Apologies for my silence on here, but in Winter the north of Italy slows down, and so there is not much to report at the moment!
However, the mercury is rising, so everything and everyone is starting to spring back to life!
This is my second Christmas in Italy, and I now think that I am getting the hang of how the Italians like to celebrate the festive season!
Just like in the UK, the Italians start their celebrations early! On December 8th, which is a public holiday to celebrate the Immaculate Conception, which is the conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne. Not only is this a public holiday in Italy, but fires the starting gun for nearly a month of celebrations!
It’s now officially Christmas in our house as we’ve opened the first panettone of the year! As always, I like to use any leftovers of anything I use, so I’ve been thinking of ways to use any leftover panettone that might be lurking around after Christmas.
Even when I lived in England, it was never Christmas until I’d watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” and opened my first panettone of the season.
Imagine my excitement when I found out there was a panettone festival just up the road in Milan! Naturally I had to get tickets for my wife and I as this was too good an opportunity to miss!
I am a fan of “nose to tail” eating, which means that you use as much of an animal as possible, so that nothing goes to waste. The amount of food that is wasted in restaurants and homes around the world is estimated at a third of all the food bought, and the majority of this food can be used to create delicious meals. This is a scandal when you think about the amount of people in the world that do not have enough food to eat each day. Italians are masters of using everything that people would consider as leftovers, and I will be sharing some of these recipes in future posts.
Massimo Bottura believes the same. He is an Italian restaurateur and the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Modena, Italy which has been listed in the top 5 at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards since 2010. He is so passionate about this that he set up the “Food For Soul” project to tackle food waste, and to feed the needy and vulnerable in all parts of the world, which so far have been in Italy, England and Rio.
I live in a beautiful town called Piacenza. It is often overlooked by people visiting the Emilia Romagna region because either they think that were in Lombardia (we’re right on the border), or they bypass us for the more famous tourist places like Bologna, Parma, Modena or Reggio Emilia.
However, they are missing out on some fantastic food and wine. This region, like any other region, has its own dishes, wines and specialities which are not available anywhere else in the country, even 50 miles down the road.
It’s that time of the year in Italy when they seem to have a festival for everything. However, this is a very good thing in my book.
Last week myself, my wife and a work colleague visited the food and wine festival in Fiorenzuola, which is a village about 15 minutes by train from where I live in Piacenza.