Archives For aperitif

Cicheti and Prosecco

A selection of fish-based cichéti with a glass of local prosecco.

 

Venice is a city that most experience on foot. Even those residents that have boats do an awful lot of walking and most of that on unforgiving flagstones, and bridges that rise and fall five feet in space of a few yards.

With all that walking, especially in the summer when temperatures regularly top 30 degrees celsius, it would seem a good idea to stop every now and again, pop into a shady bar, and have a drink and perhaps a restorative bite. Well, Venetians would agree and this is how cichéti a typically Venetian snack food came to be.

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frittata di maccheroni

Frittata di maccheroni

 

The more I learn about southern Italian cuisine the bigger the differences I see between that and northern cuisine. And, to be honest, nothing surprises me. I was recently taught this recipe by a good friend of mine from Naples and it’s already become one of my go-to favourites. As the name suggests―maccheroni in Italian is used to refer to pasta in general rather than a specific kind―this can me made with any type of pasta. In fact, it’s often used as a way of using up leftovers. I already knew that you could make delicious arancini with leftover risotto to avoid re-heating (and therefore overcooking and ruining) the rice. But this recipe is the same with pasta. Alternatively, as with this recipe, you can cook the pasta specially and just enjoy eating the dish for its own sake.

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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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hugo spritz

 

At this time of year the hedgerows around Caprese Michelangelo turn white with what seem to be bunches of tiny snowflakes. Luckily they are not since subzero temperatures in May would not be welcome. They are in fact fiori di sambuco or elderflowers. As well as looking pretty, they have a sweet, delicate fragrance that you’d wish you could bottle and take home with you.

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