Sweets

The Wonderful Foods of Italy

There is a lot to say about the food of Italy and its all good. Except for very touristy places, the food is fresh, well prepared and delicious. Italians love their food and so does the rest of the world. You may think you know Italian cooking because you eat in Italian restaurants in England or America or your parents were Italian but it is not the same as what is served in Italy.

Italy’s restaurants serve local fresh foods usually organic. The dishes are simple but extremely tasty. It may be a simply cooked meat or fish over a grill fire or a pasta cooked al dente with a wonderful sauce or fresh vegetables. You can eat well in any non touristy ristorante or Trattoria. These places pride themselves in the food they prepare and serve.

Come with us as we talk about the different foods around Italy. It is not just pasta and pizza. Our YouTube video below explores these wonderful foods.

 

– George J Febish

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Bars, Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Cave Restaurant, Cheese, cornetto, Dolce, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Florence, Food, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Grotta Palazzese, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lemoncello, Limoncello, Marina Casal Velino, Naples, Palinuro, Pasta, Pastry, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Pizza, Positano, Prosecco, Puglia, Regions of Italy, Risotto, Ristorante, San Gimignano, Southern Italy, Sweets, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Truffles, Umbria, Vegetables, VLOG, White Truffles, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fast Food when you Travel? Really?

International Cuisine is not fast food!. Many travelers look for McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and other American fast food chains when they travel. 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

Fruits & vegetables in these countries are so fresh and ripe. You can smell them and the taste is so delicious. Fish is wild caught and meats are raised and fed properly. Everything tastes great the way it was intended to taste.

In addition to the raw ingredients, the recipes are old and delicious. In Italy you don’t find heavy sauces or a dish with 17 different ingredients. Dishes are simple and stand on the taste of the one or two main ingredients.

I suggest that you try different things when traveling in Italy. Even if you don’t think you like it. This is how you expand your taste buds. There is no better place in the world to do this than Italy.

My memories are of the bread, coffee, gelato, pasta, pastries, pizza, fish, truffles, buffalo mozzarella and wine of Italy.

Mangia … Mangia!

George

 

Categories: Bread, Buffalo Mozzarella, Coffee, Espresso, Europe, Fast Food, Fish, Food, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Pasta, Pastry, Pizza, Sweets, Truffles, White Truffles, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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

Cafè and Vino

Vino or wine in Italy is special. Most Italians drink cafè and vino. They are universal drinks in Italy. Cafè is pretty much the same all over Italy. Coffee beans are fresh and roasted to perfection. The people making the cafè are highly trained individuals. You go to a bar to get your cafè and maybe something sweet to eat with it.

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Vino is different in different parts of Italy. Italy  has many world-class wines like Brunello and Chianti. Their Brunello stands up to the top wines in France or California. It is expensive even in Italy so it is not consumed by most people at the dinner table. Italy has local wines by region. You can find both red and white, dry and sweet varieties. Some are bottled and others are only available in bulk to consumers. Bulk wines are poured from a large cask into what ever vessels the consumer has. They range from water bottles to glass or ceramic pitchers.

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Going to restaurants in Italy yields a large selection of wines in bottles and local wines that are served in 1 liter and 1/2 liter pitchers. These wines are usually very good. Italians pride themselves on their wines. The next time in Italy try a 1/2 liter of a local wine. These will vary greatly by region and city within Italy. You could spend a life time sampling all the different local wines throughout Italy. Enjoy …

George

 

Categories: Bars, Cafè, Ceramics, Europe, Italy, Sweets, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coffee in Italy

Coffee or caffè in Italy is a way of life. It is not guzzled in gallon sized mugs but sipped in small demitasse cups. It is what we call espresso. Italians love their caffè because it is not just a drink but a social activity. You meet friends and colleagues on the way to work and have a caffè. Their caffè is never bitter but it is strong and delicious. It is always drunk hot and quickly in a few sips.

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Cafe Machine

Caffè is purchased at a bar. This is where Italians eat breakfast. Breakfast is a caffè and a pastry like a cornetto (croissant).

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Cornetto

This breakfast is fast and light. It is not as sweet as our pastries. It is not about sugar but taste. You never sit and drink 5 caffè in a row. You drink one and may return later for another and to meet a different set of friends.

I was doing consulting in Milan many years ago. I was working for a division of Olivetti. We met a 8 am to start our meeting. I put a schedule of what we wanted to achieve on the board. It took about half an hour. Then the president of the subdivision said, Let’s go to the bar! I thought, WOW they want to go to the bar at 8:30 in the morning? What I soon learned is that the bar is where you eat breakfast and more importantly get caffè. I was learning and enjoying life in Italy.

I never worry about getting breakfast with my hotel room. I know there is a bar on just about every corner. I can get the most delicious and light pastry and a great cup of caffè.

OK you want a big cup of coffee not so strong. No problem! You just ask for Caffè Americano. Cappuccino is very popular all over the world but no Italian would dream of ordering it after 11 am. There are Caffè coffee rules to be followed in Italy. There are also many types, with associated names, of coffee. My favorite name is Caffè Corretto (Coffee corrected – with liquor).

When in Italy go to a bar and have breakfast or lunch or gelato. It is not like bars elsewhere. They are family oriented and fun. I remember arriving in Rome one afternoon. I was tired and heading up the elevator of my hotel with my luggage. Two older American women got on with me. The one looked at me and asked, Are you American? I replied affirmative. They then asked where they could get something to eat before 7:30 pm. I said in Rome most places do not open until after 7:30. I suggested going to a bar. The one lady gave me a very stern look and said, Sonny, I have never been to a bar and I won’t start now. I had a good laugh and had to think, How unfortunately for them. They would never experience the simple delicious meals at a bar. Oh well you can not help everyone!

George

I will continue to do this BLOG while Jo Anne does her’s on southern Italy BLOG.

Categories: Bars, Cafè, Coffee, cornetto, Europe, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Pastry, Sweets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Home in Velina Italy

The drive south from Florence to Velina takes about 6.5 hours. We drove past Rome, Naples, Salerno and Agropoli. South of Naples you pass to the east of Mount Vesuvius. It is always humbling being close to such a large active volcano. As we exited the Autostrada at Battipaglia (south of Salerno on the A3) you know you are in Buffalo Mozzarella country, You can see buffaloes grazing and every other stores sells the rich mozzarella. In this area is also the ancient Greek ruins at Paestum.

This area of Italy is very mountainous. You know there were violent times here in the past. Today it makes for beautiful Italian countryside. We exit at Vallo Scalo and head to nearby Velina. Velina sits in a valley between high mountains and the sea.

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The mountain peak above is Mount Stella. The view differs each day as rainbows appear and clouds come and go. The food here is mainly fresh seafood.

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Even eating at home on our deck overlooking the mountains and sea is fun and delicious.

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Life here is slow and beaches are clean. One only has to shop the local stores for vegetables, seafood, pastries, wine and bread. Each shop specializes in what they make. You don’t need big refrigerators because you buy fresh each day. There is hardly any frozen items so a freezer is to make ice.

Tomorrow and next week we will visit many small towns and beaches in this area we call home.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Bread, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Driving in Italy, Europe, Italy, Mount Vesuvious, Paestum, Romance, Southern Italy, Sweets, Velina, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Italy Anew

We are back from nearly a month in Italy. We spent a week Plus in Tuscany and two weeks plus at our home in Campania. In Campania we visited several old mountain and beach towns. Some we had already been too and others were new.

Let’s start in Tuscany. Our first stop was Perugia. This is chocolate town in Italy. It is the home of Perugina chocolates. The town is ancient with very small roads that barely permit a car to pass. We used GPS to navigate to our hotel, Fortuna. Getting into the old section was easy but we were on a one way street an a giant cylinder blocked are way.

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After some difficulty we discovered a button that calls the hotel on the wall. After identifying ourselves, the cylinder was lowered so we could drive very carefully down this small narrow street. After unloading the luggage and checking in, we had to move the car to a parking lot. We chose to go to a lot outside the old city. The trip back and lowering the cylinder was easy. Next we turned onto an even narrower street. From here we had to make an impossible left turn on a street that we had to move the mirrors in to fit. At this point we were ready for some wine! Lots of wine …

We got the car down to the parking area and took several sets of underground escalators back up to the old city. Like many Italian towns there was a large and small piazza. The small one had an incredible view out over the hills of Tuscany.

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Perugia is a series of very small roads (paths) off each Piazza.

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Finally after touring Perugia and eating some chocolate we found an outdoor cafe in the piazza for some much need wine.

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You are calm and feel good in Perugia (other than the initial driving). We had excellent free wifi at our hotel and a wonderful breakfast.

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You are part of an ancient medieval scene. Enjoy … Tomorrow we will take you to Assisi.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Assisi, Cafè, Campania, General Travel, GPS, Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Sweets, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our Top Ten things to Eat in Italy

Italy is all about food! Each region has its specialties. Don’t miss out on any of it. The north is about truffles, Tuscany is all about meat, Naples is about pasta and pizza and the south is about fish and seafood. Try local wines with whatever you eat. Italian food in Italy is very different (much better) than Italian food in America. It is fresher, no GMOs, cooked to perfection and slightly seasoned (never with heavy sauces). Fetticini Alfredo is not Italian! It was invented by a Roman for Americans. You can find it in Italy in tourist restaurants but most Italians would never eat it.

Here are our top ten foods:

  1. White Truffles – In the north around the Alba area you get this wonderful treat. It is available in the fall. It is served on eggs, veal, pasta and pizza.
  2. Pizza – In the north (Milan) it is Pizza Quattro Stagioni (4 seasons) and in the south it is Pizza Margarita (preferably from Naples).
  3. Pasta – All types with simple red sauce to fish or vegetables. Done Al Dente and flavorful. Risotto is a wonderful Italian rice dish mostly done in the north.
  4. Fresh Fish & Seafood – Especially in the south. It is locally caught and served hours (not days or weeks after it is caught and never frozen). Shell fish is especially great in Italy. Mussels, clams, calamari, octopus, etc. Clams in the south are tiny but so flavorful.
  5. Vitello Milanese – Veal Milan style. When George was a meat eater, he loved this dish. It is a pounded flat cutlet with a bone in one end. Fried lightly.
  6. Happy Hour – In bars all around Italy you have a happy hour in the early evening. You order a drink and they serve you small plates of food for free. Italians do not like to drink without eating something. Each bar has different dishes.
  7. Gelato – Everyone reading this BLOG knows our love of Gelato. A more flavorful, less fat filled ice cream served soft. There are so many flavors you will have to make more trips to Italy to try all of them. Every town has Gelato shops.
  8. Chocolate – Italian chocolate comes in dark and milk but is much less sweet and more flavorful than our chocolates. You can find small shops in each town that make the chocolate right there. It is not commercialized. Try it plain, with fruit or nuts.
  9. Bread – Italian bread is every bit as good as French bread. They use whole grain non GMO flours and bake it to perfection in a very hot oven. It comes out soft on the inside but hard and crispy on the outside.
  10. Pastries – Italian pastries like French pastries are made with real ingredients and butter (never substitutes). The result is flaky crispy crusts with fresh fruits or nuts.

Experience Italian food in non tourist restaurants with a glass of local wine. Don’t eat desert in the restaurant but walk a little and find a pastry shop or Gelato shop and enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Chocolate, Dolce, Europe, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Pastry, Pizza, Risotto, Sweets, Truffles, White Truffles, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Favorite Things we Love about Italy

Italy has so many things to love and be enjoyed. It has been the number one place many people want to go or have gone. It is a land of romance, beauty and healthy good food. It is a country that actually likes Americans. When you put it all together, what place could be better to spend your vacation?

We enjoy getting into the culture. We always meet new local people in our travels. We try the local foods and wines. We feel relaxed and happy when in Italy. Here are some of our favorite things to do:

  1. Meet and watch the local people. You can learn so much about a country that way.
  2. Eat local foods at non touristy restaurants. A Trattoria is our favorite place to eat but we also enjoy a good Enoteca.
  3. Gelato!!! Eat all you can get while in Italy. It is less fat than normal ice cream but tastes so much better.
  4. Drink the wine. Italians enjoy their wines. They don’t get drunk but enjoy a glass or two with dinner or at happy hour with the free food that is served.
  5. Swim at the beaches! We love the southern Italy beaches that are sandy (not the rocky ones). These are among the cleanest and nicest beaches in the world.
  6. Visit the big cities and major attractions but get out into the Italian countryside and visit small towns and mountain towns.
  7. Stay at small family run hotels, B&Bs or a Agriturismo.
  8. Eat the great crusty Italian bread and pastries. They are less sweet than our sweets but so flavorful.
  9. No trip to Italy is complete without COFFEE! Italians love their coffee (espresso).
  10. If you happen to be lucky enough to be in northern Italy in the fall … Eat the white truffles. These are unique to Italy. Other countries have the less flavorful black truffles but not the white ones.

If this appeals to you, visit Italy soon. Be happy! Be Romantic!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Agriturismo, B&Bs, Coffee, Enoteca, Espresso, Europe, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italy, Mountain Towns, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Sweets, Truffles, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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