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Food Products

Saturday, February 25th, 2017
  Gnocchi with tomato sauce (Christian Ostrosky/flickr)   It seems that nearly every nation has some form of dumpling, and it's easy to see why. They are tasty, versatile and make excellent use of leftover ingredients. In Italy, dumplings are collectively known as gnocchi and are made in several different styles - all of them delicious. In the family run trattorias of Rome, you can sample some of the best gnocchi every Thursday night, in a citywide tradition. Florence is home
Monday, January 23rd, 2017
Rarest Tuscan Cheese on Da Vinci Last Supper: Porcorino   In a town nestled in a thickly wooded valley on a volcanic slope in southern Tuscany you may be able to discover what is certainly Italy’s most closely-guarded culinary secret, a rare cheese made from pig’s milk called Porcorino (Porcherino in the local dialect).   Shaped into firm, exquisite rounds only an inch or two in diameter, produced in small quantities almost exclusively for local use for hundreds, perhaps
Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
panettone pandoro
  Christmas is just around the corner and, where Italians are concerned, food is one of the main components in the festivities. There are many traditional products eaten by Italians during the Christmas season, and two of the most famous are the pandoro and the panettone.   Pandoro   Pandoro, Italian Christmas Cake Ph. depositphotos/marcomayer Pandoro is a traditional Christmas cake made with flour, butter and eggs, which was originally produced in Verona. Verona is
Sunday, November 27th, 2016
It often happens that a nation identifies itself with its traditional foods. When it comes to Italy it usually seems that only pasta and pizza are the cornerstones of what makes Italian food "Italian". Things aren't quite that way.    There is a staple food of Northern Italy that doesn't usually get much recognition, but is rightfully to be considered the third part of the Italian food trinity: humble, yet versatile and satisfying polenta.  
Monday, October 17th, 2016
Radicchio (roughly translated in UK English as chicory and known in American supermarkets as radicchio) is a typically autumnal produce and a true favorite of Italian cuisine of the Fall. Particularly loved in the North, it is grown and consumed very much in all Northern regions, but is greatly associated with the North-Eastern part of the country, from where some of its best varieties hail from. Its typical color, a deep, rich burgundy is, some say, very reminiscent of the hues of the Fall
Saturday, October 8th, 2016
white truffles
Those of you reading us on a regular basis know I like to write about my family and the many, fond memories I have from my childhood, which I delightfully spent in the lovely hills of southern Piemonte. Actually, I think you may be able to start reconstructing my family tree just by pieceing together the little anedoctes I start many of my articles with.    So, my apologies if my childhood stories bore you, but here comes another one.   The Langhe are one of Italy's
Friday, June 17th, 2016
Fresh Anchovies   Many maintain not to like anchovies because they associate this delicious fish only and exclusively with the salty, cured variety usually found on pizza. Almost as often, however, people rave about how amazingly delicious a particular Italian meal is, without being able to pinpoint exactly what ingredient gives to the dish such a magnificent flavor. Very often, in fact, that mysterious ingredient is anchovies. They might be small, but these fish pack a huge punch
Friday, April 15th, 2016
italian herbs garden
Rosemary, Sage, Thyme   It's difficult to imagine Italian cuisine without the distinct flavor of fresh herbs. Indeed, the mere thought of Italian cooking brings to mind the aroma and taste of basil, oregano, rosemary, and garlic. Planting and cultivating your own herb garden is simple, and will provide you with your own steady supply of fresh herbs for use in your kitchen.   Herb Garden: Basil Italian Herbs Garden: Basil Plant   Basil is an essential herb in
Monday, April 4th, 2016
italian salami
Salami - Salumi in Italy   Salami (Salame in Italian) is yet another example of an Italian sausage tradition that has been abused by mass production and over processing. In America salami has been reduced to pre-sliced waxy discs on sandwiches and pizza that barely resembles their namesake. However just like many foods still made in their time-honored way in Italy, Salami (or Salame) is way beyond similarly named products found in most supermarkets.   Salami (Salame) is not
Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
italian food products
  One of the secrets of Italian cuisine is the freshness of the products used Ph. depositphotos/klenova   Italy has more than its share of world-class food products: truffles, cheeses, sausages, hams and let's not even get started with the amazing variety of fresh fruit and vegetables its climate allows for. All of these, in a way or the other, became part of Italy’s famous cuisine. Certainly, the abundance of fresh produce and plenty of land to create pastures for
Friday, March 11th, 2016
parmigiano reggiano
  Bloomberg has recently reported that, according to the US Food and Drugs Administration, a large amount of what is sold in the country as "grated Parmesam cheese" is, in fact, not even cheese. Through an investigation started in 2012, FDA found out that Castle Cheese Inc. has been doctoring its 100%  parmesan line with lower standard cheeses, as well as non-edible materials such as wood pulp. According to Neil Schuman, leader of Arthur Schuman Inc., the
Friday, January 15th, 2016
Tomato: its history in Europe   Italian tomatoes   Without a doubt, there are millions of dishes where the tomato is one of the main ingredients, or where it is used as a base for recipes. It could be for its color and flavor, or for its versatility. And heaven knows what a long way has traveled the tomato since the times of the ancient Aztecs, to finally find itself in today's recipes. The tomato came to Europe along with corn, potatoes,
Sunday, December 27th, 2015
italian bread
  Bread is a must on Italian tables. The ‘food of poor people’, as it used to be called: it was widely eaten because it was made with easily obtainable and cheap ingredients, available to all. Moreover, it could be made at home, following local recipes, often rooted in the history and traditions of each area. Today, more than 250 different types of bread are made all over the country, each and every region having its own traditional varieties.    In the Northern part of the country soft wheat
Friday, December 18th, 2015
italian cheese
  Aged delicatessen cheeses   Italian cheeses part II Italian cheeses part III     Asiago To Ricotta Where would world's cuisine be without the luxurious and decadent cheeses of Italy? It has to be admitted that the world relies heavily on the artisan cheeses produced and imported from our country. Most of us are familiar with some of Italy's everyday cheeses, but there are other varieties of Italian cheese to be discovered, all with an
Saturday, November 21st, 2015
coffee is healthy
Thank you, America.    Your morning coffee can help you improve your health (Andrea/flickr @   I mean, there're plenty of things to thank you for, like peanut butter cups, Edgar Allan Poe, Nirvana and root beer... But I'm talking about something else today, I'm talking about your interest in coffee: beside being the driving force behind flavored coffees, which I personally love – DD French Vanilla and Pumpkin Spice being my favorites – it also recently lead a
Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
Olives Ph. depositphoto/mythja   Olives are native to the Mediterranean region. The history of this fruit goes back almost as far as Western Civilization, its development being one of man's first accomplishments. Evidence from archaeological digs proves that olives were grown in Crete in 2500 B.C. From there, the popularity of the olive spread to Greece, Rome and other Mediterranean districts.     The Olive Tree and its Fruit The olive tree is an evergreen that can
Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
WHO meat report
  The past couple of days have been living hell for meat lovers all over the world, at least according to the media. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) made public the results of a research it conducted in recent months, which appear to strongly link red meat eating to the insurgence of certain types of tumors of the gastro-intestinal apparatus, namely colorectal cancer. The news have bounced around since creating a wave
Tuesday, October 20th, 2015
Italy chocolate capitals
The history of chocolate production in Italy is long and eventful: delicious, creamy chocolate is one of Italy's best known exports and even if we cannot consider il Bel Paese as its only producer in the world, we must certainly admit its chocolate is among the best. Chocolate is produced pretty much everywhere in the country and the industry has, especially in recent years, developed a love for traditionally made, artisanal products: it seems it is, indeed, this trend to have kept Italy above
Friday, October 16th, 2015
italian desserts
A beautiful – and delicious – Cassata Siciliana (Paolo Valdemarin/flickr)   Sweet treats are a part of the history of Italian food, just as much as pasta and pizza are. For even the most disciplined traveler to Italy, it is hard to say no to all the delicious temptations that await. It seems that every bar, café or pasticceria has an endless display of cookies, chocolates or some other enticement. Italian desserts range in flavor from slightly bitter to sweet but
Thursday, October 15th, 2015
italian chocolate
  Italy is proud of its chocolate (LukeBlacks/flickr)   I think many readers will agree chocolate is one of those things that has the capability to cheer anybody up. It is sweet, delicious and smooth, and it comes in hundreds of forms, varieties and textures. Of course, we know the relationship between chocolate and happiness runs deeper than that, and dwelves into the world of chemistry: cocoa, hence chocolate, contains substances that helps produce endorphins,
Friday, October 9th, 2015
Porcini mushroom Ph. flickr/Beau Saunders In the vast culinary world of edible mushrooms, only one can be called king. What Italians affectionately call porcini (piglets) is the ruling class of mushrooms. The meat-like texture of porcini, along with their earthy and somewhat nutty flavor, is unequaled among mushrooms and lends itself to countless dishes. Porcini can be found the world over, however American consumers have yet to fully utilize them in all their 
Saturday, October 3rd, 2015
  Saffron is known especially for being one of the main ingredients of a typical Italian dish, risotto alla Milanese, to which it gives its characteristic yellow color. It is used in other rice dishes, too Navelli in Abruzzo, just south of the National Park of Gran Sasso, is considered the world capital for high quality saffron.   Saffron stamens (David Hawkins-Weeks/flickr) Saffron comes from a fall-blooming crocus flower Crocus Sativus. The flower has been cultivated
Friday, September 18th, 2015
Truffle   In the world of gourmet foods, there is one treasure that is literally and figuratively worth its weight in gold. Truffles, especially the highly sought after white variety, are the pinnacle of gourmet, usually too expensive for most consumers, except in parts of Northern Italy and Umbria where "tartufi" are a key ingredient in local dishes. In this way truffles live a double life: outrageously expensive and used in the highest of high cuisine, and yet harvested in a
Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
italian use of beans
The Fall is knocking at our doors, and we start feeling like getting all warm and cozy, even in the kitchen: soups take the place of salads, mature cheeses that of mozzarella and we all feel like eating more...  Beans, in all their varieties and associated with a plethora of other ingredients, are among the best loved Fall and Winter foods in the country: filling, rich and comforting, beans are also nutritious and healthy, so don't feel guilty when you eat them. Curious to know some more
Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
risotto and rice
Riso con Gamberi - Rice with shrimps and a glass of chilled white whine Ph. flickr/Imagens Portal SESCSP   Italy is the leading producer of rice in Europe, with the majority of it being grown in the abundant Po river valley. Lombardy is home to the best rice growing area, the Lomellina, while Piedmont and Veneto also have bountiful rice harvests. Rice thrives so well in the Po valley that first courses of risotto are more common than pasta and are a great way to serve
Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
  Being a third-generation Sicilian American, pesto sauces were not common in my family. Sure my grandmother had all the ingredients: fresh basil from the garden, good extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano and pine nuts (a Sicilian favorite) from the local deli shop. But it just wasn't in the family tradition. Curious, I tried it in local restaurants and it was good, but I still did not understand why people raved about this "raw" sauce. However during my first trip to Italy I
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
parma ham
  Like most aspects of Italian gastronomy, there is much more to know than you think about Italian ham, which we commonly know in the US as "prosciutto". Even though there are two types of prosciutto (baked and cured), most non-Italians immediately think of the air cured variety known as prosciutto crudo. This type of ham has been made in Italy since Roman times:  prosciutto di Parma, the variety most Americans have heard of, has been praised for its flavor for over
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
italian salumi
Salumi is not a term often heard outside of Italy, yet many of these products are found in specialty shops or Italian delicatessens and are used by cooks all over the world. Some, like prosciutto, need no introduction while others are not usually seen outside their motherland. Salumi are a large family of high-quality cured meats that go beyond Italy's famous hams, lending their flavors to terrific appetizers as well as main courses.   Salumeria, Salumi shop
Saturday, October 4th, 2014
olive oil
  Olive oil   Olive oil, has been a symbol of Italian food and of the history of Italian cuisine for the longest time. Today, it has become a staple in the pantry of millions eager to enjoy healthier, richer tasting food. Unfortunately, there are many varieties and blends, a factor that often makes the daily process of choosing the right one for a particular appetizer, salad or entrée rather difficult.   So here's a lesson: Italian olive oil 101
Sunday, September 28th, 2014
  Cubes of mortadella are a great starter/appetizer Ph. depositphoto/sfocato   You may have seen it at the supermarket, packed in individual slices next to the other pre-packaged baloney products. Sadly this is what most Americans think of when they hear the word mortadella. However real Italian mortadella, the pride of the city of Bologna is more than just fatty baloney. Either served in a sandwich, as an appetizer or part of the main course Mortadella di Bologna is yet
Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Buffalo Mozzarella DOP - Imported from Costco    Probably buffalo mozzarella is, along with pizza and pastiera, the most famous product of Neapolitan gastronomy: these are products that many try to imitate a bit everywhere in the world, but let’s be honest, they do it without success. It becomes very important, then, to understand when a buffalo mozzarella is really genuine: but what are the most easily recognizable characteristics that can help consumers to understand if they are buying a DOP
Thursday, May 1st, 2014
by Alfredo Iannaccone   Presidio Slow Food-The Violet Asparagus of Albenga: a treasure of Liguria,  land of extraordinary aromas and tastes       Unmistakanble in its looks, characterized by large, deep violet shoots, gradually turning lighter in color towards the base, this vegetable is protected by a presidio Slow Food, in name of its relevance in local, traditional cuisine and its unicity. The Violet Asparagus of Albenga is a unique variety that can’t be found in the rest of the world. Its
Thursday, January 9th, 2014
street food italy
When going to Italy, a visit to local, famous restaurants or trattorie is one of the must to include in your journey. Eating national dishes in a typical environment, sitting around a table and sipping a glass of traditional wine, either white or red, may be the first image coming to your mind, but it's not necessarily the only option. All those who enjoy living the city, walking around, and don't really care about spending much time sitting down to have a meal, will be glad to know
Friday, June 1st, 2012
A cup of coffee   It would be hard to think of Italy without coffee. After all it is the national breakfast and the home to coffee drinks that have taken the rest of the world by storm. Without Italy, Starbucks would not exist and without coffee, Italy would grind to a halt. No, coffee was not invented in Italy but coffee culture as we know it did originate here. Today Italy is a country of coffee aficionados who will not tolerate (or visit) an establishment that has bad coffee.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
  The ancient Greek poet Homer once referred to olive oil as "liquid gold," not surprising considering that it has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for centuries. In the last decade or so, using olive oil instead of other types of oil and butter has become increasingly popular across the globe, including in the United States. The reasons for this rise in popularity are many: foremost is the fact that olive oil is far healthier than other types of vegetable and hydrogenated
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Preparing Pecorino Cheese: Ulisse demonstrating I have often wondered how the Pecorino cheese was actually produced, and took the opportunity of joining a slow food tour organised by Lucia Norrito, for a personal insight at a small family-run farm situated between Pienza and Montepulciano, Tuscany. I learnt also, that this is no ordinary farming family, but a family who, 20 years ago, came to Tuscany from Switzerland to commence a new life in organic farming. It was by no means easy. But
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Pinoli Pinoli or "pine nuts" are gathered by mustering through leaves on the ground near pine trees, around August or September - they are found inside huge pine cones and embedded within their hard oblong foliage. It's in these layers of the pine cone where, the tender nuts are housed - nestled in between its flaps and encased within a shell. The pine nut's outer shell is dusted with a thin black magical powder and a delicate golden skin. They are highly prized for making a mix of olive oil
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian cheese part I Italian cheeses part II Many Different Italian Cheeses and the Production of Fine Cheeses Many Italian Cheeses to choose from   Once upon a time, Italian families existed in a world full of passion for cheese-making. They took to the hills with horses and mules- up into the Alpine valleys where the major part of the population dedicated themselves to milk and cheese production.   Today, few artisans remain. But those who do, still walk along with
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian cheese part I Italian cheeses part III   More Types of Cheeses from Italian Regions more italian cheese   Caprini This name classifies cheeses that have been produced using goat's milk which possesses particular characteristics and aromas. They are usually produced less, and by artisans with limited quantities. Piedmont is the land of goats; a region who boasts of having the strongest tradition in producing fresh goat cheeses. Caciotta This name is diffused
Friday, June 1st, 2012
I have lived in the U.S. for many years now, but still maintain good contact with Italy since I spend about three months a year there. Over the years one of the things I missed most when I was back on the North American side of the pond is the lack of authentic Italian food. More recently, however, there has been a better selection of good Italian products more readily available in the United States. Here are just some of the products, found at Costco, that are Italian or enjoyed in Italy