I thought it might be fun for you to experience a day of shopping with me. Well, sort of with me, you’ll be where you are, I’ll be doing the actual running and driving here in Italy. Yesterday, I spent the day running about the Maremma, one of my favorite shopping jaunts. It’s the sea coast area of southern Tuscany. An ancient area of rough and tumble cowboys and Etruscans, about a two hour drive from Rome.
Ok, here we go. Let’s hit the road.
You really have to watch your speed. In addition to timing
your travel from one set of cameras to another a set distance so theyy can calculate how long it took you to reach the second set to see if you went over the speed limit, there are also a few other cameras set just in case they miss whe you speed up suddenly.
Our first stop was Orbetello. By then it was really raining. But Covitto was ready for us.
And, yes, I had to ask what Femminelle was – it is not just female but a type of fish.
They are a very special fish shop, having been there for a very long time, bringing the catch from the boat in the morning to the store to sell. Really gorgeous fish indigenous to this area only. I bought some of their bottarga, some fish broth mix, and of course, the colatura, available only here and the Amalfi Coast, where the tradition of this elixer still exists. This liquid gold is the culmination of salted anchovies laid in chestnut baskets and the liquid allowed to slowly seep through a small hole in the bottom. A long, process, but the smooth taste is worth the wait, and renowned world wide. Since they use only the best of the fished anchovies (caught between March and July) you can understand why few outside this area have had the honor of even tasting it. You need only a few drops to make a unique dish.
Here’s a recipe for Spaghetti alla Colatura — it serves 2 for a main dish
After Orbetello, we headed to Albinia. Although flooded horribly last year, they are rebounding as Maremmans are known historically to do. Albinia is home to La Parrina, which I had not visited before this trip. It seems each trip brings new people and places into my life.
La Parrina is a real find. It is a wonderful Agriturismo, a farm, a vineyard, and a produce grower with an Antica Fattoria that has the most fabulous foods, available. I’m only bringing a small sampling. They make a bitter orange marmelade that will be fabulous on cheese, or bread or almost anything. I’m already addicted. A Kumquat jam, some fig mixtures, and they also have some really interesting mixtures of vegetable jams.
Also in Albinia, I visited a very special Alimentary, with Francesco and Maura and got some La Salva products (no time to go to La Salva) as well as some of their other local specialties like agrodolce I’ve had before.
Then it was back in the card off to Roma again. A long, but productive day. The real difficulties lie in trying to decide what I can manage to fit with all the limitations of weight and sizes I have. Terribly difficult decisions have to be made. The pre-orders are obviously first and they are going to be very, very happy. I hope that as time goes on there will be enough people trying all these really special regional products that are not available anywhere else. They are from small producers who will never be able to compete with the giants who aree able to put stabilizers and chemicals into their products so they stay fresh on shelves for years. These are products from real food for real people. And, boy,can you taste the difference. You may not be able to visit the Maremma this year, but hopefully you’ll let me show you a little of their flavors. If you are not signed up for my newsletter, please send me an email and I’ll sign you up. Write firstname.lastname@example.org