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Old 01-21-2007, 01:43 PM   #1
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ITALY - Lulu's food notes

I know what you mean Snoop...I'm 27 so am slightly behind the lambrusco scorning crowd, my generation just rediscovered Mateus for goodness sake! I am a big rose fan, so the last few years of good quality pinks of all sorts being easily available has tickled me pink! But, now I am learning about srious Italian wine. DH has friends who have a well known Tuscan vineyard and they have extended an invitation to us which we are going to take up late spring to be educated in Tuscan wine :)

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Old 01-21-2007, 07:11 PM   #2
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:) indeed.
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:10 AM   #3
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Arriva il Carnivale!

Carnival is coming up and the confetti is everywhere...and the pasticeria windows are filling with delightful things that everyone warns me will be gone soon. There is a limit to how many things one can try in such a time frame though!



Piled up, sometimes in beautiful baskets or plates, or sometimes simply stacked several feet high in the windows of the pasticeria are"Chiachere al forno" or "chats in the oven!" these are crisp sweet cracker like pastries, served in various ways. Most are covered in icing suger, but glazed, drizzled with chocolate are both common: my favourite are the ones brushed all over with honey. Sbrodolino alla crema are like cream puffs, but more unctuous and the cream is replaced by crema pasticeria, so sweet and think and custardy. Carteddate, nodi d'amore,caramelle - pastries shaped like wrapped sweets, tortelli di zucca and girandole - like little swirly tubes...all these fantastical sounding and beautiful looking glazed pastries crying out to be eaten.....
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:21 AM   #4
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stop it, lulu, you are torturing me
don't stop
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:24 AM   #5
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Yum yum, Carnevale season is almost as sinful as Christmas time, I LOVE those carnevale sweets!! Chiacchere, or often called "Frappe" around us down here, or "Bugie" in some other region, are one of those most dangerous items to eat, it tastes soooo light you could eat tons of them, but in reality they are NOT light at all in calorie content!!

I adore Castagnole as well, they are reminiscent of "doughnut holes", delightfull little fried sweet balls with a light touch of lemon or orange flavour, the filled ones are even better, with custard or chantilly cream!!

Mmm, now I am in the mood for nipping across to the nearest pasticceria/bakery!!
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:34 AM   #6
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Oh wow, the orangey lemony ones sound good!
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:51 AM   #7
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Yeah, they add freshly ground orange or lemon zest to the batter... lovely flavour addition!! Better pig out before you go home Lulu!!
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Old 02-04-2007, 12:05 PM   #8
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Pavia, Lombardia

Pavia is a beautiful small city to the south of Milano. My guidebook told us that, as in much of Lombardy, the salami are a speciality, particularly a goose salami! The other specialites are breaded frogs soaked in a lcoal white wine and a particular type of goats cheese. Also listed is Torta paridiso, a type of sponge cake.

Sundays can be very difficult, and the word on the street is that all the best restaurants serving real Pavese food were closed, but we found a gem of a place called Osteria is Senatore, wh9ich if any of you go to Pavia I woulld really recommend!

As is the style, the menus are long. We opted for three courses, antipasto, a primo and a secondo and were too full for puddings. But the food was excellent.

Primi
I had a pumpkin tart with an extremely short and rich chestnut flour topped with crumbs of bacon. DH had 3 varieties of lard, one from Tuscany, one that is very common in Lombardia called colonata and the third was di Arnad. These were served with hot pastry crackers and DH smiled. I can't tell you too m8uch about them, as I don't eat lard!

Primi
Me: lasagnette di zucchine cone crescenza e pomodorini pachino. This was to die for. The corgettes came swimming in the sweet tomato and crescenza cheese sauce. It was my favourite course. DH had Fusilli al ferretto con ragu di coniglio. Good. The heavy pasta was lightly coated in the light rabbit ragu. It was yummy but I had an unfortunate encounter with a skinned rabbit in the supermarket yesterday so had to make a conscious effort not to think about that while tasting. The other thing was that the serving of pasta, as a primo, was huge. Far too big!

Secondi
DH, full from his pasta had Bue con castagne e polenta. (Ox with chestnuts and polenta) it had mirto garnish and was beautiful. The ox was soft and succulent with a hint of the myrtle liquor..called Sapo, in the backgound. It was a wintery filling dish. But I did not have menu envy! I had coscotto maile con mirto e potate al forno. My pork was unbelievably succulent yet still dense and toothsome, the mirto jus light and rich at the same time and the simple roast potatos were the perfect foil to a jus and meat of such perfection.


Incidently we had earlier in the day, while exploring the working monastry half way between Milano and Pavia, had the best cappucino of my life. It was rich and floaty and we drank it in a wood cabin: even the LIGHT FITTINGS were made of wood, and the two old men carving wooden things to sell, were so delighted with my delight in their coffee they made us another one and gave us a piedina di nutella...another first. Typical of the north the piedina is like a heavy crepe or a light tortilla, and filled and toasted with the Italian staple Nutella! We cut it in half to share and spent the next hour finding bits of nutella that had dripped onto our chins and fingers and clothes but it was good.

So we ate well to day, but it was inbetween a lot of sightseeing on foot....and while others were shivering in there huge fur coats we were warm with the good food and coffe in our bellies!
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Old 02-09-2007, 01:37 PM   #9
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Just a very quick note this time.

I am always surprised at how much Italians love shortbread. Even more since I tasted the Italian equivalent; sbrisolona di Mantova, which really is very similar. Unlike shortbread, its crumbly in appearance rather than smooth, and it had lots of nuts in the mix rather than being a plain biscuit/cookie. But it is short, and buttery. The Lombardy butter is the main difference, it lacks the real "yellow" taste of British butter.

The ingrediants seem to be: type "0" flour, sugar, corn flour, butter, almonds, hazlenuts, white wine (though I can't taste it at all!) and salt. I had mine with a cup of coffee (coffee: health drink of Italy!) but it is also recommended to be had with tea, a glass of milk or a glass of sweet white wine.
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Old 02-09-2007, 02:54 PM   #10
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Lulu,
I only understand about half of what you write but I love reading all of it. Please continue your travelogues.
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