On our trip round Italy this summer, Gabby and I were complete gluttons - we ate tiny, gorgeous parma ham and asparagas lasagnas in Padua, mango sorbet in Bologna, massive rump steaks in the mountains near Austria and had many picnics of bufala cheese, salami and olives. But the real place that spoiled us was Sicily.
Gabby is half Sicilian, and we spent a week with his amazing family in the country house at the foot of Mount Etna. I was in food HEAVEN. Shopping at the market with his Uncle Giacomo, we'd pick up massive bags of mussels in the classic Sicilian style, with just the promise of a favour in return as payment. We ate amazing seafood antipasti at a restaurant looking over the water to Calabria, picked lemons and chillies from the garden with his little sisters, and made aranchini and granita in the hot kitchen with his Aunt Gabriella. His Nona forced me to take more helpings than I'd though humanly possible at every meal. Best of all were the long, long sit down lunches on the balcony every day with dishes spread over the whole table: massive bowls of pasta as the entree, and plenty of aubergine, sliced finely and baked to tenderness in butter and garlic.
I can't wait to get home this weekend and not worry about skimping on ingredients.