Cooking

Firenze (Florence) Italy

We love Firenze! It is a big and beautiful city. It is Italy. It is the capital of art and architecture in Italy. From the duomo to the ponte vecchio to the views this is an interesting city.

Stop at a bar or small restaurant and enjoy life as it passes by you. Have a cafè, panini, gelato or a glass of wine as you observe life.

Come and walk with us in Firenze in our video below and see this wonderful city…

– George

Categories: Church, Cooking, David, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Museums, Panini, Ponte Vecchio, Ristorante, Romance, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Florence, Italy

Florence is truly a city of art, beauty and intellect located in the Tuscany region of Italy. The Banking family, the Medici’s, Brought Florence, Italy and the rest of Europe out of the dark ages and into the Renaissance (14-17 century). This was the enlightened period of Michelangelo, da Vinci, Brunelleschi (architect), Raphael and many more. Humanitarianism, science, business and art prospered during this period.

Today you can see the architecture and art of Florence from that period. The beautiful Duomo with its baptistry and the famous Bronze doors created by Andrea Pisano. The works preserved in the Uffizi Museum are a must see.  The works of Michelangelo, including the beautiful statue of David, in the Galleria dell’Accademia is a must see as well. No visit to Florence is complete without a walk over the Ponte Vecchio.

This is a city with wonderful food, huge markets, more museums than you can visit and wonderful views. Come walk around Florence with us in our YouTube VLOG below. Click on the Play button below and visit Florence. See its wonders and plan a trip to Italy.

Be romantic and enjoy happy travels…

-George

 

Categories: Brunelleschi, Church, Cooking, David, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Galleria dell'Accademia, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, Medici, Michelangelo, Museums, Planning a vacation, Ponte Vecchio, Raphael, Romance, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alberobello, Puglia, Italy

Alberobello is the best known and most touristy of the Trulli home cities. There is a large section that consists only of Trulli homes. The city is divided into two parts: 1) the main part of the city with its white buildings and the cathedral and 2) the Trulli section. The city is walkable as is the Trulli area. The Trulli area consists of small narrow streets that are pedestrian and moped only. This is a fairytale land worth spending time in.

Come see this enchanted city and walk with us through the Trulli homes. If you enjoy these VLOGs, please like it on YouTube and subscribe.

– George Febish

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Alberobello, Bari, Cooking, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Puglia, Shopping, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Italy and Health

Italy has one of the world’s most efficient healthcare systems. The World Health Organization  rates countries on their over all health. Italy’s healthcare system focuses on exercise, happiness and healthy food rather than drugs. The people of this country eat well and eat fresh organic produce that is grown or farmed near their own home. Fruit is seldom shipped but picked locally at the height of freshness and nutrients. It tastes better and is healthier for you.

The Healthiest Countries in the World

1. Singapore
2. Italy
3. Australia
4. Switzerland
5. Japan
6. Israel
7. Spain
8. Netherlands
9. Sweden
10. Germany

The Least Healthiest Countries in the World
1. Swaziland
2. Lesotho
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
4. Chad
5. Mozambique
6. Burundi
7. Malawi
8. Angola
9. Uganda
10. Cameroon

The USA was rated 33 on the least healthiest countries in the world.

We should take a lesson on this from Italy. Not only is it a country on everyone bucket list but it gives us a great example how to live a happy and healthy life.

George

 

Categories: Cafè, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Fruit, General Travel, Health, Healthcare, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Ristorante, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Vegetables, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Reasons I Love Italy

Italy has a special place in my heart. I am not Italian but I did a lot of work there. I gained a respect and a love for the country, the people, the food and the wine. Italians seem happy with there life. They know what is important. Their families, their life , their food & wine are all very important to them. They have to work but it is not a important part of their lives. Walk any Italian city (big or small) and you will see the elderly and the young walking. They enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. They love their cooking especially mamma’s cooking. Their coffee, wine, gelato and bread are a tradition to them. You can here them argue about how good or bad the pasta is at a restaurant. It will never be mamma’s pasta.IMG_3189
                                                                                                                      IMG_2823 IMG_2822

As I walk through a city, I smell the cooking. I see the people outside all around me. I hear the language and the passion with which it is spoken. This is the Italy I so love. People are very friendly here. Just say Buon Giorno to a stranger and watch the smile appear and you will get a Buon Giorno back. If you are trying to speak the language remember there are informal and polite forms of speaking. The young are becoming less formal but the elderly still require a stranger to speak formally.

  • Come Sta – How are you (formal)
  • Come Stai – How are you (informal)
  • Ciao – Hello (informal)
  • Buon Giorno – Hello (Literally Good Morning – Formal)

Be respectful, smile and enjoy all that your senses are experiencing. I even enjoy seeing Italian laundry out to dry. No I don’t have a laundry fetish! I enjoy the colors and shapes against a backdrop of old buildings. It is one of my favorite photo op. In Italy you can buy a dryer but most people prefer the clean scent of drying their clothes outside.

IMG_3663

In the morning I enjoy being in the local bar for coffee and a cornetto. You are submerged in a group of Italians, all talking and quickly drinking their coffee and eating a small cake or cornetto.

sfogliatella IMG_2059

Cornetto

As you leave after breakfast, you are again engulfed in Italian life on the streets. Listen and watch how they talk and communicate with each other. Enjoy the scooters speeding by you. Take in the smells as you pass a restaurant. Later stop in a bar, pizzeria or trattoria for lunch. Bars are famous for eating standing up. It costs more to take a table. You will see Italians eating Panini (sandwiches) and drinking a beer or glass of wine. Between about 2 pm and 4 pm watch the Italian Passeggiata (walk). Families and friends stroll together to enjoy each others company.

Vino Volo IMG_2067 IMG_3057IMG_2985IMG_3178IMG_3122pizza

After your afternoon walking or visiting museums, look for a large piazza. Life really explodes in the Italian piazzas. You will find lots of bars and restaurants here as well. Pick a non touristy place for dinner. I always look for one with mostly Italians and few or no foreigners. You will have to eat late to see Italians as no one eats dinner early in Italy.

D4 - IMG_0185 IMG_1834 IMG_1832

Evening is my favorite time to walk, watch and have a gelato.

IMG_2071 Nocciola Gelato

Life here is much less stressful. Enjoy what you have and what you are. Be Italian for a short while.

George

 

Categories: Bars, Beer, Bread, Coffee, Cooking, cornetto, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italian language, Italy, Pizza, Trottoria, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tartufo Bianco

White truffles are a treasure from the Piedmont area of Italy. They are known for their therapeutic an aphrodisiac properties derived from the god Jupiter. In the Middle Ages, the discovery of white truffles was associated with the dance of witches. It was not until 1831 that the botanist Carlo Vittadini scientifically described and classified truffles in his book, Monographia tuberacearum. Alba is the best known city for these delicacies. Until you have eaten a white truffle you have not lived. No, you don’t eaten them by themselves but they are shaved or grated on eggs, pasta, risotto, meats, etc. They add flavor to a dish as a spice would. They are the second most expensive food in the world. Saffron is the most expensive by weight. Thank God you only need a small one and they do not weigh much.

To get one Fed Ex’ed to America will cost you around $100. They will last for a few days to a week at most. Italians use them on their dishes while they are fresh and store them in a jar full of risotto rice. The rice will eventually rob the truffle of its flavor. The good news is you now have a wonderful flavored rice to make risotto from.

Many countries, including America has tried to grow these wonders without much success. They grow like a mushroom on the roots of special Oak Trees. Since they are underground they are hard to find. Italians have used pigs to find them but pigs love them and usually win the fight. They now use special trained dogs to find them The dogs will not eat them leaving the farmer with his treasures.

Black truffles grow in more places and are the truffle used most in France. The white truffle is stronger and more of a treasure. To a person that has never tasted one, the smell is not a pleasant one. After you have eaten them the smell becomes an attraction. Don’t let your nose spoil a wonderful dish for you. Manga il tartufo bianco!

George

 

Categories: Alba, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Truffles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pizza … Pizza

There is no denying it … Pizza is BIG in Italy! In the north you get different cheeses and prosciutto, in the south you have Naples style Margarita pizza. New York style thin crust is really Naples style pizza. Where we live in Campania, it is all about Naples style pizza. It is very thin, very tasty and they use buffalo mozzarella for the cheese. It is very delicious. They don’t usually sell it by the slice but in pies that are designed to be a large personal pizza.

Naples Pizza pizza

Neapolitan Pizza

Pizza in a real Italian restaurant is not sliced for you. You eat it with a fork (forchetta) and knife (coltello). Of course in Italy, you have your pizza with a good glass of red wine. Pizzas are typically done in fired ovens to make them crispy.

Jo Anne and I make pizza at home. It is the Neapolitan style of pizza but sometimes with different toppings. We use a pizza stone and an oven at 525 degrees F. The pizza crust gets crisper than in Italy but we like it that way. Pizza shouldn’t be loaded with cheese! I think we do that in America because the tastes are bland and cheese is a comfort food. In Italy you can actually taste the sauce and basil. You can even smell it as it is presented to you. It tastes so good you don’t want to over ride the flavors with too much cheese.

Mangia mangia…

George

 

Categories: Campania, Cooking, Europe, Food, Italy, Naples, Pizza, Southern Italy, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

International Cuisine … Really?

I once saw a show on Cyprus last night that was talking about all the international visitors that went there. It then said it had an international cuisine and showed McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and several other American fast food chains. I have news for you, Fast Food is NOT cuisine! If you go to a foreign country and eat American Fast Food, you are missing out on the true gems of that country. Countries like Italy have unbelievably good food. It is NOT the same as Italian food in America. It is soooo much better. Go, see, experience and enjoy the food and wine.

American Fast Food

I know burgers are important to you but give them up for one vacation and give your taste buds a break. Taste real food made from fresh organic ingredients and prepared perfectly. Caution: DO NOT EAT IN TOURISTY PLACES! Instead seek out real local restaurants that have locals eating in them and enjoy a meal. Here are some food from Italy that will delight your taste buds.

George

 

Categories: Buffalo Mozzarella, Cooking, cornetto, Dolce, Europe, Fast Food, Food, General Travel, Italy, Pasta, Pastry, Pizza, Risotto, Sweets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Continuing to Love Italy

As the years went on and I spent more time in Italy, I fell more in love with the country, the people and the food. This was a very unique place. The Italians had figured out what everyone else was missing! Life was important. Yes they had to work but work was not driving them. Food, family and friends drove them. Life was to be lived and enjoyed. It was not about money or power but about social living.

Most areas of Italy have a custom of walking after the mid day meal. It is done with family or friends. The bar scene in Italy is a social setting to meet friends and discuss events of politics and sports. Italians are passionate about everything they do. You can see this passion in the way they talk with their hands moving. You will hear loud voices but seldom see real fights. It is passion.

Over the years I got to know Rome and north to the lakes very well. Most of my time was spent in Milan with a day trip or overnighter to another city. I got to see Italy in many different places. The food changed but was always fresh and delicious. In Italy it is not about the sauces or spices but about the taste of each item you are eating. A lot of thought went into how to prepare each item and which items can be placed on a plate together. Recipes are centuries old and passed down within the family.

I did not get to venture south of Rome until I met and married Jo Anne. That is when we developed a new awareness and love of southern Italy.

George

 

Categories: Bars, Cooking, Customs, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food in Italy

Italy is known for its food but why is it different from Italian food in other countries? The main difference is it is:

  • Organic
  • Fresh
  • Simple
  • Tasteful
  • Prepared properly

Most countries have Italian restaurants. The pasta is usually prepared over cooked not al dente. The dishes mix many different ingredients and tastes. We associate certain dishes with Italian but they are not. Spaghetti and meatballs is in every restaurant in America but it is not Italian! Italians do not serve this (except in tourist restaurants to please tourists). They do serve spaghetti and later will serve meatballs but not together.

Just observe Italian life. It is simple and fresh. People in Italy do not buy frozen or prepared foods. They shop each day for that day or maybe the next. Vegetables and fruits are fresh out of the Earth, meats are organic and fresh from local farms, fish is just caught in the sea and breads and pastas are made fresh. This is what makes real Italian food so good and so different from what we expect.

When you go to Italy, order the local dishes and wine. Stop and taste the flavors. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite. Take a piece of crusty bread without butter or oil. Taste the freshness of the bread. Experience the crusty texture of the crust. This is eating Italian.

OK you like sweets. Taste the Italian pastry, gelato and candy. It is not as sweet as sweets in other countries. It is tasty. Enjoy what you eat slowly. Each bite is an experience. Avoid tourist restaurants and please do NOT eat American Fast Food in Italy! Your taste buds deserve to be treated to a real experience.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Bread, Chocolate, Cooking, Dolce, Eating Italian, Europe, Fast Food, Food, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Sweets, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: