Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Miseria e Nobilità, Alberobello

We couldn't go to Puglia without visiting Alberobello. The home of the trulli. 

Yes, we'd been told it was touristy. We'd been told it was especially packed out in the summer. In fact we'd been given all the warnings, but it was still somewhat a surprise to see the swarms of tourists in huge groups. They were all following each other up and down the main streets like sheep; buying miniature trulli to take home; kids screaming for the plastic toys in the shop; the unfit stopping for breath as they meandered up the hill; far too many selfies being taken in front of the conical roofs.

At first this seems unbearable, stifling, Disneyland-esque. (I've never been to Disneyland but I imagine it is this claustrophobic and distressing). But soon you realise that you are a human, and not a sheep. It is therefore possible to turn off the main road up and down the hill; there will be no sheepdog yapping at your heels to stop you doing so. A couple of metres away from the busy routes, you can find calm, beauty, normal lives. You're allowed to take some time without being jostled to admire these stunning structures, their pointy lids drawing your eyes up the blue skies and bright sun, their white-washed walls reflecting the beaming light, keeping the hot town cool. 

When we dared venture even further away from the main carrousel of mindless sight-seers, we crossed the road to the other side of town. It's here that the shops sell more than just tourist toot, the restaurants serve more than soggy pizza and some Walls ice-cream. We stepped into the cathedral and we were alone. Silence. Less than 50m away from the swarms.

Poking our heads into the Alimentari on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, we came out a good while later laden down with fresh ricotta, the most delicious tomato focaccia, and wine. Finally it was time for lunch, so, as per Christine Smallwood's recommendation, we headed to Miseria e Nobilità on the Piazza del Popolo for a glass of wine and a plate of ham (the owner Franco only serves hams that are DOP, and you can also trust him to pick you the perfect glass of wine).

Misera e Nobilità gives you a glimpse into the real life in Alberobello, free from the sheep who won't venture this far from the pasture land, much to our relief.

Misera e Nobilità, Piazza del Popolo 28/29, 70011, Alberobello

Monday, 1 September 2014

Coffee in Edinburgh

Our trip to Edinburgh was a whirlwind of comedy, walking, emotions, coffee, lunches, sleep and cake. It was the coffee and cake that helped sustain us through the jam-packed long weekend. In fact the competition between comedy, coffee and cake at times became quite tough, the three c's battling it out between them.

By no means was the entire Edinburgh coffee scene explored over four days. But we were wowed by what we saw, so here are a selection of our favourites:

Stripped-back and bare to the extreme. But with the most beautiful selection of rather decadent cakes, and a huge coffee set-up. Friendly staff put up with my all our questions and requests, and, even in festival time, there was enough space to sit down and revive ourselves for a half hour with a piece of beetroot cake and a long black.

6-8 South College Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA 

It's worth getting over the silly superhero-esque name of this coffee shop. Sleek, clean design with sharp corners, straight lines, symmetry and squares, a small table of sweet treats, and a tiny space for creating the magical coffee and an enormous glass window. All the coffee sold comes from small-batch, UK roasters (with a focus on filter that seems to pervade throughout Edinburgh), and you can buy all the gear to make it at home too.

3C York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EB

Artisan was the closest coffee shop to our little apartment, and so papa's favourite first thing in the morning. Maman however was less keen. The place apparently reminds her of 80's university rooms. Drapes on the ceiling, splintering wooden tables, dark lighting, random posters and low seating. Whether you take it as an 80's studen bedsit or a cosy retreat from the rain and cold, this place serves fantastic coffee and pastries (favoured by me and B for the use of chocolate rather than raisins in the pain au raisin. Yum).

57 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3RJ

The perfect space for lunch or coffee or tea, or all three. We went for all three. Scrumptious sandwiches, soups and salads, pots of fresh tea, wonderfully made coffee and fantastic cakes. Super busy and buzzing, and the studios are worth a peak after too. Then you can go back for more cake before leaving.

10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT

Sunday, 31 August 2014

5 Things

Oh hello there little corner of the internet. 

I have missed you rather a lot. Tucked up in my pyjamas back in almost autumnal East London feeling a little blue, but also a little happy to be home.

A week away in Puglia which will be recounted soon was full of silence and sun. No internet for a week is good for the soul. It must be done more often.

5 happy moments from a heavenly week:

1. Salty, sandy skin
2. Burrata
3. Sunshine
4. Ricotta
5. Beaches at sunset

I'm going to miss those long, lazy days, the early evenings when the whole scenery turns golden.

Apologies in advance if this space is a little chaotic over the coming week. There's too much to catch up on and to much to say and show.