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

The Italian diet

Ranked the healthiest country in the world in 2017, Italy is full of people eating well and enjoying their high-ranking lifestyles. But with all of the delicious food la cucina italiana has to offer, it takes some restraint to maintain that number one position. A 2016 Nielsen study revealed that 38% of Italians are on a diet: 18% consciously avoid fats, and 11% limit their carbohydrate intake. Just … Continue reading The Italian diet

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

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