Welcome to Travelling Tastebuds! This is the first installment of a new, ongoing journey to combine my love (and longing) for travel with my serious devotion to food. Each Tuesday I will be exploring a new location to satisfy my wanderlust while my feet remain firmly planted on Canadian soil. I’m so excited! I hope you’ll join me in these new adventures.

Now it’s time for my taste buds to take a trip.  To Italy!

I am a real fan of travelling. Usually somewhere far away, preferably near the ocean and when I’m lucky, for long enough that I can really get into the local culture and hang out like the locals do. After my last long term travelling session, I was longing for a place of my own. Somewhere that had a closet for my things, not a backpack smushed into a locker or a pile of clothes stacked in the corner of someone’s living room. Where I could buy nice things that didn’t have the chance of being stolen by hostel-mates or broken by airport security.

But once a traveller, always a traveller. In my current cosy, stay-in-one-place lifestyle, a stirring recently emerged. The wanderer within me could not be silenced any longer. I have had enough stability and safety to keep me satisfied for a long time to come. It is time for me to set off on my next adventure. The problem is, I am not in a position to take a big trip until the end of the year. But I’m ready to leave now! To sell off all my worldly possessions! Give notice at work! Write the landlord my last cheque!

Ah, so what’s this girl to do? How do I trick myself into feeling like I’m travelling while still coming home to the same place each night? The easiest and most enjoyable way I know how: through the food that I eat. So every Tuesday, I will be travelling with my taste buds to a different destination. Are you ready to take your taste buds for a ride?

Now Toronto is filled with foods from pretty much every nationality you can name, so I can’t say I have it tough. And I have to admit that deciding to travel to Italy for the inaugural Travelling Tastebuds trip is a bit of a cop out. You can barely swing a soppressata without hitting an Italian eatery in this city. Just to be clear, I am NOT complaining. I mean, is there anyone out there who doesn’t enjoy Italian food? (If there is, I’d love to hear from you.)

It is my love of Italian food and culture that brought me here, to write this post and share my devotion.  So let’s end the night with an espresso affogato.

If you’ve never had this dessert before, I pity you. Once you taste it, you will never be the same. Trust me. If you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Legendary.  And so simple. Vanilla ice cream and a shot of espresso. Gotta love those Italians.

On their own, these two ingredients are at the top of their game. Put them together and it’s alchemy at its most divine. Creamy coffee foam smoothes out the strong, chocolately espresso. Hot and cold mix together, ice cream bobbing in the amber liquid, reminiscent of a root beer float. A caramel-sweet, almost “Coffee Crisp” flavour tickles the backs of your cheeks. The perfect end to a meal. A sexy treat alone or in pairs. And with two ingredients that are always (or should be!) on standby in your pantry. It’s like there’s an Italian in your kitchen that has prepared you for this special moment. Who needs an overseas flight to Rome? Take the trip with your tastebuds, and be there in minutes. No jet lag, I promise.

Join me next Tuesday for a trip to Spain!  Olé!

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