08 July 2010

Eating my way through vacation ... Snacks & Shops

One of my favorite things to do while on vacation is to go to grocery stores.  Historical sites, grand works of art, picturesque landscapes - those are all fine and good, but I'll take a market over a masterpiece any day. 
(Don't tell the Hubs though, it's heresy to say things like that in our house)

I also love little snacks.  Traveling is hard work and I am in constant need of sustenance while exploring a new location. 

Here are a few of the snacks we consumed and little stores we checked out while in Italia and Espana. 

In Montecatini Terme we went out for a stroll around the town and stopped for a drink.  We had the usual -  gin and tonic for me and Campari with orange for the Hubs.  While the drinks were refreshing, my favorite part was the tray of bar snacks we received. 
(From left - homemade corn nuts, spicy mini rice cakes and some dried/baked bean.)

Of the three my favorite was the beans.  Partly because of the flavor, but partly because if you look at them closely they are really cute.  There is a thin piece of the 'skin' left on the middle of the bean, but the rest has been stripped away. 

You can never go wrong with gelato in Italy.  I think one of my favorite things visually about gelato is that it always appears as if it is on the verge of turning to liquid.
These are two of the students' cones - mint and lemon, respectively.  (I always order mine in a cup) .  It was hot this day in Cinque Terra and the girls were very kind to let me take a photo of their treats!

While walking around Firenze I happened upon this little bakery with the most fabulous window displays.  I wanted so badly to head inside and check out the rest of the goodies, but knew if I did I would be powerless to resist their sugary siren songs.  I had to settle for photos through the windows.

Before we boarded the ship that would take us across the Mediterranean from Livorno to Barcelona we were taken to the local supermarket, Supermercati PAM, to stock up on food for the journey.  We only had about 30 minutes, but I could have spent 3 hours.  Luckily, the Hubs and I are very practiced at grocery shopping in Italy and knew exactly what we needed/wanted, which freed me up to wander for a little while. 

Part of the meat counter -

And in addition to the meat counter there were stacks of pork everywhere.  This must be what heaven is going to be like... mealtime will be a buffet of lovely cured pork products.

And to carry our food purchases on to the ship I bought the most adorable reusable grocery bag.  How can a mozzarella ball dressed up like a little person not bring a smile to your face?!?!

Because of a series of unforeseen incidents, our arrival was delayed by about 5 hours, meaning we needed to eat one extra meal on the ship.  Here is the drink I chose to have with my dinner - wine in a juice box.  Not sure if it's sheer genius or the epitome of white trash...

Unfortunately, since it was Sunday when we were in Barcelona all of the food markets were closed.  Oh well, we still made time for snacks drinks while strolling Las Ramblas.  The joint was called Cerveceria Catalana and these really might have been the best Sangria we have ever had... or maybe I just thought they were really good because they were so cold. 

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