May 23, 2019

20 regions, 20 cheeses

President and statesman Charles de Gaulle wondered how it could ever be possible to govern a country––his France––with more cheeses than calendar days. The mystery of Italy's proverbial governance difficulty is thus solved: it must be the cheese's fault. Counting IGT, DOP, PAT and other EU quality appellations, we're looking at approximately 520 varieties of recognized Italian cheeses alone, to which hundreds more should be included if we consider all the so-called "fantasy" cheeses, i.e. those subject to the cheese maker's free interpretation, milk type, technique and aging. Experts maintain that this grand total is close to 4,670.

If schedule and wallet hamper a journey to Italy to taste local food specialties in their various regional birthplaces, you can always travel across the 20 Italian regions on the symbolic cheese pilgrimage route logged below. Note however, that given the vastness of the Italian cheese scene, per-region product inclusion is vastly incomplete. 

Ready to travel through Italy via its representative northern, central and southern cheeses, region by region?
Continue Reading → Italian Cheese: 20 reasons to love cheese in every region as appeared on the Dievole Blog

I also contributed another article on Italian food misconceptions for Dievole, go check it out!

Apr 5, 2019

Polarizing foods

controversial comestibles: cilantro

Everyone has their own food aversions, but there are some foods it seems people either love or hate.

There are certain universally loved foods that everyone can agree are delicious. Think pizza and gelato, for instance. Certain others, however, are a bit more polarizing: for example, when it comes to ingredients like gorgonzola or anchovies, some people either love them or detest them.

Food elicits passion, both negative and positive. The foods that most strike aversions are the pungent, stinky, bitter, slimy, or excessively fermented. This love/hate antagonism can divide households and spoil budding relationships.

For coherence's sake I have expressed my own personal disinclination or enthusiasm for the universally polarizing foods listed below.

Continue Reading → Controversial comestibles as appeared on The American Magazine in Italia

Mar 21, 2019

The flavors of Sicily in Rome

To welcome spring, my partners and I are kicking off a series of Sicilian food and wine events hosted in Rome. If you love Sicilian flavors, and you'll be in Rome April 2-3, you should seriously consider attending!

Sicily in Rome events April 2-3
The April 2-3 events were made possible thanks to partnerships with Casa Mia Tours, Chef Linda Sarris, aka The Cheeky Chef, and Sicilian food and wine sponsors. I can't wait to introduce them to you!
Check out the program of events:

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 | Sun, Sea & Soil Aperitivo

Join us for a Sicilian aperitivo at ProLoco Trastevere on Tuesday April 2, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Three of the most important ingredients in Sicilian cooking are sun, sea, and soil. Chef Linda Sarris from Palermo will cook up delicious Sicilian appetizers such as freshly made panelle (organic stone-milled chickpea fritters with lemon and fresh mint); fried anchovies and wild field greens; tomasini di russello (savory dough made from ancient grains filled with ricotta, sausage, and wild fennel seeds); Sicilian bruschetta topped with pesto trapanese, caper paté and sun-dried tomatoes. There will also be a tagliere featuring Sicilian cured meats and cheeses, like salame Nero Ibleo, and prized Ragusano cheese. Sicilian wine pairings and Sicilian amaro will be served. Signature cocktails will be available for purchase.
SICILIAN APERITIVO April 2, 2019 ProLoco Trastevere – Via Goffredo Mameli 23 – 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are available for purchase on Eventbrite ~ €25 per person, includes 2 glasses of wine, amaro and appetizer buffet.
Sicily in Rome events April 2-3Sicily in Rome events April 2-3
Sicily in Rome events April 2-3

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 | Sicilian cooking lesson at Casa Mia

Join a Sicilian cooking lesson in Rome on April 3rd, 2019. Aprons on at 6 p.m.

Thanks to the many cultures who have called this island their home, Sicily's layered food history is filled with ingredients and cooking techniques that you don't see in other parts of Italy.

In the kitchen, Chef Linda Sarris will teach guests about the importance of seasonal cooking with high-quality products and share her own simple recipes that you can recreate at home.

Following the lesson, guests will enjoy a dinner together, sipping Sicilian wines.

The four-course menu with wine pairings will feature an antipasto of organic stone-milled chickpea fritters with lemon and parsley; a first course of organic busiate pasta made from semola di grano duro, cauliflower, passolina raisins, toasted breadcrumbs and pine nuts. Our main course will be calamari stuffed with artichokes, capers and mint. No meal is complete without dolce, and no Sicilian meal is complete without hand-made cannoli with ricotta cream and candied orange peel.
Dishes will be paired with natural Sicilian wines, also poured throughout the cooking class.

SICILIAN COOKING LESSON Via Fabio Massimo 107 – Aprons on at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are available for purchase on Eventbrite ~ €75 per person.

Sicily in Rome events April 2-3Sicily in Rome events April 2-3Sicily in Rome events April 2-3
Our event sponsors are:
Porta del Vento (sicilian wine from Camporeale) | @porta_del_vento_winery

Paesano Authentic (pomegranate amaro, artichoke amaro) | @paesano.authentic

Azienda Agricola Biologica Di Giovanna (organic extra virgin olive oil) | @digiovannawine

Molini del Ponte (chickpea & russello flour, busiate pasta) | @molini_del_ponte_drago
Our event partners are:
ProLoco Trastevere

I hope to see you there!

Feb 27, 2019

Spend a week with me

A few weeks ago I announced that Casa Mia, the food tour company I co-founded in 2015, has crafted week-long food and culture tours.

Casa Mia Tours, the company I co-founded
Availability is limited to the first 15 guests to confirm booking. Spots are selling out fast, so if you want an exclusive opportunity to experience the food, wine and beauty of Rome with me, you should seriously start thinking about reserving your spaces.

Join week-long food tours in Rome - spend 7 days with me

In partnership with Pranzo Tours––a tour operator with extensive experience in Italy travel planning––we're offering customized 7-day Rome tours whose focus is the food, wine and culture of the Eternal City.

Join week-long food tours in Rome - artichokes are in season in May
Join week-long food tours in Rome - there will be carbonara

During our week-long tours, you could have the unique opportunity to explore the Eternal City from a food and wine perspective in the company of trusted locals (including myself), spending a week dotted by delicious food, wine and cooking activities.

All planned out for you. All you have to do is sit back, sip and enjoy.

Days will be full of different activities, with plenty of tasting, drinking, cooking, learning Italian, eating and laughing. There will also be downtime to head off on your own to explore the city.

Join week-long food tours in Rome - tasting gelato, of course

Yes, there will be gelato.

Join week-long food tours in Rome - there will be lots of cheese!

Every detail has been carefully planned to give travelers the most authentic and delicious experience possible. First, is the timing. Our week-long culinary tours are scheduled in early May and late September, when Rome is less crowded, figs and artichokes are in season, and airfare is affordable.

Join week-long food tours in Rome - there will be vino
Join week-long food tours in Rome - let's finally meet!

Accommodations have been secured at a historic 4-star hotel in the center of Rome. The price for the week-long food and culture tour includes all accommodations, ground transportation, meals and ingredients for cooking classes, wines during meals, tours, and tastings, and city taxes.

No hidden costs. Only enjoyment. And lots of food.

Join week-long food tours in Rome - we visit a winery

Tour Highlights

  • Welcome dinner at Rome's best pizzeria
  • Farmer's market tour & cooking class with lunch
  • Winery visit & wine tasting day trip
  • Full-day cheese pilgrimage
  • Guided olive oil tasting
  • Breakfast at Rome's best pastry shop
  • Exploring the local cocktail and amaro scene
  • Testaccio market tour
  • Cacio e pepe, amatriciana & carbonara extravaganza
  • Lots of espresso, wine, gelato and more...
Join week-long food tours in Rome - there will be pizza

May is right around the corner, so reserve your spots before they sell out!

Join week-long food tours in Rome - learn about maritozzo

To learn details and pricing for our customized seven-day culinary adventures––which include guided excursions, authentic cooking classes, shared intimate dinners and opportunities for individual exploration––CLICK HERE.
I look forward to meeting you in Rome.

Feb 19, 2019

The foods I most hated as a child

I loathed anchovies as a child

Funny how all the foods I used to hate as a kid are now my favorites, and the ones I owe most of my livelihood to. Let me explain. I don't sell food, nor am I in the restaurant business; but I do make a living by writing about and starring in TV entertainment featuring many of the foods I most detested as a child. Coincidental?
If it's true that our palate evolves every seven years, it all makes sense.

I detested blue cheese as a child

Continue reading From reviled to revered as appeared on The American Magazine in Italia