I may have mentioned this, but the way Lake Como works is this: You stay in one of the little towns (we stayed in Tremezzo) and then you water-taxi-it around the lake to the other little towns for the purposes of sight-seeing, food, shopping and general merriment.
Pretty sweet, right? Right.
One of our water taxi stops was Bellagio, a tiny town built into the hills around the lake. Restaurants and shops greet you at the harbor, and you can wander up the steep, perilous steps to find more shopping and restaurants. Marmo and I loved it.
I even found a REAL cycling shop in one of the crevices of the town, proceeded to talk with the shopkeeper IN ITALIAN (thank you very much) about cycling, and left with this cool Italia cycling kit at a hugely discounted price.
I was pretty excited. So was The Box, as I dragged him into the shop and then proceeded to squeal with delight at the selection of Italian spandex. The Box, as you might imagine, is opposed to spandex, unless it's being used to encase sausage.
And speaking of food - we haven't yet spoken of PIZZA. We go all the way to Italy, and no talk (yet) of pizza. To be fair, we didn't visit Naples or Rome...two of our favorite cities for pizza. Pizza is traditionally a Southern Italian food. But pizza can be found everywhere. And we found some quality examples at Pizzeria Carillon on the Bellagio harbor.
I asked John for his notes on our pizza experience, and he supplied the following:
Brick Oven. Floppy, Runny, that is all I have. (via gchat)
Ummmm, yeah. John's lack of verbosity should not be confused with a lack of enthusiasm. In fact, we very much enjoyed our pizza, and his notes hit the nail on the head. Besides, who can talk or note-take when you have your cheeks full of oven-toasted pizza pie?
Brick oven? Check. The crusts were nicely charred and crispy, but still retained....wait for it....
that FLOPPY, squishy-bready quality that is characteristic of Neapolitan pizza crusts.
And they were mildly RUNNY – also a Neapolitan feature. The centers of the pie are JUST cooked. Picking up a slice often encourages the tip of the pizza to droop and contents to sliiiiiiiide gently from bread to plate. Not a bad thing. The featured pepperoni pie above had just the right amount of grease and merged perfectly with the mozzarella cheese.
This above number was quite tasty with copious amounts of fresh basil and sweet cherry tomatoes. You will also notice from the fork and knife photos above that the pizzas were not pre-sliced. Points for authenticity on that one. Italians don't slice their pizza, because then they can't "fold and go"... pizza was one of the original "to-go" foods.
Let's pause a moment for the flop shot...a piece of pepperoni droops perilously on the tip, only to be devoured moments later by John's watering chops.
A sign of a well done pizza lunch: the pizza swop. John, Marmo and I frequently traded slices, looking for just one more bite of each other's variations.