Hi friends! I’m back from vacation! These past two weeks have just flown by, but here’s a little recap of where I went and what I did.
Our fancy dinner at La Pergola in Rome
First, we flew out to Rome (and by we, I mean my boyfriend, his Dad and Stepmom). We spent a few nights in the heart of Rome, which made it easy for us to walk everywhere. We toured the Vatican, saw the Pantheon, the Colosseam (just from the outside), the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain, and a bunch of other ruins mixed with modern day architecture. You guys, Rome is amazing. We had no chance at seeing everything in the small amount of time that we were there, but we I think we covered a lot of ground. One night we dined at a 3-star michelin restaurant called La Pergola. This place was located in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel that is perched on the side of a mountain. With their outdoor dining room we were able to have the most spectacular view of Rome while we ate a fantastic (and probably one of the best) meals I’ll ever eat. The foie gras dish was my absolute favorite. They prepared it with wild berries, and the flavor combination on a piece of brioche was outstanding. If you’re on Instagram, you can view the entire meal in my highlights – click here (the entire vacation is on there too).
We left Rome to board our cruise ship in Civitavecchia, and from there we sailed for 7
days all the way up the French Riviera. We hit all these small ports along the way including Portoferraio, Portovenere, Portofino, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, Le Lavandou, and then finishing back in Nice, France. Below are some of the highlights from my trip.
In Portoferraio we rode bikes around the island, then kayaked (or tried to kayak) in the ocean. I learned I am much better on a bike than a kayak. Rosemary grows everywhere here, so when I saw they put it in their gelato as well, I jumped at the chance to try. And it was fantastic. I love herbs in desserts!
We learned that Portovenere (which is on the Ligurian Coast of Italy) is the birthplace of pesto AND focaccia bread. Both of which we sampled and bought plenty of to take home. This place is picturesque with their tall colorful houses, and teal-blue waters.
This is in Portofino, our cruise ship in the distance (probably the most picturesque photo I captured)
Portofino, Monte Carlo, and St. Tropez are posh, but absolutely beautiful. We did walking tours with local guides to learn the history of the lands. The streets in Portofino and St. Tropez are curvy, narrow, and colorful. Filled with fancy boutiques, markets and bakeries. I found the markets to be my favorite shops to peruse. Fruit and vegetables that are at the peak of their season all displayed out like flowers in a garden.
Our last day in Nice was even more market perusing. We were dropped off by our
cruise ship in the morning and weren’t able to check into our hotel until the afternoon, so we walked all around Nice, exploring and looking for macarons (at my request). This particular Pierre Herme macaron shop was nestled in a slot of a department store, and it took us a good hour and a half to locate it, even though it was just about a half mile away from our hotel. We found it though, and it was well worth it. The macarons were soft, cakey, not too sweet, and admittedly much better than the ones I make. Instantly, I knew I had to learn how to get mine as good. Stay tuned for that.
After our macaron excursion we continued on to “Marche aux fleurs” which translates to flower market. THIS is where a little piece of me died and went to heaven. Rows and rows of booths and tables of the freshest flowers, dried fruits, macarons, marzipan sweets, fresh local produce, fish, charcuterie, spices, teas, soaps, EVERYTHING. I have never seen a more perfect strawberry than what I saw that day. We got lost in there for a while, and that was perfectly fine with me. We had our last meal that night at a place called “Comptoir du Marche” which translates to Counter of the Market on the recommendation of a friend who had dined there before. It was nestled in the narrow streets of Old Nice, and a perfect end to such a wonderful trip. The décor was like stepping into a kitchen from the 50’s, with old refrigerator doors adorning the walls (they did not open), and old cook books displayed on shelves. It was quaint to say the least. They’re food was all local, seasonal, and fancier than you’d expect, coming from such a cute little bistro.
The streets of Old Nice, France
I really enjoyed out trip to say the least, and in honor of all the fantastic bread we ate out there I wanted to share this simple and easy savory version of monkey bread. What is monkey bread you ask? Well, it’s typically a sweet bread recipe, using store bought biscuit dough with cinnamon and brown sugar. I decided to make it savory because who doesn’t love a good piece of garlic bread? This pull apart garlic bread version is perfectly good on it’s own (because of the cheese and spices), but a simple dunk into some marinara sauce and I promise you’ll go back in for another piece. Don’t worry, there’s no judgement here.
Garlic Parmesan Monkey Bread
Yield 1 bundt pan
Store bought biscuit dough 2 cans
Grated Parmesan 1 ½ cups
Butter 10 T (5 oz.)
Everyday seasoning (or Italian seasoning) 1 T
Cheddar powder 1 T
Garlic powder 1 T
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
Microwave butter in a heat proof bowl in 20 second increments. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine parmesan, everyday seasoning, cheddar powder, and garlic powder. Mix together.
Unpack biscuit dough and cut into quarters.
Spray bundt pan with baking spray.
Dip each quarter piece into butter, then into seasoning mixture, and place in bundt pan. Continue to do this until you’re out of dough pieces.
Cover bundt pan loosely with tin foil, and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes longer, or until golden brown on top.
Cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around edges of pan and invert onto a serving dish.
Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and dig in! This one will go fast!
Garlic Parmesean Monkey Bread
Savory Monkey Bread with Garlic and Parmesean!
- 1 cans store bought biscuit dough
- 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
- 10 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tbsp. cheddar powder
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
- Microwave butter in a heat proof bowl in 20 second increments. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine parmesan, everyday seasoning, cheddar powder, and garlic powder. Mix together.
- Unpack biscuit dough and cut into quarters.
- Spray bundt pan with baking spray.
- Dip each quarter piece into butter, then into seasoning mixture, and place in bundt pan. Continue to do this until you’re out of dough pieces.
- Cover bundt pan loosely with tin foil, and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes longer, or until golden brown on top.
- Cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around edges of pan and invert onto a serving dish.
- Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and dig in! This one will go fast!