When I first came to Japan, I realized that they pronounced names of countries different from the US. For example, in the US we say "Italy" but here they say "Italia". Germany is "Doitsu" meaning Deutsch.
Takes some getting used to but definitely good to know.
Anyway, recently Hanshin Department store had an Italia Fair (Italian Fair).
Last Wednesday, I had some time to spend before meeting Satoshi for dinner, so I went to check it out. They had Italian pottery, cameos, rugs, a huge Italian wine and market area.
I came across these chocolates in the market area.
Barratti & Milano--I've tried some of their chocolates before. They are from Torino. The guy at the counter was nice enough to give me a sample, so I bought 3 types of chocolates.
Pinguino--a cream filling covered with dark chocolate. Pistachio--pistachio cream sandwiched with gianduja. Gianduja--hazelnut milk chocolate. The chocolates were 126 yen for 10 grams, my bill came out to 433 yen (about US$4.33)
My favorite was the Pinguino, I liked the contrast of sweet cream and dark chocolate.
Just a couple of counters over was Silvio Bessone--This chocolatier was from a town outside of Torino.
I got the Marron Glace--a chestnut paste with meringue bottom covered with 70% dark chocolate.
And Nej--a dark chocolate mixed with gianduja. Both were good but on the bitter side, I think these might have gone better with red wine or a malt whisky instead of coffee. 210 yen for Nej (about US$2.10) and 315 yen (about US$3.15) for the Marron Glace.
The lady in line before me bought 10 Marron Glace and 10 Nej, I was actually kind of embarrassed to buy something after her.
After more browsing, I met Satoshi for dinner at E-ma. There is an Italian restaurant that we like called La Botte Piccola.
Whenever we eat at Italian restaurants, we always order a salad, pizza and pasta to share.
I had a glass of Bellenda Contrada di Conceniqo, a full body red made with cabernet, merlot & marzemino grapes...800 yen (about US$8) a glass. I really liked this wine and hope to find it online or at the gourmet shop.
Satoshi had a glass of 2008 Rivera Terra al Monte Sauvignon, a crisp white...700 yen (about US$7).
We chose the seasonal salad...endive, baby greens, proscuitto and ricotta...1080 yen (about US$10.80). I loved the light texture of the ricotta.
Satoshi chose the seafood pasta...1400 yen (about US$14), this had clams, shrimp, scallops with a garlic butter sauce.
I chose the 4-cheese pizza...1400 yen (about US$14). This place always had a nice thin crust, which I love. They used mozzarella, gorgonzola, ricotta and parmesan. A little olive oil and parsley. Really simple yet oh so good!
After all those days off, Satoshi was kinda bummed that he had to go back to a full week.
La Botte Piccola
Open when E-ma is.