First and foremost, this post is going to be quite picture heavy, so I hope it doesn’t slow down your compy/tablet/mob-phone.
It’s just that the place that I was at is so pretty. So I think it’s worth the wait for the page to load, and I guess it’s a good time to get a cup of tea in the meanwhile
As you know, I met my friend Eu Chai on Thursday when he suggested that we have a day trip to Viterbo. His main agenda in going there was to meet up with his friend, but Cart and I tagged along to have a chance for a bit of sight seeing.
(Beats staying at home watching the telley anyway)
Viterbo is a town about 80km away from Rome and it took us about an hour to drive there tenaciously by the way, as it was a wet and rainy day. That was something that worried me a lot, as it’s been raining buckets for the past week or so.
But when we reached there, thankfully the rain eased down and the scenery that I saw from where I was, looked so charming. This was taken at a little lane somewhere along Via Paradosso (Paradox Street, how cute is that?)
Here, we met Eu Chai’s friend Laura who’s also a tour guide. They met interestingly on a forum, which I think is amazing the amount of like-minded people you can reach out to, online.
One of our first stop, as it was already lunch time, was this restaurant called Muccallegra al paradosso. It’s a relatively new restaurant, being in the business for about a year or so. It looks very charming inside, surrounded by the garden.
The thing is, Eu Chai had an ulterior motive for coming here – for weeks, he’s been raving about “The best cheesecake that I’ve had had in my life” – which sets the personal bar pretty high when you hear someone declaring it like that.
In any case, I was quite hungry at this point, so we asked for appetizers first.
So here are our yummy bruschette with tomatoes, radicchio, and the basic oil and garlic (there was also another set with artichoke spread instead of oil and garlic)
We also had fried potato skins. You might be surprised to find that this is edible right? Yeah me too when I first heard about it, as this is the part that you usually throw away, but it’s actually really tasty and it seems that this is the most flavourful part of a potato.
No need to dip it in sauces.
And this is my pasta with funghi. Oh my gosh, so good! I love this!
I don’t know how to make mushrooms look pretty, but this pasta tastes a lot better than it looks. It was so good, so flavourful! Moreover now that we are in Autumn, you can find loads of quality mushroom at this time. The pasta was made with chestnut flour, which explains the light brown colour and it paired very very well with the mushroom. I really want to try to make this, but I don’t think that I’ll do it justice.
This here is the Chef’s version of a traditional Roman dish, Cacio Pepe. This one is different though, as instead of fettucine, it uses ravioli stuffed with cheese inside. It also has pears on top. Normally I don’t really like this dish (I know loads of people do, it’s just me) as to me, it tends to be really heavy and you get that thick feeling in your throat, but it’s surprisingly light due to the choice of cheese inside and the pear makes it much more balanced somehow and the pepper all goes together harmoniously.
And then for our contorno, we had a pretty plate of grilled mixed vegetables (we also had cicoria, but you know, you’ve seen them once, you know they all look the same)
And then it was time for dessert! Since Eu Chai was mainly here to have the best cheesecake in his life, Laura and I decided to have one too, although I think it’s odd because cheesecake isn’t a typical Italian dessert, but no matter.
This is my cheesecake with Nutella.
This is Eu Chai’s slightly eaten cheesecake with fragole di bosco. These berries are cool by the way, as they are smaller than the ones you normally see in supermarkets. One of the best places to find them in Italy is probably in Nemi.
This is Laura’s cheesecake with Pears and Cinnamon. What a nice combination. I’d choose that the next time. Hehe.
And this is Cart’s Crema Catalana, his favourite dessert. We love cracking open the glazed sugar on top.
Look at how happy Eu Chai looks here! Haha! He’s been craving for this for weeks and weeks and finally gets his beloved. Hahaha.
I did enjoy the cheesecake here, and the creamy consistency as well as the crumble base below. I don’t dare to call it the best cheesecake that I’ve ever had in my life, however. But that’s a good a reason to go around trying more
The meal is such a dream! Absolutely heavenly! Cart and I spent about 24 euro each, so I think it was a good value as I loved the food so much. At the end of the meal, Eu Chai started chatting with the chef and was joking to him I wanted to give him a kiss for the food. Haha! What!!!
But he looked very happy at that suggestion, see how he’s hugging me. Cart insists that he’s not jealous :p
What can I say, not only Italians, but everyone loves compliments! He originated from Rome by the way, and has been married with his wife for about 27 years.
I explored the restaurant a bit more (it’s a really big place!) And we found a special setting for those romantic dates. It’s in it’s own alcove, so you don’t see anyone else but your partner.
Even the restroom looks so pretty! At the sides is a huge vase naturally illuminated by the light outside. Here I should have pushed the door open to show how nice the toilet is inside. But I had this momentary lapse of judgement. Urgh.
Outside of the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. If you are a model, this is a great place to do photoshoots. Even non models like me can look high fashion in this place. Just smize :p
I’m totally feeling like a noble woman here!
By the way, where Eu Chai is walking towards to, there are small passages below. We managed to explore a little bit inside as luckily we both had mini torches with us. I do not know where it leads to though, but it made me feel ala Angels and Demons somewhat.
After our lovely lunch, the four of us then took a walk towards the heart of Viterbo.
Laura says that below the steps, you could wash your clothes old school style with other people. They still do it even now. Probably not so much in Autumn and Winter as it’s really cold out.
Eu Chai and Laura then left us on our own for a bit as they talk business and here was when I saw the fluffiest cat I have ever seen in my life! So cute! And surprisingly affectionate at that! So fluffy I can die!
She’s as cute at the kitten I saw at the cat fair I love her… I want her … le sigh.
Anyway, here is the San Lorenzo Cathedral built somewhere in the 12th century.
At the other side of the piazza, there is a delightful looking path beside it.
I really like seeing the background scene through the arches. It’s a lot more impressive to be seen in person instead of just pictures though and am surprised at how little people (regardless of tourists or residents) that we came across, exploring this place.
By the way, I remember something that Laura mentioned during lunch, that it’s such a shame that smaller cities like Viterbo doesn’t get enough publicity, and it’s usually big towns like Rome, where tourists tend to go to.
She also mentioned that there are hot springs in Viterbo, when I mentioned to her about Saturnia. I don’t remember how that conversation started, but that made me really excited to come back here again.
In a way, that’s kind of sad, because I think a picturesque place like this should be admired by more people. On the other hand though, I do appreciate that there are much fewer people here. It gives it a raw and pristine beauty. You know a place becomes overly touristy when rose sellers start to bother you.
By the way, it is now twice I come across companies trying to use QR codes. Twice it doesn’t work. Sigh.
In any case, maybe it’s just me, but each time I see long pipes like these, I tend to think of Tomb Raider or Assasin’s Creed. And I’m not even a gamer! I wonder if I could climb them nevertheless.
This house looks like something out of a Shakespeare play, which makes me kind of miss my literature lessons. Not so much the examinations though! Speaking of which, Italians are starting to claim that Shakespeare is Italian, instead of being English. Considering his immense knowledge of Italian, as well as his plays mostly based in Italy, it could even be a probability. Although I don’t want to start a flame war!
I so love seeing the colours of Autumn, with the leaves turning yellows and reds and browns, it feels so very romantic.
I took some pictures of the street signs, as they looked very interesting to me. Like this one :
Piazza della morte means Square of the dead. Laura mentioned that during the dark ages, a lot of people died in this area. That’s quite morbid!
This one says, fish stone road. I didn’t see any stone fish though.
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We walked by a restaurant and I noticed this. Noo! No tourist menus! You don’t get to choose what you want to eat, although this could be a good choice for indecisive people.
I adore the architecture here. Walking around, it’s easy to imagine oneself back in the dark ages here. If I’m not wrong, they also do a medieval gaite festival.
Via San Pellegrino. Quick! When you think of San Pellegrino, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Ok, this is super ignorant of me, but when I first read this I quipped, “Oh! So the water is bottled nearby huh?” Laura looked at me, not understanding. Instead, Cart explained that it was named as such as Pilgrim Saints (Pellegrino means pilgrims) that travelled across Europe passed here.
Doh! As a sidenote, I don’t even like that brand of drink. They managed to market themselves very well outside of Italy nevertheless and it seems that you always see them in Italian restaurants outside of Italy. There are better tasting Italian drinks to be honest.
(Gosh, listen to me, I sound like a snob! But what I said is true though!)
It’s such a treat strolling along these paths, walking next to builds that has lasted for years and years. If only for a moment, if we had some sort of time machine, we could see how life was like back then and the buildings I imagine, will look pretty much the same!
At this point, I accidentally dropped my camera while trying to reply to my handphone. My trusty but poor and long suffering camera! I’ve been using it for pretty much most of the videos and photos that you see in this blog.
I’ve dropped it quite a bit, but this fall has been so bad that the battery cover can’t close well. Luckily it still works at the moment, though I don’t know how long it will survive after this
I didn’t take much picture after this, moreover now that it’s nightfall and I am not that great with night shots. We then joined up with Laura and Eu Chai again and we headed to an olive oil farm.
It’s easy to spot as you could spot large, white smoke coming out, and it smells so nice here. An earthy, robust, woody scent fills the air.
Outside, I saw loads of boxes of fresh olives.These are called canino olives which is supposed to make a really good type of oil, although I’m not that skilled to tell the different variety. They look so appealing though.
We went in, past the factory machines – there were a few pressing machines and a few drums. The place wasn’t a big factory, which could be a good thing as that means that more care is given to the product (right?)
Anyway, we found ourselves in a small little museum showing how the olive oil was traditionally pressed using the tools that they’ve personally used in past generations.
There was also a small path below where you could see some relics from the second world war.
I loved seeing the numerous pictures decorating the walls in the office space showing their family of past generations in various stages of work.
And we got to meet Mario Matteucci, the fourth generation head of the factory. All in the family! According to him, he has a son that will take over some day.
Here he is pouring a spoonful of olive oil for us to taste. According to him, it is very healthy and for me, it tastes extremely delicate. I don’t think that I’ve ever had olive oil that ‘soft’ before, although Cart says that I’ve had some while we were at a farmer’s market in Circo Massimo.
Oh! And before I forget, if you have your own olive berries, you could bring it here to have it pressed for you into oil even. Cool!
In any case, the whole point for Cart and I to be here, is that we have an ulterior motive, which is for buying olive oil directly from the factory. We even brought our 5 litre glass bottle to have it filled there.
In the end, it wasn’t needed as the oil was already packaged for us. And in the end, according to Mario, transparent glass jars are not that good for olive oils as light will change the taste of the oil. So it’s better to have it in dark glass bottles or better yet, in cans.
This 5 litre can costs 40 euro by the way and I think it’ll probably last us for some months, if we use it every day. That’s a lot of bruschetta with olive oil and garlic
(By the way, it’s pronounced broos-kett-tha and not broo-shey-tah)
In any case, having an ulterior motive, taking advantage and travelling with Eu Chai, we stumbled on the beauty of Viterbo. I totally am enchanted with this place and would love to return here again