~the following is N°2 in the series, Un’estate senza fine // An endless summer~
While staying in Sorrento, we knew we had to set some time aside to visit the Amalfi coast. Located on the southern side of the Sorrentine peninsula, it is an enchanting place, dotted with pastel-colored villages. The last time we visited the Amalfi coast was so long ago; however no amount of time could erase our first impression. We couldn’t wait to go back and decided to visit one of the most popular towns on this coast, Positano. This town is nothing short of magical, and every dangerous twist and turn of the almost hour long, crowded bus ride to reach this destination was well worth it!
The bus dropped us off near the top of Positano. We carefully followed the path to the heart of the town. It was such a lovely walk…
lined with door after incredible door,
and even a market on wheels, just in case you needed to stop for a tasty and refreshing snack!
By the time we made it near the shore, we were ready for a nice lunch, or in Italian, pranzo. There were options everywhere, but luckily for us, we ended up at Buca di Bacco. It was amazing.
So amazing that I only got a picture of the menu at the beginning… and my shot of espresso at the end! However, the rest— Matthew’s pillow-y soft gnocchi, Ben’s mussels in the incredible broth, Bert’s ultra fresh fried fish platter and my delicately stuffed and melt-in-your-mouth fried zucchini blossoms are all indelible memories.
Next, we headed to the beach. The water was as blue as could be and incredibly refreshing.
As I sat on the shore, and looked across the sea, the lyrics of that famous Neapolitan song that my dear mamma always sings, came to mind, Vir o’ mare quant’è bello…
the first two lines perfectly captured the moment I was having: “See the sea how beautiful it is, it inspires all kinds of emotions…”
Although it was time to head back to Sorrento for the night, Positano was so captivating, we weren’t ready to say goodbye. So we decided to come back and do a little more exploring.
The next morning, we got a later start, but it didn’t matter because Positano already felt like home. We knew the path to the beach well and took more time to stop and smell the proverbial roses.
As we made our way down all the winding cobblestone streets, our stomachs recalled yesterday’s feast and hoped for another great meal. We started to search for a little cafe. Everything looked and smelled amazing, but we were at the point of wanting just the perfect bite and struggling with which bite would truly satisfy. My hungry, cranky men looked to me for the answer, and I knew I needed to deliver. The time had come to share one of my most favorite things to eat in Italy (and simplest of pleasures), un bel panino— a nice sandwich.
Now, granted, they know and love my sandwiches, but I am always comparing mine to the ones that inspired me from my summers in Italy. I needed them to understand the simple goodness I had been talking about. And don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for more complex sandwiches, with lots of fancy components and spreads, (or even the grilled variety, that Americans call “panini”) but to me, there is nothing that can compare to a panino, in its purest form.
Just then, we happened upon the dreamiest little market. I took a quick peak inside – it was crowded and the aroma of homemade bread and the finest meats and cheeses filled the air. It was the perfect spot to get un bel panino.
The market was run by a darling family. The dad greeted everyone who walked in the door with a big smile, while continuing to tease his son and daughter who were helping him at the counter. His daughter walked up to us and got right to business: “Cosa volete?”, meaning “What would you like?” and took our orders. We got to choose from an assortment of freshly baked rolls (soft, crispy, rosetta, ciabatta, baguette), meats, and cheeses… We went with the classic rosetta, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and insalata or salad. Everything was sliced to order and “insalata” meant she topped the meat and cheese with some butter lettuce, a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of salt. She wrapped each one up, placed it in a brown paper bag and we were off to the church steps to enjoy.
Eating our panini on the church steps was quite the moment. And in that moment, nothing needed to be said. My guys knew exactly what I had been talking about all these years… Un bel panino, the perfect sandwich. And yes, I can make them at home. (What a great way to bring our Italian summer home with us!)
What makes the perfect sandwich?
- Good bread
- Fresh, high quality ingredients
- Keep it simple
- Wrap it up
- Preferably eat outside, with a beautiful view and good company
Want to make your own perfect panino? I share my tips here:
<<<<<<< Un bel panino// The perfect sandwich >>>>>>>
It’s that easy! And we have had one almost every day since our return. Here’s to that endless summer!
The time had come for us to go to our next stop, the reason for our whole trip…Where two would become one! It was time to say goodbye to the quaint little beach towns and say hello to something much different…
Who knew our time in Napoli would be such a gift?