Hot chocolate you can eat with a spoon

There are perhaps many of you out there right now that aren’t yet in the hot chocolate mood, that are reading this sitting in short sleeves and sandals and thinking no, you’re not ready for hot chocolate. But here in Canberra we’ve just had the coldest August nights in twenty years and are well and truly in the middle of frosty winter. Although I always look forward to the warm weather, I have to admit I’m enjoying embracing... Read More

Italian Table Talk: The aperitivo

It’s early evening, you’ve finished work and are ready to wind down. Perhaps you’re also a tiny bit hungry, or, at least, are at that point where you start imagining what you’ll be eating for dinner. You’re on your way home and perhaps it’s a place on the way, your regular, where you know you’ll bump into a friend or two and a drink is in order, along with some nibbles. Nothing that will ruin your appetite... Read More

Bellini, for a celebration or two

It’s a time for celebration or two, not only for the festive season and for the well-wishing the imminent year 2013, but we’re also celebrating the arrival of our first baby, a little girl, born just before Christmas. And – for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere right now – it’s also early summer and the beginning of stone-fruit season. It seemed only appropriate to celebrate with something like a shimmering, sparkling, blushing... Read More

Granita al melone e peperoncino

Tuscany in July is one sweltering place to be. Long days, the hot sun scorching the pietra forte stones of Florence or the crackling, dry fields of the countryside and constant temperatures in the high 30s. The conditions call for either staying high in the hills or spending your time very close to the sea, if not right on the water’s edge, where you’re more likely to get relief by a breeze and cooling evening air. My other favourite remedies... Read More

Artusi’s Nocino – a spicy walnut liqueur

Saint days are not only times for rituals, celebrations and traditions but they are also handy seasonal reminders, like a bookmark in the calendar. San Giovanni or St John the Baptist day, June 24, is a perfect example. Being near the summer solstice, it’s a day that signifies midsummer and celebrates the bountiful summer season. St John the Baptist is Florence’s patron saint so on June 24 the Florentines are gearing up for a day off with... Read More

Artusi’s July: Raspberry Acetosa

July in Tuscany. The heat is the sort that you cannot get away from. If you live in the city, it’s especially unbearable. Hot African wind blows its way into cities, heating them up like a giant hairdryer. The ancient stones of the palazzi and squares bake in the sun and the heat lingers on for hours after midnight. Anyone smart and organised enough has escaped to the sea or the mountains. Those who haven’t, can’t or are waiting until the traditional... Read More