Tag: la sosta del priore

The Calm Before A Disaster (12&13/09/2022)

The Calm Before A Disaster (12&13/09/2022)

Another brief one!

Something awesome and something terrible happened this week, but all will be revealed in the blog after this one.

We had another week of work (or so we thought) this week, and sure enough the Monday and Tuesday went swimmingly enough!

Monday 12th
I’ve been well proud of myself looking back on this time away, as I got right back into the habit of walking in the morning again. Today, I carried on with that.

The light that morning was spectacular, so I carried on farther around the walls.

We worked through the morning, and went to Osteria La Pace, a lonely little place, just at the prison end of town. This makes it sound unattractive, but really that small section is also quite lovely – the ‘Cool shot!’ photo above is taken right next to it. They have some lovely home-cooked Tuscan favourites here. Niamh had the the strozzapreti (a twisted pasta shape that literally means ‘priest-strangler’) with wild-boar and olives. I didn’t want to have anything quite so heavy, as I wanted to have their killer tiramisu after, so I had their version of zuppa alla Volterrana (because veggies).

They used to serve the tiramisu in an outsized coffee cup, but it was just in a massive dessert cup instead. Still tasted lovely – one of the best in town. Afterwards, we took a brief walk about town before heading back to work. The light was still being fantastic.

That evening we went to La Vecchia Lira that evening. It was my turn for wild boar, while Niamh took the lighter option of (I think) seabass. Neither of us are fans of whole-fish, but Niamh made no bones about it (sorry)!

Home, then bed and ready for another day’s work!

Tuesday 13th
Another morning, another walk!

We worked dutifully again (so haaaard for the money), and grabbed a sandwich shop in Pisa Province: La Sosta del Priore. Tuscans sure love their sandwiches. You’d see what I mean if you went to Florence and checked out the queues at All’Antico Vinaio (or any of their branches). However, Volterra has its own queue-generator in La Sosta del Priore! The food is excellent.

And of course a quick walk to burn the calories!

That evening we tried a place we’ve only ever gone to a couple of times in 4 or so years: Antica Taverna. It’s one of those places that has everything on the menu (i.e. pizza and pasta), so we kinda shunned it for maybe being a bit too touristy. However, we thought we’d give it another shot as places can change. We were glad we did. While the food didn’t light up the night, it was still pretty good, and the service was super-friendly. They had a little display of fresh porcini, so I went over to check it out – the smell of fresh porcini is amazing!

Home and bed.

The next day we met friends and had them stay over – but then something pretty catastrophic happened. More on that next week!

Day at ‘Leisure’ #2 (04/05/2022)

Day at ‘Leisure’ #2 (04/05/2022)

A shortish one this time around!

Another day where I was not quite my own man, but enjoyed the day for all that. I had to skip my walk, as the builder arrived to take away the old fixtures from the bathroom. I gave them a hand with some stuff to keep my exercise up instead. They’d have to call back the next day to collect the last couple of pieces (and a couple of other days again, it turns out!). One thing we both found amusing: the builders mate was dressed for heavy lifting, but had a man-purse strapped around his shoulder anyway. I thought it was the weirdest thing at the time, as the holiday wore on, I was thinking about getting one myself. I didn’t this time around, but maybe next time we return. They’re handier than jacket pockets for carrying stuff around.

While I was indisposed, Niamh went to the shops early and got the makings for dinner that night: flour, cavalo nero and sausage. Intriguing! I was able to take a break during the mid-morning, and so we both went out to stretch our legs for 15 or so minutes and we grabbed a gelato at L’Isola del Gusto, naturally.

At lunchtime, we made up for a lack of a walk, but first had a lovely lunch in Pisa Province’s best sandwich shop: La Sosta del Priore. Niamh had a sausage sandwich, and I had a lovely burger. Since last year, they have had a sit-down area where they also sell produce, so we availed of that and had a drink with the food.

We then went for a bit of a walk:

When I was done doing my thing that evening (during which Niamh had made orechiette – an ear-shaped pasta native to the Puglia region), we decided that we needed a little vino to accompany our homemade dinner, so we headed out to Santa Lucia, which sells the produce of these lovely people, and bought 10 liters of bag-in-box wine for €22 (5 litres white, 5 red). We got to taste it first, and also enjoy the benefits of walking with heavy packages on the uphill walk back home. A couple of shots were taken on the way:

We got home and began to enjoy our haul on the terrace. The back of our apartment looks out and down upon a recently refurbished courtyard, which is not only lovely to look at, but offers occasional interaction with thee neighbours – even if they are just cats. There are a couple of cats nearby who poke their heads out of their apartment window and stare at us in astonishment. The first time we saw them, I swear one of their jaw’s dropped in disbelief. Funny creatures!

Right! Dinner! I grabbed Niamh’s mini-orechiette, some oil, the kale (aka cavalo nero), sausage and some parmeggiano and got to work. The orechiette were cute and small, so I had to un-skin and break the sausage up a good bit, before adding the kale. It had been a few years since the last time I attempted a similar dish, and I added salt when I needn’t have – there was already plenty in the sausages. This time I broke off a bit and fried it. It was nicely seasoned, enough so that I wouldn’t add salt, beyond what was in the cheese.

Of course, there’s always a mistake – this time I didn’t cook Niamh’s pasta quite enough. I thought it would finish off in the pan where I had been cooking the sausage and kale. It did to an extent, but not as much as I would have liked. However, it still tasted nice, and brava, Niamh, for her first attempt at orechiette – they’re harder to make than they look.

After dinner, we chilled for a while until I announced that I wanted to head out. Niamh felt less inclined, so I headed out on my own. I decided to check to see if Pietro in Antica Velathri Café was busy. If he wasn’t too much so, I’d throw a cocktail challenge at him. It was quiet enough, and it turns out I threw several challenges his way! It’s great to come here. Pietro’s parents are always so welcoming and when we pass his Dad in the street (at least we *think* it’s his Dad!), he always says hello. Pietro himself, as well as being a great mixologist, he’s really patient with me when I’m trying my Italian on him, so I can end up practicing lots – as well as drinking!

The first thing I got was an espresso martini, with a nice, frothy head – topped with a few roasted beans. Those of you who know me will be familiar with my never drinking coffee. I love the smell and sometimes the taste (gelato! cake!), but never have the drink itself. So, this was a rarity. It came with a few bread slices, accompanied with two toppings/spreads: a mascarpone-based one and a something with an olive base. Both were tasty! I really liked the martini too – it went down perhaps too easy!

The next one I will remember for a long time. My challenge to him was to create something with a hazelnut base. Pietro came up with a recipe, and declared it to be a twist on the White Lady cocktail. I have no frame of reference, so I can’t compare them. I made a note of the 3 key ingredients on my phone: Baileys, Cointreau, Frangelico (a hazlenut liqueur) – the result was sensational.

The last was a little… different. I wanted something based on an apple sour. He didn’t have much, apart from an apple mix, which he frothed-up with a vegan ingredient, which does the same thing as egg white does. I tasted it. It was nice at first, then my throat began to itch like a bugger, and ended up coughing a bit. Not sure if it was that ingredient or if it was the apple mix, but not sure I’d give it a second go. Oh well – these things have to be tried!

Anyway, I had some nibbles, some drinks and some good conversation during which I got to practice a little of my Italian. Cool. I paid my bill, and asked for four mini-morbidissimi biscuits as well, then went on my (fairly!) merry way back home.

Niamh went to bed ahead of me, while I stayed up and listened to a little music.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a like if you enjoyed it, and I’d also love to hear from you in a comment below.