Italy, Food Glorious Food

Two days of what feels like non stop eating as participated in back to back foodie walks and tastings in Florence and then in Bologna (more of which in next post).

The quality of fresh produce is spectacular and can you believe the size of those scallions/shallots/spring onions in top left below?

Savoury tastings included a flat pastry made from chick peas – something the Italians invented when ordinary flour was in short supply. Of course it wouldn’t be an Italian meal without some salami and other cured meats and cheese plus some pasta washed down with good local wine. The map at the bottom right is a great way of seeing which part of this region is famous for what food. Balsamic vinegar made in Modena which is close to Bologna is fantastic – the longer it ages the thicker it gets. Some 25 year aged balsamic go for over 100 Euros and because the aging also sweetens and strengthens the taste a few drops are often served on top of ice cream.

By the way, on the topic of gelati – I haven’t given up eating it but forgot to add new flavours – so, dark chocolate, stacciatella, crema inglese, salted caramel. Tricks for spotting good gelati are: it should be in metal containers away from the light. If you see mounds or worse “heaped” mounds on display it is probably not fresh (it should be made in small batches every day). Also check the colour of pistachio – if it is bright green it is full of food colouring. It should be a greyish/browny colour (not necessarily as pretty) but way tastier. Cone or cup? That’s personal choice. Here is the lady who prepared my two scoops who clearly enjoys her job. But then, who wouldn’t?

And let us not forget cakes and chocolates – often sold in shops that are specialist and long standing. Suffice to say they are very good with a penchant towards smooth praline fillings – completely irresistible.

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