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Minne di Sant’Agata

If you’ve ever studied art history, you’ll know how to easily spot Saint Agatha in a fresco painting – she’s the one holding her breasts on a platter, a hint at the legend behind her torturous martyrdom where they were cut off with pincers by a powerful Roman suitor when his advances were rejected. The young girl, said […]

minne saint agatha pastries

Brunch at Teatro del Sale

I love to eat at a place where there’s a bit of action (and interaction) in the kitchen during service, and Teatro del Sale is just the place for it in Florence. It is part of the kingdom of Florentine chef, Fabio Picchi, who runs four fabulous eateries all on the doorstep of the Sant’Ambrogio […]

Teatro del Sale Seating

Citron, three ways

On my recent trip to Sicily, I brought with me Helena Attlee’s beautiful ode to citrus in Italy, The Land Where Lemons Grow. It’s a fascinating, beautifully written account of the history and current situation of citrus through Italy’s best known citrus areas, from the Medici’s citrus collection in Florence to the mafia tainted mandarins […]

Citron rind salad - insalata di cedro

A batch of soft Tuscan cookies

I seem to be raising a little cook — not a surprise really, as we probably spend three-quarters of our day in the kitchen. She has taken to liberally adding her touch to dishes that she can reach on the table (apple juice tipped into the marinade and half a jar of dried chilli flakes shaken […]

befanini cookies for new year

The Sicily List: Part II

As promised, following my Sicily List: Part I, here’s Part II: Mount Etna and Ortigia. While we spent most of the time around Noto and Ragusa, Marco had his heart set on visiting Mount Etna’s wine region. We made a break there for the day (a two hour drive up the east coast) to meet the folk […]

Ortigia "Tricotta"

A Tuscan Christmas Gathering

Last weekend Giulia and I hosted out first Tuscan Gathering, an excuse to cook and eat and drink for hours and wander the woods or fall asleep in front of the roaring fire, an excuse to get together with friends near and far (and to connect in person, as many ‘friends’ are those that we know only via […]

Tuscan Gathering porchetta with rosemary potatoes

The Sicily List: Part I

It’s taken me some time to sit down and digest (pun intended) our trip to the southeastern corner of Sicily a few weeks ago in early November. The trip that I had been dreaming of taking for about ten years left me surprised and perplexed. We rented a little Fiat Panda and stayed in a beautiful […]

Cassata Siciliana

Homemade Alchermes liqueur

It felt like I was mixing a magic potion. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. A crumbling of some bark, a few seeds. And then the final touch: a couple of spoonfuls of dried insects. Kermes or cochineal insects are what give this Renaissance-aged Tuscan liqueur it’s distinct colour, and its […]

Alchermes homemade liqueur

Pumpkin and chestnut gnocchi

“Cookbooks aren’t read in a linear fashion,” my editor explained when we decided to cut up my lengthy introduction to Florentine and place bits and pieces strategically throughout the book instead. I knew it was true. I, too, with very few exceptions (Alice B. Toklas’ cookbook and Rachel Roddy’s Five Quarters for example), love flipping randomly […]

pumpkin-and-chestnut-gnocchi-blog-IMG_1855

The Turin List

We just spent a glorious weekend in Turin with really one agenda: eating and drinking. While Turin is known for it’s lovely museums and being the birthplace of Italian cinema, it’s rather hard to ignore the fact that the city also claims gianduja (luscious hazelnut chocolate) and vermouth (the ideal aperitivo, on the rocks with a […]

Aperitivo in Piazza San Carlo - Torino