All posts tagged: food history

Venetian food: a beginning

It’s probably safe to say that Venice beat Walt Disney to the title of “most magical place on earth” by over a thousand years. But like so many things, The Most Serene Republic is a city built on compromise. The first people to settle on these damp heaps of mud didn’t do so out of choice. They came here to escape the rather unpleasant chaps who had a penchant for coming down to Italy and setting things on fire. The islands we now refer to as Venice, scattered as they are throughout a shallow Adriatic lagoon, started life as seasonal refugee camps. It wasn’t until AD 421 that Venice became a permanent settlement, and even then, it was a destination for groups that had been driven from their homes elsewhere. It’s a place chosen by people who didn’t really have all that much choice left. And even after things got a little more permanent – mud and wood gradually providing the foundation for masonry and stone – Venice spent much of its history practicing its Read More

Tales From the Italian Kitchen

The woman behind the counter was wearing a loose cotton dress. Her skin was the colour of aged tan leather, but was softened by her smile. She scooped balls of creamy mozzarella di bufula into a bag. This oozing cheese was the work of those weathered hands and it was the best to be found this side of Naples, or so I was told. The best mozzarella that Lazio has to offer; the humble panaderia in Lambrugo, stocked with the finest prosciutto in all of Italy; the crostata that resolutely appears on every birthday table – it’s so often the work of a tireless mother, a devoted nonna and more and more frequently, a skilled young woman. Italian chef, Nadia Santini was recently named the best female chef in the world. Alongside her, in restaurants, bakeries and homes from Aosta to Messina stand other men, women, nonni, parents and whole families preserving – and shaping – an incredible Italian food culture. I want to take you on a journey through the humble kitchens of Italy, Read More