Monday, 18 May 2009


Back from our holiday to Rome. If we didn't have our cat to return to we probably never would have left, it was that glorious. Lazy breakfasts and dinners outside the Pantheon, freedom to smoke whilst enjoying our meals, not getting asked for change by rough looking chavs, although there were many beggars in Rome, most of whom were wearing clothes and shoes in better condition than ourselves, but at least they don't insult you when you turn them down. Instead of people walking around all day with cans of Stella/Tenants/Strongbow in hand, the Romans walk around eating ice cream at seemingly all hours of the day. Fiuminco airport was relaxing in comparison to Gatwick with no barking announcements to not do this or that. Even an effort had been made to make the security bollards outside Fiuminco pretty by planting small trees in them. And this is an airport which has suffered numerous terrorist attacks and even a hijacking, and still they don't feel it necessary to order its visitors around like disobedient children. As we were flying business class we were allowed into the BA lounge which even had a smoking room, which aside from the fact that it looked like the lobby of a Travel Lodge, was wonderful. I could go on, but the short of it is that England really does suck, which I already knew, but now having experienced a taste of life on the continent it has become all the more pronounced. So vaffanculo England.

Photos of lovely Rome, just a few of the near 400 we took during the week:
In the doorway of the Pantheon:

The view from our breakfast table:

View of the Roman Forum from on top of the Palatine hill:

Remains of the temple of Saturn in the Forum:

A bad photo of one of the many ice creams I enjoyed that week:

The Italians have as many flavours of ice cream as we do flavours of crisps. This particular one was Double Melting Chocolate with Mint Choc-Chip, and like all the ice creams I had, it was incredibly good. We always went to the gelato shop which was opposite our hotel and open until 2am. There is something tantalisingly decadent about finishing a long dinner at midnight, strolling through the winding alleys of Rome, undisturbed by huge gangs of pissed retards simply because they don't seem to exist there, and getting a huge ice cream at 1am. Other flavours enjoyed by me were: Black cherry, Melting chocolate, pistachio, Baci (a type of chocolate that we don't seem to get here, or at least I've never seen it, consisting of chocolate, praline and a whole hazelnut), and Nutella. I barely even scratched the surface with regards to flavours of ice cream but we ate so well during the day that as much as I wanted to, I couldn't eat gelato as well. Yet another reason to return as soon as we can afford to.

I did intend to take many pictures of the food but often just felt too embarrassed to do such a thing in a restaurant. That and I just wanted to get stuck in. I did manage to get a photo of one of the desserts we had a restaurant somewhere between the Spanish Steps (which weren't all they're cracked up to be, in my opinion. Yes, they're nice but when you've spent the day in the Colosseum its a bit of an anti-climax) and the Trevi Fountain (which is stunning).

Again another bad pic but be reassured that this was a delicious slice of chocolate cake. It had a thin sponge based soaked in orange liquor, a light and fluffy chocolate mousse filling about an inch thick, a second top layer of chocolate sponge and finished with a glossy dark chocolate ganache, served cold. Beautiful. A lot of the cakes I saw look almost as if they had been baked in a pasta bowl. The vast majority were a very shallow dome shape which was interesting. I've no idea why this appears to be the tradition.

Anyway, returning from holiday is always a miserable process so I'm baking the favourite meals of Mr. Tarts tonight to cheer us up: bacon, mushroom and cheddar pie and chocolate brownies.

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