Soft Landing in Lesvos, Greece

It’s a hot, still morning when we set off to the little white church tucked in amongst the olive groves down the hill from the village. We turn off the bitumen road and onto a narrow dusty track bordered on both sides by gnarled olive trees, but it’s not easy to find.  The only indication … Continue reading

Endless Italian Summer

Suddenly, it seems, the whole of Italy is on holidays. The papers are full of stories of transport strikes (Alitalia was on strike on Friday, as were a number of the train and tram services) and protest marches in Rome. Last year there were 2084 strikes. According to Libero, they’re customary at this time of the … Continue reading

Snail Trail En Provence

The sweet smell of freshly baked biscuits was wafting through the air as we walked along the leafy path to the Savoirs et Saveurs de Montagne market near Gap, capital of the Haute-Alpes department in south-eastern France. But it wasn’t until I had passed by stalls laden with local honey, goats cheeses, potted herbs, home-made … Continue reading

Meet Stefano Pescarmona: An Agrarian Militant

I was in my early 20s when I first fell in love with the Italian landscape. I’ll never forget looking out the window as the train sped through the countryside from Rome to Perugia and I saw patchwork fields of sunflowers, fields of wheat dotted with red poppies, olive groves and undulating neat rows of … Continue reading

Roberto Flore: At the Frontier of Food

Ever heard of Anty Gin? or of casu marzu? The former is a wood ant distillate flavoured with Bulgarian juniper berries and springtime botanicals, while the latter is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese which contains live maggots. “Oh yuck!”, I can hear you say. Yes, they sound disgusting, but don’t be alarmed. They’re just … Continue reading

Casa di Lucia, Lake Como

I’m standing at the window of my second floor room at Casa di Lucia B&B in in Lecco, northern Italy. Below me is a formal Italian garden, and if I lean out further and look to the right, I can catch glimpses of Lake Como. Last night, a violent thunderstorm hit the town, dispersing much … Continue reading

Spilling the Beans

I learnt something surprising about Italian coffee recently. It was to do with the poor quality of Robusta beans used to make the legendary espresso served every morning in bars throughout the country.   “Most of the coffee served in Italian bars comes from Vietnam which is the biggest producer of poor quality Robusta beans,” … Continue reading

The Hills Are Alive…

I couldn’t get the songs from The Sound of Music out of my head this week. Everywhere I went in Trentino, a mountainous province in far northern Italy, I could literally hear the sounds of music. The clang, clang, clang of cow bells seemed to follow wherever I went (large bells are tied around the … Continue reading

The Gulf of Paradise

Ever heard of Camogli (pronounced cah-MO-lyee)? If not, I’m going to let you in on a secret.  It’s a small Italian fishing village on the aptly named Golfo Paradiso (Gulf of Paradise), about one hour by train south-east of Genova in northern Italy. Having been in Genova last week for Slow Fish, I was craving … Continue reading

A Booming Weekend in Genova

The children’s drawings and “thought clouds” on the piano mobile (first floor) at the imposing Palazzo Tursi said it all: “I recommend a trip to Genova because there is the sea, the aquarium, the port… famous traditional foods such as pesto, pansoti (little bellies of stuffed pasta), ravioli, farinata (a flat chickpea pancake) and focaccia … Continue reading
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