Posts by maddie

A hunter-gatherer’s dream

Posted by on Nov 9, 2011 | 2 comments

A hunter-gatherer’s dream

I find it absolutely thrilling to forage for my own food. Maybe it stems from my Baltimore upbringing. In the summer months, we liked to go crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay and catch enough crustaceans for a true Maryland crab feast. We would steam the poor beasts, dump them on tables lined with yesterday’s newspapers,crack them open with wooden mallets, and eagerly pick the sweet, delicate crabmeat from the shells. The crabs were somehow more delicious when we did the crabbing and steaming ourselves. When I arrived in Italy this fall, I had dreams of mushroom hunts. I envisioned finding my...

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An oasis of old-world charm

Posted by on Nov 1, 2011 | 0 comments

An oasis of old-world charm

Marcos and I decided to take a weekend trip to the beautiful lake district of Lago di Garda to purify our skin in the at the nearby Colà Lazise hot springs, buy some famous Lago di Garda olive oil, and relax by the beautiful lake. For accommodations, a friend of ours from the region suggested Agriturismo Sangallo in Bedizzole, within a fifteen-minute drive from the bustling little cities of Salò and Desenzano. As we turned onto the street leading to the agriturismo, we thought we must have copied the wrong address. The street was sandwiched between two industrial buildings, quite different...

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Let them eat foie!

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 0 comments

Let them eat foie!

The annual Montmartre wine festival, Fete des Vendanges, from October 5th to the 9th, was a joyous celebration of French gastronomic traditions. Parisians and Francophiles, high on life from all of the delicious food and wine, sang, danced, and toasted to their good fortune while looking down over the breathtakingly beautiful city. The smell of funky cheese, panfried foie gras, and sausages wafted through the air to the sounds of animated conversation, laughter, and live music. I was in heaven. In theory, the festival is primarily a celebration of wine. However, as I strolled the various...

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Bagolino

Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 | 0 comments

Bagolino

While eating my way through the slow food Cheese Festival in Bra, I fell in love with Bagoss cheese. At the time, I didn’t know where it came from or how it was made, but I knew I wanted more. There were at least four different samples of the cheese at different levels of maturity. The youngest version of the cheese that had been aged for one year was sweet and supple with a fresh lightly floral aroma, while the oldest cheese, aged for two years, was intensely salty and crumbly, similar to aged Parmigiano Reggiano. When I got back to Parma I searched all of my favorite cheese shops for...

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La Quercia Rossa

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011 | 0 comments

La Quercia Rossa

Coming from the east coast of the U.S., where it is uncommon to find whole, unprocessed hazelnuts at the grocery store, the prospect of visiting a working hazelnut orchard in Piedmont–home of the chocolate hazelnut spread made famous by Nutella–was too exciting of an opportunity to pass up. Some regard the Piedmontese hazelnut as the most delicious and most viable variety for culinary use, as its pliable consistency lends itself well to cakes, creams, and chocolates. La Quercia Rossa is a third-generation family farm turned agriturismo that uses their own crop to produce a variety...

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Down on the farm, Italian style

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Down on the farm, Italian style

Italy excels at agriturismi, which at their best offer travelers an opportunity to vacation on a working family farm, potentially participate in farm activities, and enjoy and sometimes help prepare traditional and wholesome farm-to-fork recipes honored by the host family for generations. Agriturismi are scattered throughout the Italian countryside and can offer travelers a wonderful break from the jam-packed chaotic urban tours of Florence, Venice, and Rome. Farm accommodations are always comfortable and sanitary, as there are strict standards for a farm to obtain permission to host...

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I Sognatori

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 | 0 comments

I Sognatori

After sampling a variety of delicious Barbera wines at Alba’s Saturday Farmer’s Market, Marcos and I decided it was about time to find some good food to soak up all of the hearty red wine. We asked the wine vendor if she knew of a good place that served traditional fare, to which she immediately replied with enthusiasm, “I Sognatori (The Dreamers), right over there!” We walked about a block to find an unassuming pink corner restaurant with grapevines twirling around the awning. The interior decor was filled with old, slightly dusty wooden furniture and gentle natural lighting. We...

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The elusive truffle

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 | 0 comments

The elusive truffle

With a pungent earthy and garlicky flavor and aroma, the white truffle, also known as the alba madonna, is so celebrated in haute cuisine kitchens worldwide that chefs are willing to shell out as much as $10,000 dollars per pound–making it the second most expensive food in the world, only surpassed by edible gold leaf. While attempts to cultivate French black truffles have been successful (although difficult), efforts to cultivate Italian white truffles–which are found primarily in the Langhe region of Piedmont, Italy–have failed, making them truly unique to the soil of this...

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