked into the main area of Sant'Agnello to head back to a local haunt we had found by chance one day - Peppino's.  It had the most amazing pasta and was full of locals so we really wanted to go back to try their pizza and the rotisserie chicken we'd spotted.  Sadly we got there to discover that not only was it closed but pretty much everywhere in the local areas was shut on Tuesdays!  I was gutted we missed our last chance to try some more of their food but it turned out for the best in the end!  We got the train from there to the middle of Sorrento and asked in a local shop where they would recommend for good pizza and got a couple of recommendations - one place which is nice and does good pizza just round the corner from the main square or a place which 'doesn't look as nice' but does very good pizza along the road about 5 mins.  Option no.2 it was!

We found Pizzeria da Franco and immediately got excited!  The place looked small from the outside but was full of benches and, again, a few locals which was a good sign.  It had dozens of hams hanging from the ceiling and a basic menu of starters and pizzas.  There were napkin holders on the tables and the food was served with plastic plates and cutlery.  Sometimes the simple places are the best!







We shared some olives and the Treccia ripiena con crudio a rucola (mozzarella stuffed with parma ham and rocket) possibly the most amazing starter I've ever had!  I was expecting cold rolled mozzarella as I'd had at the hotel buffet but this came warm and melted - Y.U.M.





As for the pizza, I ordered the Quattro Stagioni and Nik went for the spicy salami.  I'm definitely starting to believe that everything happens for a reason as we ended up having what is surely the best pizza ever!  If you are going to Sorrento and want a good pizza, you have to go here!  (Just looked it up to link to a map and found these reviews on lonely planet.)






They are served on rectangular metal trays meaning they are not limited size wise and they come in 30cm like we had or oval 50cm pizzas and even massive 1 metre long versions which we saw being served to a table of four!  I'm so glad I went for the four seasons as I got to try a few different flavours - my favourite was the mozzarella, parma ham, rocket and parmesan corner (also the biggest section, yay!)  It was soooooo good!  After we finished I asked the pizza chef (Aniello) if I could take photos of him making the pizza and he seemed delighted to show off his skills...




  



He saw me taking photos of him brushing the oven (with oil or to remove the ash?) before putting the pizzas in and beckoned me to come back into the kitchen!  He handed my camera to Nik and took me over to help him place the pizzas in the oven!!  They're on a big wooden board which is shaken and shimmied until the pizzas slide off the end onto the stone base of the oven.



Totally made my day!  The locals are all so friendly.  We went back to the mozzarella shop, more on that another time, where the woman recommended the Pizzeria to collect our purchases (souvenir food stash to bring home we left in their fridge until we were ready to go back to the hotel) and thanked her profusely for the recommendation and she was thrilled we loved it.


We did a little spot of shopping, Nik bought a hat - something we had been struggling to find for him as he has such a large head! - and I bought some lovely green wedges in a sandal shop.




We enjoyed a lovely iced cream coffee from a place full of old Italian men and took the train back to Sant'Agnello.




When we got back to the main area of S.Agnello, we started up the incline to get to an Olive Grove Nik had contacted for a tour and tasting.  The walk was supposedly 20 minutes (although 34 according to google maps) but took us about 45 in the heat.  It got pretty steep towards the end and by now it was around 35-36C!



The walk took us through parts of the town we hadn't seen before so was really interesting and gives us more ideas where to go when we go back!  (We definitely want to go back!)


We suddenly heard sniffing at the top of a wall and were greeted by this friendly dog!

Getting closer, up above the town now!



We finally made it and were shown around the family run olive farm by Vittoria, the owner, who is quite clearly passionate about what she does and was very interesting to listen to!  She showed us round a 300 year old house on the property before explaining the olive growing/harvesting/pressing processes to make the oils.







Her farm has lemon and orange trees planted in amongst the olive trees as it changes the fertilisation of the soil and affects the flavour of the olives which gives a sweeter tasting oil.  They also use the fruit to make lemon and orange flavoured olive oils which are delicious!


Vittoria and a 200 year old olive tree


An old mill
We then got to taste all different kinds of oils in her shop before proceeding to purchase a gallon or so (slight exaggeration perhaps) which we had planned to do anyway but after her kind offer to drive us back to the hotel when she learned we had walked in the heat, we decided we could carry a bit more and bought basil oil, lemon oil, orange oil and truffle oil as well ;)   She also told us how Limoncello was made although they don't do this themselves.







She broke off a piece of hydrangea for me when I said how much I loved them!

The video showing what happens after harvest


After Vittoria's lovely husband drive us back to the hotel, we quickly got ready for dinner and made it upstairs just in time for sunset.




We headed down to the bar after dinner for one last drink before we had to come home.  We got chatting to a lovely retired couple from England (most of the people staying in the hotel were English it turned out) who have stayed there before and loved it so much they came back.  They gave us loads of tips on other places to see in Italy which was fab as I have fallen utterly in love with the place!

Arturo serving our drinks, beer and an Amaretto
All in all, it was a pretty amazing day I think you'll agree!  We managed to squeeze so much in and really enjoy a range of what was around the area on our last day.  I can't wait to go back and I have so much more to tell you!  (Mainly about food - I was right about the amount of weight I thought I'd put on by the way but when the food is that good I could not give a scooby!)

1 comment:

Siobhan said...

I love that he invited you in to pose with him. That is just brilliant.

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