Italian pronunciation tips for non-traditional learners

With 150 million people (and counting!) using Duolingo, the online language learning market is set to grow 8% by 2021. More people than ever are studying languages using digital tools, and there are plenty of resources to help you work on your reading, writing, and listening skills. The hardest part to iron out over the internet, however, is getting into the habit of good pronunciation. Trial … Continue reading Italian pronunciation tips for non-traditional learners

Gluten-free in Italy

La farina [flour] is everywhere in la cucina italiana…in pizza, pasta, and dolci [sweets]. Did we mention pizza and pasta? Yet since Italian doctors have begun diagnosing la celiachia [celiac disease], the national reliance on il grano [wheat] has started to shift. La celiachia is a genetic condition in which the small intestine is chronically inflamed. This inflammation is triggered by ingesting glutine [gluten], a protein found in il … Continue reading Gluten-free in Italy

Tortelloni, tortellini, tortelli…

There are many types of pasta ripiena [stuffed pasta] served in Italy. I ravioli are probably the most well-known variety, but they are no less magnificent than tortelloni, tortellini, tortelli, cappelletti, agnolini, agnolotti… Tortelloni [tor-tel-LO-ni], tortellini [tor-tel-LI-ni], and tortelli [tor-TEL-li] might look like similar words, but they each refer to specific types of pasta ripiena. Building from the root word torta, which means cake or filled … Continue reading Tortelloni, tortellini, tortelli…

I scream, you scream, but gelato is a different thing

Gelato as we know it today has been around for about 500 years. Literally the past participle of the verb gelare [to chill, to freeze], gelato means chilled or frozen as an adjective, but has no exact English translation as a noun. Most dictionaries will translate the noun gelato as ice cream, but that’s like translating pizza as flatbread – close but no cigar. Recipe-wise, … Continue reading I scream, you scream, but gelato is a different thing

Learn Italian through cooking @ Stir to Learn in Denver

If you’re in Denver, Colorado on Saturday September 9 2017, come learn Italian Through Food in a hands-on cooking and language class at Stir Cooking School. Italian-trained Chef Daniel Slater will teach you the cooking aspects of the class while Italian Through Food author Andrea Parisi will introduce you to the basics of Italian pronunciation. You’ll come out of the class knowing 50 new words … Continue reading Learn Italian through cooking @ Stir to Learn in Denver

Wednesday word: le tagliatelle

Tagliatelle is a plural feminine noun, pronounced tah-yleeah-TAYL-lay. It refers to one of the most popular noodles in Italy. You’ll rarely hear anyone use the singular form of the word (tagliatella) since noodles are a herd animal. Le tagliatelle can measure from 5mm to 10mm wide, and are usually made with l’uovo [egg] and sold fresh. You may have been first introduced to tagliatelle under the name of fettuccine: the two … Continue reading Wednesday word: le tagliatelle

The institution of l’acqua minerale

L’acqua minerale [mineral water] is usually bottled, but to most Italians it means a little more than just bottled water. Italy has the highest per-capita rate of consuming bottled water in Europe (about 185 liters per person per year), and the 300+ brands of l’acqua minerale in the Italian market bring in sales of 2.25 billion a year. Whether frizzante / gassata [both adjectives mean fizzy] or liscia / naturale [both words … Continue reading The institution of l’acqua minerale

Moka shopping

Espresso – what the Italians, ahem, call il caffè – is so popular you find it all around the world. If you love il caffè italiano [Italian coffee] and want to try replicating it outside of Italy, stock up on Italian-roasted coffee and bring una moka home. The word moka refers to a specific kind of caffettiera, a simple espresso maker for at-home use originally invented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti. The Bialetti brand … Continue reading Moka shopping

Wednesday word: i lupini

If lupo means wolf in Italian, wouldn’t lupini mean little wolves? That’s a good guess, but the word for little wolf is actually lupetto (which also means cub scout). I lupini, pronounced loo-PEE-nee, are edible beans from the genus Lupinus (Fabaceae family). You’ll probably only hear Italians use the plural masculine noun lupini, but just FYI, the singular form is il lupino. One last wolf reference: as an adjective, lupino does … Continue reading Wednesday word: i lupini