Listen to the experts and they’ll tell you Everest is the toughest mountain around.
Nearly 9,000 metres tall and temperatures as low as -75f, I’ll give you it’s not an average hike in the country.
But the toughest? Nah. That’s part way down the A49 just outside Coppull.
The Olive Garden’s formidable Vulcano pizza is strictly one for seasoned eaters only.
Essentially a huge calzone shaped like a volcano, it is packed with bolognese sauce, meatballs, pepperoni, jalepeno peppers, tomato and cheese, all spilling out of the top like the molten lava it almost is.
And just like the hikers who go trekking past frozen skeletons on their ascent up Everest, as it arrives in front of you you have to wonder what kind of nutter would attempt to tackle it.
In fact, the outer layer is only a disguise. Stick your first fork into it and you realise there isn’t a spare square inch inside. It is literally PACKED with ingredients.
Luckily, like everything else we ate at the Olive Garden this night, it was delicious.
There seems to be an extra glint in the eye of the waiters when you order a Vulcano. “Challenger ready,” he cheerfully informs me as he scribbles into his notepad.
Well, yes, not quite.
Sometime later he informs me I might be leaning towards the wrong side of crazy as I also attempted a starter (bruchetta rustica, £4.95) and a sizeable portion of the tomato garlic bread (£3.50) we got for the table before the Vulcano even arrived.
Both were very good though, with a good coating of tomato sauce on the garlic bread, unlike a lot of Italian restaurants that spread it too thin.
The wife went for Sinfonia di crostacei (a trio of prawns, crayfish and king prawns £6.95) while the in-laws had chicken livers (£6.95) and calamari fritti (£6.95)
Judging by the satisfied noises around the table, all were a hit.
Then came the mains - crespelle pollo (chicken pancakes £11.95) and lasagna forno (£8.50) for dad and mum-in law and Felluca Fiorentina (a calzone packed with seafood £6.95) for the wife.
All smelled delicious and reports were favourable again.
But let’s be honest, no one came to see that. It was the arrival of the Vulcano (£10.95) which prompted stifled guffaws of laughter...and me to wish I’d just had the soup to start.
As you start to munch away and seem to get nowhere fast you realise, no matter how good it tastes (and it does), why so many have tried this and failed.
The sauce is rich, the cheese tasty and the peppers are hot. Very hot. Even the wife, with a mouth made of asbestos, admitted as much.
But, not one to let the LEP down, i finished it...just.
And so, as I write this, only just recovered, I am safe in the knowledge that a slightly nauseous looking picture of me now proudly adorns the wall at the scene of my victory. Not even Edmund Hillary can say that.
We washed the meal down with a litre bottle of house red (montepulciano d’abruzzo) at £13.75 with the whole bill for four coming to £96.40.
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Weather for Preston
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west