Frequently we also write about exceptional Italian cuisine, so on our return from the south of Italy this past weekend, we could not resist telling you again about the food of Campania.
We are thinking of the exquisite marinaded ribbons of calamari, reminiscent of tagliatelle, prepared by the excellent chefs at our favourite beach restaurant at Recommone on the Amalfi Coast. Of a simple but unforgettable salad of peppery rucola with the sweetest and largest tomatoes, grown in the garden of a fashionable Capri restaurant. And an unforgettable white fish tartare at the sea-facing restaurant of talented chef Gennaro Amitrano, above the exclusive bay of Marina Piccola.
We learned the ‘secret’ recipe for seabass cooked in a salt crust, at our beloved family-run trattoria in the village of Scala across the valley from Ravello. This must rank among the finest prepared fish dishes of its kind we have tasted anywhere.
But to accompany fine food there has to be fine wines. We sampled some great bottles from regions all over Italy and shortlist below a few favourites. The standout was a Furore Bianco Fiorduva 2018, from the notable winery of Marisa Cuomo, located above the gorgeous little village of Furore between Praiano and Amalfi.
Why not come with us on a journey of exceptional experiences? Be enveloped in the finest accommodation, eat simple food, exquisitely prepared, sample fine wines, enjoy a mix of culture and relaxation in a land of history with an unforgettable coastline, punctuated by deeply indented bays and offshore islands.
And now the three wines we enjoyed:
Ca’ del Bosco rosé, from the region of Franciacorta (Italy’s equivalent of the French Champagne region). This makes for the perfect aperitivo, which we enjoyed while on Capri. It is also a great accompaniment to both lunch and dinner.
Merol Chardonnay from St Michael-Eppan in the Alto Adige, South Tyrol wine region. Proposed by our friend, the owner of the finest beach restaurant on the coast, this bottle was the consummate choice for lunch. It went beautifully with the fish and seafood dishes.
Furore Bianco Fiorduva by Marisa Cuomo, a producer we rate highly. This outstanding wine was the ideal accompaniment to seabass cooked in a salt crust, which we savoured while dining on a gorgeous candlelit Ravello terrace.
Now let’s focus briefly on travel in Italy while Covid-19 is still a concern. From our experience you can mitigate risk quite easily. Getting through Naples airport was quick and uncrowded. Outside, our driver, suitably masked, escorted us for the 20-minute drive to the harbourside where a boat was waiting for the crossing to Capri. At Marina Grande the open-sided car whisked us up to the hotel where temperature testing, ubiquitous sanitisers and everything set well apart put us at immediate ease – as did the alfresco dining and well-spaced pool sun loungers.
Most of the restaurants we ate at were fine, with tables properly positioned. We only went to those with outdoor dining terraces and our advice is to avoid the piazzetta on August weekends, which can get busy. If you do choose to go there, be sure to wear a mask, which is mandatory.
We continued by boat to the Amalfi Coast where we were able to maintain social distancing comfortably at our favourite restaurants. Every precaution is being taken at the top hotels – and in Amalfi and Ravello wearing a mask is required.
It takes planning and managing but it is most definitely doable. Go next month when there will be fewer families and even more space. September and October in southern Italy are wonderful months. Don’t miss this utterly ravishing destination during the rest of 2020. Come and talk to us first.