Vietri sul Mare is a town just to the west of Salerno. It’s famous for its ceramic factories and shops. These colorful pieces are sold around the world. It was just a few minutes from our hotel, and we were often there for lunch, dinner, or shopping.
Pomegranate juice, fresh fruit and la gastronomia that made perfect sandwiches.
I thought one of the restaurants where we ate looked familiar. Was Van Gogh ever in Vietri?
Fine Italian Design
Some traditional and a contemporary piece that we brought home.
This one is easier than it sounds. You have to cook two things at the same time, using a sheet pan, a pot, and a frying pan – on the stove and in the oven and then put them together. It isn’t complicated if you follow the prep directions below.
Pre-heat the over to 425o.
Peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes to the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain the water and add the oil, pepper, and garlic to the potatoes and give the pot a good shake to thoroughly coat them. Arrange them in the sheet pan in a single layer and place them in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning them every 10 minutes.
After you put the potatoes in the oven, place the sausages in a frying pan and cover ½ way up with water. Cook on high until the water almost evaporates, turning them often. Then add 1 cup of red wine to the remaining water, and continue turning and cooking until the wine is half gone. Turn off heat and add the sausages and wine to the potatoes for the last 10 minutes of cooking in the oven.
After our visit to Terranova, we went to Sicignano degli Alburni to find someplace for lunch. A local guy recommended a trattoria in nearby Scorzo called Si Ma Quant Sit? Every meal we had in Italy was excellent but that two hour lunch at Si Ma Quant Sit? was the best. And we just found it by a lucky accident.
Dopo la nostra visita a Terranova, siamo andati a Sicignano degli Alburni per trovare un posto per il pranzo. Un ragazzo del luogo ha consigliato una trattoria nel vicino Scorzo chiamato Si Ma Quant Sit? Ogni pasto che abbiamo fatto in Italia è stato eccellente, ma quel pranzo di due ore al Si Ma Quant Sit? era il migliore. E l’abbiamo appena trovato per un fortunato incidente.
The menu was on a board on the table listing antipasti, pasta, and prima piatto. We started with the antipasto – some local cheese, prosciutto, capicola, and soprasade. We thought that would be it, but the owner, Raffale kept coming to our table adding things to our dishes – frittata, eggplant parmigiana, eggplant in vinegar, and on and on.
Il menu era su una tavola sul tavolo che elenca antipasti, pasta e prima piatto. Abbiamo iniziato con l’antipasto – alcuni formaggi e prosciutto locale, capicola e soprasade. Pensavamo che sarebbe stato il proprietario, ma Raffale ha continuato a venire al nostro tavolo aggiungendo cose ai nostri piatti – frittata, parmigiana di melanzane, melanzane in aceto e così via.
We were afraid we wouldn’t be able to eat the pasta course but we did.
We said we were too full for dessert but Lucia gave us some strawberries in wine anyway.
From Lucia’s garden
Raffale’s dogs wanted Bridget’s doggie bag.
Raffele and Simone
Strada Statale 19, 84029 Sicignano degli Alburni
Chili-Olive Oil Infusion
Raffale asked if I wanted some pepper for my pasta. He put a little jar of olive oil infused with dried chili on the table. It wasn’t just spicy, it had a distinct pepper taste. I asked how it was made. He gave me some to take home and got Lucia from the kitchen and she explained.
Raffale mi ha chiesto se volevo del pepe per la mia pasta. Mise sul tavolo un vasetto di olio d’oliva infuso con peperoncino secco. Non era solo piccante, aveva un sapore di pepe distinto. Ho chiesto come è stato fatto. Mi ha dato un po ‘da portare a casa e ha preso Lucia dalla cucina e lei ha spiegato.
Remove the stems and coarsely chop dried red chilis
Heat them in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until you can smell them.
Add some oil and sauté on low until the pepper softens. Put it all in a jar, add some more oil and in a few days, it’s ready.
We hired a car and driver to take us to the village where my grandmother Nicolina’s family had lived and where she was born. Simone showed up at our hotel in a new black Mercedes and Nicki (Nicolina’s namesake), Bridget and I started the trip inland. We were going to Terranova, a village in the province of Salerno and the Comune (municipality) of Scignano degli Alburni.
As we drove up into the Alburni mountains the lemon groves that were along the coast gave way to chestnut trees and it got colder and mistier as we went higher. After about an hour and a half, we reached Terranova.
Nicki made some friends. When my Aunt Lena visited in the 1970s she saw goats in the streets. We only saw a dog and some cats.
The old and the new fountain.
Farmland in the valley below.
Streets too narrow for cars.
We arrived to find what I had expected – a small village, population 60, and a church – Chiesa San Giovanni Battista. Simone said he’d try to find someone to unlock the church for us. A woman came and opened the side door as Simone returned with the priest who told us some of the church’s history. The poor people were interred in the crypt below the church so we were standing over the bones of our ancestors. The church was built in 1300 and the stone baptismal fountain was at least that old although a modern cover had been made for it. Nicolina DiAntonio was born in the village in 1878 and her father Lorenzo, grandfather Luigi, great grandfather Antonio, and her great great grandfather Onofrio who was born in 1740 were all baptized there. (That’s as far back as I was able to research.)
Chiesa San Giovanni Battista
The old stone baptismal font with its new cover, and San Antonio and a recently exposed original fresco of Santa Lucia.
To be continued – Lunch at Si Ma Quant Sit and a chili-olive oil infusion.
If you’ve been following my blog you know that I don’t use packaged food products – until now. I was browsing in a grocery store in Amalfi in Southern Italy and noticed a clear cellophane package of dried lemon, onions, capers and other things called, “Spaghettata con Limone e Tonno.”
It was only 2 Euros so I bought it. The English translation of the preparation was a little confusing but I figured it out.
All I had to do was add 3 ingredients – water, olive oil, and tuna.
The preparation was easy and it was delicious. I tried to Google a location where I could buy some more but no luck. I guess next time I want it, I’ll have to go back to Amalfi or make it from scratch.
From scratch –
¼ cup olive oil
1 finely chopped garlic clove
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsps. chopped capers
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 – 8 oz. jar of imported tuna packed in olive oil
Toward the end of our stay in Salerno, Emanuele arranged a special dinner for all of us at Il Principe e la Civetta (The Prince and the Owl) in Vietri sul Mare. The décor was elegant, the wine excellent and the food was from heaven. There were also two very good musicians – a guitarist and his beautiful accordionist partner who sang Neapolitan songs for us as we ate.
I hope this Google translation works for my Italian friends.
Verso la fine del nostro soggiorno a Salerno, Emanuele ha organizzato una cena speciale per tutti noi a Il Principe e la Civetta di Vietri sul Mare. L'arredamento era elegante, il vino eccellente e il cibo era dal cielo. C'erano anche due ottimi musicisti - un chitarrista e il suo bellissimo compagno fisarmonicista che cantava canzoni napoletane per noi mentre mangiavamo.
The Elegant Decor
A Sampling of Their Excellent Wine Selection
Some of Their Heavenly Food
In Chef Antonio’s Kitchen
Antonio and Emanuele
If you’re on the Amalfi Coast, stop at Il Principe e la Civetta for a special dinner.
Near Paestum, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and not too far from where we stayed in Salerno there was a buffalo mozzarella farm. It was some of the best mozzarella I ever tasted. Each buffalo had an implanted chip that kept track of when they were milked and when they ate. It was more like a buffalo spa than a farm. They could get a spray of water to cool off and have a massage whenever they felt like it.
They were milked in the morning and we ate it fresh in the afternoon.
I’m going to southern Italy. I’ll be spending some time on the Amalfi Coast and then inland to the hills of Salerno. My destination is the village of Terranova where my grandmother Nicolina was born in 1878.
I may not have an internet connection and it’s likely that I won’t be posting for at least a couple of weeks. I’ll continue when I get back in October.