I have been absent without leave not through a lazy lack of blogging, but through a real absence from the UK for a two week teaching stint in Northern Italy.
As interesting as the food and eating habits have been I have merely been far too tired to do anything other than teach, plan and slot in the odd visit to here and there in those golden snatches of free time not spent sleeping. Not to mention my lack of a computer and limited wireless connectivity. Luckily being backwards with my choice of mobile technology I can freely type this post on the qwerty keypad on my phone. This post is brought to you courtesy of Blackberry (or not as the bloody thing would not let me post it for some odd reason but here it is, regurgitated from my drafts folder).
The aforementioned moments of freedom have consisted of visitations to some of the most beautiful, awe inspiring sights in the world. Italy of course being a place of flagrant natural beauty, you do not have to go out of your way to find something worth seeing, unless visiting mediocre Milano. In fact, merely waking up here in beautiful La Spezia and looking out of the window instils one of the purest feelings of joy known to humankind, the philosophical acknowledgment that you are alive and truly living in a beautiful world. Something that one often takes for granted in industrial Birmingham.
Anyway, the whole point of this post and something worth mentioning in my food blog before I get back and write up a backlog of recipes, is the much deserved after work aperitivo in the form of the delightfully refreshing Spritzer. This drink is according to a colleague alike the Campari but thankfully less bitter, I believe made from Aperol (something not so easy to come by back home). Something to be enjoyed after a hard day of the cattle herding or crowd controlling kindly given the euphemism of teaching. For 6 euros each we were not only blessed with a huge glass of the stuff, it came with an accompaniment of snacks and light bites. Nuts, crisps, olives, foccacia, fries and not to mention the classic fish finger, seemingly thrown in as an afterthought as the waiter brings this out last, but certainly not least.
Quite bizarrely (to my obviously ignorant English brain) this is all brought out before the drink, which makes its way over to us after an expectant and impatient wait. A salty fix to make the palate all the more ready for the Spritz to come? Who knows, but a pleasant surprise to apparent ignorant brits who only bargained for a cheeky after work Spritz. Reminiscent of the free tapas with alcoholic beverage offered in Madrid.
So for all who choose to venture to idyllic Italy for work or for pleasure be aware of this thrifty, refreshing beverage made only sweeter by the food that accompanies it.