Jul 9, 2016

A day on a cheese farm in Tuscia

The drive out of Rome to reach today's rural destination is just under two hours. The car swerves down soft verdant curves in the heart of the Etruscan Tuscia, a vast area of northern Lazio.

As the car pulls into a dirt road, all worries and thoughts magically seep out of my head and my muscles just as naturally begin to relax.

As I alight my dusty vehicle, I am welcomed by a tall, smiling man who is holding a snow-white baby lamb in his arms. He introduces himself as Giuseppe, the middle brother, and shows me around. He walks with a spring in his step to the pens where the newborns and their mothers are resting and feeding. He’s anxious to show me the newest addition to the flock, a young ewe has just given birth and is nuzzling a bleating ball of white fleece...

Continue Reading "Farm Life: Making cheese and gathering honey" as appeared on Casa Mia Blog ➔

May 31, 2016

Weekend in Venice, Italy

Located in the marshy Veneto lagoon – which stretches along the Adriatic shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave River deltas – the incredible city of Venice is admired and loved for the beauty of its unique setting, particular architecture, and immense body of artwork.
Listed as a World Heritage Site along with its vast surrounding lagoon, Venice is by all means a tourist magnet. Which is why I'd like to draw attention to the city's lesser known aspects. I'm sharing a few insider tips so that weekend travelers can avoid the stereotypes and clich├ęs La Serenissima is most known for worldwide.
Take advantage of the fact that the busy tourist season has not fully picked up yet. Hop on a train from Rome, Milan or Florence and hit the lagoon for 48 hours in the most romantic city in the world. Here are a few practical tips.

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May 28, 2016

Forget the kid's menu

My boy is a bizarre alimentary wunderkind, but it's not all his doing. As a child, I was a picky eater who whined a lot. I didn't eat tomatoes, fish bones scared me, and I ironically dreaded cheese. I didn't want him to be like me.

So I encouraged him to try different flavors and foods. I never forced him.

He's partial to bold flavors and has always loved fish. These are my gourmand son's top 10 dishes.

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Apr 26, 2016

In defense of the fish

Italy is for the most part surrounded by sea, with the peninsula and its two large islands lapping up against various parts of the jagged Mediterranean. This makes most of us Italians very familiar with fish. Given such extended coastal real estate, it's hardly surprising that most Italians are raised catching, cooking and eating fish.

As a child I loved the act of fishing but hardly ever ate fish with bones. I was one of those kids parents dreaded, the ones too freaked out by le spine — bone or cartilage — to fully enjoy a meal of aquatic edibles. But mine wasn't a total embargo: I was simply more of a polipi kind of kid...

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Image courtesy of Massimo Capodanno

Feb 15, 2016

Healing with food, Italian style

Whether to treat minor issues like the colpo d'aria (stiffness or a cold from a draft, basically) or to attack more serious conditions, Italians have an entire protocol when it comes to eating the sickness away that goes way beyond the old maxim,"Feed a cold, starve a fever."

When you are sick in Italy there is never starvation involved but Italians are remarkable when it comes to what you should and should not eat when sick. While Americans just plow through ailments or hide in bed – and not eating if they don’t feel like it – in Italy not having at least a bowl of mamma’s chicken soup is punishable by a lengthy jail term, so imagine fasting. Heresy! Continue Reading ➔