Chinotto

You can easily find Coca Cola and Coca Cola Light [Diet Coke] in Italy, but there’s another fizzy brown drink that gets a lot of attention in il bel paese. Although it does contain sugar, a bottle of Chinotto is best known for its aspro [tart] flavor notes, thanks to its namesake ingredient: the chinotto fruit. The chinotto plant is Citrus myrtifolia, often translated as myrtle-leaf orange … Continue reading Chinotto

Wednesday word: lo stoccafisso

From Genova to Napoli, many regional Italian cuisines are full of recipes for lo stoccafisso [stockfish, air-dried whitefish, usually cod, haddock, or hake]. But that doesn’t mean lo stoccafisso is native to the Italian peninsula. The male singular noun stoccafisso has its roots in the Dutch word stokvisch, which means fish on a stick, or fish dried on a stick. Not surprisingly, this is the … Continue reading Wednesday word: lo stoccafisso

World cuisines in Italy

Although la cucina italiana is frequently cited as one of the best cuisines, if not the best cuisine in the world, la cucina etnica [ethnic (world) cuisine] is also on the rise in Italy. In part due to communities that have immigrated to Italy, in part due to the growing curiosity Italians harbor for other cultures, the market for non-Italian food products has grown by … Continue reading World cuisines in Italy

Astice or aragosta?

The Italian words astice and aragosta are both commonly translated as “lobster“. Many Italians even use the words interchangeably, so don’t feel bad if you’ve always thought they mean the same thing! However, astice and aragosta are actually labels for two completely different species, and in this post we’ll learn to tell them apart. From a scientific perspective, astice belongs to the Nephropidae family, and aragosta … Continue reading Astice or aragosta?

Vegetarian haute cuisine

I tempi stanno cambiando [the times they are a-changin’]: the Michelin guide to fine dining now provides recommendations for vegetarians and vegans. There are 20 Michelin-starred restaurants in Milan, but just one of them is fully vegetarian. In the land of prosciutto and salami, Joia features a unique, fully vegetarian cuisine, blending European concepts with ingredients and preparations from around the world, particularly Asia. Operating … Continue reading Vegetarian haute cuisine

Wednesday word: il topinambur

Il topinambur [sunchoke, Helianthus tuberosus] is unique in la cucina italiana: an import from the Americas, this ingredient has taken on over a dozen common names. By means of comparison, a pomodoro [tomato] is usually just called one name: pomodoro. In addition to topinambur, you may hear this tuber called: la rapa tedesca [German turnip], il carciofo di Gerusalemme [Jerusalem artichoke], il carciofo / il tartufo di canna … Continue reading Wednesday word: il topinambur

La Befana

The relics of San Nicola (aka Jolly Ole Saint Nick) are kept in a basilica in Bari, Puglia. Although the modern, red-suited image of Babbo Natale [Santa Claus] is familiar to Italians, he’s not the only magical character Italian children hope to get presents from during the holiday season. Deciding which kids have been cattivi [naughty], which have been buoni [nice], and rewarding them all in … Continue reading La Befana