Thursday, 19 October 2017

Days out at Meridian Leicester

We spent a very fun evening out at Meridian Leisure Park last year, so I was pleased to be invited back to see what exciting new things they have to offer Leicester.



We started off at the Harvester with a crash course on how to pull the perfect pint... I'll be honest, I was somewhat dubious when the 'perfect pint' was a Carling, but I guess that's my own snobbery!! We didn't get to hang around for long though, as a 50% off food voucher was doing the rounds and so they were absolutely heaving! Keep an eye on their website so that you are in the know about all of their special offers!



Next off we were up at Nandos, to enjoy some nibbles to start and of course bottomless soda. I really liked the hummus, which had a little texture to it, and comes with a teeny bottle of peri peri sauce which tastes just like liquid chorizo. It's beaut! Not too hot spicy, but very flavourful, it makes a great match to the hummus and really got the tastebuds going. We also had a bowl of plump olives and some spiced mixed nuts which seemed to build and build in heat as you went along. Once our nibbly needs were satiated, it was off to Hollywood Bowl!





Bowling needs no introduction, but most people in the group had to confess that they hadn't been for a long time. I'll admit our scoreboard looked pretty funny with the blog names up there! And it's soooo much better now you can wear your own shoes (just leave the stilettoes at home).



We played a game and to my surprise, I came first out of the bloggers! Which is amazing because I suck at bowling. Sorry guys, but it's true. It must have been the glass of vino I enjoyed with the game that helped me find my level. And I really liked that none of the bloggers were particularly competitive because neither am I! I love a low pressure game where you all just enjoy having a go, it doesn't really matter who wins. Bowling is a really lovely activity that suits all ages and I am now rounding up my mates so that we can go for a game one evening instead of a night in the pub!


After bowling, we were all ready for a bite to eat. I was surprised to discover there is now a Five Guys at Meridian, as I had no idea that had opened there in the last year. The American style burger joint is popular for it's 'choose your own toppings' approach served with an uncomplicated, simple menu. With the range of free extras you can customise the burger to your liking without having to pay any extra so it's great for a mixed group of people who have different preferences.Vegetarian options are available too.



I'll be honest, my burger was nice, but it didn't blow me away - the patties were a little lacking in flavour, but I did get bacon and plastic cheese so I wasn't gonna argue! The best thing for me were definitely the fries - homefry style, dark and crisp and their serving sizes were enormous (if money:food ratio is your thing). They have a range of shakes you can enjoy with your meal too, so yee-haa to that all-American dining experience!

Thanks again to Meridian for inviting me along. The bowling was definitely my favourite part and I think it's worth going out to Hollywood Bowl at Meridian for this as it's not too big, wasn't overly crowded on the night we visited and has plenty of options if you want drinks or something to eat afterwards.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Eating something unpronounceable

The latest new restaurant offering in Leicester is Pho, an eagerly anticipated chain restaurant arrival offering Vietnamese cuisine - the eponymous Pho is a bowl of noodle soup -with other dishes giving you an interesting and helpful insight into the food of Vietnam. I assume anyway, I've never been so I have to guess that their authenticity is on point!!


Pho invited us along to road test their new High Street restaurant, which is well located on the corner opposite The Cookie and Lumbers, some great Leicester institutions. The decor is dark and ambient - lots of stained wood and mood lighting - I really quite liked it. It's cosy but cool at the same time. On to the menu, and they have a selection of Vietnamese inspired cocktails on offer, so I opted for a Rose Apple Bellini, made with Tao Meo liquor. I've not had anything rose apple flavoured before and it was an interesting taste - apple notes, with a slight sourness and more indecipherable herbaceous qualities. I'm glad I've had one, but I would want to try something different next time.



The menu has the original Vietnamese name with an easy to follow English description underneath. I have no idea how to even go about pronouncing all the various accents that the English transliteration has, but its good fun giving it a go! It speaks of my own ignorance more than anything. Our starters came out after a short wait - service is bustling and quick here and of course many dishes are very quick to cook. The Boy opted for the chicken wings, Canh ga (I haven't got time to find all the accents!!) while I enjoyed the fried baby squid - Muc chien gion.



The chicken wings take a little longer to cook than other starters and I was impressed that we were warned about this, but it was still barely a moment before the dish was brought out. Although a little on the small side, the wings were good and crispy with a flavourful sriracha dipping sauce. There is also a choice of sauces and homemade pickles available on the table so you can flavour up each dish as you choose. Don't forget to read the 'key' to these sauces before your menu is whipped away after you have ordered!




I was a little trepidatious about the squid as the batter looked very anaemic, but I think it was the tempura-like nature of the batter itself rather than a problem in the cooking, as it was absolutely perfect in texture - light and crisp with the squid tender and yielding in the centre. Pretty heavenly. My dish came with a little saucer for the dipping sauce, which our server explained contained salt, pepper and chilli with a lime half on the side for me to squeeze in myself. It's nice to put such a simple, fresh dip together yourself and I really enjoyed how the spice level increased as I ate while the chilli marinaded in the lime. It was zingy and lively, but its simplicity meant the flavour of the squid was not overpowered. Pretty top notch stuff.



On to the mains and of course I had to try the Pho. I opted for the Chef's Special, served with brisket, enoki and button mushrooms and an egg yolk in the centre. Each Pho comes with a side plate of assorted herbs to help you to season the dish to your own liking. I enjoyed adding some crunchy beansprouts, thai basil, coriander and even a dash of mint to my dish, although I found the spicing was fine so I didn't go for the chilli. I did find the soup base a little underseasoned though but a little fish sauce from the table soon resolved this.




The customisable element and the fresh ingredients really appeal to me, but I can't help but wonder how much waste of fresh produce this creates. However, the pho is good, all a bit of an experience to eat balancing chopsticks and your little wooden ladle. The brisket was tender and although the enoki mushrooms were a little thin on the ground the overall combination of flavours was enjoyable. With a mass of flat rice noodles nestling in the bottom of the sizable bowl this was really quite a meal! It doesn't leave you uncomfortably full though, which I appreciated.



The Boy chose the rice bowl, topped with a rainbow of veggies and served with the beef in a betel leaf option. All the elements were great, except perhaps surprisingly the beef which tasted a little bit like a mediocre hamburger patty, slightly dry and wrapped in a leaf. The peanut sprinkle over the top added texture and it being a drier dish overall gave him the chance to really go to town on the pickles and sauces on the table, so another relative success here.



To finish I was interested to try the Vietnamese coffee. I have always enjoyed coffee served with condensed milk in Spain so it was exciting to see what the Vietnamese equivalent was like. Served in its own mini percolator is always a good sign as you know your coffee has been made fresh and the layer of condensed milk added a sweet creaminess which I really enjoyed, although perhaps the coffee needed to be a little stronger to stand up to this bold competition.

video


All in all, I was surprised at how impressed I was. I really enjoyed the food and the pricing is good compared to some of the other chain restaurants in the area. It's a little bit different, there's a little bit of theatre, although the slurping and noodle flicking might not make it an ideal first date restaurant! Definitely a comfortable place for relaxed dining with friends and family. Thanks to Pho for inviting me along and I am already looking forward to coming back to sample more things that I cannot pronounce!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Sweet Dreams at The Treat Kitchen

Sadly, the one bastion of independent trading at Leicester's Highcross, The Treat Kitchen are no longer operating there due to issues renegotiating the lease. However, they have still sent me a load of tasty treats to review! So, let's ignore the negatives and look at the positives. They may no longer have a Leicester outpost, but their stores continue in Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield and of course you can order online, so I'm sure this family business will continue to grow!



So I got some mates around and we had a little nibble to see what we think. Following in their family's confectionary footsteps, Jess & Martin started with a fudge kitchen in the first Treat Kitchen in the hope of creating something a bit more lively and dramatic than the traditional, glorious - but slightly static sweet shop. From there they have expanded, doing awesome ranges of wedding favours, old fashioned favourites as well as gourmet ranges, hampers, corporate gifts and more. You name it, if you can get away with including sweets in it, The Treat Kitchen are on it.



We tried a selection, including fizzy cola bottles - a treat from my childhood, I don't know what's not to like about these. I found these were less chewy than the ones I remembered from when I was little, but the sugar coating had the same initial crunchy hit and super sugary cola flavour, before melting away in your mouth as you chewed.


The gourmet gummies were by far my favourite. They're quite big, individually - definitely a mouthful, and a slightly softer gummy sweet. I really liked the (admittedly pretty synthetic, but hey, we're reviewing sweets here!) raspberry flavour, although I'll confess I didn't get any hint of prosecco. These sweets come in a jam jar with an easily removed label so the jar can be re-used immediately. Indeed the Treat Kitchen pride themselves on this, having good quality, durable packaging that you can upcycle. They even give you lots of handy hints and tips about how to re-use the packets on their social media. I shall try to do something fun with my jar when the sweets are finally all gone. Who knows? I might make some jam to put in it.


The bubblegum cubes are next up. These are a sugar free sweet and hint at the many ranges the Treat Kitchen offers for special dietary requirements. You can search the website by dietary requirement which is really helpful - vegetarian, vegan, egg free, dairy free, alcohol free and more - so it's easy to find something to suit you. The Boy described these as having less of a bubblegum flavour than he expected and having the texture of chalk, which I found kind of odd as a description, but I can see where he's coming from. Since he finished the packet off, I guess his review counts for the most. And he had no idea they were sugar-free until I pointed it out to him, so bonus points there.



Finally, it's the giant test tube of radioactive sours. I'll be honest, I don't know what this is for. It's sour sherbert and I have no idea what to do with that volume. I think it would be too much decorating cupcakes and I don't really fancy sticking a licked lolly in it a la dib dab. It makes me wonder if I'm getting too old, when I don't just take every opportunity to pour as much sugar down my throat as I can. I guess my palate has changed. You can't please everyone I suppose. I can't remember the last time I ate a sugar cube either, and I thought that was brilliant when I was younger.

So, good quality sweets, nicely presented, with speedy delivery. Head on over to their website and have a browse - I'm sure you'll find something to suit any occasion. I'm sorry we won't be having a physical shop here in Leicester any more, but I know I can easily order something up online when the need arises!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Podcast Review: A Piece of Work

We're back with another Ginny Copley special. Her latest podcast review is for A Piece of Work. If you have no idea what is going on, why Ginny is writing these, or what podcasts even are, then check back to our first post in there series by clicking here! Take it away Ginny!

A Piece of Work
What is it?
It’s like having a funny, enthusiastic friend take you on a tour of the amazing art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
‘Everything you want to know about modern art but were afraid the ask’



Where to start?
Abbi Jacobson hosts this podcast and she LOVES art, particularly the art at MoMA. But she doesn’t always ‘get’ it. She shares her love and curiosity as she visits different pieces of art and discusses what she sees with other people – gallery visitors, experts, friends and comedians. Episode 1 is a good place to start. You get to know Abbi and explore whether art has to be beautiful - or can art just be everyday stuff? She looks at a bicycle wheel and a furry teacup in the gallery; the sort of sculptures that make some people feel angry and others dismissive. Is it art? Can anything be art? Maybe they are funny? Maybe erotic? Who gets to decide? Well, you do, dear listener.
And if you like that one…. Then just jump in, there are 10 episodes and each looks at a different type of art. If you find Pollocks perplexing or minimalism mystifying there is an episode for you. If you already know lots about contemporary art there is still information and insight here that you’ll find interesting and enjoyable, and if you are just starting out with modern art, then this is a great way in.
I loved episode 4, about artwork that is made of light, where Abbi and her friend Samantha basically get high on art. It made me want to go straight to the airport, fly to New York and lie down in a room to look at the light. Oh man, look at the light.


In a nutshell… This is for you if you: a) Love art already b) Like some art and want to learn more
c) Sometimes look at art and think Huh? WTF! Is this even art?
Don’t listen if… You really don’t like modern art, New York people or a little bit of swearing.
(The swearing isn’t excessive or gratuitous - it’s of the enthusiastic and expressive variety!)

Where to listen? Wnyc.org, Stitcher

Friday, 6 October 2017

On a mission... A burrito mission...

It's been a little while since I wrote about Mission Burrito. It's still a handy place to stop by for filling eats that are freshly made and reasonably priced, plus the team are lovely! So it was very nice indeed to be invited to come back and see how they are getting on, plus to have another little surprise... Stay with me dear reader!

Named by the owner for the Mission district in San Francisco, where I have been whilst wearing a flower in my hair (because I'm a walking cliche, what can I say?) Mission Burrito is all about bringing the authentic California to the UK. Taqueria culture is one of the things that The Boy and I adored about visiting Cali and so this simple little store, with its choice of fresh made salsa in a range of heats, comfortable but no frills decor and cheeky selection of Mexican beers has always been a home away from home for us.



The great thing about Mission Burrito is that it really is fresh. They make their slow cooked meat in store, overnight, and the veggie option is also slowly roasted on site. They mix up their own marinades and sauces, tasting all the way to check that each batch is bursting with flavour. And they even come up with their own special recipes to mix things up from time to time - I was just in time to see a new batch of juicy marinated chicken being torn and added to the limited edition BBQ sauce that they had been preparing all through the morning, and of course, I had a little taste. Try not to miss out on that one if you can, the marinade is sweet, smoky and just a little spicy, full of cayenne and other rich flavours.



They also prepare their salsa freshly each day, and their guacamole which is perfectly chunky and yet smooth, all at the same time (just as it should be). I heard a whisper that they get through something like 200 avocados a day - I'm glad I'm not the one having to do all that prep!



I went for the ancho chilli beef, which was smothered in a really unctuous, velvety sauce. It had just the right kick to it for my tastes and the beef is absolutely melting. And of course, you order your burrito as you like it. I went for wholemeal tortilla, lashings of pinto beans with chorizo, and plenty of salads that suited my tastes. I'm not big on pickles or chilli, but the habenero pickled onion rings and jalapeno slices seemed to be pretty popular with the other customers who visited while I was there.


I topped it all off with plenty of guac, cheese and sour cream and dived in. It's more than a meal, I can tell you! I lost some structural integrity as I reached the juicy, sticky end of the burrito and to my shame had to procure a plastic fork in order to stop myself from being covered head to toe in delicious foodie treats. I washed it all down with Pacifico, one of my favoured Mexican lagers which has a slightly bolder taste than many of the commercial bottled lagers we are more familiar with in this country. It was a beautiful meal. Seriously, I don't know how I would have improved it.




And then it was my turn! Oh yes, I was invited for a tour of the kitchen to see how the delicious burrito components are prepared and then I was challenged to make my own! Tortilla on the grill, just a few seconds, don't burn your hands! This was already more complicated than I'd anticipated.



Then there was the challenge of reigning in my own excitement. I can put in whatever I want? I was like a kid in a taqueria! First the rice. Then, decisions, desicions. Carnitas this time - for me the classic, which cannot be beaten in the world of burrito meat. But black beans or pinto beans? Well, both! Why choose? I realised that my exuberance was going to come back to haunt me when I came to roll this sucker.



On to the guacamole and then.... Guilt hit home. I'd already eaten a MASSIVE burrito... Surely I should make this one to take home for The Boy to enjoy? Well, I decided to compromise dear reader, surely he would be happy with half a burrito? And so even more careful engineering took place, with all the spicy stuff at one end and dainty pico di gallo with extra guac for me.




And then on to the roll. Flip the sides, level the filling, fold, tuck, roll. After a couple of false starts I was away and soon carefully wrapping my satisfyingly tight and bulgy burrito in a layer of foil. Ta da!! Apparently the job's mine if I want it, and you can't say fairer than that for a first attempt.

Like a proud new parent. I done rolled my own burrito!

Thanks to Mission Burrito for inviting me along. I had a fabulous feed and genuinely cannot think of anything I would do to improve the food or the service. You've really nailed it. And I haven't laughed so much in ages. I think my burrito rolling activities should probably be kept behind closed doors in future. But you'll be pleased to hear that I got the loaded burrito home safely, and even managed to give The Boy the correct, spicy half. It blew his head off - watch out for that habanero sauce folks! It'll git ya!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Drinking wine? You've been doing it wrong.

We have recently been to Italy and were told that pouring a glass of wine overhand - e.g. with your hand holding the bottle from underneath and tipping the wine out into the glass - is considered extremely bad manners in some parts of the country (it's OK - I was just pouring a glass for The Boy and he couldn't care less...) and it got me to wondering if there is other wine lore and etiquette around the world that we should all be aware of.



Since it's October too, that means it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so let's have a look at what pink things are out there to help us with our wine and also to make sure that the 5000 people who will get diagnosed with breast cancer this month will get even more help and support on the 25th Anniversary of the pink ribbon campaign!

China

If you happen to find yourself at a Chinese dinner and are honoured with a toast, you should return the favour and propose a toast to your host in return. However, you shouldn't fill your own glass, but the glasses of people more senior to you (how you judge that is anyone's guess if  you ask me) - and you should fill it right to the brim. Maybe break out the shot glasses for the vino in that case.



It's probably not considered good etiquette to drink wine out of a mug, but when it's this cute design which is exclusive to the Breast Cancer Care Shop then I think it's totally acceptable. Any Twitter addicts out there are sure to love this as a gift too! All proceeds from this shop are spent supporting people affected by Breast Cancer. And you can pretend that you're drinking tea.

France

Filling your glass more than halfway is considered a sign of poor manners and poor attitude. Little and often is the key here. Sip slowly, and when toasting, make sure your arm doesn't cross anyone else.


Avina have got into the swing of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by releasing a limited edition pink design of their easy grip swan corkscrew. It comes in a presentation case with a leak-proof wine stopper and of course each sale they make will lead to a donation to Breast Cancer Charities!

Indonesia

While many Indonesians are Muslim and therefore do not drink, this is not universally true. This nation is rightly proud of its hospitality, therefore you should never refuse an offer of food or drink, but yet you should never completely finish what you are given. Conversely, in Bolivia, you should finish everything you are given.



I'm not sure how it relates to wine really, but I really like the pink tools released by Sealey for the campaign. Especially this pink welding helment. I really want to learn to weld. But anyway, perhaps you want to use all of your old wine bottles or corks to make something cool for your house and so they have a lot of different ranges of tools available, from screwdriver sets to trolley jacks and they split the proceeds evenly between Breast Cancer Now and Prostate Cancer UK so everybody wins.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Trial by Pranzo: The Piemontese lunch

We literally got back from Piemonte, Italy, this afternoon and I appear to have finally succumbed to The Boy's cold, but there are some blog posts that you get so excited about that they cannot wait for any reason and must simply be written at the first opportunity. This is by far the truth of what I am describing as Trial by Pranzo. I cannot hold it in any longer and must share it with the world.

The Torino skyline from our B&B balcony

If you love travel to try the local food, like me, or you're keen on sampling the wines that an area has to offer, like me, then you'll love the idea of a lunch in Piedmont that gives you the opportunity to try some of the most traditional dishes, served in the traditional fashion. It sounds so innocuous doesn't it? Sort of quaint and homely. So why am I calling it Trial by Pranzo (pranzo being Italian for lunch)? Well, I'll leave you to figure that out for yourself. Strap yourselves in, this may take a little while.





We stopped at the Ristorante Il Faro in Rodello, a place that would be easy to miss but sports the most incredible view of the splendid rolling hills, leading the familiar embrace of the Alps in the distance. Dining there would be worth it for the view alone and we were dutifully led to a table by the window to admire the bright sunlight over the hills as we settled in.

That couple have a very big dog asleep under their table

The first thing you notice is that the restaurant is very clearly frequented generally by locals (always a good sign) just enjoying a regular lunch. The dining room is simple and also a little on the retro side but very, very spacious - apparently they accommodate a huge number of parties and celebrations throughout the year. It was explained to me that we were going to enjoy a very traditional Piemontese meal, with courses being served to you with very little in the way of explanation or choice in advance! However, given that I was assured that the courses would very much be the local cuisine I was more than happy to continue!




And so the waiter came over with two bottles of wine for the table. This was a little to my surprise I will admit as I wasn't aware that we'd actually ordered anything yet, but the Roero Arneis Anterisio 2016 was so refreshing and citrusy that it seemed pointless to protest and better just to go along with it. And anyway, we were starving and so The Boy and I happily tucked in to the bread and grissini on the table whilst sipping our Arneis, admiring the view and waiting for the menu.



And lo and behold, within a short time our chirpy waiter floated along to the table bearing a large silver platter, presenting us with a selection of local meats dished out on to the waiting plates on the table - the melt-in-the-mouth lardo, as well as a variety of salami. And the realisation began to dawn that there would be no menu - just the simple presentation of food for us to enjoy direct to our plates at the table. Rustic and homely presentation for typical dishes of the region.




The cold meats were a winner, but before I was anywhere near working my way through that lot the waiter arrived again - this time bearing a light salad made of cheese and celery, with crunchy walnut jewels hidden inside and topped with generous shavings of truffle. The Insalatina Bergera is apparently a classic dish but one I'll confess I had never seen before and I fell upon it eagerly as the rich smell of the truffle hit my nose. This was an incredible pairing with the Arneis wine and I ate eagerly, although a shared glance with The Boy notified me that we were both beginning to have small worries about the bill that would result from the meal, on account of having already been served more truffle than I normally see in a year...




Yet again, before my plate was empty, the waiter returned again, with an enunciated 'prego' for each 'grazie' given to him by the diners with me. This time we were apparently still on the antipasti with a delicate carpaccio of beef, dressed in olive oil and covered in a mantle of thick shavings of parmesan. It was intensely flavourful, and yet also light and graceful.

The Piemontese are big fans of raw meat. We ate a lot of it. They get away with it because of the incredible quality and the unusual properties of the Piemontese cattle whose unusual biology makes them less fatty and more muscly than other cows with the meat being absolutely tender beyond belief and not requiring any harsh treatment such as the application of heat.



By this point we were assuming that the antipasti would be over and we would amble our way into the Primi, but we were wrong. Our swooping (and extremely hardworking) waiter returned again with the Vitello Tonnato, another curious sounding but deeply delicious speciality of the region. We had tried this one before and were happy to see it, although we were puzzled as to when the starters might finish and we might move on with the meal. The lightly cooked, tender slices of veal are served with a creamy, mayonnaise like sauce that is heavily flavoured with tuna. I know - sounds wrong doesn't it? It really, really isn't. Definitely highly favoured by The Boy and I.


And of course, that wasn't quite it. Are you starting to understand why this is Trial by Pranzo now? We were assured that the Piemontese are rather obsessed with antipasti, understandably as they do it so well, and so we tucked into a warm spinach flan with a gooey fonduta covering. This flan was lighter than an eggless sponge and again perfectly seasoned and full of flavour. I could probably eat this forever. And while I was full and happy, I was starting to think that the bread and grissini I had consumed with the cold meats was probably a rookie error.


We had sunk the bottle of Arneis and just at the right moment started on the Roberto Sarotto Barbera D'Alba, a light fruity wine which matched well with the Primo - the tajarin (a long, thick, noodle like pasta of the area) with a light, creamy ragu and another healthy dusting of truffle shavings. Yet more raised eyebrows between The Boy and myself. This was another highlight for me, beautiful bite to the pasta and a rich, satisfying and deeply flavourful sauce.




The Boy and I were pleased at this point - we had done the primo and now presumably only had the secondo course and dessert to go. Wrong! So obviously wrong. Next up, was the second of the Primi. This is where I hold up my hands about being a terrible, terrible food blogger. I'd clearly hit my stride and managed to demolish the next course without taking a photo. Happily, I'd already enjoyed a dish of teeny ravioli earlier in the week and so please accept this substitute photo instead. This was served in a meat sauce, not butter and sage as pictured above, but still, it gives you the right idea. Happily there were just the two pasta courses.





At which time the waiter insisted upon bringing another bottle of wine to the table. This time a much deeper and enticing Barbaresco. This was to go with the Secondo course, this time thick slices of meat in a meat and vegetable gravy which was both rich and creamy at the same time, served with rustic thick fried potatoes (dare I call them chips?) - again a great match of red meat and beautiful medium bodied wine. I was very much in the swing by this point, even though I had essentially eaten two or three weeks' worth of food this week.



And why just have one second course when you can have two? This time slices of pork in a buttery, creamy sauce, served with roasted fresh glazed carrots. By this time I think I was probably starting to hallucinate slightly, so of course this was the cue for a new bottle of wine to be brought out for us to enjoy with the secondi - an absolutely divine Barbera D'Alba, again by Roberto Sarotto - the Elena La Luna which has benefitted unimaginably from a relatively short aging in oak barriques. Of course by this point the wine was not being finished in the same way as the Arneis, but I did my best to put a decent dent in it. 



And happily it was time for dessert. So as not to be outdone by the other courses, the dessert actually compromised three different desserts all on one plate, but still the finish line was in sight and so I felt that I could hammer on home.




There was the classic Bonet - made with cocoa, rum and amaretti biscuits. This was a lighter, airier version that those we had encountered previously, but of course with all traditional recipes everyone tends to have their own little take on the classic. There was also a soft, slightly wobbly creme caramel and a cream covered sponge cake. I am pleased to report I ate them all. I was even more pleased to start lining up my wine bottles and wine glasses at this point - a food and wine bloggers dream. And we'd done it! The end! Surely it was time for coffee.





But no. Of course no. Why would that be the end of the meal? Three hours down and obviously it was time for the waiter, who by this point had walked about 13 miles just to serve our table, not to mention the 20+ other diners that were there for lunch as well, brought us a few bottles of spirits to sample. Well, after all of those courses you need a hefty digestif right?



The nocciala liqueur was crowned the champion by myself and The Boy, and you can't move without someone feeding you something hazelnut based in Piedmont, so it seemed only right. Both grappas were also delicious and the Amaro del Faro liqueur is definitely something that I will be remembering for another day. I can also highly recommend adding a hefty swig of the hazelnut liqueur to a macchiato - a perfect end to the meal.




Time clearly for a short sojourn to the terrace for some R&R and the small matter of the bill. 30 Euro per head. 30 Euros! We essentially rented the table for less than 10EUR an hour each and they brought us food and drink until we nearly went pop. It was marvellous.

Sadly, this traditional style of restaurant seems to be on the decline, with modern tastes preferring food served plated and preened. However, I absolutely fell in love with it - you couldn't hope for a better introduction to the specialities of the local food culture, all bound up with rustic service of homely dishes and a great wine map of the area to boot. Il Faro is not alone, but there are still others to be found as I have been told.



So thanks to our hosts for taking us to Il Faro and not ruining the surprise! Of course, now I've ruined it for all of you - damn you internet - but I'm sure you see why I was excited to write it up! I cannot think of a better way to while away a day than having a great lunch with excellent company and a truly majestic view. We're already trying to calculate if we had lunch there every other day (no other meals required) vs how long we're likely to live, when we can just retire to Rodello...

Oh, and a cheeky limoncello for the road? Well why not?


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