Monday, 14 September 2015

Travel Diaries: Lari, Italy

Lari is a small town in Tuscany which we ended up visiting three times. A quiet enclosed hamlet which gave off a local but welcoming feel, Lari felt a little different to the other Tuscan towns we had visited. 

The houses were crumbling a little and the bricks were worn but this only added to the charm of the place. I loved the colour of this blue door- the old man living inside the building started shouting something when he saw me taking a photo but I have no idea what he was saying.

The view from the town centre in Lari.

I had my favourite coffee that I had in Italy here in this little local cafe. A rich Americano which I ended up adding a little bit of milk and sugar to for the perfect coffee pick me up.

I also got a snack here from this local deli- you go up to the counter and choose what ham or cheese you want and they make a sandwich for you. This set up reminded me a lot of afternoon papa secos that I've had in Portugal. 

Lari is a small and quite secluded town. We were there in September so perhaps it gets busier during the summer months in the peak holiday season but I can't imagine what it must be like to live there. Going to the same couple of shops and restaurants that are open there and seeing the same people every day. We went for dinner in Lari and saw the youth of the town sitting around playing on their phones and riding around on their bikes- even though they live in the most beautiful part of Italy with the rolling Tuscan hills just outside their window, I couldn't help but think that life here might get a little mundane. 

But back to that dinner in Lari.

I started with the warm ewes milk cheese with fig jam and walnuts. Creamy and delicious, the fig jam was a perfect a compliment  to cut through the heavy cheese.

A selection of local Tuscan meats. We were particularly impressed by the fennel salami (don't want to sound like THAT person but Carluccios do a very good fennel salami which my family always get at Christmas time). 

Then I had the spicy tomato spaghetti with ricotta cheese. This cheese was unlike any ricotta I have ever tried before. It doesn't look like much but this spaghetti certainly cleared the sinuses with its hot peppery and chilli sauce. The spaghetti used at this restaurant is made in the pasta factory next door- you can buy this pasta all over Tuscany. 

For the secondi we shared a caprese salad with capers. I can't say that I'm a massive fan of capers, they are a little too salty for me but the mozzarella here was lovely. 

And then for dessert. A warm ricotta and chocolate tart. This was so good but I was reaching bursting point by now from the countless number of courses. I would love to know what modern Italian families eat at home everyday. Surely they can't have a starter, primi, secondi and dessert!? If I lived in Italy I would most certainly be obese because how can anyone resist the overwhelming temptation that comes with Italian food!?

If you are staying in Tuscany then Lari is well worth a visit. There isn't too much to do apart from walk up the castle and look around it but it makes for a nice morning or afternoon visit if you are on the way to Pisa or Volterra. Lari is easy to over look but it felt like the most lived in and homely town we visited.

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