Oh goodness me. I feel like all you super-sweet followers that have been with me since the beginning (and some new ones too, hopefully) probably think I've forgotten all about you. Well, do not fear, because I have not! I was in Italy for two weeks at Christmastime and I came back on New Year's Day, then I had to furiously complete my application to Texas A&M (Gig 'Emmmm!), and THEN, just as I finished that, I catered and styled a party for the amazing Mary Jo over at Red House Ranch. A post on that is coming soon! And THEN, I started new classes yesterday, and I can already tell you guys this is gonna be one craaaazy semester. Yesterday I had half a second to catch my breath, so I thought I would ask y'all if you would prefer me to catch you up on what happened in Italy, or the party! It was close, but I had a majority that voted for Italy, so here we are! This is gonna be mostly pictures of really, REALLY yummy food, so I apologize in advance if you drool all over your keyboard. Good news is I got lots and lots of recipe inspiration! Now my only problem is gonna be finding the time to indulge these crazy ideas I got. 🙂
Typical Italian lunch... plain focaccia, onion focaccia, and green onion focaccia, along with some salami.
Okay, now this... this is called a Meringata. It has been my most favorite dessert EVER since I was a little girl, and oh my holyyy, it is so good. It is a quite innocuous-sounding slab of vanilla ice-cream crusted with sweet meringue chunks, and then smothered in hot melted chocolate. IT IS SO GOOD. I need to make this for you guys, you cannot understand its amazingness til you taste it.
Something I really miss about Italy, that America TOTALLY lacks, is a Pasticceria. Not quite a "bakery," but a Pasticceria specializes in serving delicious, intricate yet simple little bite-sized pastries, and they have them of every kind imaginable! My aunt and uncle stopped by one before coming to visit and as you can see, they got a little bit of everything. Tartlets with pastry cream and berries, tartlets with soft meringue and blueberries, cream puffs, cocoa cream puffs, cannoncini (like cannoli, but uh, way better!). Let me show you.
The best part about Italian food? Its simplicity. This cannoncino is basically the northern Italy version of the Sicilian cannoli that is popular in America. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, it's a crunchy fried pastry shell, filled with ricotta and candied fruit and/or chocolate chips. Well, in my humble opinion, cannoncini are much tastier 🙂 They are twirled strips of puff pastry, filled with pastry cream and with a simple sugar glaze that makes sure to give you extra sticky fingertips. Sounds easy enough, yet I've never attempted! This is definitely another thing that's going on my to-bake list.
This one was my favorite though... it was a little tart shell filled with chocolate mousse, and it had a crunchy chocolate shell over it. Yum! I would totally make these, but uh, how? Maybe I can get a tip or two from Bakerella and her Hi-Hat Cupcakes? 🙂
I wanted to include these chocolate roses because I saw them at the outdoors market and I was amazed! These are gorgeous. I wish I had the skills to make these!
Speaking of outdoors market... does anyone want a sample of Speck? It's smokey prosciutto! Totally delicious. And check out those focaccia and speck sandwiches in the background... drooool.
And, last but not least, this is a Krapfen. Oh, be mature, it's pronounced kra-fin... and it sure does nooot taste like crap 😉 It's like a donut, but way better! I'm not sure if they are baked or fried, but they are not the least bit greasy, and they're like big clouds of deliciousness. This one was filled with pastry cream, but I didn't bite far enough in to be able to show you. 🙂