Cucina Conversations: castagnaccio for Ognissanti

That time of year is upon us again. It’s the season Giacomo Castelvetro, Inquisition refugee and author of the 1614 manuscript The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy, described as per la bocca (‘for tasting’)….


Cucina Conversations: Italian cuisine, a new blogging roundtable and Sicilian grape must pudding

I had quite the epiphany a couple of years ago when I first read John Dickie’s highly readable account of Italian food and culinary history, Delizia. In the book’s second chapter, after describing Palermo’s totemic…


Amatriciana for Amatrice: a recipe and how to support the earthquake relief efforts

The almost eerie perfection of the Baroque reconstruction in Sicily’s Val di Noto. The twelfth century church three metres below street level in the same island’s port city of Messina. The ghost town of Romagnano…


Snapshots from a Summer Holiday: Siena, Bolsena, Orvieto and Pitigliano

In Italy, the month of August means three things: intense, unrelenting heat; putting chiuso per ferie (‘closed for holidays’) signs on the doors of shops and small businesses because it’s impossible to work; and, escaping to a…


Rice-stuffed tomatoes and forgotten Italian foodways: an interview with Karima Moyer-Nocchi

Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for food. Few things make me happier than when I’m chopping vegetables, stirring a risotto or kneading dough in my kitchen. I’m always looking for new things to…


Gelato al fior di latte

It’s that time of year again. There’s no breeze and all that cobblestone and concrete are conspiring to retain the heat, day in, day out. With no relief from the scorching temperatures, all I want…


Bagnet verd (Piedmontese green sauce)

I have a confession to make. Unless I’m baking or recipe-testing for this blog, I don’t always take out my kitchen scales to check how much an ingredient weighs. And I don’t think I am…


Farinata and other food myths

Marco Polo discovered pasta at Kublai Khan’s court in China and brought it back to Europe. Catherine de Medici brought forks, artichokes, peas, asparagus, broccoli, truffles and sorbets to France and changed the way her…


My Kitchen Shelf: Giuseppe Chioni’s Arte culinaria

After Italy’s defeat at Caporetto by the German and Austro-Hungarian armies in October 1917, over three hundred thousand Italian soldiers were taken prisoner. The Italian government and military forces, embarrassed by how easily the weaknesses…