We asked our crew of beer experts—all Certified Cicerones—for their thoughts on the most exciting craft beer scenes outside the US. Here are their picks for the beer-producing nations you should definitely have on your radar.
'Italy' on Serious Eats
It takes years to scratch the surface of living and eating in Rome, not to mention the countless strata beneath. But if you only have a few days in the Italian capital and want to eat well, a bit of planning, a bus pass, and a sense of adventure can go a long way to ensuring a delicious trip.
Chefs all over the world are going crazy for Acquerello, a Carnaroli rice producer responsible for some of the best risotto of all time. We take a look inside the farm and factory in Northern Italy.
It's an old saying, but in Italy, what grows together truly goes together. If you love Italian food like I do—the pasta, the prosciutto, the olive oil—exploring Italian wine is a fun next step. Let's start by getting to know a few of the essential grapes.
The esteemed Radicchio Rosso di Treviso is an act of labor and love. We take a peak at the harvest of this addictively bitter winter vegetable at Nonno Andrea farm in Italy.
At Giolito Formaggi, an esteemed third-generation formaggio in the tiny town of Bra, Italy, the selection of local cheeses is as exceptional as the man behind the business. We paid a visit to owner Fiorenzo Giolito to talk shop and taste some of his favorite cheese.
Although Italy's food is well-represented around the world, many of the country's regional specialties remain relatively unknown outside their place of origin. Among them, a range of traditional dishes from Lecce that I've come to know and love. Though the city, located in the southern region of Puglia, is highly frequented by vacationing Italians, it has remained largely under the radar for American travelers. Check out some of Lecce's iconic dishes in the slideshow!
It can be sweet, meaty, buttery, salty; nutty or funky—the nuance of flavor in prosciutto di Parma is remarkable. But the process of making it couldn't be simpler: ham, salt, and air. Well, maybe simple isn't the best term. Meat-massaging, horse bones, firebrands, and a whole lot more: we head behind the scenes to see how prosciutto di Parma gets made.
Lagrein has been planted in Alto Adige for over 500 years. Despite the long history and ample plantings in the region, up until the last couple of decades this dark and rustic red wasn't really ever taken seriously.
Grappa can be thought of as the final production of a grape, as it is made from the pomace—skins, seeds, and stems—after the fruit has been used to make wine. The tradition of grappa finds its truest home in the Northeastern regions of Italy, where farmers turned the leftovers of their harvest into what was then seen as a healthful elixir.
Italy is full of passion and generosity. Whether it's Parmesan, balsalmic vinegar, or even an espresso, Italians are eager to share both their goods and their stories. We weren't planning on making a film while dining at Osteria Francescana, in Modena. But when the restaurant's chef sat down with us and began to share his passion for food and his unqiue journey...we simply couldn't resist. Join us for a lunch unlike any other.
I headed to Alto Adige, in part, to find inspiration again. I'd maneuvered a tough summer, and to be honest, I didn't care about wine much at the moment. "Try to relax and enjoy your trip," my friend told me before I took off. "Italy can do magical things," she promised.
Cesare Casella is (rightfully) proud of Italian food, and continues to be so, albeit with a slightly...adjusted view of the big picture. "Italians have a deep cultural attachment to nourishing, delicious food, and not very much interest in junk food. Or at least, that is what I always thought."
We just got back from Italy where simplicity and seasonality are king and queen. Inspired, we filmed this little video about making beef carpaccio—the five-minute meal requires little more than good ingredients and good seasoning.
We traveled across Italy to make this short film, seeking out our favorite foods (we know, mozzarella is missing). From Rome to Marche, and Tuscany to Veneto, we tasted some of the best of what Italy has to offer. The result is a four minute film that will make you hungry for Parmesan and prosciutto, pizza and pasta.
Frankly, I'd rather not tell you about this wine. I actually don't want you—or anyone—to know about it because I am fearful that then the prices will inevitably go up and the availability will go down, and I'll be left (poor) with wicked withdrawal symptoms and resentment.
Confession: I love a recipe from the Campbell's soup website. It calls for simmering chicken breasts in creamy stock, balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, oregano, and kalamata olives. You sprinkle the whole thing with feta cheese and serve it up over orzo. I've eaten this dish with plenty of different wines that were all... fine. California Pinot Noir was overwhelmed; a northern Italian Barbera was bright but not bold enough; New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made it feel like everything was fighting. But last week, I found the perfect match.
Italians think third-wave coffee is insane; specialty-coffee crazy baristas think Italians are out of date and out of touch. But who's right? We explore both sides of the caffeinated argument.
Where I live, the asparagus has arrived. It is the best time of year. The hills sprung to life overnight, transformed from dull gold to radiant green. And the season's first rosé beckons from the shelf. I must have it.
A while back, I mentioned having met my 'sexy bartender boyfriend' at my old waitressing job. Seven years later, the sexy bartender and I got married. And so with Valentine's Day looming, I thought I'd tell you about one of our most perfect recent dates and suggest to you one of the most perfect date wines.