Monday, 12 January 2015

Week beginning January 12th - The Italian Influence

Over the New Year period my boyfriend Rodrigo and I spent 8 days driving around Italy. From Milan to Lake Garda, Parma, Florence, Rome, Pisa and my personal fave Manarola. Kaffeine's previous manager Amy once told me about this amazing coastal village and ever since I've wanted to visit. 

Rodrigo and I booked a night’s stay in Manarola, not realising how complicated it was to get to with a hire car. As I don't drive Rodrigo had the duty of driving up and down a narrow winding road, it was paved along the side of a cliff. Being night-time it made for a rather stressful journey. After driving at 20km/h down the cliff and giving way to many larger vehicles we reached a road barrier. Only authorised vehicles could drive into Manarola. We hadn't realised that the village doesn't allow tourist to drive in. We tried to park at the gate but were politely told off by a local, apparently this area was for residents only. 

At this stage Rodrigo and I were quite stressed, the idea of driving back up a step 2 way road that was only fit for a scooter seemed awful. Rodrigo ordered me to go into the village and ask some where we should park. I got out of the car and proceed into Manarola, There were several dozen tourist coming in and out of the village. As I power walked into town I noticed a massive light display along the side of the cliff, it was a nativity scene. Then I surrounded by the most charming village. Tiny little alley ways, old clock tower, cathedral, pastel coloured apartments, seafood restaurants and a town hall. All the frustrations of finding a place to park the car were gone. I was in love. 

I went to the door of the town hall, an old lady sat behind a table of post cards. Asked her where I could park a car, she didn't speak English and my Italian is hopeless. Instead the smiling old lady pointed to a post card with a picture of the light display, in one corner of the postcard was another picture, it featured an older man. She pointed to the man in the post card then she pointed behind me. By this stage the stress was coming back. Behind me was an old man, turns out it was the same man on the post card. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me? So I ask him if he spoke English and if he could tell me where I could park. He kindly told me I need to drive up to the second car park, which was for tourist. 

I ran back to the car, Rodrigo wasn't having a good time waiting for me, there were other cars trying to get around him. I was in a good mood now. When I got back in the car I told Rodrigo that I think I met the mayor. Rodrigo was preoccupied, we found the car park which was half a mile from the village entrance. I told Rodrigo that the village was stunning, worth the hassle, he was sceptical and would decide for himself when we got in. When we walked into the village, he fell in love and forgot what we’d experienced getting to this remote place. We then spent the next hour trying to find our accommodation. Which was another challenge as nothing was properly sign posted and none of the numbers were in order. We got very lost, but it didn't matter, everything was charming. In the middle of being lost Rodrigo and I came across a mural of the old man that had given me parking advice. Turns out he's the artist behind the light display and he's been doing it for over 50 years. And was a bit of a treasure and legend in the area. 

Eventually we found our accommodation, it was a studio with a balcony the size of two Kaffeine's. We had a view of the whole coast and right up into Manarola's village which is filled with pastel coloured rainbow apartments. The hassle and stress of getting here became the highlight of our trip.

The other highlight was Italy's food, everything we consumed was amazing, not a bad pizza, pasta, risotto, soup, cured meat and cheese passed our mouths. Everything was a hit, apart from the odd average cappuccino. 

This week’s menu is drawn from inspirational Italy and their love of good honest food, simple combinations made amazing with quality. 

Come in to Kaffeine this week because life is too good to miss out.     

Jared Bryant
Lead Chef

Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00 (V)
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00 (V)
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit) 3.90 (GF, V)
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.90
Cinnamon and Raisin Toast (V) 2.50
Banana bread 2.50
Porridge (V) 3.00
served with condiments muscovado sugar, dried fruit, chopped nuts, golden syrup or honey

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Sweet muffin: Blueberry and bran (Cereals, Eggs, Milk) (V) 2.50
Savoury Scone: Courgette and feta (Cereals, Eggs, Milk) (V) 2.50
Friand: Red currant (Egg, Milk, Nuts) (V,GF) 2.50
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.50
White chocolate blondies 2.50
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Almond and custard slice 2.50
Canele 2.40

Soup 4.50
Minestrone with rape green and served with parmesan sourdough.
(Cereals, eggs, milk) (V)

French retro baguettes 5.30
Pancetta, cheese sauce with parsley, baked onion and spinach (Cereals, mustard, milk) 
Roasted red peppers, zucchini, olives, pesto and rocket (Cereals, milk, nuts) (V) 

Foccacias 5.50
Prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and rocket (Cereals, milk).
Spinach and ricotta with slow roasted tomatoes and pine nuts (Cereals, milk, nuts) (V)

Salads: 5.50/7.00
Chicken, olives, capers, roasted red onion and potato, with a pancetta and tomato dressing (Celery) (DF,GF). 
Plum tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil with three-corner garlic dressing (Milk, mustard) (V,GF). 
Buckwheat pasta with lemon, avocado, black mustard,

Tart: 4.40 or 8.00 with salad
Arancini with beef bolognese (Cereals, celery, milk, eggs)

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