Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
I think this week’s country is a real-life fairytale. San Marino is a micronation within the mountainous North-Central region of Italy.
It is one of the few remaining city-states that proliferated across Europe. It has the distinction of being the world’s oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic ever recorded. San Marino is Europe’s third smallest state and the world’s fifth smallest, after the Vatican, Monaco, Nauru and Tuvalu. The whole Republic of San Marino is only 23.63 square miles. The highest point of Mount Titano is 2457 feet above sea level and there are no bodies of water of any significant size.https://www.internationalcuisine.com/about-food-and-culture-of-san-marino/
With much of its historic medieval architecture still intact, it is a breathtaking and charming place. The photos look to be straight out of a storybook. According to National Geographic, it is the least visited country in Europe. We’re hoping to plan a European road trip for our honeymoon and I promise you this country will be on our route. Check out this blog post about travelling in this mysterious country:
After learning some of the geography and history of San Marino, I was not surprised to see that much of their cuisine is inspired by and very similar to Italian cuisine. And I was not complaining about this whatsoever. Nidi di Rondine, which translates to Swallow’s Nest, is a staple in Sammarinese cuisine that looks as lovely as its name implies. I found this dish highlighted by TasteAtlas and International Cuisine. We consulted both of the following recipes when preparing this dish:
I started by preparing the bechamel sauce which came together quickly and without fuss. Then, we cooked and dried the lasagna noodles and set up our makeshift assembly line. I expected some difficulty with this process but it was so easy. I brushed bechamel sauce onto the noodle, followed by marinara, prosciutto, cheese slices (we used provolone and gouda), and some fresh basil. Our little pasta roses rolled up without tearing our making a giant mess. We popped it in the oven for 30 minutes and voila. A little labour-intensive, but not difficult at all.
This is one of the prettiest dishes we have made in a while. And let me tell you, it tastes as good as it looks. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce; but this was such a unique twist on a dish I’ve made a million times. It was indulgent but also delicate, and I didn’t feel weighed down by this meal as I would after a more Western lasagna dish that is packed with beef and heavy cheese. We would absolutely make this again, especially to entertain guests at a dinner party. It’s also amazing leftover!
While we cooked, we listened to this playlist on Spotify: