Olive oil mill in Umbria at the time of harvest – Baccio Noemio

Looks and taste delicious

Olive oil has got very popular in the last decades. We just discovered it makes better almost everything. Italy and olives belong together in our imagination. They grow olive there for 4000 years and have 350 different species so they learned how to do it. We always wanted to go to an olive harvest but the organised tours are extremely expensive. We got a price offer for around 1000 Euro. We almost gave it up but got lucky. We visited Pennacchi winery in Sagrantino area Umbria, Mr Pennacchi makes good wines and an easy going man which show on his winery. (https://www.montefalcowine.it/cantina-winery/cantina-domenico-pennacchi/) Anyway he gave us some simple food with the wine tasting. Toast with pancetta (bacon) and sage leaves or just with olive oil.

Even the color taste good

It was harvest time and he had his own fresh oil which you can find only at this time and only locally. The color is very different of your ideas of olive oil. Amazingly dark green. He told us that his friend has an oil mill near. Although it was 9 pm he took us there. The harvest was just going on. We had a chance to see the process taste and buy the oil just spilled out of the mill. The mill and the plantation is owned by Bacci Noemio and his family. We had a warm welcome and were showen around. They have 3 kind of olives Moraiolo (80%), Frantoio (10%), Leccino (10%). Moraiolo is the typical Tuscan and Umbria type. This is the desirable green freshly cut grass smell oil, with a spicy and slightly bitter ending. It was 10 pm but the harvest was going on because the olives have to be pressed as soon as possible after harvesting. They prepared toasts and we had a chance to taste the different oils. New and old ones. It was real spontaneous and lucky experience for us. Mr Pennacchi even provided some more wine. http://oliobaccinoemio.it/it/home/

Even nigh time the harvest goes on.


They put leaves in too which is separated by the machine.
Holding tanks
The machine pressing the olive with the seed.


Last drops spilling out.
This what left after pressing.
Mr Noemio filling up our bottles. See the color?


L’Approdo – Calabria – The treasure is inside

Even though the sea is warmer the beaches are not crowded and prices are lower Calabria is not such a hot destination like Tuscany. It is far away and much less to good restaurants to find. But there are some good ones which you have to visit if you go there. One of them is L’Approdo in Vibo Valentina Marina. The place is not an attractive one. There is not much reason to go there but the restaurant. The outlook not promising much but this place had a Michelin star for ages and there is a reason for it. (The interior design is very gorgeous but I do not have a picture. Find it here: http://www.lapprodo.com/) We visited twice with 12 years difference. At the first visit it was the only Michelin starred restaurant in Calabria. The quality have not changed or just got better. We even found the same waiter there. What is fantastic about Italy than even a small place like Vibo Valentina can have gourmet restaurant like this. Local demand for quality is the motivation behind these restaurant not tourism. This time we had lunch with kids and everybody was satisfied. I love that even simple children food is so good in these restaurants we are rushing for the leftovers.
This is for the children Gnocci gourmet style.
Best way to eat in this restaurant if you visit Pizzo in the afternoon and have lunch here before. Pizzo is a spectacular town claiming they invented Tartufo the special ball like multi layer ice cream. Worth a visit and a taste. (Strangely you can bargain in the ice cream shops.)
L’Approdo is a place to explore some good Calabrian wines. Their wine list is very long and their cellar is impressive. Ask for looking at it. Taste a local malvasia which is very different here than in the north and Magliocco which is an indigenous grape and makes unique wine.
Very light octopus salad
And squid salad


Ravioli for the adults




Strozzapreti with shrimp


An amazingly done breaded squid, nothing you think of under this name




Petit fours






The best half board ever – Hotel Cernia – Elba

It may be the lack of large airport or the bitter memory of Napoleon but Elba is not that well known among travelers to Italy than other places like Liguria, Sardinia or Rimini. Actually it is good for those going there because they find better prices and less people. The Island is small. You can see it for yourself if you go up with the funny cable car called Cabinovia to the top of the island (1019m) from next to Marciana

This what you see if you go up with Cabinovia

If you want to explore the sea around the best way is it to rent a small boat. If the waves are ok you can easily go around during the day. No licence or anything else needed. Not even ID.
One of the best beach is Capo Saint’ Andrea on the north of the island. It is worth going there for a small hotel itself called Hotel Cernia. It is not located on the beach but only have to walk 2 minutes. It is special from several reasons. The mother in the founder family Maria Loria turned the place into a botanic garden with rear plants.

The garden. The house on the right belongs to the hotel.

The other that here you find probably the best half board you ever had. We rearly choose half board because of those disappointing bufe dinners. It is a different case. You eat gourmet food every evening. You can choose among 3 dishes of primi and main course. Believe me and it has nothing to do those half boards you got used to. The chef Giuseppe Brescia who is actually from Puglia prepares them with great care and variety. We stayed 9 days and did not have to eat anything twice. Every evening they have a salad bar with changing selection.

The wine list is good at least 120 labels and they give you good information on each wine. Cristiano, the son of Maria who is actually the manager is a trained sommelier. (Ask to see his wine cellar.)
Weekends they have musical programs. Prices are reasonable. If you are sportsmen they have even a tennis court.


The pool and the garden

The beach. Sorry for the glass blocking the view.
The chef (in the middle) and his team
Welcome bite before the dinner.
One more welcome bite.


A very interesting dish. Mozzarella deep fried in grissini.



Fish salad






The chef like to make souffle


A lovely soup
Some more pasta



Guido – Rimini – The best food on any Adriatic beach

Guido restaurant is somewhat a miracle. It is located in (Miramare di) Rimini which is one of the busiest mass tourism site of east Italy. Mostly fun for families with small children. The streets are full of plastic beach toy shops and child amusement arcades. The last thing you expect here is a top class gourmet restaurant. But actually you have one and a very special one. It is located in the sand of the beach and probably this is the best beach restaurant of the several thousand kilometer long Adriatic cost. What is more the food is dedicated to the taste of the Adriatic. You might think very brave to say „the best”. Of course there are some better restaurants in the towns of the Adriatic cost but they are not located on the beach in the sand. It is actually rear to find a restaurant like this.
What else could it be than an old family restaurant. It gets the name of the grandfather of the two grandson Gianpaolo and Gianluca running the place. One of them is the chef the other giving the service.
Very few gourmet restaurant gives you this kind of feeling of freedom especially if you’re sitting on the terrace. Your children still can play in the sand and you can enjoy perfect food. If you are in the area Guido worth going there for lunch even with kids. They are crazy about different oysters, clams, muscles. It is a must to taste the red risotto. In other parts of Italy they do not really make risotto with tomato. It is the specialty of the house and the area. The rise is cooked in the liquid coming from the tomato. Do not mix it with fregula sarda, which rice looking pasta originally from Sardinia.
You can order anything you will not regret is. They have a perfect wine list fitting the light fish based menu.
Enjoy and have fun. Book a table for tomorrow lunch.
One of their well know welcome dish with dried fish and muscles


Small welcome fish bite


And the crudo (Raw plate) based on clams



Red risotto with fish on top
The jelly fish from outer space (do not eat it)


Artistic fritto misto (deep fried plate)


Tagliatelle of sepia. Pasta made out of squids.
Frightening looking fish.


That is what you see from the restaurant. The playground is 2 m away. 

Off the beaten pass – Hosteria Alicina – Porto Ercole Tuscan seaside

I have to admit we like to use Michelin guide for finding good places. But it has some risks. You would never enter in a restaurant like Hosteria Alicina if you follow the guides. Actually even if you judge by the outlook you might avoid this place. It is not more than a small glass cage. It does not look fancy at all but if you enter and taste the food  you change your mind surely. Porto Ercole is part of the Tuscan seaside. The very southern area near Grosetto. It is a island like peninsula with exceptional natural beauties. It this area you find very posh places like Il Pelicano with rooms over 500 Euro and dinner over 400. The „island”is good especially for boating around and snorkeling. Porto Ercole is an elegant port and even this restaurant does not look elegant it serves the highest expectation of good Mediterranean seafood It is a real good experience. The sun is shining through the glasshouse windows and you are sipping a Tuscan vermentino with your octopus salad. What else you need? Good company I guess. They do not have a website but have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Alicina-Hosteria-222248974633219/
As you can see from the decor they deal mostly with fish.
Octopus salad

Melanzane (eggplant) with cheese. The classic.


A beauty. Vegetable soup with fish.


Amazingly crispy.


That is what you call real fruity the mare.
And to finish with.