The Trip: Italy and France

NAMES Vincent and Swee Chong

THE TRIP Italy and France in April/May 2017 (food, glorious food!)

THE ITINERARY We started in Milan and took a Bernina Express tour which included a coach ride to Tirano and then a train ride to St Moritz. The journeys and destinations were spectacular. From Milan, we also went to Bergamo, and Citta Alta was fascinating and the polenta cake yummy. The Milanese veal cotoletta and risotto in Osteria Brunello in Milan were exceptional.

In Venice, we strolled leisurely and loved the chichetti and frittura mista. In Rome, we ate seasonal Roman food like carciofi alla romana and alla giuda. Fatamorgana's innovative gelato flavours were delicious. We also enjoyed a food tour in Trastevere which highlighted Roman specialities. In Sorrento, the seafood at Porta Marina was unforgettable and unpretentious. Raki is now our top-ranked gelateria!

We now know there is more to Positano than just the tourist area. We had wonderful seafood and smoked mozzarella grilled between lemon leaves. In Florence, we enjoyed lampredotto sandwich, bolitta, trippi, tortelli with wild boar sauce, spaghetti with fresh anchovies/capers and bistecca alla fiorentina. From La Spezia, we went on a Sunday to Camogli which celebrated its annual fish festival. We saw the biggest frypan and longest queue for seafood! The Porta Palazzo market and Egyptian Museum in Turin were excellent. We tasted delicious Piedmontese food which included Fassone and Grissonipoli beef and "bonet" pudding.

We loved the markets and chocolates from Sebastien Bouillet in Lyon. With minimal French, we ordered many a meal with difficulty but ate with ease. In Tours, we toured the impressive Chambord and Chenonceau castles and ate delicious French food. Our last stop was Paris and we loved the French Open tennis. We ate comfort French food and pastries, watched the ducks in the Tuileries and walked the Promenade Plantee. C'est bon!

BEST BITS Being at Roland Garros was special. So was eating confit of goose and carciofi (Roman-style artichokes).

WORST BIT We had only one bad meal, at a bouchon in Vieux Lyon – the duck and quenelle were uncooked!

BEST TIP Take the trains in Italy and France and use local transport wherever possible; you will see the land and live like a local.

WHERE TO NEXT A food tour in Morocco with side trips to the tapas/pincho bars in Spain.

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