The Shop

Right next to the bar is the shop. It sells all the usual staples, like daily bread and cheap local wine, hunks of cheese and carefully cured meats. Great wedges of watermelon are piled high in the fridge, dwarfing imperfect red tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. In charge of it all is a super … More The Shop

The Bar

Occupying prime position on one side of the roundabout, about which all traffic to Thermisia village comes and goes, is the café-bar. It takes the unofficial, unassuming, low-lying role of the watchtower. Neatly aligned chairs occupy the narrow strip of pavement, where men sit with matching glasses of ouzo and water. Friends buzz up on … More The Bar

A bit about Makis

Nelly tells me that Nikos (her son, who fishes) caught them. They drape over a high metal bar (like the top of an old-fashioned swing) under the burning sun. Yiannis (Nelly’s other son) elaborates: they must hang to dry for about 30 hours before they are ready to grill. Nikos will do it simply with … More A bit about Makis

The Butcher of Bologna

Our meal is a disappointment. Beautifully presented pasta and delicious melanzane parmigiana, yes, but the atmosphere is lacking and the prices are steep. Our waitress rushes around the sleek surroundings in a joyless and harried fashion, which is something of a surprise in foodcentric Bologna. It’s almost a relief to be out on the street, … More The Butcher of Bologna

Ristorante da Enzo

I’m watered as I examine the restaurant menu hanging at street level. I take it to be an invitation of a sort. Ristorante da Enzo in Modena (a first floor establishment) has windows back and front, dressed by a variety of healthy plants. Responsibility for their welfare falls upon a green-fingered older woman who is … More Ristorante da Enzo

Le Sfogline

Le Sfogline – sisters of pasta. More accurately, it means: those who make sheets of pasta by hand in the traditional way by using a rolling pin (mattarello). Rick Stein met them once (these particular sfogline, who are indeed sisters) and they reminded him that never in Bologna – or Italy for that matter – … More Le Sfogline

Shy daffs

Shy daffs of yesterday are showing off today. Happy days. It must be Spring.

Tortilla de Patatas

I want to do what Elena did in her pink frying pan. Tortilla de Patatas. I try to follow her hand-written recipe to the letter, but her careful Spanish script gives directions so succinct they seem too simple for something that tastes of sunshine and salt and melting-soft potatoes. It is a quintessentially Spanish tapa. I dig … More Tortilla de Patatas

Sugar Quotes

In Spain, taking a coffee can be an enlightening half-hour. Especially if you’re going through a rough patch. “Confía en el tiempo, que suele dar dulces salidas a muchas amargas dificultades.” (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra) “Trust in time; it usually gives sweet endings to many bitter challenges” Usually. Thanks, Miguel. Words of wisdom from the great … More Sugar Quotes

Ana Luna

This is Ana Luna. Her character is as warm as the bread she bakes, and her heart is as full as the moon will be tonight (27th July). She sells her pan from behind a small counter at number 37, but photos of her bakery at the back are offered for free. Ana lives two doors … More Ana Luna