Don't miss another recipe!
Subscribe to receive new posts via email:

Trip to Italy Recap #1

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

Last month, I had the extreme honor of being invited on a trip to Italy with Michael Angelo’s and their Win a Trip to Italy sweepstakes winners from last year, Mike and Martha. We had a blast. Okay, that was an understatement. But how do I explain it? First, I just want to say about the people we met on this trip and who we got to spend time with. The most fun, kindhearted and most welcoming bunch, the kind of people you would want to travel to Italy for the first time with! (And seriously, you guys, it felt like a dream, never in a million years did I think when I hit publish on this little ol’ blog in December 2009 that I would be going to Italy!!!)

In the front are Jason and Pixie…two very cool and special people who got married last year. I hope to get to see them in Austin in the future! On the right next to Pixie is Mike and Martha. Two very special and HILARIOUS people, so glad I got to spend time with them! On the left next to Jason are Michael, Cheryl and Sara…I’m so thankful to them for this trip and so glad I got to know them better. Next to them are Dirk and Melanie, Cheryl’s friends…so sweet and I had fun with them too! And in the back, I can’t forget Curtis. So glad I go to share this experience with you!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

When we arrived, we had flown into Florence. We had left on a Friday and arrived on Saturday. We stayed for five nights at Villa Daniella, a property that was built in the 1500s and was a wealthy family’s summer home and then a sanctuary for monks. Daniella and her family own it now and rent it out. They were so kind and hospitable. We loved staying there.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

The other side of that downstairs room. Our bed was upstairs. We felt like we were staying in a flat. The room even had two bathrooms!

The amazing meal we were served when we arrived. Those seafood stuffed squash blossoms…omgeee. And those truffled salamis. Seriously amazing. The first pork I ate when I arrived. It was pretty much over from there.

I’m so fortunate to be married to a great guy named Curtis. He’s very patient and he loves our furbabies just as much as I do. But I have something to share, he’s pretty picky when it comes to food. People who know us well…know all about this. But then again so am I. It’s funny, we might have discussed this a little bit before our trip but we never came to an agreement. But it seems Curtis and I decided without letting the other one know, that we would be open to trying new things and that we would at least try most things on this trip. For me, it was pork. I hadn’t eaten pork in fifteen years by choice. And for Curtis, I can’t believe he ate squid and octopus on this trip! I’m so thankful for this trip in so many ways, we got to experience so many things, meet amazing people and eat the most wonderful food!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

The gardens at Villa Daniella…simply gorgeous. Daniella and her family worked really hard to restore the gardens what they were originally designed to be in the 1500s.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

Gorgeous meat and cheese plate that Pixie put together for us as part of our first dinner in Italy.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

Dinner was made by Sara…her wonderful gravy and her meatballs, I can’t believe I didn’t get a shot of my plate with them on there. Her tomato sauce was amazing. She told us she got up at 5am and it slow cooked all day. She suggested we top our spaghetti with some ricotta cheese. Mix it in and oh my, it was amazing!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

This little guy, Indy, belongs to Cheryl and Michael Angelo. He stayed with us at the villa and hung out with us a lot! It was really nice to have a dog on the trip, we missed our dogs and cats so much but it was nice to have another four-legged cutie to pet while in Italy!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

One of our day trips was to the village of Montecarlo. What beautiful streets. Streets are not very wide in towns and sometimes it was a little scary but Italians are used to driving on these kinds of roads.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

Those are olive trees!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

There’s Michael sitting on a wall overlooking this…

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

Seriously, the scenery was amazing and beautiful. Every day in the car, we would look out the window and sigh. It was amazing to me that everyone acted like everything was normal. To us, the countryside, the mountains, the scenery was beyond gorgeous and my pictures can’t even capture 1/10th of the beauty.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

We had lunch at La Terrazza Pizzeria Ristoro in Montecarlo and that was our view.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

We had this amazing four cheese gnocchi…I have to recreate this.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

And some amazing pizza. It’s interesting how the pizza we ordered at several different places came unsliced. We had to cut it overselves. That super thin crust…to die for.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

We visited some cool shops in Montecarlo and I wished we could bring cured meats home with us.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

We made homemade pasta with Sara. Made with 00 flour. I brought a few bags home with me so I could try making pasta with it. I have only used semolina and all-purpose flour for pasta. 00 flour is much finer.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

And Sara made her famous Stuffed Eggplant…words cannot describe how good this dish was. If you’re an eggplant fan, you would love this dish. Don’t worry Sara shared her recipe with me!!!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo'sI will be making it soon and sharing the recipe with you!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

Next up, we visited Colonnata, world-famous for lardo!

We drove up this windy windy windy road up a mountain (Curtis took a lot of Dramamine on this trip!) and arrived at Ristorante Venanzio. What an amazing experience. The staff and the food…amazing. Roberto who has owned the restaurant with his wife for 10 years has actually worked at the tiny restaurant for 30 years. You can taste the love in the food.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

A few people have asked me what the best thing I had in Italy was…it was extremely hard to answer but if I had to say the best of the best was this unphotogenic dish of mushroom and taleggio cheese stuffed crepes topped with shaved black truffles. Sigh [You mushroom haters shudder I know but I don't understand...]

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

Lardo is Italian charcuterie…made of pork fatback that’s been cured. And as Cheryl described it, it’s like butter. They served it on a crostini with tomatoes

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

and anchovies.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

These raviolis…look so unassuming but the ingredients were so simple which made it that more amazing.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

One of Curtis’ favorite dishes, spinach pappardelle. Must make soon. If you haven’t already guessed, I have a list of recipes that I want to try to make since we have come back. Someone come over and help me test them? :)

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

There’s our group minus Sara. Look at those mountains!

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

And these…can you see the marble?

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

We visited the mountains where Michelangelo went to find marble to carve the statue of David.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelo's

So full of history, people have been mining marble from these mountains and caves for many many years. It was breathtaking to see all of the marble.

Stay tuned for Part II of my recap and that recipe I’ll share with you!

PS Michael Angelo’s is sponsoring another sweepstakes right now! The sweepstakes ends November 25, 2013.

Disclosure: Thanks to Michael Angelo’s who hosted me on my trip to Italy. I only work with brands that I love and always share with you my honest opinions.

31 Responses to “Trip to Italy Recap #1”

  1. 1
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — November 4, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

    Such beautiful scenery! And SO MUCH FOOD! Oh my gosh, it all looks amazing! I can’t wait to read part 2!

    [Reply]

  2. 2
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — November 4, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

    It all looks completely AMAZING!! The food… oh my gosh. I can’t wait to get back to Italy someday!

    [Reply]

  3. 3
    Amber s. — November 4, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

    I would totally come help you test some recipes. :-)

    [Reply]

  4. 4
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — November 4, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    I am drooling through all of these photos!!! I am so excited for you – what an experience!!

    [Reply]

  5. 5
    Cookbook Queen — November 4, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

    So SO jelly!! Looks like you had a BLAST!!! And that mushrom crepe!! OMG. Want.

    [Reply]

  6. 6
    Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor — November 4, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

    Looks like you have a fabulous trip! All of the food looks amazing.

    [Reply]

  7. 7
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — November 4, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

    What a dream! It’s so fun to see your trip recap. Some day. Some day I’ll get to Italy! :)

    [Reply]

  8. 8
    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — November 4, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

    Unbelievable! Italy is my dream place to visit and basically do everything you did :)

    [Reply]

  9. 9
    Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs — November 4, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

    Beautiful!! Can’t wait to see the other recaps!

    [Reply]

  10. 10
    Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste — November 4, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

    WOW! This looks like such a spectacular trip, Julie! Can’t wait to see more. XOXO

    [Reply]

  11. 11
    Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer — November 4, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

    Hi, Julie. Your trip looks amazing. I love all the food pictures! Can’t wait for you to share some of the recipes with us! :)

    [Reply]

  12. 12
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com — November 4, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

    What a fun trip! And the food – I am so jealous! Love all the salami, pasta, ravioli, and anchovies. So yummy!

    [Reply]

  13. 13
    Tieghan — November 4, 2013 @ 11:35 pm

    This trip really looks incredible!! So fun to look through these photos and read about you trip! I loved it! :)

    [Reply]

  14. 14
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — November 4, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    Beautiful photos, they make me want to catch the next flight!

    [Reply]

  15. 15
    Jennifer @ My Sweet Sanity — November 5, 2013 @ 12:12 am

    So jealous of you but so glad that you got to have this awesome vacation and share it with good people and your hubby. Can’t wait for the next part.

    [Reply]

  16. 16
    Julianne @ Beyond Frosting — November 5, 2013 @ 12:47 am

    This trip looks so amazing. The food looks stunning! What a fantastic opportunity!

    [Reply]

  17. 17
    shelly (cookies and cups) — November 5, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    I am so happy for you! This trip looks like it was phenom and I can’t wait to get that recipe for stuffed eggplant!!

    [Reply]

  18. 18
    Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas — November 5, 2013 @ 8:59 am

    I so enjoyed reading this recap of your trip! You didn’t tell me you ended up eating pork during your trip. Hopefully it went well =) Can’t wait for that eggplant recipe!!!

    [Reply]

  19. 19
    Nancie Marin — November 5, 2013 @ 10:28 am

    I will volunteer to taste any dishes that you recreate from this trip!! Everything looks so delicious!!

    [Reply]

  20. 20
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — November 5, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    Looks like you had a wonderful trip! The food looks amazing, and those gardens were simply gorgeous! Thanks for sharing these with us! :)

    [Reply]

  21. 21
    Kristen — November 5, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

    Oh this trip – what a wonderful experience for you and Curtis with such a great brand. It looks like they treated you quite well!
    I love all of your gorgeous pictures, Julie! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    [Reply]

  22. 22
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — November 5, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

    Sounds like such an amazing trip! I went to the Amalfi Coast back in March and am still dreaming about it. That and the food.

    Dying over those pasta dishes. Swoon!

    [Reply]

  23. 23
    Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy — November 8, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    The pictures are Beautiful and the trip looks Amazing! I love Italy and all of that food looks like heaven on a plate!

    [Reply]

  24. 24
    Rachel — November 10, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

    Me! Me! I raise my hand to help test the stuffed eggplant and 4 cheese gnocchi. Love this recap and can’t wait to see the rest.

    [Reply]

  25. 25
    Rachael (Fuji Mama) — November 10, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

    GORGEOUS! Looks like you had an amazing time. Can’t wait to read more!

    [Reply]

  26. 26
    Shari|TickledRed — November 12, 2013 @ 7:36 am

    Oh what a trip! I’m so happy that you and Curtis were able to experience Italy. Can’t wait for more love :D

    [Reply]

  27. Pingback: Annual Italy Trip 2013 |

  28. Pingback: Trip to Italy Recap #2 | the little kitchen

  29. Pingback: Roast Duck Breast with Black Truffle Cream Sauce with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots | the little kitchen

  30. Pingback: Stuffed Eggplant | the little kitchen

  31. Pingback: Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork | the little kitchen

Leave a Comment

Before leaving a comment, be sure to check out our comment policy.