Saturday, 14 April 2018

Thinking Napoli

Thinking Napoli duty free shop at Naples airport.
Napoli's Capodichino airport has always been a bright spot among airport duty free shops.

The world's only duty free Mozzarella shop.
The dedicated Mozzaerlla outlet is still there. they must turn over huge quantities to ensure their stock is always fresh.

Years ago, you might have spent all your time choosing wine at the upstairs Duty Free only to realise as you ran downstairs for your gate that there was a much more interesting shop specialising in local wine on the lower level.

Local wines. Rest of Italy and international wines are to the right of the pillar.
Now both are amalgameted upstairs and there is a wall of wine from Campania and nearby regions alongside a reasonable selection from the rest of Italy and the rest of the world.

This Gragnano caught our eye immediately. We have enthused about this sparkling red from Aglianico and Piedirosso previously. This one purports to come from Herculaneum which is covered by the Penisola Sorentino DOC. A worthy competitor to Lambrusco.

Piedirosso is another undervalued variety from Campania so we bought this example too. A Coda di Volpe was also tempting as well as a number of Lacrima Christis. Lacrima is  just Piedirosso under a rather off-putting name. Don't be discouraged, it's often excellent stuff.

 In Napoli itself we didn't find the equivalent of some of the great wine shops to be found in Roma (Costantini, Trimani) or even Palermo (Piccone). There are nonetheless some nice ones. Fred Plotkin (The Gourmet Traveler's Guide to Italy') recommends Enoteca Belledonne (Vico delle Belledonne)

Enoteca Conte has mainly wine inside.

and we rather liked Enoteca Conte (dal 1960) in the Piazzetta Santa Anna di Palazzo. Note the yellow carton on the pavement to the left; it is from Elena Walch, Alto Adige producer of Schiava and co. on which we'll be posting soon.

Surprising was a large new or newly refurbished upmarket Conad in the Via Alarbardieri in the Chiaia quarter.

This included a nice bar ('Gourmeet'). On our Saturday afternoon visit there was a football match on the huge flat screen you can see on the far wall, and a crowd enjoying their Aperol Spritzes, espressos and whatnot while nibbling the free (free with your drink) cichetti or whatever the Neapolitan word is for 'bits' (pizzettini?).

The wine cellar was rather conventional (no 'autochtoni') but luxuriously appointed.

The selection in the supermarket proper was terrific. We bought some Patate di Bologna (beautifully yellow and waxy inside) and some dried Bottarga.

View from the Palco at the Teatro San Carlo, Napoli
If as we did, you have a date at the Teatro San Carlo, what you have to do to get a drink at the interval is to get your ticket before the performance because if you amble along to the bar in the interval and have to join the queue to pay before joining the other queue to get served you may not make it before the programme recommences and they shut the doors. There are no refunds.

The royal box where our 15 Euro programme was pinched on one occasion
Oh, and if you need to pick up your ticket from the box office this can easily take 20 minutes. Solution? Let the Conad people take over the opera house?

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