This article originally appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of Dream of Italy.
When I dream of Italy, I dream of basking in the sun on the veranda of Hostaria di Bacco in Furore on the Amalfi Coast for a long lunch.
The smell of freshly baked bread mixed with the laughter of locals draws me in as if being welcomed into a friend’s home. I pass a few men engaged in conversation with voices raised and passionate hands, not in anger, but mutual excitement. I wonder, how long have they known one another? Do they fish the coast or cultivate the cliffs? How many generations have they brought here to dine together?
The blue and white dressed terrace is so delicately perched on the cliffside that it appears to float above the coast I turn my head to see the sprawling vineyards of Marisa Cuomo cascading down the cliffs in the background and then to the sparkling Mediterranean Ocean, which seems to go on forever and seep into the sky beyond to create a continuous watercolor of magnificent blue. I soak in the Italian banter that filters through the air, while the sun warms my skin and the aroma of lemon and salt suspends me in an idyllic cocoon.
In true Italian fashion, each dish is paired with a different wine from the region. My tongue is first prepped with the sweet minerality of Costa d’Amalfi Rosato. While the wine awakens all of my taste buds in preparation for what is to come, it simultaneously calms my mind and slows my thoughts in order to focus solely on the present experience.
A server sporting a charming wooden bow tie brings dish after dish of beautifully plated meals featuring ingredients local to the area, both the cliffs and the sea. From simply prepared octopus in freshly pressed olive oil, to homemade rigatoni in a sweetly acidic tomato sauce and the most delicate white fish I’ve ever tasted. Finishing off with traditional limoncello and biscotti, I close my eyes and savor every last sensation with the anticipation of revisiting this very moment in my dreams for years to come.