They said it was gonna be a Teddy Bear picnic…

…but all I did was sit under a bench.

They said something about teddy bears...

Did you know that even teddy bears have their own picnic day? I had July 10th marked on the calendar months ago, but when we got to our favorite picnic table at the top of the mountain, the spot was already taken. This is where you might begin to say “the early bird gets the worm” and while that may be true, I would just as well drive around until another solution presented itself. Like this bench for example. It was sitting alone on the side of the road surrounded by cool forest. In fact that’s one of the nice things to love about Italy, the single panchina that randomly appears where you’d least expect it. This one was nowhere near a home, park or residential area – a perfect spot for a picnic. We had a pot of cacciucco to split between the two of us.

Teddy Bear Picnic 2011

I don’t want to say cacciucco in the style of Livorno’s very famous fish stew, but this was close enough. I’ve read that a proper cacciucco calls for 12 types of seafood that will include fish, shellfish, mollusks and crustaceans.

Cacciucco

I put monkfish, goatfish, hake, fasolari clams, shrimp and calamari rings in here, plus lobster oil drizzled into the finished dish.

Chiaretto

Believe it or not, cacciucco requires a red, or in this case, a rosé that seems to have been made for this meal. As told to us by a person from Firenze, even though I wouldn’t doubt what any of those tuscans have to say about their region’s cuisine. They know their food and they know it well.

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