Category Archives: Italian Food

Gelato University, Outside Bologna, Teaches the World to Make Gelato!

No, this is not a picture of Gelato University, this is one of the many gelateri in Italy and around the world. Wherever you live, in the U.S. or abroad, you may have noticed an uptick in new gelateria opening up. There is a boom in this Italian treat, and the enrollment figures at Gelato University in Anzola dell’Emilia, outside Bologna, prove it. This year, 12,000 students have come from around the world to learn the craft of gelato making, from places as far as as Madagascar and Japan. That’s up from 9,000 students last year! Also, for the first time ever, more than half the students this year are foreign, that is, non-Italian. Talk about the perfect excuse for travel to Italy! The school is run by Carpigiana, one of Italy’s leading gelato-machine makers. For just under $1,200 a week, you can enroll at Gelato University and learn how [...]

The World Loves Italian Food As Much As Italy!

My May issue of Bon Appetit Magazine arrived the other day, later than usual because I’d just started a subscription. On the cover (not shown, that’s a stock photo): an enticing bowl of pasta. On the top, in bright red letters, THE ITALY ISSUE. By coincidence, I was rearranging my cookbook collection, which includes a shelf of food magazines going back years. As I went through the magazines, I saw one cover devoted to Italy, and Italy travel. Saveur, Gourmet (RIP, oh wonderful one!), Taste, a magazine published by Williams-Sonoma at the turn of the millennium. So, why all this Italy attention? Because Italy travel sells! Because people love Italy! They love the food. They love Italy travel. Yes, Italy is the bomb! Of course, we know that. That’s why we’re here. I’m thinking this May issue of Bon Appetit has made way for the June issue but you can [...]

Italian Gelato Festival in Florence Next Week!

Love gelato? Who doesn’t! Every year towards the end of May the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence hosts a Gelato Festival. This successful event has been has been going from strength to strength since 2010 and is now one of the most anticipated dates in Italian food lovers diaries.  For 2013 there is the additional exciting news that Firenze Gelato Tour is going to travel throughout the country, to spread the word about artisan gelato culture. Stands are set up in some of the prettiest squares in the historic center of Florence. Both small artisan and larger commercial producers will be in attendance so you can test your favorite classic flavors and some new exciting ones. The way the festival works is like this; You purchase a card that entitles you five tastings a various sites throughout the festival. Also included is a Gelato guide, a totebag and free entrance [...]

Chowhound Italy Board: Where the Serious Foodies Hang

One thing we like to do at Tour Italy Now is bring you the best of what’s on the Web. For anyone who’s planning a trip to Italy, or dreaming about one, a great place for sussing out seriously delicious restaurants in Italy is Chowhound Italy Board. For the uninitiated, Chowhound is one of the oldest online communities. It was started in 1997 by Jim Leff. He sold it to CNET.com in 2006. The site is grouped by locale and topic. I stumbled upon the Chowhound Italy board the other day as I researched places to eat before my trip to Italy, and had a great time clicking around threads started by people asking about the best restaurants in Rome or Milan or Bologna or, an ever-popular topic, the best gelateria in Florence or some other city. Someone asked for a suggestion for a wedding gift, a gift certificate to [...]

Italian Gelato, Italy’s Frozen Wonder

There is nothing in this world better then Italian Gelato! When I was on vacation in Bologna a few years ago, I asked my host and his girlfriend to recommend the best gelateria inthe city. Of course I got two different answers! And there was one that I ended up loving most right across the street from their apartment. That’s the great thing about Italian gelato. There are so many wonderful flavors and so many excellent gelateria, in Italy and increasingly in the States, that it’s hard to go wrong. In Rome, there’s Gelateria Fatamorgana. Badiani in Florence gets a lot of votes. In Venice, some people like Gelateria del Doge on Campo Santa Margherita best. But when it comes to gelato, it’s almost impossible to go wrong. And just what is gelato, besides delicious? It’s ice cream’s cousin, for sure. The main differences: less butterfat and more sugar. For [...]

Italian Pizza – In Search of the World’s Best Pizza

Pizza When you think Italy, you think pizza. Pizza – a Taste of Tradition While the history of pizza is long and much debated, it is hard to argue that Italy claims the prize for the best place to eat the best pizza in the world. In Naples in 1830, the world’s first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, was opened. In 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy visited the City of Naples and in the Queens honor, a pizzaiolo named Raffaele Esposito created three pizzas, the favorite of the queen was the one evoking the colors of the Italian flag — green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes). This classic combination is still known as a Pizza Margherita and you can try it at the Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba even today. Neopolitan Style Neapolitan pizza has a soft, thick crust and is cooked in a wood fired oven. [...]

Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter in Italy! With Recipes!

Easter is a big holiday in Italy. Second only to Christmas. While Christmas is all about family and gifts. Easter is all about the food. It is days and days of delicious eating. In 2013 Easter will be celebrated starting from March 29 with solemn Good Friday rituals and through to Monday April 1 “Pasquetta” Little Easter, celebrated with a picnic in a park. There is an Italian saying “Natale on I tuoi: Pasqua con chi vuoi” which means Christmas with your family, Easter with whom you want. In the major cities and smaller town Easter is a time of celebrations and you will often find religious parades. Some notable traditions are Forence, Sorrento and Trapani, Sicily. Florence with it’s Crusades era "Scoppio del Carro" (explosion of the cart) is quite a spectacle. On Easter Sunday an elaborately decorated cart is led throughout the historical center by white oxen and [...]

Do All Olive Oil Gelato Recipes Lead to Mario Batali?

Today’s blog post is going to be a little more appetizing than yesterday’s. Gelato trumps train strikes any day! But train strikes, or scioperi di treni, are part of Italy’s fabric. Tour Italy Now will be updating you as needed, here on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter, too. Remember, this is a great link HERE for updates on the latest transport strikes in Italy. Now, on to gelato. Olive oil gelato. Who knew? Not me! Apparently it’s a popular dessert in Mario Batali‘s Otto. Amanda Hesser, on her wonderful crowdsourcing website, Food 52, described the olive oil gelato at Otto in a recent post: “It’s as smooth as aioli, pulsing with green olive flavor, and has sugar and salt dueling in the background.” She noted that the recipe was available on the website Serious Eats. She wondered if Mario’s rendition might be a tad too sweet and rich, [...]

Everybody Loves Italian Pasta: Part Two

When I read this New York Times article that appeared on the front page of the paper right around Columbus Day, 2009, about the newly released English translation of Oretta Zanini De Vita’s Encyclopedia of Pasta, I was totally charmed by the woman, a 70-something historian from Bologna. “I think of her as a kind of Julia Child,” Mona Talbott, the executive chef at the American Academy in Rome, told the Times, “Julia Child demystified French food. Oretta demystifies pasta.” Oretta traveled Italy for four years to research her book, a version of which was originally published in Italian in 2004. The book covers centuries of Italian pasta-making, from, according to the Times article, “abbotta pezziende, a short pasta that means ‘feed the beggar’ in Abruzzo dialect, to the zumari of Puglia, a long Italian pasta traditionally added to vegetable soups. In between there are the corzetti of Liguria and [...]

Everybody Loves Italian Pasta: Part One

Last night I made orecchiette with green olive paste for dinner. Orecchiette, which means “little ear” in Italian, is from the Puglia region of Italy. The green olive paste I used is from San Remo. I added a smidge of butter and some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which of course is from Emilia Romagna, and, well, it was as if I’d bought a one-way ticket to Italian pasta heaven. The meal got me thinking about two cookbooks I’ve been meaning to buy, both about pasta. One is called the Geometry of Pasta, by Jacob Kenedy, the chef and owner of Bocca di Lupo, the acclaimed Italian restaurant in London. The book’s a minimalist affair, all black and white, that features the many shapes of Italian pasta, with recipes, tee hee, to boot. Check out the slide show on the book’s website HERE. For what it’s worth, my favorite Italian pasta of the [...]