Sep 24, 2018

Gluten-free Rome Part II, 2018 update

My aunt and her kids have been gluten-free for the past 25 years, long before it was in fashion. More recently, my little sister became highly non-coeliac gluten-sensitive. Having members of my family live sans wheat has opened my eyes in regards to how important it is for a community, and a city like Rome––where wheat is so prominently part of the everyday diet––to offer allergen-free options. This prompted me to do some research.
Gluten is the substance present in cereal grains––especially wheat, barley, rye, soy and related species and hybrids––responsible for the elastic tissue of dough. A mixture of two proteins, gluten triggers adverse autoimmune reactions responsible for a broad spectrum of gluten-related disorders, including coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia and a type of dermatitis. People with these conditions suffer from a variety of symptoms including joint pain, allergies, headaches, intestinal distress, and must therefore practice a gluten-free diet.
One of my most successful posts to date is in fact my list of gluten-free restaurants in Rome originally appeared on this blog in 2012. Many places closed since then, others have changed ownership and menu, others simply are no longer gluten-free. So it's time to update that article for 2018. You'll notice a visible increase in listings and overwhelming variety of offer.

Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com

There has been a considerable increase in the demand for gluten-free options in Rome. Restaurants have had to step up their game and offer allergen– and gluten–free menus, adding and separating kitchens, utensils, pizza ovens and chefs dedicated to handling special ingredients to avoid cross-contamination. Pastry shops and pizzerias have done the same. Take-out and delivery services are no less geared for this burgeoning market segment. 

Whether your reasoning is health-related or you simply prefer gluten-free food, here's my updated gluten-free Rome, Part II list for 2018. 
Restaurants, pastry shops and stores marked with a heart () are 100% exclusively gluten-free. All the other listings are certified by AiC, the Italian Coeliac Association, which means the chef and waitstaff have been trained and periodically monitored by AiC personnel, and follow AiC regulations for preparing safe, gluten-free meals.


RESTAURANTS

This very reasonably priced seafood restaurant located within the Hotel Alexandra in the otherwise costly Via Veneto, offers delicious pastas, almost all of which can be made gluten-free, including a legendary lasagna. I highly recommend ordering their spaghetti alle vongole, a personal favorite.
Alex Café - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


Erudito 
Rome's first 100% gluten-free hamburger joint is located in Pigneto. Their sourdough buns are baked fresh daily and their hamburger patty is a delicious blend of lean and fattier cuts of meat. There is a choice of 8 veggie burger options available, plus salads and meatless entrées.
Erudito - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


Fried food is a big part of cucina romana. Think supplì, which despite being made with rice, cheese and tomato, is however dredged in breadcrumbs, and so, sadly off-limits to those avoiding gluten. Luckily, this place (born from the rib of flagship gf eatery Mama Eat ♥ in Trastevere) inches away from St Peter's is one of the many dedicated gluten-free restaurants in Rome, where there is zero risk of cross-contamination. The menu includes Italian favorites like lasagna, risotto and parmigiana di melanzane, but the most popular here is the cuoppo, a faux newspaper cone filled with deep-fried goodies ranging from montanara (fried pizza), battered cod fillets, crocché (potato croquettes), pasta cresciuta (fried pizza dough speckled with seaweed) and more... desserts may include fried donut holes drizzled with chocolate, so save room for dessert. There's gf beer, too.
Mama Eat Street Food - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


This casual trattoria in the Marconi district, just beyond Trastevere, has been offering gluten-free options for a decade. Every dish on the menu can be made gluten-free in the special separate kitchen, including fettuccine with tomato and pine nuts and a phenomenal puttanesca. Beautiful desserts and good choice of wine and gluten-free beer.
Il Maggiolino - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


Mangiafuoco, located in the Nomentano neighborhood, has a seperate gluten-free kitchen, a dedicated menu sans wheat, and––most importantly––gluten-free beer on tap, a Rome rarity. While waiting for the gf pizza to land on their plate, coeliacs can enjoy classic appetizers made without gluten, like supplì, fried zucchini blossoms and croquettes. Carnivores will also rejoice since the juicy steaks and other meats are fire-grilled on demand. On Sundays from noon to 3pm there's a completely gf brunch spread. Always crowded, especially on weekends, reservations are highly recommended. 
MangiaFuoco - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


This is one of Rome's oldest gluten-free restaurants. Located in the Alessandrino suburbs, it offers an AiC-approved menu and attentive service. The restaurant is equipped with a separate kitchen with wood-stoked pizza oven. The dedicated cook prepares ravioli, fettuccine, lasagne, various types of supplì, breaded and fried stuffed olives, croquettes, zucchini flowers, fried pizza, cod fillets, panzerotti (fried dough pockets containing melted cheese and ham) and pizzas, in addition to meat entrées and fabulous desserts. Vegetarian and lactose-free options also available. Great gf beer.
Millennium - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


Cozy little celiac retreat away from the hustle and bustle surrounding the Pantheon. Almost everything on the menu can be ordered gluten-free, including pasta dishes, fritti and pizza, actually one of the best gf pizza in Rome, which unfortunately is sold with an extra €2 on top of the menu price. The centro storico restaurant also boasts a vegetarian buffet with lots of grilled vegetables, salads, soups and cheeses. Free wifi.
Pantha Rei - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


Most of the pasta dishes, pizzas and desserts on the menu of this Casalpalocco restaurant can be made gluten-free, including the signature tiramisu, whose gf ladyfingers are homemade by the owners. The gluten-free bread is also homemade daily. I tasted the gf version of their fettuccine with porcini, and I could not tell the difference with the wheat version.
Il Pellicano - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com

Everything on the menu of this charming little restaurant at a stone's throw from Piazza Navona is gluten-free. But this is not your average Rome haunt. The menu offers only rice-based dishes. You can choose from a dozen different risottos (my favorite is the risotto all'isolana, creamy rice seasoned with pork loin, rosemary and pancetta) as well as appetizers and desserts, all employing rice as their main ingredient. The flagship venue is in Verona, and in addition to Rome they have a branch in Manhattan.
Risotteria Melotti - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


This raw gluten-free gourmet restaurant occupies a small, intimate space in what was once a butcher shop located near Vatican City. With its very few tables and a carefully designed menu, this is one of the city's best kept secrets. Think lobster with parsnip noodles, salicornia, watermelon and Cerignola olives; or fish tartare with Jerusalem artichoke and passion fruit. Save room for dessert.
Sei Per Due - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


Tiny breakfast and aperitivo place in the heart of Rome's posh Spanish Steps neighborhood that offers gluten-free appetizers, pizzas, smoothies and tapas. Great for a wheat-less break during "retail therapy" shopping sessions.


In the cozy restaurant on via delle Quattro Fontane, coeliacs can indulge in almost anything on the menu as the majority of the dishes can be prepared gluten-free. The off-street location makes it the perfect place for a quiet, intimate dinner. Top dishes are the pasta e fagioli, amatriciana served in a pan, and spinach and ricotta-filled ravioli, all obviously gluten-free.
Taverna Barberini - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


This restaurant in the Casalotti suburb offers a four-page menu of "Zero Glutine" options that include fried appetizers, focaccias, supplì, bruschettas, calzones, pizzas and desserts. There's a kids' gf menu and a play area with crayons and toys.
Triticum - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


Safe place for gf eaters in Trastevere, where diners can select everything from pasta to pizza to fine grilled meat dishes. The one drawback is that the restaurant does charge an extra €2 to make a dish gluten-free.
Tulipano Nero - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co

All dishes on the menu at Il Viaggio near Villa Borghese can be made gluten-free with no risk of cross-contamination. Think classic carbonara, gnocchi cacio e pepe, and original preparations like tortelli with codfish, ricotta and cherry-tomato confit. If unsure what dish to pick, diners can always take advantage of the half-portion option, which allows to sample multiple dishes. The restaurant furthermore organizes gluten-free cooking classes: chef Luca shares his secrets and correct cooking procedures to obtain perfect dough for pasta, pizza and desserts made with gluten-free ingredients.
Il Viaggio - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


BAKERIES & CHOCOLATE

Grezzo 
"In a world of mistreated foods, Grezzo, originally from Turin––home to stellar maître chocolatiers––chooses only certified organic raw materials," the store's claim is the governing philosophy behind this raw vegan and gluten-free chocolate shop located in the Monti district. The chocolates, cookies, gelato and other chocolaty treats sold at Grezzo are also in accordance with the paleo diet and contain no refined sugars. A second branch in Rome is due to open soon.
Grezzo - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


Pandalì 
Exclusively gluten-free bakery near the Pantheon, opened by 4 women, one of whom is gluten-intolerant. Wheatless bread is baked fresh daily, on the shelves is also a wide variety of other baked goods such as muffins, crostatas, cookies and biscuits, cakes and more. Pizza sold al taglio (by weight), salads and sandwiches are offered at lunchtime. This is a great spot for merenda––a quick, sweet Italian snack enjoyed by kids of all ages in the middle of the afternoon.
Pandalì - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co

This little gluten-free bakery near Termini has a secret: a unique and innovative flour blend prepared daily by the coeliac owner, that's completely natural, rich in fiber and vegetable proteins, and containing no chemically treated flours. In addition to cakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, also pastries of all kinds as well as savory products such as bread, focaccia, calzones, brioche, and other gluten-free products, all prepared with fresh ingredients and no preservatives or additives. Always open.
La Pasticciera - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


Located on via Chiabrera near the San Paolo station, this artisan gf bakery prepares all manner of pastries, cakes, crostata tarts, cookies and even pizza sold by weight. Their muffins and brownies (which they call "fondenti") are delicious and better than many other non-gf options I've tasted around town.
Sans de Blé - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


The owner of this bakery located near the Vatican has been coeliac from a young age, the offer is therefore entirely without gluten. There's a full spread for breakfast that changes to sandwiches at lunchtime, and then serves gluten-free aperitivo later in the evening. All cakes, donuts, brioche, fresh baked bread and tapas are made from scratch on site. A little on the pricey side.
Le Altre Farine del Mulino - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


FOOD SHOPPING

Well-stocked grocery store that sells gluten-free products. The stores of the L'Isola Celiaca franchise also serve fresh products such as bread, sandwiches, pizza, supplì, breakfast cakes and biscuits. Nine stores in the city and outskirts.
L'Isola Celiaca - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


The celiachiamo.com online resource has opened 3 shops that sell gluten-free products in Rome. The one located on Via della Magliana is a veritable gf supermarket selling all manner of packaged goods but, more importantly, an artisanal workshop dedicated to gluten-free preparations which produces daily fresh bread, pizza pies and sold al taglio (by weight) plus pastries, biscuits, fried foods and custom cakes, frozen foods, beer, pasta, sauces, cake mixes, flours, cured meats... the list goes on.
Celiachiamo - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


GELATO

This gelateria sells individually wrapped gf cones and does not use gluten as a thickener. Vegans can also note the different colored paddles to indicate whether a particular gelato flavor is made with eggs or milk. I always choose pistachio and, when in season, the best menta (wild mint) sorbet on the planet. Four locations.
Gelateria dei Gracchi - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.co


This excellent gelateria is now a franchise with shops all over Italy and one in L.A., the owner Maria Agnese Spagnuolo, a coeliac, designed her gf gelato setting a trend in the city. Ideal for gelato lovers with dietary restrictions, the tubs are labeled according to what allergens are present in each flavor (sugar, egg, dairy, nuts, etc.). Picking your gelato among the 50 seasonal options on rotation is therefore very easy. My favorites are "Prince's Kiss" (chocolate and hazelnut) and "Crema ai fiori di mandorlo" (vanilla with almond flower extract). Eight locations.
Fatamorgana - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


BONUS – What to order in a non-gluten-free place without sacrificing the experience:

Why miss out on Rome's unique trapizzino street food experience? Those not eating gluten can order the chicken cacciatore (the number one filling of their signature triangular pizza pockets) and have it served in a cup instead. Six locations in Rome, plus others in Milan, Florence and Manhattan.
Trapizzino - Gluten-free Rome, Part II - www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com


At the Testaccio market, ask Sergio to serve you his divine allesso con cicoria (tender and juicy slow-cooked scottona beef served with sautéed dandelion greens) or any of his other delicious and affordable samplings of traditional Roman dishes, on a plate instead of in the ciabatta. Grab a glass of wine and smile.

GF Mordi e Vai in Testaccio can ditch the ciabatta and go for the filling


Anyone still skeptical about Italy's gluten-free offer can check out Associazione Italiana Celiachia, the Italian coeliac disease association; and Celiachiamo, dietary intolerance-awareness website.

Sep 19, 2018

I'm baaack!

Yes, I'm back. As some of you may have noticed, I have resumed regular posting. Something that hadn't happened in a while. A long while.

To celebrate the resuscitation of Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino, I'm happy to kick off a brand new post series (I love series, just like I love lists). I have yet to decide what to call it. For now, let's just say that the post you're reading replaces and outmaneuvers all previously published (and broken) apologetic "sorry-for-not-being-consistent-in-updating" posts.

Instagram profile, Eleonora Baldwin - Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

Media is so visual these days. I feel I have dedicated way more time to my Instagram than I have to updating this blog. I owe my readers an apology. Especially those who have remained loyal and that have stayed on board. I'm obliged to explain what happened in these last few years. I need to account for my blog's disappearance from your feeds.

I'm doing this in pure Lola fashion––steadfast readers will remember Lola was my blog signature and nickname––spelling out the reasons for the "slump" in list form. For old time's sake.

Now that I'm back I hope you will resume your regular visits to my virtual kitchen, stop by for a chat, and uncork that good bottle of wine I have been saving for you. I will soon be remodeling the space, but the welcome will be the same warm, friendly one of when we left off a few years ago. You'll come back to the usual weekly family stories, recipes, lists and tips. In the meantime, please accept my apologies for having been away. Here's why:

River Tiber, all water under the bridge - Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

1. I lost my office job one month before Christmas.

This threw me into a dark hole of despair. A single parent, no longer in my employable prime, jobless, no outlook in the forseeable future. The situation was un disastro. Yet, I picked myself up and left nothing behind of the dreadful year that was 2014. Several affirmations, and sleepless nights later, I managed to enter 2015 on a high. In hindsight, losing the job was the best thing to ever happen to me, because it left space for what the future had in store for me.

Co-founders of Casa Mia Italy Food & Wine Tours

2. I became an entrepreneur.

In April 2015 I partnered in the launch of Casa Mia Italy Food and Wine, a cultural association that offers food, wine and cooking adventures in Rome, Florence, Sicily, Naples & Amalfi. Emilia-Romagna and Puglia may be new areas in development, but you did not hear it from me. In the months building up to, and following the launch, I quickly learned that running a business is no easy task. Obviously, I shifted most of my focus onto the newly inaugurated business, which made it impossible to maintain my old blogging habits.

3. I wrote and starred in a TV show.

In June 2015 I showed up to a meeting with Gambero Rosso, Italy’s number one food network, with a 1-page pitch for a show on cheese. At the end of the meeting my writing partner drew me back down to planet Earth, "We start filming next week." I don’t know exactly how it happened but on November 12th the pilot aired, followed by 9 other episodes of Season 1. Which were then followed by Season 2 and now Season 3. I've been busy researching new topics and writing new shows, plus co-running the culinary travel business, updating the blog regularly became virtually impossible.

4. I cheated on my blog.

As the partner responsible for the social media and blogging end of the business, I began crunching multiple food and travel blog entries for the Casa Mia Italy Food & Wine blog, as well as for The American in Italian Magazine, a collaboration that first started in 2010. You loyal readers know this because most of the posts published on this blog in 2016 and 2017 were blurbs linking back to the magazine. Again, I apologize for that.

Peter Baldwin, my father. Jan.11, 1931 - Nov.19, 2017

5. My Dad flew away.

It was October 23rd when at 5 am I received the telephone call I have been dreading my entire adult life. It was my Dad’s wife, Terry, telling me to get on a plane and get over to California asap. "Your Dad's in the hospital. Hurry." I left that same morning from Fiumicino airport with a handbag containing only €45, my passport, a pack of tissues and lip balm. I spent the last days of my father’s life holding his hand, whispering things left unsaid, reassuring him of all my love, and watching him fade away. I flew back to Rome on November 3rd, knowing that was going to be the last time I'd see him. He closed his eyes and flew away November 19th, 2017. I wrote a farewell post dedicated to him and not much else since.

6. I traveled.

My siblings and I came together in California at the end of August for the interment of my father's ashes and to celebrate his life. It took each of us varying amounts of time to process, mourn, accept and resume regular breathing after his passing. I packed 2 small carry-ons, one for me, and the other for my 12-year old son. We boarded a direct flight from Rome and 13 hours later the cabin poured what was left of our limp bodies on the tarmac at LAX International. I will describe the adventures that followed in a special dedicated post; one that will be part of another new "travel" series. You know how much I like those.

Sep 10, 2018

Top 10 favorite Venice restaurants I can be spotted at

Ah, Venice...

Don't you sigh every time you think of Venezia? I do.

I've been going to Venice ever since I was a toddler, eating seafood risotto straight our of my mother's plate, and then snatching the secret recipe for salsa universale at Harry's Bar at age 6. Venice has since become a regular appointment for me.

Every time I go back, I sigh. The sensual, languid and shimmering water element, the distant wail of the acqua alta high tide horn, the strange yet beloved stench of the marshy canal water, the overwhelming sensation of first biting into moeche soft shell crabs... The senses are all gratified in  Venice.

I recently had clients flee Venice, chased away from the crowds, the excessive prices, the outrageous cruise liners defacing the delicate ecosystem of the lagoon. I get it.
That's why Venice should not be visited in August. The best time to visit Venice is in the off season, that is between January and April/May. This may translate into experiencing acqua alta (a tide phenomenon that peaks whenever the astronomical tides are reinforced by winds) and thick blankets of fog envelop the canals, adding to the city’s innate romantic and mysterious charm. I highly recommend avoiding booking your Venice trio during film festival days, Carnevale, Christmas and July/August.

When I go, a big part of my time in Venice is spent seated at restaurants. I like to discover new ones, and rely on steadfast classics. I know I will in some cases spend a little over my budget, but I can also enjoy a gargantuan meal without breaking the bank. Let's break this cliché: not everything in Venice is outrageously expensive. I don't like spending a fortune on a passable meal, I want to be wowed by a phenomenal one, and am ready to pay for it. So I can alternate paying a bigger check with extending aperitivo with cicchetti (tapas-like snacks) and ombre (small glasses of wine) standing at the counter of a bacaro.

Here are the top 10 favorite Venice restaurants you'll find me at, off season,

Antiche Carampane in Venice

Antiche Carampane

Occupying the bottom level of what used to be a brothel, this sensational restaurant is one of the city’s best. This is not a place you can chance upon. As a matter of fact, you'll most probably get lost getting there. But that's the charm of Venice, where even the locals get lost in their own city. Depending on season, I order gnocchi with granseola (European spider crab) and any fresh fish in the daily specials menu. If you're lucky enough to find them available, please have the "drunken" reef mullets gently poached in red wine.

Meatballs at Ca' d'Oro Alla Vedova in Venice

Ca' d'Oro - Alla Vedova

This classic bacaro-restaurant is in the Cannareggio sestiere, one of the six quarters of the city. Much loved by Venetians for its vintage setting, tiled floors, bent wood chairs and brass pans on the walls, and for the Venetian classics on the menu. I come not to sit at the tables in back, but rather to stand at the front of the house, sipping on my ombra and munching on the house fried meatballs. 

Osteria Oliva Nera in Venice

Oliva Nera

Isabella is a friend. She and her late husband Dino––one of the kindest people I knew––kept me warm and fed during one particularly nasty acqua alta incident back in 2005, during filming Casanova. Our friendship was sealed over a plate of fried stuffed zucchini blossoms and dessert.

Osteria Ai Assassini in Venice

Osteria Ai Assassini

This is an informal eatery, rustic and off the tourist radar––despite being in the San Marco quarter––not far from the traps and high rolling venues. Their "poker di baccalà" is a game-changer. The owner speaks very little English, but he's completely fluent in French. 

Algiubagiò in Venice

Algiubagiò

With tables set on a deck with views of the vast open lagoon, the islands and the snowy peaks of the Dolomites in the far background, at Algiubagiò I like to linger with my coffee after scarfing the lobster with ginger, served with lentils and jerusalem artichoke velouté.

Trattoria - bacaro Da Fiore in Venice

Trattoria Da Fiore

Note: This trattoria is not to be confused with the overly expensive "Fiore" restaurant located one alley over. I come here for a relaxing dinner, or for classic cicchetti appetizers in the front room bacaro, the likes of steamed artichoke heels, fied anchovies and mini-meatballs.  The sit-down menu features Venetian classics, like sarde in saor (pickled sardines), baccalà mantecato (creamed cod) and moeche (very narrow seasonal window). But they also serve lesser known local dishes like bigoli which are thick homemade noodles, normally dressed with a simple sauce of onions and anchovies, and my favorite: linguine al nero di seppia (black cuttlefish ink). Close the meal with the house sgroppino.

Al Gatto Nero in Burano - Venice

Al Gatto Nero

Located on the island of Burano, this family-run ristorante offers top-notch seafood and elegant service in the home-like dining room or at canal-side tables outside. Signor Ruggero, who took the kitchen over in 1965, still cooks with his wife Lucia with the same passion and emotion of when they were in their 20s. Order the best fried calamari of your life, the house risotto, and continue with the trio of crustaceans au gratin. You can thank me later.

Anice Stellato in Venice

Anice Stellato

This is a local's favorite, so be sure to make a reservation. Small and family-run, this place is where I come for sublime modern seafood cuisine. Think tagliatelle with scampi and zucchini blossoms; spaghetti with moeche and cherry tomatoes. Mains depend also on the catch of the day and may feature baked skate with ground hazelnuts and almonds or the classic assorted fish fry with vegetables thrown in the batter. Leave room for dessert, especially if the pistachio flan with coffee gelato on the side.

Trattoria Dai Tosi Piccoli in Venice

Trattoria Dai Tosi (Piccoli)

As soon as the first ray of sun pierces through the clouds, the folks at Dai Tosi Piccoli (not to be mistaken with the nearby namesake, if in doubt, ask around for directions to Dai Tosi Piccoli) put out tables in the laundry-festooned street. Located in a residential area of Venice, this place is great for pizza, simple plates of pasta and vegetable sides.

Vini da Gigio in Venice

Vini da Gigio

Dining in the refined trattoria run by siblings Paolo and Laura, is like walking into dinner at their home, with the added bonus of super professional service and a stellar wine list. Menu musts are the rigatoni with duck ragù and ravioli filled with arugula. The seafood mains are good, but the meat dishes steal the show. The red peppercorn steak, and sautéed lamb fillet with a light, crusty coating are both in my little red book. Book a table for late lunch or for the 9:00PM sitting in the evening, to avoid the rush.

What are your favorite restaurants in Venice?

Sep 3, 2018

The cheese I tasted in Campania

Remember how I wrote about the cheese I ate in Abruzzo? Today, we're traveling to a part of Campania where I filmed several episodes of my show.

ABCheese camera crew


When I talk about the Campania region, I often get puzzled looks.  Campania is the Italian region of which Naples is the capitol and that boasts beautiful places like the Positano, the Amalfi Coast, Cilento, Mt Vesuvius, the Sorento Peninsula, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum.

"nodino" mozzarella di bufala

Not to mention the mozzarella...

But not all Campania cheese is made from the milk of water buffalos. In the Season 2 episode of my show ABCheese filmed in the northern Caserta area of Campania, I tasted unique cheeses. Among which mozzarella too, of course, but other incredible ones too.

Conciato Romano made by Agriturismo Le Campestre

Some I keep coming back to, like Conciato Romano, whose name only refers to its ancient Roman past (it's a sheep's milk cheese whose recipe is 2,000 years old!). This firecracker of a cheese is made in only one farm in Castel di Sasso, and acclaimed chefs source it there for their recipes.

Famiglia Lombardi Castel di Sasso Le Campestre Conciato Romano

The Lombardi family that produces the cheese is friendly and always happy to talk about their unique product. They have become dear friends, and I keep going back to visit every chance I get.

Fabula aged in wine made by Caseificio Il Casolare

Other cheeses explored in the episode were totally new to me, like the delectable Fabula made with bufala milk and aged like a bloomy rind French brie, or soaked in red wine. The cheesemaker Giuseppe Iaconelli works with Caseificio Il Casolare to make his fantastic experimcnets with buffalo milk.

Gerarchico cheese made by Caseificio La Teresina

Gerarchico cheese made by Caseificio La Teresina

Another was Gerarchico, a cacicavallo that ages 100 days in an air-tight barrel full of hay. The youngest member of the family, Angelo, is the mastermind behind this incredible product. He "invented" Gerarchico when he was just 16 years old! His family's creamery is called Caseificio La Teresina, named after his mother, who taught him the trade.

Both these cheeses are highly innovative products, yet they're made in true artisan fashion, in small, family-owned creameries.

At the end of the episode, I tasted all of the cheeses of this part of Campania, worked into the pizza toppings of Maestro Franco Pepe at his restaurant Pepe in Grani.

Pranco Pepe pizza Pepe in Grani Caiazzo

Want to hear the sound of the beautiful Italian language, and watch me taste all of these amazing cheeses from the Campania region?

Sit back and enjoy. Buon appetito!



My prime-time TV show ABCheese is broadcast by SKY Italia on Gambero Rosso Channel.

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