The shoreline is filled with bodies of all shapes and sizes. A clang rings out as a metal folding table is unfolded and an electric hotplate is ritually placed atop. A mum and a granny start a big pot of water boiling for the coming pasta. A couple of toddlers proudly bear their birthday suits and rush into the water. The lake is much different than the beach. Families load up the car with enough equipment to spend all week at the shoreline. Yet they are here just for the day.
Lake Bracciano is just north of Rome. At first glance, it seems a bit rougher, almost like you can feel the cramped flats on the outskirts of the city from where the families left early that morning. Teenage girls sport undergarments in place of swimming suits. Boys shout from open doors of a camper van, while at their feet a dog lies panting. There are more bald spots here than at the beach. More bad tattoos. More bellies. The shore is covered in black pebbles that are much too hot to lie comfortably on. There is no gentle aroma of fried fish, or the view of perky bronzed cheeks.
Of course, the games people play are the same. The coquettish ball tosses in the water. The shrieking, the yelling, and finally a mum scolding. The leisurely way one's stomach finally decides it is hungry. This is what I know. Lake food. Upon deciding to head to the lake last weekend, my hands went into action. Slicing any available fruit, tossing in some basil, and letting sit in the freezer until departure.
Hours later, after a swim (in water that was quite clear for a lake), when the stomach started to plead, the fruit salad was revealed. An Italian friend: "You have salad? With basil? On fruit?" Oh no. Another sanctum Italian food custom has been breached. This happens all too often.
For another freeze-friendly picnic salad, see last week's Green Bean and Hazelnut Salad.
Continue to Recipe...
Basil Fruit Salad
2 fresh figs
handful toasted almonds
handful fresh basil
sweet balsamic syrup
Cut and make a salad. It does freeze well (minus the almonds) to be taken on a sunny journey.