This Easter I jetted off in style (speedy boarding all the way – I know how to live!) to Naples and then onto Sorrento which served as our base to explore the Amalfi coast and all it had to offer. In a land famed for its fabulous cuisine we felt it our duty as representatives of the leading foodservice agency to sample as much as possible (purely as a fact finding mission you understand). It was a tough job but someone had to do it, and believe me, we did it! Having been to Italy twice before I was looking forward to their foodie delights, but nothing could prepare me for the gigantic lemons which greeted us in Sorrento, not for the amount of Limoncello that was offered free of charge at the end of every meal (thankfully breakfast excluded).
Our trip took in Sorrento, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, Positano (fleetingly), Amalfi and Ravello and we managed to eat our way around the beautiful coastline.
Here are my personal highlights…
Ice Cream from an Italian TV chef – Gelateria Primavera offers a huge array of ice creams which even the most dedicated connoisseur would be hard pressed to work their way through during a week (although we had a fair attempt). The gelateria is owned by TV Chef Antonio and the walls are literally plastered with photos of him with everyone from the Pope to famous footballers and movie stars.
Michelin star dining on Capri – We took the ferry over to Capri and whilst wandering the winding lanes and alleyways that crisscross the island we stumbled upon Aurora restaurant. Listed in the Michelin guide it also boasts celebrity patrons including Reece Witherspoon and Pierce Brosnan. A real find; the food was lovely and the service great!
Historic dining – The sister restaurant to our hotel (Grand Hotel La Favorita) was O Parrucchiano and dates back to 1868. Famous for its cannelloni ‘Stracinati’ it serves traditional dishes from the Campania region it seems to stretch back from the street forever and offers a beautiful setting complete with atrium and fairy lights as well as great food.
Pizza in Pompeii – Pompeii is a tourist’s ‘must’ do, but just a stone’s throw away from the ancient preserved city is a very unassuming café which offered a ‘self-serve’ pizza to die for! Not the most salubrious of settings but what a pizza!
Giant steaks – Travelling with a true carnivore meant that no trip would be complete without sampling the best local steak which led us to the cleverly named Meating where we were presented with steaks that rivalled even the ones sampled in New York at Keens. Certainly worth a try but make sure you go hungry!
Calzone at the top of the world – On the recommendation of a client we headed up into Ravello on the Amalfi coast to visit the Hotel Caruso. We timed it well as they had opened for the season just the day before. We had one of the most amazing views all to ourselves and enjoyed stunning Calzone and pizza whilst sipping strawberry & mint infused prosecco and taking in the stunningly tranquil setting.
Cocktails at the Excelsior – As you approach Sorrento by sea the imposing sight of the iconic hotel Excelsior Vittoria greets you from the rocky coastline. This classic hotel has played host to anyone who is anyone over the years, so we took a stroll down its lemon and orange tree lined driveway (leading off from the main square) one evening to sip cocktails in style on their terrace and take in the sea air. All very civilised and certainly something not to be missed if you are in Sorrento.
All in all we had a fabulous time and managed to take in both the sights and the tastes of this amazing part of the world. I would highly recommend a visit should you ever find yourself Italy bound.