Fall 2014
 
Travel Diaries: 
Surprises in Campania


 

I spent my twenty-second birthday on Ischia, an Italian island off of Naples. The island was huge and colorful with a big volcano in the center and super blue, ultra-clear sea lapping on its coast.  


Other than the very friendly people and hopping nightlife, my favorite part of the island was its produce. During my August visit, the island was rife with fresh produce, much more than elsewhere in Italy that I had experienced. 

 

  

Most shops sold lemons the size of footballs that made the best pulpy lemonade. The local specialty is rabbit (believable, since the center of the island is chestnut trees), but I, unfortunately, didn't get to sample it. Eggplants and tomatoes grew under the window of the house we rented, and grapes grew on the terrace overhead! 

 

 

The property also had fig trees, olive trees, apple trees, many of which I was offered baskets of from gardens, and, one on especially good day, I was given the best homemade wine I've ever had. You can imagine the liquor the people on this island can make. Awesome limoncello, and then a local specialty, "rucolino," which is liquorice-liquor made from arugula. 


 

 

On most nights, shops put out samplings of all of their liquors, chocolates, herbs, and soaps; the streets flood with beautifully-decorated tiles for sale while the gelato and juice shops buzz with Italians lapping up the creamy, sweet stuff and "granita," a shaved ice lemon drink. 

 


 

 I sampled some gelato (bittersweet dark chocolate flavored, the best I've ever had) on my twenty-second birthday night. I had taken a local bus across the island to Sant'Angelo to celebrate da sola. I hadn't been to Sant'Angelo before, but  the gelato was the first of many surprises to come.


Every year in August, Sant'Angelo has a fisherman's festival bursting with fresh, grilled fish, fireworks, and cheap wine. Another night was another sagra, and then another feast, and then another. Music, fresh food, singing, and dancing seemed to abound there, as if summer in Italy was, in itself, a cause for celebration. 

 


 

Maybe that third week in August was just a bustling time. Maybe it was a happy birthday coincidence. However, as I welcomed my twenty-second year, I did so with some of the best food I'd ever tasted in an atmosphere of spontaneous fun. The kind you can only have on a warm summer night in the Mediterranean. The kind you can only have on a sumptuous island that was beautiful beyond belief, and, yes, a great place to grow a year older and a lot happier.


 

Coming Up: 
Soccer Stadiums 
image c/o Buzzfeed

We love a good sports match. That's why we're celebrating soccer across the world in our upcoming podcast. As a sneak peek, check out this Buzzfeed list of 21 Soccer Stadiums You Should Watch a Game in Before You Die

 

Even beyond the spotlight of soccer, some of these stadiums have history as landmarks. The Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran (above), for instance, hosted a record 128,000 spectators for a World Cup qualifying game between Iran and Australia in 1998.

Image c/o Buzzfeed

Portugal has a stadium literally carved out the side of an old quarry. Johannesberg's FNB Stadium is not only the largest stadium in Africa, but also the site of Nelson Mandela's first speech after he was released from jail. 

 

You probably don't need another reason to travel or watch sports. We're happy to twist your ear, anyway.

image c/o Buzzfeed
 
Trending in Travel:
      
Green Light on 
Hong Kong
Flickr: David Yu
As protests rage in Hong Kong, CNN outlines the situation on-the-ground of which travelers should be aware. (For instance, in Hong Kong Island's Admiralty and Wanchai districts, Gloucester Road, Harcourt Road and Connaught Road Central have been closed to vehicle traffic, but remain open to pedestrians.) Fox says don't re-book your ticket to Hong Kong just yet; despite the unrest on the streets, travel there is still safe.

2015 Travel Trends

 

And, of course, as we begin to consider winding down 2014, Forbes has the latest travel trends for 2015 predetermined.

  

About Let's Travel! 

Let's Travel! is a radio show and website that gives visitors and listeners the insider's take on travel. Come explore the world of travel and culture with us at www.letstravelradio.com.  

The Tattler, radio show and website are produced by Susi Raphael and Michael Zufolo.

Flickr: Benji Ordonez


 

This quarter, we interviewed at the FANCY FOOD SHOW in New York. Over a three-day period, we selected a number of purveyors that represented a cross-section of the most desirable products that today's consumers purchase on a regular basis. 

 

These trends, we found, also yield a few travel hints. Like don't forget to head south during your next trip to Italy. Try the yogurt in New York. And you might catch some great soccer in Iran. 

 

Listen to the full podcast here.

 

In Italy, Head South

 

 

While Rome, Venice, and Florence get plenty of tourist traffic, Southern Italy is too often skipped. In addition to being the home of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Capri, the southern region of Campania is also the pinnacle of Italian staples like pizza and spaghetti. It only made sense, then, that we began our "Foods Round the World" at New York City's Eataly, where the menu is spotlighting the Southern Italian region of Campania right now.

 

Dona Rosa, Positano

c/o DeliciousItaly.com

Donna Rosa is just over 4km from the heart of beautiful Positano; since 1997 the family owners have created a romantic, refined place to dine and eat well: all dishes are prepared in an open kitchen for guests to see by Erika with the help and supervision of the expert Mamma Raffaella. They range from classic home made pastas such as 'tagliatelle alla rucola con frutti di mare' to 'ravioli alle melanzane and 'caramelle di aragosta'. PapÓ Vincenzo is the wine expert and has built up a list with great experience and which includes virtually 'unfindable' bottles. He is also willing to deepen anyone's knowledge of vines, grapes and cantinas on request. For more, click here.

 

Tenuta Terre di Bosco, Salerno

c/o DeliciousItaly.com

If you are looking to experience the real Mediterranean Diet as researched by Ancel Keys in the heart of Cilento, then Tenuta Terre di Bosco might do the trick. A family run country house overlooking the Policastro Gulf near San Giovanni al Piro, this in-house restaurant boasts such delights as 'pasta e fagioli con le cozze', 'tagliatelle zucca e pecorino', 'tagliata', 'white figs' and 'torroncino deglli sposi di Roccagloriosa'. The cuisine is based on traditional local recipes that respect the turnover of the seasons. Indeed, one of the aims of the restaurant is to use only products from the National Park of Cilento to ensure an authenticity which so impressed Keys. Read more here.

Restaurant Poggiolo del Principe, Salerno

 

c/o DeliciousItaly.com

It is worth a trip to this restaurant just for the olive oil. There is no a la carte menu as the dishes are made from fresh ingredients in season. Another review here.

 

Caseificio Michelangelo

Flickr: smcgee

Campania is revered as the home of the world's best mozzarella (especially mozzarella di bufala). Therefore, we encourage you to eat mozzarella as much as possible during a visit there. In fact, don't just eat it, but see how it's made. Sample different kinds of it. Heck, stay with an Italian family while you do all of that, in a cheese factory. Yep, Caseificio Michelangelo is pretty much our dream. Read more here. 

 

5 Products You Didn't Know Came From NY

 

"New York State is the best of the best,"
 
said Linda Ayares, SVP at M. Silver & Associates, who represents New York State's Tour and Travel Division. She walks us through the art of being a "locovore," or a local eater, in our home state.

 

1. Maple Syrup

Think twice before heading up to Canada or Vermont; New York is the United States' #2 producer of maple syrup. Over 574,000 US gallons of the stuff come from the Empire state each year.

 

2. Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Apples are no surprise, but did you know New York grows its own arugula and watermelon? Those inclined to pick their own fruit can also grab raspberries, chestnuts, and grapes, among other treats. Check out a full list of NY pickable produce at http://www.pickyourown.org/nyse.htm 

 

3. Yogurt

 "The yogurt industry is simply huge," said Linda. 

Who knew?

 

4. Wines, Spirits, and Ciders

 "Wineries are now hitting the double digits and exporting their goods throughout the country," Linda said. In fact, NY white wines win wine prizes every year. In addition to libation, wineries offer a chance to spend time outside and gaze at gorgeous NY landscapes. 

 

5. Dairy

For those who would enjoy a winery tour without the wine, New York has cheese trails! This Fingerlake Cheese Trail, which includes nine participating farms, charges no admission fee and encourages visitors to bring along a cooler for optimal cheese storage. http://flcheesetrail.com/

 

 

  

Want More?

 


Our full-length podcast, in which we talk about foods round the world, can be downloaded, listened to, and loved at www.letstravelradio.com.