Posted by: travelrat | July 1, 2012

Guest Post: Food of the Aeolian Islands

There was a programme on the TV the other day, which documented the travels of Her Majesty the Queen throughout her long reign. It struck me that, even in 60 years, she hasn’t been able to go everywhere and see and do everything. Nobody can. So, in order to ‘fill the gaps’ in my travels, I’m going to accept the occasional guest post in the body of the blog, to cover the places I haven’t been.

First up is Amy Baker, a London-based writer with a passion for travel. She writes advice for people who want to get away from it all and contributes to a number of travel websites and magazines. She’s going to tell us about the Aeolian Islands.

Unfortunately, I haven’t, at this moment, any photographs I can get permission to use, so I’ve posted one of my own … which was, at least taken in the Tyrrhenian Sea; if you want to see more, there are some excellent ones at http://www.aeolianislands.co.uk/album/albumindex.html

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The wonderful food of the Aeolian Islands

I am sure I am not alone when I say that the thing I love the most about travelling the world is sampling the food! Don’t get me wrong, I love lazing on a beach, exploring cobbled backstreets and marvelling at ancient relics as much as the next person but the thing that really gets me excited is when I get that menu in my hand. It’s as if at that moment, the only important thing in the whole world is choosing the most delectable sounding thing on the menu.

My weakness for trying as many dishes as possible was put to the test on a recent trip to Lipari in Italy’s Aeolian Islands. It won’t come as a surprise if you haven’t heard of it, the volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrehenian Sea north of Sicily is charmingly peaceful – that is until the peak of summer when the tiny year round population of 10,000 surges to as much as 200,000.

Lipari is the largest of the islands but is still very small at 37sqkm. The island is just 10km long and 5km wide. Despite the small area of the island, if you want to get around (to all of the hidden restaurants!), I would recommend hiring a car that you can so that you can navigate the island with ease.

Lipari is known for its astonishingly beautiful black sand beaches, its rocky coastline, smouldering volcanic craters and its excellent restaurants. When sitting down to dine, you will discover that the menus largely rely on a few key ingredients; pomodorini (cherry tomatoes), capers, olives, anchovies, wild greens and the freshest fish imaginable!

The island is home to a number of traditional restaurants so rather than modern, contemporary dining, you should expect restaurants that are rustic and family-run. If it is fancy dining that you are after then your best bet is to head to one of the island’s upmarket hotels.

Perhaps the best spot that I dined was a restaurant called Filippino in Piazza Mazzini. As I arrived, I have to admit that outward appearances did not promise much! Despite this I was happy to give it a go after I had heard nothing but positive things from the owner of my guesthouse who in a typically Italian style, kept kissing his fingers and stressing that I visit. Don’t let the slightly shabby appearance put you off – these guys know how to cook. As I had been advised that their speciality was seafood, after careful perusal of the menu I settled on bresaola di tonno – translucent, sweet, home-cured tuna. The dish quite literally took my breath away and even thinking of it now, my mouth is watering. We also sampled a robust soup of beans, wild fennel and sardines and dessert was a beautiful jasmine flower mousse.

Aeolian cuisine centres around seafood so make sure that you fill your boots with the freshest pan-fried, grilled, poached and broiled freshly caught catches of the day. They are so tasty that chefs prepare them with little more than a hint of herbs, lemon and olive oil. Lipari was not only astoundingly picturesque but the food was some of the tastiest (and healthiest) that I have ever had the pleasure to taste. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Responses

  1. Hi,
    Sounds very nice. 🙂

  2. I like the sound of the beans, fennel and sardines – just the type of thing I love to eat. And to eat a delicious dish like that in such a setting – Wow, that’s pretty close to heaven. I really enjoyed hearing about your travels!


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