Our Italian Pasta Eating Road Trip

For as many years as I can remember now I’ve gone on and on about wanting to drive down (eat my way down) through Italy. I’ve avidly followed Jamie, The Two Greedy Italians, Rick Stein and Keith Floyd on their culinary Italian adventures whilst even watching Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon bickering in and out of Italian restaurants left me feeling jealous…

So, having finally quit my job, leaving the world of fashion behind me I’m now fully embracing all things food. The book is finally out there and on the shelves to buy (Eat the Week, you’ve probably seen me mention it once or twice) and I’ve been busy catering private press dinners dedicating all my time to cooking.

In bigger news I’ve turned 30 which I managed to see in through a string of long lunches, dinners and heavy boozing that spanned across two weeks and included a celebration in both NY and several in London. However … There’s one last lunch that consists of a 9 course tasting menu from the current second best restaurant in the world, Osteria Francescana in Modena. If like me you’re completely obsessed with the Netflix series; Chef’s Table then you’d be as excited as I am about this final celebration into my 30’s. What’s even more exciting is that Massimo Bottura, Author of ‘Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef’ (it’s all making so much sense why he’s such a hero) will also be serving up a full vegetarian tasting menu too (for the boyfriend) so I’ll technically be tasting over 18 dishes and finally getting to dine out and really enjoy a meal with him. Naturally it then made sense to finally plan our Italian road trip around a long (and probably the best) lunch out.

Restaurant Osteria Francescana- http://www.osteriafrancescana.it/index.php

We’ll be starting by flying into Verona and staying near Lake Garda for 2 nights in the Bardolino region. In need of some rest and recuperation, we’ve opted for an old rural farmhouse with views of Lake Garda and in walking distance to the lake. We were pretty late in booking somewhere and there’s seems to be some sort on conference or something taking place that weekend so we’re not as close to the lake (i.e right on it) as we wanted to be. That said this place looks perfectly low key, rural and super nicely decked out, perfect for our first stop off. More details to come….

Hotel Belmond Portofino – http://www.belmond.com/hotel-splendido-portofino/
Next up we’re heading over to Portofino for two nights of living the dream at the Belmond’s seaside retreat. My plan is to swim in the infinity pool overlooking the port both mornings, specifically making room for more pasta and red wine. There’s also a little private beach only accessible by boat which has a couple of restaurants to eat at. This is definitely on our to do list. The main formal dining room looks so beautifully traditional and luxurious, specialising in local dishes and traditional Italian cuisine. It also has the most incredible views of the harbour as it’s set up in the hills of Portofino.

Hotel J K Place –http://www.jkplace.com
From here we’re driving directly to Modena to eat at Osteria Francescana (for the meal of our lives!!) before going onto Florence for just the one night (we couldn’t skip Florence as the boyfriend has never been and I’ve only ever done a flying visit). We’ll be staying pretty central, it made sense to being as we’re there so briefly…J. K Place Firenze is modern and luxuriously decked out and positioned in the heart of it all, just a few minutes walk from Santa Maria Novella Basilica. We’ll also be trying out their Tuscan inspired menu, on the terrace overlooking the piazza.

Hotel Casa Angelina –http://www.casangelina.com
From Florence we’re then taking our longest journey yet and driving 6 hours down to the Amalfi coast, stopping for one night in Praiano at super modern white washed hotel Casa Angelina. Just 10 minutes from Positano and 20 minutes from Amalfi. Have to say we’re super excited about this part of the trip, I’m going to get seriously stuck into the seafood as we couldn’t be closer to the sea. There’s also plenty of quieter beach havens that you again can only reach by boat so we’ll definitely be out and exploring, taking long lunches and big dinners. After just the one night in Praiano we’ll be heading to Amalfi where we’ll stay for 3 nights. We found a place with a pool (although not sure that’s necessary given how gorgeous and clear the sea is down that way)

Hotel Mariana Riviera – http://www.marinariviera.it
Situated again right on the coast a little further south from Positano this is where we’re setting down for 3 nights with the aim to explore Positano, Praiano, Ravello and Amalfi. We have an afternoon planned in Ravello at The Belmond, they have the craziest infinity pool and outdoor lunch area so we’ll be sunning and feeding our faces there one afternoon.

Hotel Belmond Ravello / Restaurant – http://www.belmond.com/hotel-caruso-amalfi-coast/restaurants_and_bars_caruso

Rossellinis -Palazzo Avino – http://www.palazzoavino.com/en/Dining/Rossellinis
We’ll be eating in the gorgeous Rossellinis in Ravello, trying out there Michelin starred a-la-carte menu along with wine pairing. While looking down onto the Amalfi cost. The views from the restaurants terrace are supposed to be incredible. Palazzo Avino is a 5 star hotel set in a 12th century villa perched on the cliffs of the Medieval town of Ravello.

Don Ferrante Hotel –http://www.donferrante.it
Our final stop is 2 nights in Monopoli, in the southern region of Puglia. We’ve previously taken a day trip to Monopoli and fell in love with it. Set within the walls of a old fortress this small town is packed full of history, it’s also set within a stretch of the Adriatic coast which has some of the most amazing white sand beaches.