Food

I was born and I grew up in one of the most picturesque corners of rural Italy. Up north, tucked away at the feet of the Alps, hills were my childhood home, mountains the first thing I’d see in 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 …

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. …

Does your town have a patron saint? My hometown, Perugia is well protected from evil, as we have three: San Lorenzo, Sant’Ercolano and San Costanzo. San Lorenzo is the most famous. One of the Seven Deacons of Rome, and therefore …

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 …

The sartù di  riso  is one of Naples’ traditional dishes for Christmas: it’s a deliciously rich mix of rice, meat, cheeses and peas, baked and served in slices. As it often happens in our cuisine,  the  sartù has an interesting …

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 …

Italy has a rich and diverse culture of bread which is not limited to pizza and focaccia or to the tasteless rolls on offer at your average trattoria. Most breads are unique to each region and sometime seasonal. Sardinia offers …

If we were to find a good Cinderella story in the world of spirits (of the liquid sort), grappa might just be the one the slipper fits. Thought of for centuries as the poor man’s drink, the 20th century has …