Food Products

Monday, February 16th, 2015
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,
Friday, December 26th, 2014
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 Piedmonte and the 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 whatever
Friday, October 31st, 2014
radicchio
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
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
porcini
Porcini mushroom Ph. flickr/Beau Saunders   In the vast culinary world of edible mushrooms, only one can be called king. What Italians affectionately call the Porcini (the piglets) is a ruling class of the delicious fungi. The meat-like texture of Porcini, with its 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 forms,
Saturday, October 4th, 2014
olives
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
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
mortadella
  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
Monday, September 8th, 2014
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 abundance
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
Monday, May 19th, 2014
  Bread is a must on Italian tables. The ‘food of poor people’, as it used to be referred to, was widely eaten because cheap ingredients were mixed up without needing money and it was home-made. The tradition of doing it at home according to ancient recipes was then passed over the centuries so that today you find several varieties depending on the place you go to.    More than 250 different types are made all over the country and the way it is cooked differs according to the region you go to
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
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
  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   The pandoro is a traditional Christmas cake made with flour, butter and eggs, which was originally produced in Verona
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Parmigiano Reggiano It matters little that this WTO-protected form of culinary art is now part of the international astronaut's diet. That distinction just recognizes the unique flavor, nutritive value and shelf-life properties of Parmigiano Reggiano. There are other foods with those qualities, but the truth worth of the gift from the banks of the Po, Enza and Reno rivers lies in the timeless spirit, dedication and endeavor with which the production method has been preserved. The tangible
Friday, June 1st, 2012
White Truffle The white truffle might smell like earth, tree roots and old cheese, but this gastronomical object of desire, from Italy's Piedmont region, is very famous for its aroma, taste and aphrodisiac qualities. For centuries people have travelled from near and far just to savor a little piece. It is a gastronomical jewel only to be experienced at its fullest intensity in Alba, Italy. In the Piemontese dialect they are called trifola d'Alba (the white truffle of Alba), and known by its
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Pesto Sauce Ingredients 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
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Polenta   It often happens that a nation of people will identify themselves as a distinct culture by their traditional foods. For Italians, it always seems both pasta and pizza are the cornerstones of what makes Italian food "Italian". However, there is a staple food of Northern Italy that does not get the recognition, but certainly makes up the third aspect of the Italian food trinity: Humble, yet versatile and satisfying polenta. Italian cuisine has been characterized by being the
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
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
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 time-honored
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian Desserts 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 you. It seems that every bar- caffe' or pasticceria has an endless display of cookies, chocolates or some other enticement. Italian desserts range in flavor from slightly bitter to sweet but usually not overwhelmingly sweet and are often best served with a wine.
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
Chocolate, the food of the gods, has been known for ages as the panacea for all that ails mankind. In the past, studies have suggested that those who eat chocolate may live up to a year longer than those who don't. More recent studies seem to confirm what many of us have long known to be true--chocolate does have healing powers! This particular study showed that chocoholics live longer than chocolate abstainers, thanks to the cocoa's cholesterol-battling
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 Salami 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 one specific sausage; it is a
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
Friday, June 1st, 2012
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. Basil Basil is an essential herb in Italian cooking. Crushed basil leaves Basil plant combined with oil, garlic, and pine nuts
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Salumi is not a term that is heard often outside Italy, yet many of these products are found in specialty shops, Italian delicatessens and are used by cooks the world over. Some examples, like Prosciutto need no introduction while others are not usually seen outside the mother country. Salumi is 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 ) Salumi is often confused
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian beans dish Most households in Italy reserve a meal or two for beans just as they include specific days for meat, pasta or fish. Beans play an essential role in Italian cookery and, consequently, they are grown throughout the country. From Sicily in the south to Piedmont and Veneto in the north, various regions produce different kinds of beans, all of which are enjoyed by the Italian culture. The subsequent article discusses some popular beans beloved by Italians as well as tips about
Friday, June 1st, 2012
saffron flower Saffron in Italy is best known in Italy as a red powder to spread over Risotto alla Milanese. This red powder provides the risotto with its characteristic yellow color, and it adds color and flavor to other Italian rice-based dishes. Navelli in Abruzzo, just south of the National Park of Gran Sasso, is considered the world capital for high quality saffron. Saffron comes from a fall-blooming crocus flower (Above), Crocus Dried saffron Sativus. The flower has been cultivated,
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
Gnocchi 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. While Florence is home to gnocchi so good, gluttonous priests have been known to
Friday, June 1st, 2012
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 thousands of years, some food scholars have speculated that one of the objects
Friday, June 1st, 2012
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, 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
  Like most aspects of Italian gastronomy, there is a lot that meets the eye when dealing with Italian ham, known as Prosciutto. While there are two types of Prosciutto (cooked and raw), most non-Italians think of the uncooked, air cured variety known as Prosciutto crudo. This type of ham has been made in Italy since Roman times, the name coming from the Latin word meaning, "dried of liquid." Prosciutto di Parma, the variety most Americans have heard of, has been praised
Friday, June 1st, 2012
  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