With only a couple of weeks left until we headed back to Chicago, Brad and I decided to take a trip down to Napoli for the weekend. Back in January we had stayed in Napoli for a few days and what we remembered most was its PIZZA! Pizza di Napoli is quite different than the kind you will find in Rome. In Rome, there are two main types of pizza. Pizza taglia, which is basically a pan cut styled pizza that you will find on every corner in Rome. There is also forno a legno pizza or pizza that is cooked in a wood-burning oven. This type of pizza is similar to pizza di Napoli, however they crust is very thin and cracker-like. Whereas, in Napoli the pizza crust is thicker or tall, as Italians refer it to "pizza alta". Also, mozzarella di bufala originates from this region of Italy and you will only find a truly "pure" mozzarella di bufala in Campania. Traditionally, Napoletana pizza will have this type of cheese. It may sound like the pizza in Italy is very heavy and fattening. However, I have found in Italy that pizza is much lighter than in the States. Usually, pizza is made with the most simple ingredients, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Sorry for all this pizza talk, but I really love pizza. So, when Brad and I arrived the first thing we did that night was go out for pizza! Another reason we had wanted to visit Naples was to see their Christmas Market, which begins the first weekend in December. It really is quite a unique experience to walk down the narrow, medieval streets in Napoli. Every street was completely crowded, it was so insane. Each shop, poured out onto the streets with merchants selling everything from Christmas ornaments, decoration, gifts , almost anything you could think of. However, Napoli is most famous for their hand-crafted Nativity scenes, which range in size, some are quite small while others are as large as a coffee table. A part me really wanted to buy one, but there would be no easy way to pack such an item and take back to Chicago.
Naples is also well-know for a couple of different pastries. The first being, sfogliatella, which Brad and I loved. It is kind of like a baklava, with a flaky, paper like crust. However, inside is a sweet, lemony custard. I would really like to try making some at home sometime. The other pastry is babà, which we did not like as much, but it was still good. It is a soft, cupcake-like pastry except it is infused in Rum. I would have to say, Brad and I really enjoyed learning and discovering many of the different foods that are found in this region of Italy.
In addition to pizza, Brad and I are quite fond of limoncello. Luckily, Napoli is located just about an hour away from Sorrento, the city that limoncello originated from. If you have never had limoncello, it is a type of Italian liquore that is made with infused lemon rinds. So, of course we made sure we had time to visit Sorrento. Sorrento is a small quaint town located just off the Amalfi Coast of Italian. In addition to stocking up on some limoncello, we took a beautiful walk along the coast and even enjoyed some frutti di mare...seafood. It was a nice, quiet afternoon and then we headed back to Naples for one last night on the town. Naples is right on the coast as well, so we took a walk along their sea that night and of course had to indulge in another pizza . The next day was a bit of a drag because it was raining. We had planned to take another walk, down their Christmas street, but it was so crowded with people and their umbrellas we decided just to head home. It was actually kind of funny walking the streets this time. We had forgotten to bring an umbrella, but since it was so crowded with people and their umbrellas, they actually cover us too. So, we barely got wet! It was a sweet ending to our weekend.
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