Italy has a been a revelation. The best food is fresh and seasonal - just the way I like it - but served very simply, without many spices or condiments. This allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to blend with each other, creating a more powerful taste than any spice or condiment could evoke.
My favorite so far? This simple, but luxurious, primi of artisan Bergamasque cornmeal with white truffle shaved over the top. The aroma was heavenly and the taste earthy - the entire dish was so satisfying that I was tempted to lick the plate - only thoughts of good manners and my mother's disapproval restrained me.
Now I have made polenta before, but the creamy texture and pure corn flavor put my efforts to shame. I don't know what it was, but I will try all the tricks I know - freshly ground cornmeal, slow even cooking for a long time and a wooden spoon for stirring.
As for the truffles - well, fresh truffles only have about a three day lifespan - so unless I decide to mortgage our house (second mortgage, that is) to fly one over from Alba, I will have to make do with a few meager slices of the jarred truffles in liquid I am bringing home. Oh well, my memory will be with me at least!