As any hiker, backpacker, cyclist or traveler knows, more than an army travels on its stomach. On our hiking trip around the ISLE OF CAPRI, we did not stuff our backpacks with energy bars or gue or gells, but rather we decided to live off the land. That is to say, we bought our meals at whatever local establishment was nearby when it was time for us to eat. This was not our first trip to Italy, but we had never been to the Amalfi Coast, so we had certain foods that we thought we would like to try in this region. Of course, there was the Caprese sandwich and the seafood and pasta dishes that you might imagine. To be short and to the point, the food was worth the trip.
Each morning, we had breakfast at our hotel while sitting on a terrace looking out over the Mediterranean Sea, which could have made the food taste better, however, the food stood on its own merits and the view was desert.
We made it a point to be in the town square of Capri at midday on one day to try a Caprese sandwich from a shop in the corner with a shady awning covering chairs and tables spilling out onto the courtyard. You may be surprised to learn that there is a dual pricing system in effect at some of the restaurants. You cannot buy your food for “take away” and then go sit at a table in the courtyard. The “dine in” price includes the privilege of sitting at a table but the “take away” price does not.
The Caprese sandwich was worth either price! Fresh baked bread, beautiful sliced tomato and mozzarella cheese with olive oil dressing. You’ll have to walk there to understand how good it was.
On another day, we were in Marina Grande near lunch time when we noticed a family sitting on a curb eating sandwiches that looked to be delicious, so of course, we asked where they got them. “Over there,” was the reply from a face buried in a sandwich. With some confusion we looked across the street to the facade of a building that didn’t look exactly like what we thought a sandwich shop to look like.
Up and down the street had been restaurants with chairs and waiters. Still we steppen throught the open door into a wonderful Italian deli. We asked the lady behind the counter at the front whether they sold sandwiches and she motioned us to the rear of the store. As we got to the rear of the store we found ourselves, at the back of a crowd at least three deep in front of a chest high meat cooler with windows in front and two men behind the counter who each wore the Face of Italy. With well practiced routine, they patiently listened to each customer then pointed to the ingredients for the sandwich and crafted the little masterpiece. Little is the wrong word because the sandwiches could not be held in one hand. For a price that was unbelivably low, we took our sandwiches to the street and sat on the curb near the boats reveling in the sun, the smell and the taste.
On at least two afternoons, perhaps on the way back from Villa Jovis or on the way to Arch Natural, we passed an ice cream shop. Our first stop was curiosity, but our second was decadance. The ice cream was delicious and as with the little store in Marina Grande, the people behind the counter were scrambling as hard as they could to keep up with the calls of their customers. It was almost surreal to stand on the street holding an ice cream in your hand while looking through the windows at name brand shops featuring fineries of all types and being exquisitely happy to have ice cream instead of any of them.
In the evenings, we walked back up from Marina Picolla to the Pizzetta and dined at the restaurants, the one we went back to for a second meal was Longano and of all the delicacies in the restuarants we ate at, the seafood rizzotto from Longano was the meal that we agreed was the taste we had come looking for. Although the Caprese sandwich is the Taste of Capri, the seafood rizzotto was the taste of the trip.