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!
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.
As you will have read in my last post, Italians treat food as a religion, and there are very definite ways how dishes should be prepared. Another thing that annoys Italians is when a dish is claimed as “Italian” by someone, even by “Italian restaurants” abroad, with dishes that have never graced an Italian dining table.
So, here are ten dishes which are definitely not Italian, and which you should never try to order in Italy.
Everyone who knows me is aware of my hatred and loathing of supermarkets, and their row upon row of perfectly packaged meat and vegetables. However, if every one was like Eataly, then I would change my views in an instant!