melanzane

 

Aubergine, eggplant, melanzane: they sound good in any language and, in my opinion, taste even better. These have been my favourite vegetables since I was a child and my mother used to prepare melanzane al funghetto alla veneziana, a kind of cold salad of marinated aubergine. Heaven. Italy is the largest european producer of aubergine and produces more than the whole of the USA. Another reason why it plays such a large role in Italian cuisine. And it’s in season all throughout the summer.

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Gelato malaga: recipe

July 22, 2016 — 16 Comments

gelato malaga

 

 

In Italy, even the flavours of gelato are custom to the whims of fashion. There are a couple of flavours, very common when I was a child in the 1980s, which you very rarely find nowadays, but which for me say still say Italian summer.

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carpaccio di zucchine

 

Until the 1960s, Carpaccio was a Venetian painter whose renaissance canvases are valued as a record of what the city looked like during his lifetime. Today, historians pore over his works extracting knowledge of the minutiae of sixteenth-century Venetian dress and architecture contained in them, including a detailed rendition of the old wooden Rialto bridge. But in 1963, Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the now almost mythical Harry’s Bar, invented a dish subtle slices of raw meat and named it for the painter—there was an exhibition of his work in the city at the time—and for future generations the name became associated more with culinary than with visual arts.

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prosciutto e melone

 

 

Summer is well and truly cooking in Italy, with temperatures temperatures of 28-38°C roasting the Italian people and anyone else brave enough to enter the Mediterranean kitchen. Now is the time to take advantage of the amazing variety of produce that the hot weather brings as well as to eat lighter, more refreshing meals as the weather suppresses your appetite. Here at La Madera we’re doing a lot of al fresco dining to take advantage of the evening breezes which roll down the mountainside after the sun has set. Here’s a little taste of what we’ve been eating.

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cover

 

It’s black summer truffle season here in the Tuscan Valtiberina and these alternative fruits of the forest are everywhere. Less pungent than in some other areas of Italy they are often served grated over pasta or grilled meat in abundance. There’s one restaurant in the village where the set menu looks like its own truffle festival with the antipasti, primi, and secondi all featuring this local treasure. I’ve yet to discover a dessert using black truffle—chocolate truffle is, of course, something quite different—but watch this space.

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