A la découverte du vin et de la cuisine italienne

On the occasion of her cruise  SailEATalia Flottille Wine and Italian Gastronomy , from Procida, Alice tells us her favorites of the Italian gastronomy.

Procida

After barely 2 hours flight from Paris, a driver was waiting for me at the exit of the Naples airport. He drove me to the ferry port, boasting the delights of Neapolitan cuisine and making me promise to eat Spaghetti alle Vongole, his favorite dish! 45 min ferry later, here I am at the base of Procida where I am warmly welcomed by Domenico, the chief of the base.

The Italian team was waiting for me and it is in the small marina of Corricella, 10 minutes walk, that we will settle for lunch. The maze of alleys with colorful houses, the linens that float on the windows, the scooters that pass over the cobblestones. So cliché. Everything is there.

Domenico makes me visit the Sailitalia office. There is brown wood everywhere, it's like being in a boat. He explains that here, all the houses are long because formerly they housed factories of mats.

The birds are fighting with the cats to find out who will eat the leftovers of the restaurant. I decide to go up to Terra Murata, the building that dominates is the "Palazzo d'Avalos", built in the 16th century inside the walls by the D'Avalos family. In 1830, the building was turned into a prison and finally closed in 1988.

From above, the sun reflects on the water, colorful houses are displayed along the coast, the view is breathtaking! It's so calm. I go down the small alleyways and set off aboard the boat. It will be a Leopard 48. Grand!

For the welcoming evening, the flagship team prepared a "pizza party" with local wine, directly from the vineyards of Mimmo, the manager of Sailitalia, a Sunsail franchise. I discuss with all crews. Looks like a meeting of old friends. Everyone is talking about his past experiences, the cruises they have already made, the countries they have already visited. Germans, Belgians, Italians, Canadians, groups of friends, couples, newlyweds: this is the first "Wine and Sail" for all, and guess why they chose this flotilla? To drink well and eat well of course!

Procida / Ischia

It's 8am, the good smell of coffee comes into my cabin. Roberto prepared the breakfast and went to get some Lingua di Bua (translated by "cow tongue"), it's puff pastry filled with chocolate or lemon. He told me that we must enjoy it because it is a specialty here and we will not find on the other islands!

8:30. All skippers are on the flagship for the daily briefing. They came with their cards, notebooks and coffee thermos. Studious crews who listen attentively to the recommendations of Alessandro and Roberto. Information on where to stop, where and when to visit the vineyard, VHF channels and the necessary information. This morning, we will have no wind, some seem disappointed but the week is just beginning.

The radio check starts, the boats leave the harbor to reach Ischia. We will be the last to leave to make sure that everyone has left the port. We will also be the first to arrive in Ischia.

Karine and I take the opportunity to go for a ride in the heart of the village. The shops are open this morning, some are shopping, others are strolling on the coffee terraces. We go buy some almonds but our main refueling has already been done by the crew.

On the way, we meet Jerry. He will be part of our flotilla. Jerry must be in his 70s. A nascent white beard, his cap as captain. He tells us that this is the first time he rents a boat, even if he has his own hobbiecat, he does not sail much. He too came for the theme of the flotilla: Wine and Cooking.

We go to the Sailitalia office to look for our fins, masks and snorkels. I opt for the blue fins matching my mask and my snorkel. To stay fashionable, even under water!

It is time to leave the port to reach Ischia. Domenico has joined us for two days, we will be 6 on board. A short tour to see Coricella from the sea and we drive to Ischia and Castel Aragonese. A dolphin makes a good one, everyone has seen it except me. Roberto tells me that a few weeks ago, he came across a whale for the first time. I do not despair of seeing dolphins during this week. Domenico leaves a line behind but no fish bite. It will be for later. At the engine and at almost 9 knots, the fish are surely chilly to approach us.

We stop in the small bay of San Montano for lunch. At this time of the year, there is no crowd. This is where Roberto prepares Pasta con Pesto and Caprese salad (mozzarella tomatoes). He's a skipper and he cooks, what more can you ask for ??

Après le déjeuner, nous reprenons notre route, direction Il Giardino Mediterraneao à Ischia, où nous allons passer la soirée. Après la rapide visite d’une cave, nous prenons un petit monorail pour monter à l’auberge où nous allons dîner et déguster quelques vins. On embarque 6 par 6, pas tout à fait rassurés par cette grande montée de la colline à bord de ce moyen de transport très vintage. Cela donnera un bon moment de rigolade et de vertige pour la plupart d’entre nous, et les plus courageux (ou les plus froussards, au choix) monteront à pied. Nous profitons du superbe paysage qui s’offre à nous. Un coucher de soleil sur la baie, avec un dîner sous des pergolas dans une petite cantine italienne, à déguster différents types de vins, accompagnés d’un bon repas.

The owners make us taste different liquors, more or less good: arugula, pomegranate, cedar, carob, thyme ... It ends with limoncello, more classic but more appreciated.
And that's how the day ends. We leave on a joyous bus that sings at the top of our lungs "the pussy mi cantare" and "the yellow submarine." The group looks enthusiastic, the week starts well.

Ischia, Sorgeto, Capri

We leave for Sorgeto, about 25 minutes of sailing only, to discover the hot springs. We decide to go in the annex and swim back. We should have done the opposite, because once back in these hot waters (the waters of the basins are between 36 and 40 ° C), the sea next seems very cold! 

The rocks are slippery but the place is amazing. The cold currents mingle with the warm waters of the basins, one regales under a beautiful blue sky.

We go back to the boat to have lunch on board, there are some boats in the bay and the others have gone to Santangelo or Capri.
Roberto has prepared Penne all Matriciana (chilli, tomato and bacon), a delight.
Once lunch is over, we leave for Capri.
While the rest of the crew is taking a nap, I discuss with Roberto. He tells me about his passion for sailing, which he passed on to his children. I listen carefully and I take the bar with pleasure until the arrival in Marina Grande, where our small sailboats mingle with the big cruise ships.

This evening's program will be a discovery of Capri by night: the piazzetta, the funicular, the luxury boutiques, the art stores and the many restaurants that are lost in the alleys. We will dine at Giorgio, under the arcades, vintage plates but delicious pizza.

We come down with the bus because the last funicular is already gone. That's it, Capri, it's over! Tomorrow, it will be a new discovery with Cetara via Positano.

Capri / Positano / Cetara

After a shower at the marina of Capri, we are ready to set sail for Cetara, with a stopover at Positano.

In the distance, small tourist boats huddle together. It's the Grotta Azzura (blue cave). We can not go on our own. Here, the locals have access so if you want to visit, we have to go with one of these small boats. It will cost 15 € per person, for just 10 minutes ... we say that it is not necessary, so we continue our way.

An improvised race with the only other catamaran in the flotilla and here we are in front of Green Cave. Fewer boats, and the water is just as pretty.

With Carine, we say to ourselves that a little dip would not be refused in this turquoise blue water, transparent, and a little cool. We jump from the boat, some arm movements and we leave.

We want to have lunch in Positano so do not hang out!

On the road, we cross many stone towers that overlook the sea, right on the hills. Alessandro explains to us that about 300 years ago, these towers served to prevent the arrival of pirates, by communicating with mirrors or fire; there are about 2 kms along the coast. After the rocks, we see Nerano, then we continue towards Positano.

Positano the beautiful. We have lunch at anchor in the bay. This afternoon, it will be pork and potatoes, platter of cold meats and cheese, not to mention a good bottle of wine.

Our final destination of the day will be Cetara. It's a real ballet of boats returning to port. Each boat of the flotilla in its place, next to the fishing boats.

If you wish, you can even arrange a sea fishing trip with them during the night. We decide to go for a walk in the village while waiting for the appointment time. Children play ball in the street, elders play cards. A small village atmosphere that I love, it feels good, people are very nice and we really want to take the time in this beautiful place.

Tonight's rendez-vous is: La Torre. This big tower that overlooks the sea.
Let's go for the evening tasting. The owner of the vineyard speaks to us with passion of his work, of the different types of wines which it proposes. She explains with us what to drink. We tasted it all, accompanied by good little things to snack on, specialties of the region: anchovies, lentils with octopus, pasta with tuna eggs, carpaccio of smoked tuna and grapes fragola (grapes with the taste of strawberry).

Some make their order of wine, the bottles will be delivered directly tomorrow morning on the boats, before leaving again. Between 10 and 17 € the bottle.

We will end our evening with an ice cream on the beach and then, before going to bed, a last part of Torta Caprese that Roberto bought us is the cake of his "mamma". It's time to go to bed to be in shape for our day tomorrow.

Cetara / Salerno

This morning, after a few short races to complete our refueling, we leave Cetara towards Salerno. On arrival in Salerno, we enter the marina di Arechi, a modern marina: showers, toilets, laundry and a restaurant, but around, nothing else! Anyway, do not hang around because today, the visit will be cultural since we go to Paestum, 50 minutes from here.

Paestum is a former Roman colony that was destroyed in 273 BC, but originally in 600 BC. JV, it was a Greek colony named Poseidonia. Since 1998, Paestum has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The visit is under a beautiful sun. We are mid-October but have the impression of being in summer! The guide makes us discover the site with a visit almost private, there are very few tourists.

Temples, frescoes, stones, history and some pictures later, we enjoy a beautiful sunset over the ruins; this image will remain engraved in our memory for sure.

We take the bus, then 15 minutes later, we arrive at our new tasting place: the Barlotti farm.

We are warmly welcomed by Benedetto, the owner of the place, who presents us his farm with its 300 buffaloes. Because yes, it will not only be a wine tasting, but also a visit to the farm and a presentation of the production of mozzarella. Benedetto speaks passionately about the process of making mozzarella, milking, twice a day.

To know: the word Mozzarrella comes from Mozzare (cut)

In your cellar, you can eat regular mozzarella, smoked, ricotta, scamorcha, caccio cavallo and other gnocchi with tomato, accompanied by different wines: Biancollella (white), Pen Palumbo (rouge), Amore (rosé). I prefer Le Selim, a petulant white wine.

The vineyard exports all over the world. Before leaving, we will do some shopping in the farm shop: cheese, wine, not to mention the beauty products based on buffalo milk and then a small dessert: delicious cannoli.

On the return bus, you can not hear anyone. The eyes closed after a beautiful day.

Amalfi

This morning, after leaving the marina towards Sorrento, Carine and I go to discover the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto) south-east of Sorrento in Conca di Marini. Roberto drops us off in the annex, near the entrance to the cave. We board a small wooden boat in this tiny cavity. This cave is famous for its translucent turquoise waters that glitter with the rays of the sun. The guide is nice but the ride is fast.

On our way out, our super skipper waited for us in the annex, he had gone to get a glass of iced tea and small toasts. Aperitif delivered on site! What happiness!

Once all the boats have reached Amalfi in the recent Arechi Marina, we take the bus to discover a new vineyard. 45 minutes on winding roads along the coast. Buses cross cars, drivers are used but not us! Some small scares but we arrive at destination.

The wine tasting will take place at the San Francesco Winery, in the village of Tramonti (which means "on the mountain." Here, the vines are between 200 and 300 years old.They are not online so the owners leave them at height and grow vegetables on the ground, all the work is manual.

The view is superb, the vineyards dominate the valley and the sun is there. We enjoy this beautiful late afternoon, before going to dinner in the family tavern. A pretty stone house where the owner welcomes us. The kitchen is open, we see the preparation of the meal. Mozzarella, ricotta, pasta e flangoli (flageolet) and of course, we taste some wines.

His favorite: the "Per Eva" which was named in honor of the wife of one of the associates of the vineyard. It's the best of white wines!

Tonight is the birthday of Jerry, one of the flotilla participants. We ordered a cake and some birthday candles (but not too much ... he's 80 years old!) And all the crews sing loudly "Happy Birthday" in a very friendly atmosphere, whereas we've only known each other since 4 days. Jerry says, with tears in his eyes, his best birthday present is this evening, surrounded by all these new comrades!

Positano / Procida

This morning, the day begins with an improvised Yoga session on a small square near the harbor. Norelene, yoga teacher and participant in the flotilla, today offers us the subject of "gratitude".

And we have something to be happy, this morning, we will be facing a beautiful sunrise for the day's session.

Meanwhile, the skippers are at the briefing. Roberto gives them the various stops where they can stop, if they wish, between Amalfi and Procida.

There are about 26 miles separating Amalfi and Procida; the day will therefore be mainly motor because this week, the wind has decided not to blow ...

After our relaxation session, we take advantage of the sun to walk in the streets of Amalfi. A cappuccino and a chocolate croissant on the terrace of the pastry Andrea Pansa, a few races for lunch and we embark to Positano, our only stop of the day before returning to the base of Procida.

At the entrance to the port of Procida, we refuel and we join other crews who have already arrived. Tonight we have dinner in one of the restaurants of Marina Coricella. Pasta, fish, shellfish, antipasti and good wines. The meal ends with a nice cake in the color of the flotilla, a few words from the flagship crew, songs and smiles on all faces.

Tomorrow is the start for everyone. Big heart after this week in good company, in the sun, to discover the Amalfi Coast. Full of memories, lots of photos, new friends, who, when we talk about it, already think about their next cruise ... in flotilla.

Good addresses

  • Pour find the Bua language, typical of Procida, rendez-vous at the Bar Dal Cavaliere - Via Roma, 42 - Procida
  • For a good pizza in Capri, go to Da Giorgio - Via Roma 34, Capri
  • Petit-déj en terrasse à Amalfi at Andrea Pansceria Pasticceria: Via Duca Mansone I, 40, 84011 Amalfi
  • Poisson dish in Marina Corée de Corricella au Bar Graziella: Via Marina di Corricella, 14, 80079 Procida
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