After celebrating our last morning in France with a tasty breakfast of croissant, we hopped on the bus and began our journey to Italy. If the drives in Switzerland were the most spectacular of the trip, then the drive along the French and Italian Riviera would have to come a close second. Featuring some glorious views of the Mediterranean, the motorway itself is a series of tunnels through the hillside and viaducts that seem to span across valleys of coastal villages.
After stopping for at a travel/rest stop for lunch, I had the chance to sample ‘Fonzies’, the Italian version of Twisties. Personally, I think their slogan “Se non ti lecchi le dita godi solo a metà” which translates to “If you do not lick your fingers you enjoy only half” is much better than the Australian one “Life’s pretty straight without…”
Pisa was the first destination of the Italian Leg of our journey, and we all took turns posing for the cliché Leaning Tower pic. Back on the bus and onwards to Florence. After settling in to the hostel, we had some free time to explore the streets near our hostel. Here we stumbled upon a cute little bakery selling all kinds of biscuits and treats, which we of course had to sample.
The next day we had a guided tour of the historical streets and buildings of Florence before waiting in line for about an hour to see the Statue of David. After that we had no time for a sit down lunch so stopped into a little cafe/gelateria/pizzeria and bought a focaccia sandwich. Followed by a healthy serving of gelato for dessert. Following lunch we hopped back on the bus and made our way to Rome.
While there was nothing particularly fancy about the sandwich I had for lunch in Florence, there was something so delectably simple about the fresh Italian Focaccia filled with fresh mozzarella cheese, prosciutto and salad. So I attempted to re-create it at home using this focaccia recipe (minus the olives), prosciutto, tasty cheese, basil leaves, and a mix of salad vegetables (tomato, capsicum, spinach & rocket). The flavours work so well together and made a rather amazing lunch.
Despite my lactose intolerance, I was intent on tasting authentic Italian gelato while in Italy so armed with a supply of Lacteeze tablets I did just that. Thankfully when I decided to try making my own gelato at home, I realised I can use my own lactose free milk so my gelato is already lactose-free, no Lacteeze required. The recipe had a custard base which (well, I had to something with all those egg yolks from my macarons) resulted in a gelato that is rich and creamy with a smooth texture despite not having an ice-cream maker.