'snapshots from italy' on Serious Eats

Snapshots from Italy: Persimmon Perfection

Gina is back in Italy for an overdue vacanza, so for the next few weeks, Seriously Italian is morphing back into Snapshots from Italy as she shares with you some of her favorite food outings. [Photographs: Gina DePalma] Autumn, or l'autunno, is my absolute favorite food season in Rome. At no other time of year will I find all of my favorites converging upon the market, at their peak, simultaneously. Puntarella and broccoli romanesco, porcini and ovoli, zucca and chestnuts, pears, apples and clementines-each one is enough to make me swoon with happiness. But then persimmons come along in the midst of all the bounty and put me right over the top. If you've never sunk a spoon into a... More

Snapshots From Italy: The Bounty of Calabria

Gina is back in Italy for an overdue vacanza, so for the next few weeks, Seriously Italian is morphing back into Snapshots from Italy as she shares with you some of her favorite food outings. [Photographs: Gina DePalma] I've begun my trip with a visit to the province of Cosenza in Calabria, the southern "foot" of Italy's boot. My mother's family is based here, and it is a place I have been hearing and dreaming about since I was a tot. Seeing the town where my grandparents were born and married and where my mother spent a portion of her childhood was emotion-packed for sure; the journey was made even more meaningful by the staggeringly good food. At meal after... More

Snapshots from Italy: The Mother Of All Carrots

Editor's note: Serious Eats correspondent Carey Jones, eating her way around Italy, will be reporting back from Rome, Bologna, Tuscany, and Puglia. This is, without question, the best carrot I have ever eaten. As foods go, individual carrots aren’t that memorable, any more than particular Yukon Golds are memorable. And I say this as a girl who ranks carrots among her very favorite foods. Though I practically lived off of carrot sticks at a low point in my college meal plan days, I’d be hard pressed to recall a single, specific carrot I’d ever eaten. Until this one, in the seaside town of Polignano a Mare in Puglia. Sipping an aperitivo at Ristorante da Tuccino, one of the region’s most... More

Snapshots from Italy: Grano Stompato, My New Favorite Food

Editor’s note: Serious Eats correspondent Carey Jones, eating her way around Italy, will be reporting back from Rome, Bologna, Tuscany, and Puglia. Two dizzying weeks of giddy gluttony in Italy, eating my way from Bologna to Lecce, acquainted me with a number of veggies, pastas, and sea creatures I’d neither seen nor tasted before. But one of the best single bites of the entire journey came in the town of Manduria, when I took my first mouthful of grano stompato—a centuries-old peasant meal that reminded me just how simple and sublime the right ingredients can be. The name of this dish, also called cranu stumpatu, translates to “stomped grain”—and it’s nearly as simple as it sounds. Whole grains of durum... More

Snapshots from Italy: Lunch on an Adriatic Fishing Boat

Editor's note: Serious Eats correspondent Carey Jones, eating her way around Italy, will be reporting back from Rome, Bologna, Tuscany, and Puglia. My mental image of a Southern Italian fishing boat looks something like this: The seaside town of Molfetta, far down Italy’s eastern coast, has fed off the Adriatic waters for millennia—for most of that time, probably from little wooden boats like these. Records of a fishing village at this site date back as far as the fourth century B.C.; and while Molfetta gained later prominence as a Mediterranean trade hub and manufacturing town, fishing remains a healthy industry. Indeed, throughout the region of Puglia—the heel of Italy’s boot—food production continues to be an anchor of the local economy.... More

Snapshots from Italy: Piedmont's Magic Wine

I've always had a fascination with the way some people obsess with the notion of matching wine with food. During one memorable discussion long ago, I was told that lobster and wine don't really go together because the claws and tail call for different wines. Not everybody thinks this way and several recent meals in Italy's Piedmont region seemed to prove the point. Cooking bollito misto. As so often happens in places where there's a long and historic wine tradition, the Piemontese don't really bother with wine matching at all. Instead, they choose a bottle—often one that brings up fond memories—and drink it with everything. This attitude was on proud display at a food festival in the small Alpine... More

Snapshots from Italy: Pan Frutto Ciociaro

When it comes to finding local food treasures, ask for a taste of the product or dish that the proprietors are most proud of—what's most traditional, what's made with the best local ingredients. At Pasticceria Battisti, my question was answered with a slice of their signature cake, pan frutto. More

Snapshots from Italy: The Queen of Porchetta

Last week, I took a little lunchtime trip to Frascati, one of a handful of little towns in the Castelli Romani, a culturally rich area just southeast of Rome shadowed by the Alban Hills and dotted with volcanic lakes. Thanks to a direct commuter train, I was there in only 30 minutes, and at the very appealing price of €1.90 (US$2.96) each way. More

Snapshots from Italy: Eataly Torino

My visit to Torino last month would not have been complete without a stop at Eataly, the grand and glorious emporium dedicated to the finest foods and gastronomic traditions of Italy. A short taxi ride from the center of the city brought me to the more working-class area of town where Eataly sits, framed by views of the Alps. More

Snapshots from Italy: A Day of Flavors from Abruzzo

My friends and I set out for our day in Abruzzo on a rainy, foggy, downright chilly morning in Rome. It was a straight shot out on the autostrada, and within 40 minutes we had hit the Abruzzese border, bidding Lazio farewell in order to immerse ourselves in the foods, sights, and countryside of a region that is blissfully off the well-beaten tourist track. In no time we reached Sulmona, a pretty little city known as the birthplace of the Roman poet Ovid and the home of the candies known as confetti. The rain had stopped and bits of sky were starting to peek out of the low-hanging clouds. I was told that the entire city would be filled... More

Snapshots From Italy: Ten Reasons Why I Love Shopping in Italy

1. Butchers I love Italian butchers. I have never met an unfriendly macellaio, anywhere. Most Italian food purveyors are happy and even eager to talk about their goods, but my butcher has an amazing amount of interest in what I will do with the 1/2 kilo of whatever I just ordered. This is especially true when I demonstrate an inadequate thirst for his knowledge. If the right questions about my veal or lamb or sausages aren’t posed, my butcher will ask me what he suspects I need to know, then gallantly and gently coming to the rescue when I have revealed exactly how clueless I am, and showing genuine happiness if I prove to be on the right track.... More

Snapshots from Italy: Roman Easter Soup

Eggs are essential ingredients in Italian Easter celebrations, playing a role that extends beyond the huge, elaborately decorated chocolate eggs that decorate every shop window in the weeks before the holiday. Romans are likely to enjoy a light first course of Brodetto Pasquale at their Easter table, the local version of a soup that features eggs as well as lamb, another iconic Easter food. More

Snapshots from Italy: Torrone Therapy

Last week, I polished off what was left of the Christmas torrone that was left in the candy dish on my desk. I was parsing it out slowly, weekly, hoping to stretch out the nutty-sweet pleasure until Easter candy would arrive. Alas, the last few pieces went down my throat during a painful round of convulsive sobbing over the exchange rate. Since that situation shows no sign of easing any time soon, it was time to head out for some reinforcements today. Torrone is made all over Italy, and nearly every region puts its own particular slant on it, embellishing the nougat candy with local ingredients and flavors. Some versions are firm and chewy, others soft and creamy, studded... More

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