Bora, the cold, northerly wind that blows from the the northeast onto the Adriatic regions of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia moves downward from the mountains with clusters of clouds and gusts of wind that can reach from 120 -200 km/h. Chains and ropes are occasionally stretched along the sidewalks in downtown Trieste for pedestrians to hang on to lest they be blown away.
Carlo Moretti, one of Venice’s most innovative and unique glassblowers, was inspired by the windy gusts of the Adriatic to create Bora, a series of distinctively designed hand-blown Venetian glass tumblers. Their bold appearance and irregular oval shape comes in a windswept color-blocked collection. Beautiful and essential, their stylized designs are a magical combination for water, cocktails or a soft drink.
Black and Decker was the inventor of the first pistol grip, trigger-switch portable electric drill, the first motion activated screwdriver and in 1916 changed the world by obtaining the first patent for a portable power tool. Their impressive wealth of industry expertise has probably helped you build and repair your home or car, manufacture the office building where you work and tidied up your yard. But I’m thinking more about hardware power in the kitchen specifically a kitchen appliance used to make the classic Italian granita.
The Italian granita is a semi-frozen crunchy mound of flavored ice brought to America by Italian immigrants. Common and traditional flavoring ingredients include lemon juice, mandarin oranges, jasmine, coffee, almonds, mint, strawberries and chocolate. Originally born in Sicily this refined version of the snowcone spread all over Italy, found at street fairs and Italian pasticceria. Today granitas are not only served as a dessert but between courses to refresh the palate or as condiments for savory dishes. New flavor combinations infuse ice with everything from lemon verbena to beet root and are likely to be found not only as an after dinner sweet but as an accompaniment from sushi to soups.
Black and Decker’s PartyMate Portable Drink Maker isn’t the only method for creating a delicious granita. You can make a granita with 3-inch x 9-inch baking dish and your home freezer. Granita will definitely be on my “things to make” list this summer. I’ve got a great bottle of balsamic and my tarragon and rosemary are looking for a new flavor partner.
You may be tempted to substitute bacon in recipes that call for pancetta but don’t. Some of Italy’s most iconic dishes use pancetta and rely on this Italian native ingredient and its big brother guanciale (Italian salt-cured pork jowl) to add an authentic depth of flavor. Neither translate into bacon.
from American bacon in the meat seasoning and curing methods. Bacon is brined, smoked pork belly, pancetta is dried pork belly treated with salt, pepper, nutmeg and culinary spices for flavor and curing. As pancetta ages (over a period of 2-3 months) it develops the true cured pork taste. In the market, pancetta is usually sold rolled like a sausage. Americans are all about the deep smoky flavor of bacon while Italians appreciate the purer pork flavor of pancetta.
The bottom line is that bacon is not a substitute for pancetta. Nothing can match the flavor and taste of true Italian pancetta. So when you find it buy enough. Pancetta can be preserved for several months in the refrigerator and kept in the freezer. Pancetta freezes best in 1- to 2-inch-thick slices that you can cut into smaller pieces while still frozen.
Everyone’s Italian on St. Patrick’s Day. My Irish friends may disagree but it goes something like this. The food traditions of Italy began with the ancient Etruscans, a pre-Roman civilization that apparently liked to eat and eat well. Archeological remains of clay pots, bronze cooking vessels and cheese graters may have established the Etruscans as the original “foodies”.
Enter the Irish. Celtic tribes from central Europe, hearing of the well laid tables of the Etruscans, were attracted to the region of Eturia (now known as Italy). Around 350BC the Celts built a settlement alongside an Etruscan village near Monterenzio (BO) and began to invite themselves over for dinner. So began a Celtic-Italian fusion that inspired me to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day “wearin’ the green”, white and red colors of Il Tricolore, the Italian flag.
Cama Deruta was an Artisans’ Cooperative in Deurta in Umbria that specialized in the art of majolica, a glazed type of pottery often associated with certain regions of Italy. The name majolica comes from the Spanish island of Majorca in the western Mediterranean, the port from which majolica originally was traded.
In the 1990’s Cama Deruta set the trend for Italian Renaissance majolica designs that were to become chic sought after accessories sold in the best retail stops in the United States. The workshop was officially closed in 2011 but during its existence the artisan cooperative produced some of the finest and most historically accurate majolica designs in all of Italy.
So much so that their tableware was featured in cookbooks such as Starbuck’s “Passion for Coffee” and in the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) ( look for the cup in the scene in which Sally Field is drinking her cappuccino). The cup was painted by majolica artist Renato Niccacci in the Siena pattern , a design that emphasizes the colors and details of the marble tiles found in the cathedral in Siena Italy.
Italian artist Giuseppe Colarusso takes everyday objects and makes them into things that appear impossible. His collection Improbabilita asks you think outside of the box, way outside the box. Strange and quirky – usual items become highly unusual through his photo manipulated mind’s eye.
He combines incongruous parts and pieces that seem unlikely to go together yet are artistically appealing. From an interlocking trio of Euros to a canned espresso.
I’ve eaten my way through most of Italy with my Italian cousins and friends and tasted some of Italy’s most renowned condiments but if you ask me what OTC (over the counter) food I like the best that I can find there but not here I would have to say Calvé ketchup. Maybe you haven’t heard of it but there is a loyal ketchup following that declares Calvé to be the best ketchup in the world. Less expensive brands may be cheaper but the taste can’t be compared.
The Calvé Brand was founded in 1897 by Dutch entrepreneur Mr. Van Marken and brought to the tables of Italians in the early 1940’s. Today the Calvé brand is part of the multinational Unilever company but that doesn’t change the original principles and natural ingredients used in the making that give so much pleasure to ketchup lovers worldwide. Made from extra juicy, sun-ripened tomatoes; 7-9 are used to make one bottle of ketchup. A touch of lemon juice and white pepper are added for a zingy flavor that separates it from the rest. The top down squeezable bottle allows for proper dosage on almost anything you want to put it on.