Letizia Mattiacci

In the spring, life is sweet in Umbria. Wild daisies and blackthorn blossoms make their appearance along the country roads. Purple clouds of wisteria and rosemary come alive on walls and trellises. After a long and often rainy winter, the …

In medieval mythology there is a land named Cockaigne (Cuccagna in Italian), which is an imaginary place of  pleasure and plenty where the harshness of peasant life does not exist. In Cuccagna, the mountains are made of gold, silver or …

Artichokes, named carciofi in Italy, are edible flowers belonging to the thistle family. They are as iconic of Italy as the Colosseum, the cliffs of Positano, pizza and – of course – a ride in a FIAT 500. To my …

While common beans originally come from the Americas, broad beans (fava) have been a staple of European cuisine for thousands of years. In addition to their importance as a food crop, fava beans were considered sacred in ancient Greece and …

I consider myself privileged, as in my family we had the best of two worlds in terms of food. I was born and raised in Umbria, a region famous for superb quality ingredients such as olive oil, truffle, fabulous prosciutto …

Easter is connected with the rites of re-birth and fertility which, in ancient times, were celebrated around the Spring equinox. In my hometown of Perugia, we celebrate Easter with a rustic cake called Ciaramicola. In the past, young women made …

Farro is now trendy because of its health benefits, but here in Umbria it’s been a staple for over 2000 years. In ancient Rome, farro flour was the ingredient of choice to make puls, a sort of porridge served with …

Together with artichokes, zucchini flowers are considered to be a great delicacy in Italy and are used in a variety of dishes. They are especially wonderful served fried or baked as an appetizer. If you have your own vegetable garden, …

I feel fortunate to have experienced a completely different way of life in Italy. I was a child in the late 1960s, when many Umbrian villagers still didn’t have home ovens and took their bread to the bakery for cooking. …

I could become vegetarian any moment of my life, save for a few foods which I passionately like. My mom’s stuffed involtini rolls, a slice of well-aged prosciutto di Norcia and our family’s cotolette served with a green salad and …