Well off we all trooped to Italy, myself, the babs, the hubbie & his parents for a friends wedding. It was to a be a last hurrah before I abandoned Dom went back to work. I had high hopes for the eye-talians (as my Great Auntie calls them) – they make the best finger food, and they love babies.
First up we flew to Bologna and stayed there 2 nights. The hotel we stayed in (highly recommend, especially for the fact that they have a resident cat, who I named Luigi for the purposes of making up stories about him and following him around with Dom) recommended a local restaurant. When we arrived and no highchair appeared I was a bit nervous – doesn’t scream family friendly. As soon as we met the waitress & waiter all worries were appeased as they “ciao’ed” and italian baby-talked away to Dom. Italian food is very well suited to BLW – they keep things simple – something Mark appreciates, he’s not a big fan of me shoehorning extra veggies into stuff. It means baby can try individual new flavours and stuff cools easily! So Dominic ate some of Mark’s pasta and mince. Minced what I don’t know, but it was Bolognaise on the menu, um…beef? Lamb? Incidentally, Bolognaise never seemed to involve any sauces, tomato-based or otherwise at all. Then, for a treat, cos he was 9 months old on the day, and because we were on our holiers, he tried pannacotta.
sugary creamy stuff…mmm
Big hit! I gave him some of my baked pear, after sucking the choccy sauce off it. Not quite as interested, unsurprisingly. I don’t mind giving him the odd taste of sweet things that aren’t fruit from around this age, just not as a habit. Ha! I’m such a hypocrite…
If all else fails, the Italian bread basket offers the king of fingers foods – breadsticks & olives. He was distracted by flaky seed covered sticks and round hard crunchy breadstick-rings in several restaurants and at the wedding. (I must buy some actually.) Olives are great for the emerging pincer grip. Obviously they’re de-stoned, and I might have been more nervous about them as a choking hazard up till a month or so ago. Since then he’s been pulling out food he’s finished with, and we don’t really need to stick a finger in to retrieve half chewed mandarin segments anymore. In fact he’s taken to rejecting grape halves after the most cursory of sucks, ready for a fresh one. He’s like a mini decadent Roman emperor.
On saturday out in the hills of Fiesole where we supped prosecco on the lawn overlooking Florence, Dom played happily beneath our feet, and had a bit of craic with the other little kids. Then we carried him about to show him the views and watch the jazz trio. He seemed to be particularly fond of the sax & saxophonist who waved and winked when the jazziness allowed. This is an aside to the main subject of the blog – but this was a great wedding to have a baby at (though its also our first). Being outside in the warm autumnal sun instead of being a crowded hotel meant he could have a play and a good look about instead of us trying to shield him from swiping peoples glasses and knocking over stuff! Kept me nice & relaxed about the whole thing anyway, but that may have been the prosecco too! Then at dinner, where he had his very own placecard, he ate a good quarter of Mark’s wild mushroom risotto. We’ve given him several risottos but none have been as well received as this one. It was creamy but light rather than stodgy.
No trip to Italy could be complete without a pizza or 6. We even returned to one place it was so good -ristorante DR OETKER. No, Borgo Antico, on the square by the Santo Spirito over the river in the Oltrarno area. Their ‘Borgo’ pizza had a basic tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and masses of milky buffalo mozzarella torn onto it when it comes out of the oven. My selfish husband ordered a cured ham & gorgonzola topped one, so that he didn’t have to share with either me or Dom. I didn’t give him too much mozzarella as I guess it’s not pasteurised.
Also, this place had a really cute highchair, just like a plain wooden woven seat chair, but tall with a simple wooden bar in front. Actually, when we did get highchairs they were this ‘rustic’ like this one, those hook/clamp onto the table ones, or the trusty Ikea Antilop. No chunky slumpy seated chairs, and none with trays at all – he was always up at the table right with us. This cements my view of Italy as a child friendly country. Despite the fact they’re a low birth rate themselves, they totally dote over babies (maybe from novelty value). Italy with baby FTW!