my quest for the perfect gnocchi

I have a bit of an obsession with gnocchi. It’s the perfect meeting of my two loves: potato and pasta. My waistline wishes my fondness was for protein shakes or celery or whatever but no, its gnocchi, and I’ve been in love with these delightful little dumplings since I was tiny.I always preach about trying new things but when I see these little parcels of heaven on a menu, I can’t resist. I would love to try them everywhere, Sam I Am. I’ve been lucky enough to have gnocchi in Italy (not everywhere but in a few places, such as Venice) and each region of Italy has it’s own interpretation so I’d love to go on a Grand Gnocchi Tour of Italy one day.

The best I’ve ever had though was in Croatia. I actually thought this was bizarre but it’s not; it’s an extremely popular dish in coastal Croatia (such as Split, where I had the best one); they call it “njoki” (sounds the same, I guess). It was in a tiny little port-side cafe where I sampled this best-gnocchi-dish-of-my-life-so-far. So simple, perfect little morsels tossed in a Gorgonzola sauce. I didn’t even like blue cheese at the time, but after this dish I became a convert, which tells you a little something about it’s power.

Anyway, unfortunately I am not currently overseas on gnocchi-consuming adventures. I did however have a lovely weekend in South Australia’s very own McLaren Vale, sampling the local produce (particularly the wine!). I absolutely love living in Adelaide because McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley, the Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills region are all so close, and the Coonawarra is a few hours’ drive away. These amazing regions are home to some of the world’s best vineyards and microbreweries and the freshest produce.

We went to a restaurant called Au Pear (so cute, check it out here) and I had, of course, the gnocchi. The menu reads: “house made with confit artichoke hearts, caprino fresco and olive cream”. Now, strictly as a gnocchi traditionalist, it wasn’t what I expected. I have to day though, it was delicious. So delicate, so balanced, so fresh – and just enough on the plate to start feeling full without feeling heavy. Maybe that was the idea – we ordered the lemon souffle for dessert!

So, if you want a relaxing afternoon in the sunshine, head down to the Vale for some beautiful food; if you’re somewhere else in the world right now, keep me up to date with the gnocchi on your plate!

Gnocchi, Au Pear restaurant, McLaren Vale – sorry, I dug in before I remembered to take a photo!
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european daydreams


Seven reasons I wish I was in Europe right now:

1. My BFF lives in London

I keep forgetting this fact. I bought a new car a little while ago and went to cruise round to her house, then realized she doesn’t live there any more. I went shopping with Boyfriend and he just didn’t help (bless him). I just want to rock Oxford Street with my bestie.

2.  Edinburgh Fringe Festival

My favourite city. My favourite festival. The world needs a laugh and Edinburgh is the perfect spot to have it delivered. This place serves to remind you not to take life too seriously.

3. Summer Solstice

Because I’m just desperate for sunshine!

4. The weather

See above my friends! It’s freezing today and when I look out of my office window it feels like night time.

5.  Tour de France

I love the atmosphere of Paris at any time, and I love the French countryside ten times more. I love the Tour Down Under and am so lucky to live in the beautiful South Australia, but combining the Tour with the lovely France is just a winner.

6. Euro 2012

There’s nothing like a bit of European rivalry and football brings out the best of it. I love the passion a football match invokes in the crowd and I could use the excitement right about now!

7. The food

I’m on a diet. It’s no fun. I’m trying to look good for a black-tie ball this weekend but I’d rather be sitting at a café in Santorini or Venice eating and drinking the day away. It’s my favourite part of traveling.


sailing croatia, 2008