June 2, 2010

Dear Pompeii: I am sorry! Love, Mount Vesuvius

Welcome June! I can't believe we are in the month of June already!
This is post overload!
So be prepared! :)
Before we left for our past southern Italy trip, the class did ANOTHER market walk with Dr. Probart. This was more like a deli type market, but it was fabulous!

This store/little Italian market sells all types of cheeses, meats, different types/flavors of olive oil, balsamico, sweets, EVERYTHING!

(and we got to taste it all!)

First he thought he would quiz us (and stump our knowledge) but since we have already learned about and the history of *all* foods before we arrived to Volpetti's, we showed him how smart we all were! (all about parm, mozz, balsamico, olives/olive oil, bread, pancetta, etc)

The inside of Volpetti's.

Hamhocks. Pancetta in the making.

He was asking us, "what is this?" Pancetta, of course!

Last year's nutrition crew, 2009. We took a photo at the end too, our picture will replace this one. :) Maddy, where are you in this picture?

Cheese creations.

Cutting Pecorino Romano. This is a chore in itself!


Pouring aceto balsamico for tasting.

The very expensive truffles! We got to taste truffle oil, it reminded me of chinese food.

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese!

He finally smiled for me! :)


Our first stop on our southern trip: the ruins of Pompeii!

The site of Pompeii, petrified memorial to Mount Vesuvius's eruption on the morning of August 24, AD 79, is the largest most accessible, and probably most famous of excavations anywhere.

Mount Vesuvius!

The entrance way into the ruins.

Pretty flowers that I saw on the way in.

Beginning of the Arch lecture.

This random American couple asked Professor Martemucci if they could follow along on our tour (because they heard us speaking American). The wife was funny and the husband seemed bored. haha.

Pumice walls in the ruins of Pompeii.

The city center. The forum.

Mount Vesuvius in the background. I was so enthralled. I couldn't stop staring at it!

Professor Martemucci showing us the tracks of cart wheels cut into the road surface.

As we walk through Pompeii, covered with dust and decay as it is, the city seems to come alive. Perhaps it is the familiar signs of life observed along the ancient streets: bakeries with large ovens just like those for making pizzas, graffiti etched onto the plastered surfaces of street walls. Coming upon a thermopolium (snack bar), we imagine natives calling out, "let's move on to the am-phitheater." But a glance up at Mount Vesuvius, still brooding over the scene like an enormous headstone, reminds us that these folks, whether imagined in our heads or actually wearing the lava dust-have not taken a breath for centuries.

The town was laid out in a grid pattern, with two main intersecting streets. The wealthiest took a whole block for themselves and those less fortunate built a house and rented out the front rooms, facing the street, as shops.

They had walkways! This was convenient when they didn't want to walk in the animal poo.

eek! The inside of a brothel. There was some pretty provacative engraved images in this little area. I did take pictures, but I am not blogging about them!

The excavated ruins are a unique and spooky glimpse into everyday life- and sudden death- in Roman times.


We found a smiley face in the road. :)

me, crossing the bridge. a sweaty mess.


After a day spent in the ruins of Pompeii, we headed for Paestum.

Here is Hotel Calypso:

The beach right behind our hotel. It looked beautiful from a distance, but it was dirty and full of litter once you got onto the sand.

After we checked into the hotel, we had dinner at Hotel Calypso's restaurant.

The dining area where we had breakfast and dinner for the next two days.

The artistic floor. This hotel was family owned (Roberto was the father) and run but an au natural viewpoint. I loved it! All organic, homegrown meals. Everything made from scratch. He didn't even have wi-fi in his hotel because he doesn't want the electronic waves going through his home (the hotel).

My place setting at dinnertime.

The house wine.

First course. Fresh pasta made from wheat that was ground up by Roberto's wife. Mixed with cheese, a bit of tomato sauce, and potatoes. Tossed together and baked. Oh so good.

Second course. I never know what kind of meat I am eating here, but obviously it was antibiotic/hormone free, so I ate. Maybe turkey? And wonderful potatoes cooked with olive oil and salt.

And do you see that little piece of bread on my plate? It was whole wheat! The first time I have had whole wheat bread here in Italy! Although, I feel better eating white flour here too, rather than at home. But the whole wheat was amazing! That too, was homemade.

dolce. One thing we have all been craving...fruit! It was a mixture of grapefruit, apples, cantelope...in a fresh juice of a blood orange.


The next day, we went to the Mozzarella di bufala factory!

Mozz in the making:

This is the classic porcelain white, SUPER-fresh cheese which is essential for the best pizze and a pure joy to eat fresh.

Making fresh mozzarella balls from the buffalo milk.

Dr. Probart said that the last time she was at this factory they were making these mozz balls by hand, and now it is a machine-done process. Oh, technology.

So cool. :)

Skiming the whey.

The mozzarella di bufala workers.

Hard at work, packaging the fresh cheese.

We got to taste the goodness!

We ate SO much mozzarella that day. It was very watery and kind of squeaky on the teeth, but it was very tasty! You could taste the freshness! Claudster kept saying, eat up! You will never ever have this chance again to eat such fresh mozzarella! The mozz that we tasted was literally just taken from the brand new batch.


Still in Paestum.

The next day, we headed to the remarkably well-preserved Greek temples of Paestum.

We had an Arch lecture here with Martemucci.

The first temple that we saw. It is amazing that they are all still standing after all of these years.

This is the site of an ancient city of Poseidonia (what it used to be called, but now latinized to Paestum), founded by Greek colonists in the 6th centuryBC.

My favorite temple out of all that we had seen.

This was a labyrinth inside of the *pool*. It was so much fun.

The doggy that followed us EVERYWHERE! Here in Italy, animals are pretty much let run wild (and loved by all). They just roam the streets like it is no big deal. There were a few dogs that lived in the Paestum streets and the sign said that they are well taken care of but would be more taken care of if they were adopted by a loving family. The one girl in my class fell in love with this dog, she walked all the way back to the bus with us and gave the sadest face as we were leaving. She (the dog) watched the bus go. The girl in my class cried. :( I think they named her Athena.


After hanging out with the Greek temples, we headed up the mountain to a wonderful winery for lunch and wine tasting.

This was like a quiche made with pasta and ham.

Grilled mozzarella! Best thing ever! (maybe second to a PB&J) ;)

My wine. The best tasting wine I have ever had. This is the kind that I am bringing home.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel-got changed and later had dinner.

This is Roberto in the background (the owner of hotel Calypso). He was so nice and very hospitable. He had a lovely family. His son was so cute. He was ~5 or 6 years old. Curly hair and all. He helped serve our dishes, but he was impossible to photograph, he refused and he moved too fast!

Our first course. Gnocchi with tomato sauce. So good!

Second course, a *meatloaf* with egg, and sauteed vegetables.

ANDDD...we FINALLY got CAKE! This was the second thing we have all been craving besides fresh fruit (which we got the first night) It was like a tiramisu cake. Oh.my.goodness.yum.

Pimple mania! ew. :)


The next day, before we left to head back to Roma, Roberto's wife gave us a pasta lesson. She taught us how she makes her homemade pasta.

Her earthy set-up.

In the little jars with the colored lids, were whole grains. Like barley, millet, etc.

Different types of pasta.

Her Grano machine that she uses to grind up her whole seeds, the grains. I want one of these so bad!

She also showed us the cleaning process of the grains, where she gets them, and what she uses the different grains for.

There she is! Roberto's wife.

The Grano, hard at work!

Showing us how to make a Gnocchi dough.

Showing us how to form a Gnocchi. We all got a chance to try. She said I did very well. :)

Our little Gnocchi pastas.

Her pasta shaping tools.

We got to taste. I think these are Gnocchi alla romana, which is totally unlike the other gnocchi. From Roma, these are round disks of cooked semolina pasta which are cut into flattish rounds and baked. She baked these with olive oil, salt, and fresh rosemary.


Next, we headed to the trainstation to get back to home sweet Rome. (that's how we feel when we are away from it for too long).

Waiting for our euro star. Oh, good ole' Trenitalia.

The end.

It is after 1am here in Italy, and I am falling asleep as I write this. I shall soon go to bed. I have a full day of classes ahead of me tomorrow, starting at 9am.

Talk to you soon!

ciao! :)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having a blast! Can't wait to see you and to hear all about it in person! Miss you, and I'll see you soon!


The High Family said...

Amazing pictures! Makes me want to jump a plane to experience this beautiful country!!