Thursday, 27 April 2017

Laurieri Scrocchi con Semi di Sesamo e di Papavero

This is a packet of crisps we acquired on the train from Florence to Milan. It's the fancy kind of train which travels at 298kph and the staff hand out free newspapers and snacks. White wine or prosecco, madam? I'll have a prosecco please, and you can just see it behind the pocket in this photograph. The Chef had a cup of coffee with free packet of chocolate biscuits.

Laurieri are described as master bakers the packet, and excitingly, they manufacture this crispy snack in Matera, a UNESCO world heritage site. That sounds great but it is slightly unusual information for a crispy snack packet. I haven't been to Matera but here's a link to a page with a really lovely photograph and a little information. The image on the packet is obviously Matera.
This is a baked crispy crunchy snack with sesame seeds and poppy seeds. You can see from the photograph that it really is a tiny packet with not many little biscuits in it. And the biscuits themselves .... sadly not very exciting at all. The taste is a bit like water biscuit or matzo and the crunch is very hard. I can't detect any sesame or poppy seed taste at all.

Suitable for vegans says the packet. Well, that's nice. But if I was a vegan I think I would like something with a bit more taste. It's a shame the most exciting thing about this crispy snack seems to be the place it is baked. The Chef ate the chocolate biscuits with no complaints so I think they were a better option.
And here's a photo of the train speedometer which they show  in every cabin to assure you that you really are going that fast. 298 kilometres per hour is 185 mph.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Caffè la Terrazza, la Rinascente in Florence

In Florence the department store la Rinascente is a lot smaller than Harrods or Selfridges but it has something I don't think either of the London stores has: a rooftop terrace. Take the escalator up to the top floor, cross over to the back of the room to the tiny wee food department and look for the stairs which take you up to a minute cafe. And then there's another little flight of stairs up to the terrace. Do beware. The terrace is not very big so I imagine it's tough (or impossible) to find a table at busy times. When we were there in March there was only one empty table.

This little cafe is written up all over the place as having great views over the rooftops of Florence. And I suppose that's true. But you should prepare also for great views of air con units, TV dishes, rainwater goods and broken roof tiles. I reckon you get a better, and much closer, view of the famous dome if you go to the top floor of the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. And that has the merit of being wheelchair accessible.

Why, you ask, am I boring on about a rooftop cafe? This hasn't suddenly morphed into a travel blog has it? Well, no. But although I haven't been testing many crisp snacks recently, here's something I did try.
Yes, when you order a drink here you get a crispy snack. Corn chips (in the traditional triangular shape) and plain salted potato crisps. Pretty tasty too.

So, (and have you noticed that every second sentence begins with "so" these days? I noticed it particularly when I was in hospital. Every single person began every single sentence with "so". Particularly the doctors. It was a little bit disconcerting and I began to feel I was missing out on an important language trend. Oh dear!) so, if you go to a nice cafe in Florence and only fancy a snack, do check out the other tables for signs of crispy snacks because you might not need to order anything other than a drink.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Caffè Gilli in Florence

After my brush with hospital the Chef and I went on holiday in the hope that I would be able to completely relax and feel a lot better. Although I have to admit that Florence is not the most relaxing place in the world, it was nice to get away.
One day we fancied a snack at lunchtime so we went to Caffè Gilli in the Piazza della Repubblica. I read that it was opened by a Swiss family in 1733, which is nice, and I also read that it's difficult to get served and the waiters may ignore you. We didn't have that experience here at all; far from it. In fact we were ushered in by a senior-looking waiter and served quite promptly.
What you need to know is that if you order a cup of coffee and a glass of wine at Caffè Gilli you get a  selection of tasty snacks. You get nuts, little square chunks of something a bit like quiche, and a dish of  corn chips.

Now I don't know who manufactures these corn chips but I can tell you they are  pretty tasty. It's interesting trying round corn chips instead of the usual triangles.
Our hotel has a live feed of the Ponte Vecchio projected on to the lobby wall. Because it's black and white it looks weirdly like a silent movie from the 1920s but if you step out into the street you see all the same people.



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