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Food General Italy Puglia Taranto

Taranto, the Italian Seafood Queen

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Food General Italy Traditions

Pane toscano – the Italian “silly bread”

Italy’s own history of bread-making is long and rich. Etruscans, among the earliest Italians, adorned their elaborate tomb walls with banquet scenes that included the grinding of grains, some of which surely went into the making of an afterlife aquacotta – the ancient soup still eaten today, featuring a base of bread. And anyone who’s ever visited Pompeii has seen the remains of bakeries on almost every corner, most conveniently located near a wine vendor!

Bread continues to hold high rank in the culinary world of Italy. However, only six types have procured the coveted status of DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) — meaning that a product is guaranteed via strict regulation to be artisan and made with locally grown ingredients, using traditional methods.

Meet pane Toscano DOP or pane sciocco. Rustic in appearance, with flour-dusted lines laid like a topography map across its domed exterior, a nutty colored crust the hue of a sun-bronzed face, and without salt.

Legend would have it that during one of the stand-offs between medieval Pisa and Florence, the Arno River was blockaded by the Pisan army, thus cutting off salt delivery to Florence. The Florentines smugly rolled their eyes and continued to bake their bread…senza sale!

Another explanation tells us that salt, a prized commodity during the Middle Ages for its ability to preserve foods, was taxed outrageously. The regular guy could not afford it, and thus – the daily bread was made without it.

Sources: Il Consorzio di tutela Pane Toscano Dop     L’Italo-Americano



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Florida Food General Italian Miami

The 3 best Italian spots in Miami

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Food General Italy Traditions

Capodanno – New Year’s Eve Italian Style

zampone-lentils
Zampone and Lentils (cotechino e lenticchie) for a real Italian New Year’s eve dinner

(The Italian New Year’s eve dinner is called Cenone)

Considered since the times of the ancient Romans synonymous with prosperity and luck (especially for their similarity to coins), lentils are a must-eat at the table on the occasion of the New Year.

Another must-eat is cotechino. In addition to this pork sausage, prepared with rind, meat of different cuts, bacon, salt and spices, on the tables of the Italians the first day of the new year (but also and especially during New Year’s Eve) it is easy to find his “cousin”, originally from Modena, the zampone. And the pairing with lentils remains almost a must.

Cotechino and lentils, however, is good both as a second course at the lunch of January 1st and as a course to be served during the dinner at midnight, obviously accompanied by a good bit of spumante.

Read: Capodanno – New Year’s Eve Italian Style

Read: New Year’s Eve bringing ancient traditions on Italians’ dinner table



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Food General Italy Traditions

Mostaccioli – The Calabrese Christmas Gingerbread

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