What a fantastic trip we had to Arezzo. The day did not begin in a terribly auspicious way as I heard Oliver calling me early, went in and found him looking and smelling like an excruciatingly out-of-date, savory fruitcake. Studded with bits of meatball and other remnants from last night's dinner, he had clearly thrown up several hours earlier and then slept in it. Disgusting. Another early! morning anti-puke bath for us. He finally fell back asleep but Arezzo called. A quick trip on the train from Florence, we arrived in less than an hour, just as the clouds were burning away to reveal another perfect day. From the base of the hill ("hill" should be loosely considered here; Arezzo is a former Ghibbeline stronghold built up a smallish mountain) to very nearly the top was a marvelous antiques market in which you could buy pretty much everything including a stone kitchen sink I would love to have. We bought two gorgeous liqueur glasses (here's hoping to get them safely home), the boys each were treated to a small toy of his choice (the crane -I know; big surprise- that Oliver got is incredibly well made! We would wish for such fine toys today), and along the way I had the culinary experience of the trip: a warm ricotta-egg flan in a chestnut flour pastry shell drizzled with chestnut honey and grated ricotta salata.
It was so incredible that an hour later I went back for a second one (the waiter smiled and said "you'd like another lunch?" to which I replied, "I love to eat!" and smiled right back) and asked the chef to tell me the recipe. He shared a rough recounting from memory and I cannot wait to work it out at home so that this perfect torta can become a staple! By the end of both lunches, the proprietress and I were pals, I bought a bottle of wine from her and will enthusiastically write a review of her place, Bacco e Arianna, on all possible travel sites. I bought some Arezzan chestnut honey to bring home. Both the fagioli and pici with sage pesto also rendered us all speechless, and I purchased some pici alongside the miele; pici is one of my favorite pasta shapes!