Last week of the A to Z Blogging Challenge brings some challenges – but I’m up for it!
“U” is for UBRIACO PROSECCO
Ubriaco Prosecco is a raw cow’s milk cheese made in northern Italy’s Veneto region, home to Prosecco sparkling wines. Termed “drunken cheese,” it is covered by Prosecco grape skins and wine during the maturing process, which give the cheese a sweet, delicate aroma and a complex finish.
Ubriaco is matured for at least two months but usually not more than a year. When mature, it has a soft texture, which ages to become firmer and crumbly, similar to a Parmigiano. Ubriaco is best served in crumbles or shavings with a glass of Prosecco or any aged, red wine.
I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese! I hope you enjoy these posts!
“F” is for FONTINA VAL D’AOSTA
Fontina! From the Aosta Valley in northern Italy, where the Alps are surrounded by Switzerland and France. Where chestnuts roast on open-air braziers in the chill air. Fontina has a thin brown crust and the cheese has tiny holes. It’s pale yellow if produced in winter, when the cows are fed hay, and becomes a deeper yellow if produced during the summer. It has a sweet taste and its aroma intensifies as it matures.
Fontina is rich in phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A and B. Its production is controlled by a rigid discipline which defines it, and in 1996, Fontina gained the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) stamp from the European Union, which decrees that it must be produced exclusively in the Val d’Aosta.
Look! A little movie – it’s only a minute and a half, so watch it and take a virtual tour!
Kathy and I arrived at the Venezia Santa Lucia railway station a few days before Easter in 1979. Before we left Fribourg, someone advised us to arrive at dusk (“it’s so pretty at that time of day!”). As we walked through the station, I noted a half-dozen or so people lying on the floor. We checked our guidebook and walked from pensione to pensione, only to find every single hotel booked solid. Finally, someone who spoke English told us we were crazy to come to Venice during Holy Week and think we’d get a hotel room. Ah, now the station-sleepers made more sense. And yes, we joined them. I unrolled my sleeping bag (pure luck that I had it with me) and Kathy and I bedded down for the night, our valuables tucked under our heads. The station was patrolled by a couple of the local polizia, which was comforting, I guess.
Venice was a stop on the way to Greece, anyway, so we spent the next day in Saint Mark’s Square, which was constructed in the 9th century. The square was laid out in front of the original St. Mark’s Basilica, which at the time was a small chapel attached to the Doge’s Palace. Besides people and magnificent architecture, the square is also home to a great many pigeons. They’re everywhere. They’ve caused a lot of damage to the delicate mosaics, but all attempts to reduce the population have failed.
Anyway, Kathy and I spent a long day in Venice and boarded a train that evening, one that would travel all the way down the eastern coast of Italy to Brindisi. The train was packed full of people traveling somewhere for Easter, so we had the pleasure of standing all night. I think there were finally seats available by the time we stopped in Foggia, probably around five in the morning. From Brindisi, we waited around all day until the ferry departed at night for Greece (remember “C” is for Corfu?).
This is the Vatican in 1978. Pope John Paul I reigned for 33 days, and died the day my classmates and I flew from Boston to Zurich to begin a year of study in Switzerland. By mid-October, his successor had been chosen, and we traveled by night train to Rome to witness the Papal inauguration.
Below is the Trevi fountain, made most popular in the 1954 movie, “Three Coins in the Fountain.” I only recently watched the movie about three American girls (Anita, Maria, and Frances) hoping to find love and romance in Rome. After all, they threw coins into the Trevi fountain
Here is the Coliseum (or Colosseum), the largest amphitheater in the world. Construction began in 70 A.D. and was completed in 80 A.D. Damaged by fire, earthquakes, and stone robbers, still it stands, nearly 2,100 years later. Remarkable!
This photo was taken from atop St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. There are 320 steps to the top of the dome, but isn’t it worth it?!