Hi Snoop...glad we found each other anyway!
As it happens I have been back to Italy and broke the strict diet I've been on for a while in order to share Northern Italy's goodness with you!
I had a short trip to see my husband. He took me to a restaurant tht another DC member took him to when he first moved to Milano. We drank a suberb bardolino out of terracota bowls and ate a paired down vrison of the meal I ate between Modena and Bologna with friends. Gnoochi fritti with lard and prosciutto has to be the most underrated meal going. It did not have the glory of the rural mountain location I first ate this lighter than air pocket of deliciousness in, but it was very, very good. In fact there was no lard, but rather a choice of cold meats and a good gorgonzola. There being three of us we shared the two, and it was superb. I nice fig and walnut tart (the fruit and nut being between a layer of very short shortcake) was delicious and I have successfully copied this at home if anyone is intersted in trying it.
In Milan one eats well. My mother joined us an we introduced her to apperitivo! Whohoo, that lady went from 'just a small glass of something light please' to trying a different cocktail in every bar in the Navigli! We got a cab home. The great thing is that the wonderful array of free eats means it is les apperitvo and more supper, especially if you bar hop!
Venice, oh, Venice. we went back to the restaurant I recommended last time. It was good, very good, but the menu was very similar. We had exactly the same puddings, and althouh they sen me ino the same rapturse as before, I was open to something new. The mains left me somewhat cold this time.
Trattoria alla Madonna, where my DH is now a regular and orders off menu was just great. I'm afraid soft shell crabs don't grab me (no joke was intended there) but I had a plate of pasta with squid ink: the best I'd EVER< EVER had, with the most succulent squid that almost melted in my mouth, it was unbelievably good and I think I started groaning with delight! The ink is leathal though, and DH, who was helping me, was covered in it. I also had a plate of calamari and scampi: light, delicious and perfect. I was delighted. But the real recommendation was a slightly more expensive meal at the black cat, Gatto Nero, on Burano. Very slightly away from the main square of Burano...possibly my favourite island still, we'd noticed it last time but not gone to. An artist friend told us we simply must eat there, and he was right. I won't spoil it, but I really recommend it.
I stopped at Como for a day too, normally we commute through. You know, I thnk the lakes are gorgeous but I would not bother with eating in Como again, we paid treble the price for an inferior meal. I can't imagine why the great and the good were flocked to the restaurant where we ate. There is a super restaurant I want to try in Como, on an island, so maybe next spring.
I'm wondering if now I'm in UK more than Italy I should share a UK food notes too?