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

What are you making for mum today?

  Check out this story on good food.com.au with some suggestions from my  eBook, Mini Chef: Cooking with Kids, for what to cook for mum this year for mother’s day. Maybe a pizza for lunch topped with fresh basil or rocket leaves picked from the garden? Or scrambled eggs on toast and freshly squeezed orange … Continue reading

Everything Old is New Again…

Giulio Nettuno was waiting for us at the front door of his Colatura Di Alici shop in the tiny fishing village of Cetara, south of Napoli, as we walked up the hill in the early morning sun. “So who can’t stand the smell?” he asked, eyeing us with a cheeky grin, as we entered the … Continue reading

I Left My Heart In…

How well I remember the first time I travelled along the Amalfi Coast.  I was in my late teens and could barely bring myself to look out the window of the car, not just because of the vertiginous hairpin bends and risk-taking cars and buses, but also because the sheer, limestone cliffs all the way … Continue reading

The Pioneering Organic Farmer of Fossano

Meet Andrea Giaccardi of l’ Orto del Pian Bosco, a 40-something organic farmer in Fossano (CN) in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. Andrea is a pioneer in these parts. Not just because the median age of farmers in Italy is 66, but also because organic farming in this region of Italy is treated with … Continue reading

The Madcap Cheese Man of Bra

When Fiorenzo Giolito’s grandmother, Mariet Almonte, first started selling local cheese in the 1920s she would transport them 60 Km from Bra by horse to Turin. It was she who introduced the Genovese to Bra Duro, a hard  cheese which travels well and doesn’t require much looking after  – and it was the Genovese who … Continue reading

On Peeling Artichokes (& Potatoes) in Saluzzo

I’m standing in the spotless kitchen of Piero Boaglio, chef at the San Giovanni Hotel De Charme in Saluzzo, a picture-book medieval town in northern Italy and seat of an ancient courtly Marquisate founded in 1142. I’d stumbled across the hotel while looking for somewhere to have coffee on my way up to the 13th … Continue reading

La Prima Settimana (First Week)

It’s been unseasonably warm and sunny this past week, interspersed by a few days of rain. Only a few weeks ago, it was snowing in Bra, something the locals tell me is not uncommon at this time of the year. Suddenly the paddocks we pass in the bus on the way to UNISG are a … Continue reading
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