Best Italian food blog? When it comes to the top online resources for Italian recipes and cooking techniques, no one holds a noodle to Briciole (above).
Last week we blogged about how to food shop like an Italian.
This week, we’d like to share some of our favorite resources for Italian recipes and cooking techniques on the internet: Italian food blogs!
In another era, recipes were handed down in notebooks and favorite recipe collections, often from generation to generation.
That tradition continues to this day in Italy, where mothers (yes, mostly mothers) still share dog-eared recipe albums with daughters and sons (yes, sons, too!).
The internet hasn’t caused the phenomenon to disappear. Exactly the opposite: many Italian food bloggers are inspired by their parents’ and families’ culinary legacies and they take to the web to document, share, and trade notes with like-minded Italian foodies.
The follow are 5 of our favorite Italian food blogs.
Pronounced BREE-choh-leh, this blog has it all: recipes and technique, amazing photography, concise videos, and wonderful insights into Italian cuisine, culture, and language by an Italian living in California.
This blog is by an American ex-pat living (currently) in Umbria. The site is chock-full of recipes, gorgeous photography, and a fantastic “kitchen tips” section with a glossary, substitutions for food products not available here in the U.S., and conversions (very important when you need to use a recipe written using the metric system).
Loosely translated, coco de mama means mommy’s little baby and the title couldn’t be more appropriate for this blog inspired by recipes by the author’s mother and grandmother. “When I was growing up, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was spoiled!” writes the author on his about page. “I had 2 of the best chefs under one roof, my Grandmother Nonna Sara and my Mama Francesca, who made every meal from scratch and with love.”
Whether hamming it up (pun intended) with one of Italy’s biggest food stars, the Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, or sharing the nitty gritty on Sicilian street food, Over a Tuscan Stove is always a great read. The author’s life seems to be as fabulous as her cooking.
Emiko tends to focus on Tuscany and Tuscan cooking on her blog because that’s where she lived for many years. But she also branches out into other regional cuisine as well. Her recipes are very precise and nearly foolproof and we really love her index of recipes (which makes the blog really easy to browse and search).
Are you an Italian food blogger? Let us know about your site by leaving a comment on this post!
Many of you will be surprised to learn that Italians have gone HAMBURGER CRAZY!
Over the course of the last two years, scores of hamburger-themed restaurants have appeared across Italy, from Milan to Rome and beyond.
And Italian food bloggers join in the fun by rating and ranking the many different restaurants where they’re now serving all-American burgers, sharing recipes, and bragging about the “best hamburgers” they’ve ever eaten.
The fad is so popular, in fact, that you’ll often hear Italians use the English bacon when they order their “bacon cheeseburgers” (“amburgher con formaggio e bacon”)!
(Traditionally, bacon is called pancetta in Italian.)
Here at Live Like an Italian, we’re already planning our all-American burger Labor Day menu.
Above: Italian food bloggers love to rate and rank their gourmet hamburgers!
There’s probably no wine that pairs better with hamburgers than the Mazzoni Piemonte Barbera: it’s bright, fresh, and lively in the glass and it’s also a wine that Italians like to chill during the summer.
Here’s our Labor Day grilling menu wine pairing tip: put your bottle of Mazzoni Piemonte Barbera in the fridge the night before your Labor Day bash; take it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you plan to serve it to your guests; it will be just the right temperature (chilled but not so cold that it will mask the juicy, delicious flavors of the wine).
Above: Summer truffles foraged in Umbria, not far from the Mazzoni winery in Tuscany.
The U.S. truffle foraging season doesn’t begin until the fall but it’s never too early to begin planning your trip to truffle country!
It was once believed that truffles — a Tuber (not a mushroom) – were found only in Europe.
But today, there are a number of truffle “farms” scattered across the U.S. and in some areas, the naturally occurring truffles are so abundant that the culinarily adventurous can book “private truffle forays.”
The most popular destination is Oregon, where truffle hunting begins in late November and lasts throughout the spring.
The spring and the summer are the seasons for black truffle hunting in central Italy, where Mazzoni wines are made.
August is generally the last month when hunters head to the wood with specially trained truffle hunting dogs.
In another era, pigs were used. Female pigs are attracted to the scent of truffles but they would often eat their bounty once they found it!
Dogs, on the other hand, can be trained to find the truffles and not eat them.
So if you want to hunt for truffles just like an Italian, simply Google “truffle foray” or “truffle hunting America” and you’ll find a wide array of truffle hunting packages.
And in case you just want to eat truffles (and not hunt for them), be sure not to miss the Oregon Truffle Festival in January.
It’s August, which means Italians are taking a two-week holiday. While they’re celebrating summer, we want to celebrate YOU. Visit our Facebook page to take part in our first ever #MazzoniMonday. Take a picture of how you’re living like an Italian this week: cooking like an Italian, playing like an Italian, or simply feeling Italian. Post your photo to our wall with #MazzoniMonday. We’ll pick a winner to receive a prize and a feature on our page. Buona fortuna!
When you travel to Montalcino, Tuscany where Mazzoni wines are made, you quickly learn that the folks who live there like to eat steak.
The bistecca fiorentina (often simply called fiorentina) or Florentine steak is one of the region’s most popular dishes.
Tuscany is famous for being “wine country” but it’s also cattle country. And the Tuscans are fiercely proud of their special breed of cattle, the Chianina. It’s an extraordinarily large breed and because of its size, it makes for some of the most prized beef in the world.
Grilling a steak can be a lot harder than it seems. And the Tuscan use a special technique (see below) for cooking the fiorentina, a cut that we know in America as the Porterhouse.
Because they like their beef seared on the outside and rare on the inside, they cook the steak upright on its “T” before cooking either side.
This does two things: It heats and releases the juices of the bone and it warms the entire steak without changing its color. After the steak has “warmed through,” you simply cook it briefly on either side over high eat to achieve the desired char.
Do the Tuscans love steak because they make such great red wine or do they love red wine because they make such great steak? It’s an age-old question that may never be answered.
What we do know is that one of the greatest pairings for bistecca fiorentina is the Mazzoni Rosso di Toscana: the lush fruit of its Merlot sweetens the char of the beef while the acidity of the Sangiovese cuts through the meat’s tender fattiness.
It makes for a great summer grill but it will thrill your meat-loving guests anytime of year, as well.
Here at Live Like an Italian, we look forward each year to the running of the Palio in Siena, the famous horse race held each year in the town’s main square, the Piazza del Campo.
The Tenuta Il Poggione, where Mazzoni wines are made, lies about an-hour-and-a-half drive south of Siena in the village of Sant’Angelo in Colle (in the township of Montalcino). Even as far away as Sant’Angelo in Colle, the townsfolk “live” and thoroughly enjoy the event, following each development and all the pageantry that’s involved.
For those who have never heard of the Palio, it’s an ancient horse race that originated in the Middle Ages.
Each year, on July 2 and August 16 (in two separate races), ten of Siena’s seventeen contrade (wards or neighborhood) compete. They are selected by lottery.
The intense and deep-seated rivalries are as much part of the spectacle as the colorful feasts and parades.
The race is an “anything goes” affair and the ten competing wards will do nearly anything to put their rivals at a disadvantage.
Even an excluded ward (not chosen in the lottery) will rejoice when an adversary loses. The celebrations over a vanquished rival are as colorful as those held for an outright victory.
To read more about the Palio, its history, and legacy, check out this well-written entry on Wikipedia.
And to get a sense of the excitement on race day, watch the video (below) of last year’s August race, which was won by the Onda or ward of the Wave.
We’ll be following the events that lead up to this year’s August Palio and we’ll be posting on the race as the event draws closer and the excitement mounts.
Two and a half years after it capsized along the coast of the beautiful Isola del Giglio in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the cruise ship Costa Concordia has finally been set afloat and will probably be towed away early next week, according to Italian news reports.
We were thrilled to read that tourists are flocking back to this gem of an island, with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and scattering of beachside trattorie where it’s pretty hard to get a bad meal.
“I was here in October 2012,” said an American who is working there, “less than a year from the sinking. I have noticed that the Italians don’t seem too concerned about the wreck now. The island is a major destination for Italians, and there are many tourists here enjoying the sunshine and ignoring the wreck.”
The man, a Floridian, is part of the team that has been working arduously to right the ship and get it out of there.
The island lies (see Google map here) just a short ferry ride from the Italian peninsula and not far from the vineyards where the grapes for the Mazzoni Pinot Grigio and Vermentino-Chardonnay grapes are grown.
You can bet that we here at Live Like an Italian will raise a glass when the ship is finally gone.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll be able to remove it early next week.