Sunny Sardinia

I’m not long back from a week in Sunny Sardinia, where in all honesty, eating, sunbathing and sleeping where my main activities. I’m not even joking. Although our hotel did have some wonderful free yoga classes, which I managed to find time in my packed schedule for a visit to.

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While hotels in the region (and often Italy generally) aren’t always mega luxurious, this doesn’t really matter when it’s this beautiful…

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Stunning views were everywhere in Sardinia and even a terrible photographer like me took some lovely shots capturing the island’s beauty. The beaches in particular were perfect and with temperatures in the 30s, we were very glad of the sea breeze and the cooling waves.

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Sleep came easily in a canopied bed that made me feel like a princess! Obviously, it’s a mosquito net to keep those nasty little bugs out (of which Sardinia has plenty!) – but it does look rather pretty doesn’t it?

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Seafood, pizza and pasta made up much of our diet on this trip, well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it? I had a few salads for good measure, but when in Italy, this is what it’s all about…

Tiramisu…had to be done!

A special thanks to Colin & Olatz for this treat of some local bubbles on our first night!

There’s nothing like a late August/early September holiday to make you really feel the difference in seasons on your return. Now we’re back in England, the tan’s fading and the weather’s turning. It’s easy to give into the blues but secretly I’m rather looking forward to winter (and Christmas!!!)…bring it on! 

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The Pleasures of Petit Fours

So you’ve enjoyed a lovely meal out, starters and main course, you’re feeling too full for dessert, the over indulgence has made you sleepy…but you know you don’t want the experience to end…ever felt this way? Petit Fours and a coffee are perfection in these situations. Light little sweet treats that you can take your time over with a strong coffee to revive and ready you for the rest of the night.

Petit Fours are nearly always a visual treat too, temptingly presented in a whole host of creative styles – here are two such examples I recently enjoyed…

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Petit Fours enjoyed at the Wykeham Arms in Winchester

I loved the little lollipop, it was coated with popping candy which made for a fun surprise.

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Scrumptious Petit Fours enjoyed at a beautiful restaurant in Lake Garda, Italy

These adorable treats arrived in their own little tree – like a work of art, they were almost too pretty to eat (I said almost…)

Well, that’s actually all I have for now (you know my track record for remembering to photograph my food!) – if I enjoy any more lovely little Petit Fours I’ll be sure to add to this post.

Hidden Gems Part One

There are lots of restaurants that you might call hidden gems nestled around Hampshire, some you drive past and always wonder about going in, some you’ve heard about and never been to, maybe you went once years ago and haven’t been back…whether they’re in a rural location or simply a tucked away part of town, it’s time to start thinking about our local hidden gems!

These restaurants usually have longevity, outlasting some of the more prominently positioned establishments – relying on reputations built over the years and loyal customers. I’m hoping to publish a series of posts celebrating some great local hidden gems (suggestions welcome!)…I’ll start with one of my favourites, Keats in Ampfield.

Keats is a wonderfully traditional Italian restaurant located between Wincheser and Romsey, so it probably falls into the ‘driven past it and always wondered…’ category of hidden gems – but it is most certainly worth a visit. Run by the same very friendly team for something like 20 plus years, I cannot praise this place enough, I’ve genuinely never had a bad meal there. The freshness of the food is always excellent, the fish and seafood in particular – the staff are only to happy to tell you what they’ve got in fresh that day and recommend a good wine to go with it too.

Bear in mind when I say Italian, I don’t mean Zizzi, Prezzo or Pizza Express. Keats is all about traditional Italian classic dishes done well. The specialities would certainly have to be the fish, but also the chateaubriand for two – a firm favourite of my boyfriend and his brother, who enjoy it every time. The desserts are excellent too, my favourite is the crepe suzettes, which are always prepared in front of you in the traditional way.

I’m hoping to update this post with some foodie photos when I next pay a visit to Keats, but for now I hope this short entry has served to whet your appetite for some good old fashioned Italian food…

Visit http://www.keatsrestaurant.co.uk for a flavour of the place and book a table if you haven’t been!

 

La Dolce Vita…Lakeside!

There has been a little lapse in FoodTeaLife entries of late and it’s because of a wonderful holiday to Italy – the beautiful area of Lake Garda to be precise. We soaked up the sunshine, took in the stunning views, swam in the crystal clear lake, ambled through the medieval streets and generally enjoyed all of the nation’s famous foodie delights. From gelato, to pizza, pasta, tiramisu, grappa and limoncello – we indulged in all of Italy’s classics! The region’s local wines had to be sampled too – all of which proved to be delightful and left us wondering why you never find these wonderful wines back home?

Probably the best summary I can give of the trip is a visual one…so feast your eyes….

The 16th century castle at the entrance to the medieval town

The castle even has its own moat filled with lake water

A proper olden days castle with battlements and it’s own moat, does it get much more fairytale-esque? Well I think it does, take a look at these photos of the castle at it’s most magical…

The castle in the dead of night…mysterious and mythical

Waiting for Rapunzel to appear…

Not only was the castle lovely to gaze upon from the outside, but once inside it provided some breathtaking views of the lake and the old town of Sermione…

There were spectacular views to take in everywhere you looked from the old fashioned streets to the lake itself….

Looking out over the lake

Sirmione is made up of quaint little streets like this one

And now of course on to the foodie highlights of the trip…

A classic Italian stone baked Margarita pizza

Spaghetti with clams – delicious!

Another pasta classic…carbonara

Grilled shellfish with garlic

Soup of mussels and clams

On to the desserts…

Duo of desserts – the one on the left is a miniature tiramisu!

A table tree of petit fours!

And to wash it all down with…

Limoncello for the ladies

Grappa for the gentlemen

And an interesting local cocktail…I can’t be a 100% sure of its ingredients, but I believe Campari and Presseco are two major components!

Colourful cocktail

All in all a most fabulous foodie adventure and very relaxing trip – a huge thank you to my second family for a wonderful time xxx