Amalfi Blues: Sorrento, Capri, Positano, Amalfi Town I Limoncello Cake
Il giorno del guidizio, per gli Amalfitani che andranno in paradiso, sara un giorno come tutti gli altri (The Day of Judgment, for the people of Amalfi who will go to Paradise, will be a day like all others)
If you've seen the Helen Hunt-Scarlett Johansonn-starrer A Good Woman or even the legendary Matt Damon-starrer The Talented Mr Ripley, you'd know why the ride through Amalfi Coast was that part of the trip for which I was waiting the most. The long and winding coastline, running from Sorrento to Salerno, encased between the cobalt-blue Tyrrhenian Sea and sloping Lattari mountains and dotted by small, quaint and touristy towns, had fascinated me from as long as I can remember. So when it was time to plan a trip to Italy and we were struggling to fit in all the places we wanted to cover into a meagre time-frame of 17 days, I was desperate to include Amalfi, even if that meant compromising with Rome (overstatement!)
Sorrento Flats (the ultra chic yet surprisingly pocket-friendly bed n breakfast). As we dragged our luggage from the station, the GPS led us to a building right at the heart of the busiest area of the town. We spiralled up the stairs — three storeys if I remember correctly — and with the luggage really weighing us down at this point, managed to rest our tired backsides in the kitchen-cum-dining area. A tall, slender Italian lady was clearing the dishes and the moment she saw us, she got 2 big mugs of cappuccino and urged us to help ourselves to the breakfast laden on the table. Famished that we were, we lapped up the croissants and tarts, pastries and tiramisu that were on offer.
It was at this juncture that Luigi (the man with whom we had corresponded over emails) came to receive us. We were told that the Sorrento Flats we were currently in was an apartment-like set-up meant for large families whereas the BnB of the same name, with individual rooms, was barely a 5-minute walk away. Just when the very thought of dragging those suitcases yet again terrified us, Luigi came to our rescue. With one fist gripped firmly over a suitcase, he led the way to Sorrento Flats Part 2, while P and I followed blindly, our glances occasionally darting towards bakeries and gelaterias on either sides, not to forget those shops selling a plethora of bright and colourful household and kitchen decor and how can I forget...limoncello!
1. By all means, stay at Sorrento Flats. The rooms are a bit small, yes, but it'll be the cutest thing you'll come across in entire Sorrento. And the breakfast is the icing on the cake!
2. Visit Bar Rita, as many times as you can. You won't even keep track of how many superlative items you have wolfed down for less than 10 euros! Gelatos at Raki are also a must.
3. Gorge on seafood. I could only make time for one seafood dinner there. I chose Chanteclers and I recommend that whole-heartedly. The feast for two that I mentioned above came to 28 euros.
4. Even though we did buy a lot of souvenirs, many of them haven't proved to be that lasting. So get something as a memorabilia, if you want it terribly, but don't pay a bomb for it. Limoncellos are a different ball game, however. most of them come in glass bottles (ultra-risky to pack), but if you tell the shopkeeper you'll be travelling, he'll definitely bubble-wrap it up well.
5. If visiting in Winter, don't bother to travel all the way to Capri. No matter what the locals say, you will not get to see the Blue Grotto and will end up spending an extra 100 euros aside your budget.
6. Amalfi Coast CANNOT be seen in a day. As in you can see it, but you can't feel it or live it. So if you ever plan to pack your bags and head for Amalfi, I'd ask you to spend at least 5 days to a week there. You can divide your time between Sorrento and Positano (or may be Ravello or Salerno). I forcibly accommodated Amalfi in our itinerary because I was almost sure I'd never come back to Italy again. But after that day-long coast through the Coast, I knew I absolutely had to. The aforementioned colleague (who visited Amalfi in Oct) went back again in June. Amalfi Coast is that compelling.
Hung/Greek yoghurt: 1 cup
Canola/vegetable oil: 1/3rd cup
Lemon juice: Of 2 lemons
Lemon zest: Of 2 lemons
Granulated sugar: 1 cup
Limoncello: 1/3rd cup
Flour: 1 1/3rd cup
Baking powder: 1.5 tsp
Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
Salt: a pinch
Butter: for greasing
1. Preheat oven to 180º C. Line a round spring form cake pan with baking parchment and butter the sides. Set aside.
2. In a big bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, eggs, canola oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and limoncello.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour. Add the other dry ingredients viz baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients without overmixing it.
5. Pour the batter in the cake pan, tap it against the kitchen counter a couple of times to release air bubble. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 min or until top is golden and a tester inserted at the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool on wire rack for another 30 minutes before unmoulding.
6. You can pour a limoncello glaze over the cake or have it naked, just like I did. This cake pairs wonderfully with tea, coffee and of course a glass of chilled limoncello!
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For more travel stories, click here
To read about the Milan leg of my Italy trip, click here
To read about the Venice leg of my Italy trip, click here
To read about the Tuscany leg (Pisa, Siena Florence) of my Italy trip, click here
To read about my entire trip to Italy and my culinary adventures therein, click here