Artusi (1/3): pear compote

Yes, le pere [pears] can be composted. But you can also use them to create a compote, a preserve obtained by slow-cooking fruit in sugar syrup. In Italian, we’d call this recipe pere in composta – which means pear compote, not pear compost. Although yes, le pere can also be composted (see above). Recipes number 709 and 710 are devoted to pere in composta in Pellegrino Artusi’s quintessential cookbook La scienza in cucina e … Continue reading Artusi (1/3): pear compote

Vegetarians in Italy

In 2016, Milanese shock jock Giuseppe Cruciani taunted vegetarians by cooking and eating a rabbit while on the air. This prompted a few “vegan fundamentalists” to protest outside the radio station, and Cruciani eventually exited the building, carrying a large salame [what we’d call a salami in English], to continue fanning the flames of controversy. Despite how this particular episode was framed, i vegetariani [vegetarians] are not exactly … Continue reading Vegetarians in Italy

Wednesday word: le alici

Alice is a beautiful name in English, and can also be a beautiful name in Italian…a beautiful name for a fish, that is. The singular feminine noun l’alice, pronounced ah-LEE-chay, means anchovy. Its plural form is le alici. L’acciuga (pronounced ahch-CHEW-gah) is another word for anchovy. In terms of the species of fish that the word refers to, there’s no difference between alice and acciuga. In the past, alice … Continue reading Wednesday word: le alici

Burrata in the making

La burrata is a type of formaggio fresco [fresh cheese] originally created in Andria, Puglia. Lately it seems like burrata has become the “it” cheese among trendy American restaurants – Italian and even non-Italian eateries feature burrata on their menus, as an appetizer, pizza or pasta topping. Essentially a pouch of stretched curd that encloses a filling of mozzarella shreds and panna [cream], la burrata is best eaten with … Continue reading Burrata in the making

5 fun techniques for learning Italian through food

1. Watch the masters in action, from the comfort of your home. Youtube is full of Italian-language video tutorials on how to cook and enjoy Italian food. Giallo Zafferano has a great cooking school series of short videos that focus on simple techniques – nothing too overwhelming for beginning students. For more results, perform a video search using phrases such as “ricetta facile” [easy recipe] or “corso di … Continue reading 5 fun techniques for learning Italian through food

Wednesday word: la leccornia

The word leccornia, pronounced layk-kohrn-EE-ah, can be translated into English as tidbit, delicacy, exquisite food, or appealing something-or-other. The word leccornia is often used to describe pastries, but can also be applied to tasty dishes of any kind, whether sweet or savory. Several sources state that the singular feminine noun leccornia is rooted in lecconeria, which describes the food eaten by a food-lover, called a leccone in older forms of Tuscan dialects. Nowadays people use … Continue reading Wednesday word: la leccornia

Municipal vinegarworks

City governments normally look after water services, sanitation, public lighting, road issues…but vinegar services? Sure, if you’re in Modena and environs, an area where several cities maintain their own “acetaia comunale“, a vinegar production plant run by the municipal government. Founded in 2003, the acetaia [vinegarworks] of the city of Modena is located on the top floor of a municipal building. Three series of barrels, with 5 – 9 barrels in each series, are carefully … Continue reading Municipal vinegarworks

Eating at a sit-down pizzeria in Italy

Not sure about etiquette when dining in an Italian pizzeria? Relax, pizzerie [pizzeriaS] tend to be casual places…and happy places, since everyone has a chance to enjoy this: Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions tourists have about dining in pizzerie in Italy: Can I eat with my hands?  Pizzerie serve la pizza tonda [round pizza] whole, uncut, on top of a plate. If you’re new to this … Continue reading Eating at a sit-down pizzeria in Italy

Wednesday Word: il cacio

Pronounced CAH-cheeoh, cacio is a synonym for il formaggio: both words mean cheese in Italian, both cacio and formaggio are masculine singular nouns, and both can be used as uncountable or countable nouns. The plural of il cacio is i caci, which corresponds to cheeses. In terms of the type of cheese the words refer to, there’s no difference between cacio and formaggio. Cacio does, however, have a different root than formaggio. Il cacio comes … Continue reading Wednesday Word: il cacio

La farinata at Sa Pésta

Once a powerful maritime republic, Genova [Genoa in English] today is a port of call for cruise ships; a hub for ferries to Sardegna, Sicilia, and other Mediterranean islands; and usually a quick stopover for travelers on their way to Cinque Terre. But don’t let its unassuming nature fool you: from pesto to focaccia, farinata to fresh frutti di mare [seafood], Genova is a must-eat for Italian foodophiles. The City of Genova maintains a … Continue reading La farinata at Sa Pésta