A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Bella Italia & Culinary Passion

The way to man’s heart & soul is through his stomach

large_20091101_P..Redibis_web.jpg

Very likely my eternal love affair with Italy deepened through the food. Although, food is too shallow a term. It is treat, indulgence, pleasure, passion, enjoyment. Italian restaurants are all over the world, also in my neck of the woods. I like them and have lunch or dinner with friends on a regular base. Pizza and pasta. Or so.

But…. It was not before my regular travels through Italy since 2008 that I became addicted to what I now call “real” Italian dishes. During these travels, I learned that it is more than pizza and pasta, and how much of a variety the whole country has to offer. Discovering new dishes, new ingredients, new restaurants or snack bars – discovering anything around food and produces became my passion since then. In Bevagna restaurant Redibis’s chief maitre Paolo Gentile even taught me a new word: commovente. It means moving, touching and one would wonder why such a term is being used in context to food. But … that is exactly what I mean with indulging the dishes – finding the ones is moving. I learned it in exactly this restaurant, Redibis, when I ordered their coffee cream: the moment I tasted it my taste buds experienced a culinary explosion – and I had tears in my eyes. It was so good!

So this will be a blog about the magic results Italian cooks perform, be it restaurant chefs or family cooks and their delicious creations, the ones who dedicate their life to the passion for food and produces and about the grandeur of enjoying any Italian meal. It will be about caffè, drinks, local specialities and in between about restaurants I had the privilege and pleasure to have had my meal there.

(And to tell you a secret: it is also for me, to survive the time until I am back, for the next time or forever)

Posted by Trekki 10:52 Archived in Italy Tagged food italy Comments (7)

Il caffè

An Italian Institution

large_20091104_P..nza_Picardi.jpg

There is no word to describe Italia’s thick dark brown life giving liquid properly. Except maybe that it is pure heaven. It might even represent Italia better than churches, festivals, artists or pasta, pizza and all the other delicious food – il caffè is famous throughout whole Italia. Although to my experience it can only taste real in Italia. So far I didn’t find any caffè bar outside of Italia where they served it the way it is served in the country. Maybe because caffè is not only the liquid but the surrounding atmosphere? The click-clack noise, the barista makes when he empties the powder device? The characteristic sound of these huge machines when the water is heated and steam evaporates at the end? Caffè making is art and this becomes obvious when you stand at the bar and watch the barista doing his or her job. (Now that I write this, I realised that I hardly ever saw a barista woman…) They fill the basket with the exact amount of caffè powder (7 g), heat the water so that it has a temperature of 88 °C and then it is running through the powder at 9 bar. After 25 seconds, the little preheated tazzina (cup) is filled with the magic liquid.

A caffè bar is an institution in Italia and the barista, who is not just only a bartender but has to be trained and have a diploma from the Italian Espresso National Institute. And his job does not only involve to prepare caffè, he has also a very important role in the society of the people who come to his caffè bar: he is the one who knows the preferences of his customers, he is the major source for the local news, he is the one where one drops the keys in case when family, friends or mechanics come to one’s apartment later. A persona di fiducia (trusted person). Just stand a while in a caffè bar and you will realise how much he is the centre of the place. Another sign for the institutional character of a local caffè bar is the so-called caffè sospeso (well, more in the Napoli region but I heard that it is also popular in other regions). A guest drinks one caffè and pays two. The second one is this caffè sospeso and is meant for one of the next guests who is short in money or general of lower income. This is also quite characterising the bonds within Italian communities.

One remark about the famous latte macchiato many of us love at home. I’ve read somewhere that Italians raise their eyebrows when someone orders latte macchiato or cappuccino after late morning. But I learned that they just cannot understand why one would order “something with milk” at the end of a meal. And I learned that this has a point: milk isn’t something that should be taken after a good meal. On the other hand: it is perfectly ok to have a caffè with milk in the afternoon, on a terrace with a view.

And now … I am off to my kitchen and make myself a caffè. With my battered but well functioning Moka Express.

Posted by Trekki 03:06 Archived in Italy Tagged food italy Comments (10)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]