James C. is on the road again:
My mother suggested going somewhere for my birthday this weekend. Where to go? Where else but Italy?
I wanted to go someplace new so, basing ourselves in the historic city of Lucca, we’ve been taking country buses up into the ‘Apuan Alps’ of the (relatively) undiscovered Garfagnana region of extreme northwest Tuscany.
Here I am in the town of Barga, which perches, spills, straggles and clings in all higgledy-piggledy ways at the summit of a perch in the mountains. It’s one of the loveliest hill towns I’ve seen in Italy, and that local brew is one of the finest beers I’ve had in a long time.
He sent a few more photos too, no doubt just for me alone, because I don’t publish views of your table. Still, I had to share the ones that came through with you, because they made my mouth water.
That’s a plate of gnocchi al pesto with farinata, served to James in a seaside town in Liguria called Chiavari. He writes:
Pesto is the local thing here, and boy does it taste good when homemade. The farinata is an addictive chick pea-based thing that comes out in a big cylinder that you cut from like a pizza pie.
That was lunch. Here’s dinner:
I went light for dinner with some foreign food (foreign for Liguria: South Tyrol, the northeast Italian alpine region that borders Austria). The place, Birra Leo, brews its own beer on site and serves some South Tyrol classics. I passed on giant roasted pork leg and instead got this: spinach spätzle in this amazing sauce of speck and mountain cheese with brown bread. Wow.