Watching the seasons change is great as I watch via the foods that are available or are disappearing off the shelves in the markets. But now with Spring in the air the first strawberries were spotted this morning in Lerici, in the Golfo dei Poeti, where Byron and Shelley spent time writing. But it is not only the strawberries it is the fava beans, the young spinach the subtle change of the fruits and vegetables as the next few weeks go on will really make Spring burst through in my mind.

Carnival will start soon as well, and being that we are so close to Viareggio we are off to have lots of fun over several weekends of parades down there with friends and family who are flying in.

But now it is back to food, settling into what is available in the market stalls today in Lerici…. favas ready to make a fava dip or spread for Bruschetta.. which can easily be made with frozen fava if you cannot get fresh ones. The young artichokes from Sardegna, oh delicious with spiny thorns on the tops of their leaves showing their prehistoric thistle ancestry, but delicious peeled to expose the heart that can be shaved raw tossed with shaved parmesan, olive oil and salt, or roasted in the oven with garlic, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil, or stuffed with baccalo and served with a rich tomato sauce. The more I think the more ideas come to mind as to what to do with this wonderful vegetable. I had a very tasty frittata di carciofi yesterday for my lunch which is an artichoke frittata, bought at one of the many gastronomy shops where you can buy prepared food to take away. In fact the more you look into these shops the more you find, stuffed courgettes, prepared capsicums, roasted artichokes, scallopini, marinated anchovies, olive, mackerel, all sorts of prepared vegetables, polenta with sugo al fungi… Many people buy here and it is of course a better way to eat than the frozen meals you can buy in supermarkets, or greasy fast foods you can buy.

But going back to the fresh veggies today… where to start, well the young cauliflowers that are coming to an end are delicious mashed with pecorino and black olives, adding some chives, parsley and chilli, and served as a side to lamb fillets, or steaks, or made into small cakes and pan-fried. The baby spinach steamed and eaten with olive oil or made into ricotta and spinach lasagne, or a spinach, ricotta, parmesan hot dip for toast. Fava beans tossed with pancetta for a basic pasta sauce, mashed with yogurt, mint, lemon juice and olive oil as a dip or spread. Fava beans fresh with Pecorino, sheep’s cheese.

There is one stall in this small market in Lerici which we is enjoyed by all, that is the meat loving side of the crew which is generally all of them except me! A pink stall with rotary chickens, roasted pork, the large porchettas, roasted turkey breasts, spatchook chicken, fries, fried arancini, fried prawns and more fried items that are not high on my list as tasty morsels but to some they are ! I was told of this stall before moving here and now find myself every Saturday going down buying a roasted chicken or piece of pork ready for warm chicken or pork sandwiches or salads. Today with light drizzle the line to the pink truck was the largest I had seen in a while ! You can see the large rotary spits going around at the back of the truck with the ovens still heated from roasting the pork, turkey and chicken fillets… everyone buying up their roasted meats ready to be enjoyed for lunch as ours were. The truck is quite a sight which I to share… so if you are every in Italy and you spot this truck remember open up your wallet and buy a tasty roasted chicken !

Lerici market's famous roasted chicken stall


It is a bit crude in its colouring but it does mean there is no chance you are going to miss this tasty stall ! I almost feel sorry for the other stall holders as they watch the crowds huddle around the wonderfully smelling chicken stall !




Having not written for a while I realise that there is a bit of catching up to do like adding recipes I promised to do last year and also to fill in what has been going on with the boat whilst she is out of the water… yes a season not on the water which you can imagine could be down time but it is proving to be just as busy if not more than if we were cruising and racing… but that will come in another publication as I am off to buy some Parmesan, pecorino and other tasty morsels that I can find in La Spezia this afternoon..