Some people might like to go for a drink or something afterwards. Who knows.
Those were the last words I wrote in my diary before heading out for an evening food tour in Napoli.
64 hours later, my Neapolitan food tour finally ended in an orgy of pastries and coffee – my companion and I fervently insisting with each successive bite that we were quite replete and couldn’t possibly finish it all.
Reader: we finished it all. Not just that morning, but the whole long weekend. All of it. There was not a corner of Napoli that went unsampled by our insatiable taste buds.
The official tour started from the shadow of Dante’s statue and led us around the street food of Napoli.
Buffala mozzerella fresh that morning – quite unlike the mozzerella palmed off on us in Great Britain. Served with carralo biscuits made with almonds dry as dustpaper, best suited to mopping up the olive oil dripping from your antipasti.
Limoncello, of course, made with lemons from Sorrento and alcohol from Dante’s Inferno. Aperol spritz in cheap plastic cups, served from windows open straight onto the street.
Two species of pizza, from Sorbillo’s – the finest pizzeria in Napoli and thus the world. First pizza a portafoglio – a simple wallet pizza that’s eaten folded and on the run, then pizza fritta – a deep fried specimen that wouldn’t be out of place on a night out in Glasgow.
Frittatine di pasta is a depth charge of carbohydrates, macaroni, bechamel and pork weighted with enough oil to power a medium-sized caravan. One to be halved, quartered, and shared to soak up the limoncello.
Sfogliatelle, rhum babá and gelato to finish. Or so I thought.
‘You guys wanna come for a drink?’ asked a voice I would come to know well from the late night, early morning menu inspections that would plaster our weekend.
She’d come for the coastline, Capri and Amalfi. But the storm we watched roll in one night – sea spray dousing our wine – put paid to that. So we sacrificed ourselves instead to tracking down the city’s gourmet offerings of seafood and pasta.
I don’t have the heart to ruin your Friday lunch (nor mine) with any more distant dishes. Suffice to say that, were I still wandering the alleyways of Napoli, I suspect I would already have Type 2 diabetes and a drinking problem.
Smooth stone slabs and close houses make for a furnace. Narrow alleys burst open onto ornate cathedrals. Religious niches behind glass. A white dog with a pink tongue. Songbirds. The street spills into houses, households tumble onto the street. Families in states of undress around a floral tablecloth, bunk beds in the corner. Impromptu greengrocers and fruit-sellers. Washing lines decorate the walls. Courtyards hidden behind doorways and pillars. Cigarette vending machines. And, above all, mopeds.