Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I don't post pictures much, but I did promise to, so here are a couple of our time in Milano. We didn't even have time to see our friend Lori, the trip was so short, but hopefully we'll have another chance after the Christmas holidays (Lori, this means you can invite us up to stay, right?).

Milan's Galleria is a highlight of any Milan trip. This photo is of the windows of the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) headquarters. From Nocera U. to elegant Milan, Corrie, Erin and my CAI adventures have been quite fun.

Here's a shop near Peck that we found on Saturday morning as Antonello and I walked the streets to seek out Bramante churches. Look, they spelled my name right (it's about time)!

Okay, that's it for now. Very busy week here, as the morning English lessons at the middle school have finally begun and I've reached my deadline for the glass store website. Thursday is a holiday though...


Lingering Vacation

Today Antonello and I opened our 'Quartirolo' Lombard cheese that we bought while in Milan with my parents. In Milan, there's a great shop in the city centre, Peck--one of the most well known gourmet grocery stores in Italy -- that has everything: delectable dolci, jars and jars of sauces, tiny marinated artichokes and pickles, italian delicatessen treats, meat, exotic fruits and vegetables, and, one of my favorite parts: loads of cheese. I, being a vegetarian, go crazy for cheese. It's my weakness, and I could stock up on wheels of it, vacuum wrapping it all for easy access home. There, at Peck, cheeses beckoned from all over Europe: French cheeses, British cheeses, Belgian cheeses, and, of course, Italian cheeses.

I had read about Peck in my guidebook (thank you, Lonely Planet!), and, as our car broke down in the piazzetta down the street from the Duomo (as the fumes came up from the hood, I pointed over and said "Ah! The Galleria! That's where we are!"), we found ourselves with too much time on our hands in the middle of the bustling evening crowd of downtown Milan. We decided to search out Peck, since, according to my map, it was in the maze of roads that make up the center of Milan. Not to say that it would be easy to find: this is the part of the city where churches are tucked away into corners, and the most elegant porticoes run into traffic ridden streets. Milan is a big, busy place--it is most certainly not Le Marche.

Upon turning corners and asking other tourists (who, in turn, responded that they too were not from Milan and most likely were lost as well) where to find Peck, my mother spotted a sign announcing a little bar with the same name. It turns out Peck is half-restaurant/half-gourmet grocery, and we had found the restaurant. I asked the bartender (aware that I was way too underdressed to really want dinner there) if he knew where his grocery store was, and he pointed me around the corner. We left, sidetracked only for a moment by the tempting aperitif snacks laid out in shiny silver bowls on the counter (very Milanese). I shook my head, as the bartender's stare suggested we should go on our way.

At Peck, where produce experts and cheese know-it-alls greet you as you enter, I picked out four things, three of them being cheeses. They had gorgonzola piccante, a deliciously strong cheese that cannot be found in my little region of Le Marche (I should tell you about my Bergamo story), and I decided that first. Then, I got this Quartirolo cheese (something from Lombardy)--a soft yet aged cheese that looked a lot like a rectangular version of brie. Finally, I found a very orange cheddar from England that I couldn't pass up. I picked out a jar of onions marinated in balsamic vinegar, and my gastronomic adventure in Peck ended there. Content with my jars and vacuum-wrapped cheeses, my parents and I headed back into the charming chaos of downtown Milan's busy streets, waiting to find out about our broken car.

So it was today, at lunch, that we finally opened one of those cheeses. It was the Quartirolo--that soft cheese, much like Brie in it's consistency. Antonello and I took it out of it's plastic wrap and opened the aluminum foil stamped with the words "Peck" and their signature sun logo. We cut ourselves a piece, cutting off the outside edge of the cheese and spreading the Quartirolo on pieces of bread. It was good sharp, yet soft, cheese. A good choice.

And as we ate away, I remembered the whole above story--wandering through the city, running into beautiful churches and quaint side streets while searching out gourmet goods with my parents behind me and nothing better to do. That was our weekend in Milan--an evening really, but a memorable one. And today, the vacation of two weeks ago got a chance to linger a little longer.

The gorgonzola and the cheddar, tidy in their fancy little aluminum wrappers, will be saved for another day, and another chance to remember.


P.S. Corrie: this means we have a new 'Q' cheese for the Cheese game! Still looking for a good 'Y' and 'Z' cheese. Anyone know?