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10 July 2012

Tomatoes, Blueberries & Fennel Salad and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo at the Dolomites


I have been home since early Sunday morning, really early.  We left the Dolomites at half past five in the afternoon on Saturday and arrived in Rome at three in the morning on Sunday.  The highway in Florence was closed for 10 kilometers for works and we were sent to a detour that took two hours to go through compared to the 10 - 15 minutes that we should have taken it at the highway.   It was the longest trip we did to go home from there. 


I was only able to reacquaint myself with my bed when the sky was turning blue and when I was dead tired.   I promised myself that I will start unpacking the day after and will just put away the food I took home with me.  But I was kidding myself because after two hours of busying myself around the house, I was able to do a cycle of laundry and put away a quarter of the luggage contents.  Fortunately, the kids crawled to sleep as soon as we arrived.  The hamsters and fish settled down too but were obviously too hot with the change of temperature.  We did hear about the heat wave in Rome.  After a cool temperature in the alps, the heat was suffocating us. 


With the house almost back to normal but with mountains of clothes to iron, I am slowly gaining back my routinary momentum at home.   The kitchen is stocked up with food again and I am making some noises and mess again in the kitchen.   It is nice to be back home.


I have a simple salad recipe here that I put together while on vacation.  The food at the Dolomites, however good it is, makes me yearn for a simple salad of fresh ingredients.   I needed a break badly from a daily diet of meat and potatoes.  Truth be told, it was my first time to see yellow tomatoes and when I saw them in Austria, I didn't skip a beat in buying a pack.   I wish I tried it in the car first so I could have bought more because they were one of the sweetest tomatoes I have ever tried.  They are nowhere to be found in Italy.  Sigh.  

Rifugio Lavaredo
I mixed them with datterini tomatoes, another very sweet variety that is all over Italy.  Thank God!   A bulb of fennel and a handful of local wild blueberries that I kept on buying from the local vegetable shop.  I love them so much that I took home a few punnets too.  Yup, they are safely cooling in the fridge right now.   Be flexible with the varieties of tomatoes that you use.   These are the varieties that I had so they ended up in my bowl.  The fennel gave it a good crunch and the blueberries gave it a nice touch.  I thought it wouldn't go well with the tomatoes because the combination was a tad strange but they looked great together and they tasted well together.   This salad is a keeper.  I didn't put the quantities of the ingredients because they should depend on how you want your salad to be.



If you ask me what I think the most beautiful spot is at the Dolomites, I would answer you Tre Cime di Lavaredo.   For that reason, you would understand me for posting a lot of pictures at this post.  I tried to cut them down to a few but this is the most that I can do.  After all, I have more than 300 of them in my archive of this place alone.   It took my breath away because it's too beautiful to be real.  

The trail from Rifugio Auronzo to Rifugio Lavaredo.

The trails are wide and safe for kids (if you hang on to them from not falling on the sides).  For this reason, it is quite popular for tourists to arrive in busloads   It was my first time to hike with throngs of people and it was quite amusing with the odd mixture of seriously dressed hikers, rock climbers, bikers and tourists in city clothes (and even umbrellas to protect them from the sun!).   


There's a loop of three rifugi (mountain huts / refuges).  It's possible to take a car or even a bus until the first rifugio which Rifugio Auronzo at 2,330 meters high.  The private road that leads to this rifugio costs 22 Euros.  Slightly high but the trip was worth it.  The parking is immense and the walking trail to Rifugio Lavaredo at 2,344 meters high starts from here.   Then from there you can head to Rifugio Locatelli at 2,450 meters high. 


I hope you enjoyed the pictures of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.  The pictures came out great but it is still different to be in the middle of this scenery.  It's beautiful.  How many times did I say that?

I still have about a couple of posts to share from my trip.  I hope you enjoyed these two weeks of mountain-themed posts.  Have a good week!



Blueberries, Tomatoes & Fennel Salad

Ingredients:
Serves 2
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup wild blueberries
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped (leave some leaves for garnishing)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt
Directions:
  1. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes, fennel & blueberries together.
  2. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil & lemon juice.  
  3. Season with salt.