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Making gnocchi

Sundays spent with Francesco and his family are precious. His sister and mom work away making food to feed our family, stomachs and spirits. What better gift to give your family then nourishment? I pull up a chair and watch, listen and learn. The flour is sifted and hits a smooth board. Warm water is gradually […]

Torta di Mele – Apple Cake

Who doesn’t like apple pie? Sweet and spicy scented clouds of crisp slices sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice bubble through a golden lattice crust. The smells that drifted out of Ma and Papa’s kitchen window linger in my mind. I’ve talked about Ma (my grandmother Louise) many times on this blog. I’d open […]

Buccellati Sicilian Christmas Fig Cookies

In December, holiday breads and desserts flood bakery shelves. Panettone may be the most popular Italian pastry served during the holiday season but I prefer homemade Christmas cookies especially nutty roccocò, chocolate covered mostaccioli and buccellati (Sicilian fig-filled cookies). Baked in a wreath ring or as cookies, the combination of figs, dates, nuts, raisins and sometimes candied fruits is simply delicious. In the […]

Baccalà with olives and capers

Baccalà (salt cod) is merluzzo (codfish) that is salted and dried. It is versatile and appears in a variety of dishes in the Aliberti-Tringali food repertoire. Baccalà salad is served on Christmas Eve as one of our seven fish courses while fried baccalà, baccalà in tomato sauce and baccalà cakes grace our tables throughout the year. Baccalà is found in nearly […]

Maritozzo – Breakfast in Siracusa

My love for Sicily and city of Siracusa hasn’t waned. Visiting her is like slipping on my well-worn leather trench coat. Crunchy sea air, dark coffee fumes, baking buttery maritozzo and memories wash over me. I walk through the Ortigia market talking to the fish vendors and Grandpa Sebastiano comes to mind. He was a fisherman from Augusta, Sicily and then […]

Top 10 places to eat and drink in Palermo, Sicily

A friend asked me today, why Sicily? The first answer is because my paternal grandparents were born in Augusta, Sicily. They lived there for more 35 years. I was connected to Sicily well before I ever stepped foot on her beautiful soil. My maternal grandparents are from the region of Campania which meant I grew […]

Delizia al limone

Many moons ago I visited Cetara with Francesco, my father-in-law and 4-year-old nephew. The day remains etched in my mind. The hot July sun chased us as we sped past sandy beaches, the crystalline waters of the Amalfi Coast and lemon trees. After an hours drive on a seemingly never-ending windy road we arrived at the fishing town of […]

Colatura di alici – anchovy sauce

August is upon us. It beckons us to the sea, away from steamy city dwellings. Tourists and locals depart for the famous beaches of the Amalfi Coast, Sicily and Sardegna just to name a few. Francesco and I head to off the beaten path seaside destinations known equally for their beaches and culinary specialities. The tiny fishing […]

Pizza stuffed with escarole

I wake up often with food memories dancing in my head. Visions of pizza dough stuffed with sausages and broccoli, peppers and onions, and escarole braised with black olives, anchovies and smoky olives. Mom filled pizza dough with ingredients that she had in the house. Nothing went to waste. I fought for the corner pieces, […]

For My Love of Artichokes

When carciofi romaneschi or mammola (similar to a globe artichoke) are in season, I want to eat them every day. The crop of violet-green beauties fill market stands in Rome from February to May. My family stuffed their conical-shaped cousin with breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic and parsley. We slid our teeth from the bottom to the […]

Taste of Sicily in Boston

Nearly one year ago, I co-founded Casa Mia Italy Food & Wine with two culinary professionals. We set out to share our love of Italian food, wine and cooking with travelers in a joyful and convivial way. Casa Mia provides local culinary experiences, through delicious food walks and wine tastings, cooking classes and exclusive, food & wine excursions in and around […]

Hazelnut & Dried Cherry Biscotti

With every season and holiday baking rituals arrive. I never thought much about them as a child. With each year that passes by, I cherish these rituals more and more. Easter is quickly approaching. Mom and I make bunny, egg, and lamb shaped chocolates, bunny shaped bread and various versions of ricotta pie and biscotti. […]

Wine Tasting Basics

Have you ever attended a professional wine tasting? Not all tastings are the same but often the wine color is noted, the wine swirled, noses sniff into the glass and tasters proclaim “strawberries, raspberries, roses ” all before they taste the wine. Puzzled onlookers may wonder what’s in that glass? I can’t help but think of my 80-year-old […]

Bean-Potato Stew from Ma’s Kitchen

It’s lovely, how I still dream of her. I’m happy to meet Ma in my dreams and celery cut in uniform miniscule squares on a well-worn wooden board and any kitchen knife. Her hands were always manicured but she never wore nail polish. Her nail length was uniform too. Like the cutting board, her hands […]

Meet Anna of Vino Di Anna on Mt. Etna

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Anna Martens at her vineyard on the slopes of Mt. Etna, Sicily. Anna hails from Adelaide, Australia where she grew up surrounded by vineyards. At Adelaide University, she earned a post-grad degree in viticulture and oenology, while working for the Petaluma Winery. In 2001, she packed her […]

Les Vignerons on Natural Wines

Happy New Year! 2016 is off to a great start especially since Les Vignerons is moving from the off-the-beaten-path area of Tor Pignattara to Trastevere which is a mere 15 minute tram ride from my home. Les Vignerons is my favorite wine and craft beer shop in Rome. While there is no shortage of wine shops and […]

Christmas Eve & the Feast of the Seven Fishes

As an Italian-American I grew up with traditions that arrived on the shores of Boston with my grandparents from Southern Italy in the 1930s. These traditions remained somewhat frozen in time and for that I’m lucky. My most cherished tradition – the feast of the seven fishes prepared for Christmas Eve – involves, family, food […]

Casa Mia Blog nominated for Italy Magazine Blog Awards!

In the event that you missed it, I launched  Casa Mia – Italy  Food & Wine – an expanded private food and wine tour company in May 2015. I’m over the moon thrilled to announce that only 8 months after the launch, the Casa Mia blog has been shortlisted in not one, but two Italy Magazine Blog Award categories: “Best Travel Blog” […]

Wines of Campania

Last month I had a blast learning more about the wines of Campania and writing Part I for The American|InItalia in ‘Campania Awakens, I’. It all started thanks to a gorgeous group of clients. They insist on delving into the wines of a different region each time they visit Italy. We’ve visited Basilicata and Puglia in […]

Vinegar Peppers from Ma’s Kitchen

Late summer and early autumn usher in canning time. From tomato sauce with bright basil leaves, to fig jam and peaches in simple syrup, it’s a ritual that I cherish. A ritual I have thanks to my grandparents and mom. Mom and I are adamant about carrying forward family traditions. This brings me oddly to […]

Puglia Wine Discovery

I’d been meaning to visit Puglia for years. Its raw beauty, fabulous beaches, crystalline sea and uncomplicated food like burrata cheese, orecchiette pasta with turnip tops and grilled fish make it a destination for beach, food and wine lovers alike. Reading that half of Italy’s olive oil is produced in Puglia and that Puglia produces […]

Italian Craft Beer

I’m a wine drinker to the core. I hadn’t been romanced by Italy’s booming craft beer movement until this year’s unrelenting summer-long heat wave started in June. My interest in craft beer inched higher alongside soaring temperatures. The last time I hosted a beer tasting, a group of enthusiasts challenged what I knew about beer given […]

Meet Sandro Dibella on Etna

As a co-fouder of  Casa Mia, I’m very excited to share our series of interviews called “Our Italians”. We love meeting  local food artisans, experts and producers as we travel around Italy for work and pleasure and we want to share our passion with you. I’m happy to spend time in Sicily visiting old friends and making new […]

Cave Ox – Where to Eat on Etna

Although Sicily is a region of Italy, it is a country itself, made up of many states to be discovered. At every turn there’s a new discovery and unique food made with care and attention. I’ve visited Catania and Mount Etna many times. I’m drawn back by the volcano, the people, the food and wine. There’s […]

Mazzo – The Fooders for Off the Beaten Path Flavors

Whether you’re a Rome resident or visitor if you’re curious to discover another side of the eternal city, where talented chefs are transforming top notch ingredients into creative plates, Mazzo may be the spot for you. Located in Rome’s off the beaten path Centocelle district, Mazzo opened in 2013. The founders , Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli aka […]

The King of Lazio Red Wine – Cesanese

When I share a meal with family and friends, I often ask them which Italian wine they like best. Many will mention a red from Tuscany, most likely a “super Tuscan,” a 1980s term for Tuscan red blend that uses wine grapes not indigenous to Italy, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.When I suggest a […]

Meet Vini Scirto on Etna

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Sicily in 2015. During one of my Etna explorations, I had the pleasure of meeting Giuseppe Scirto and Valeria Franco, the owners and wine makers of Vini Scirto. Vini Scirto is located in the beautiful Etna zone of Sicily, which is rich in Sicilian wine traditions. Giuseppe […]

Red Wines in Summertime

As a wine lover, I drink mostly Italian wine – white, rose and red and let’s not forget dessert wines. Classic pairings like Lambrusco and Parmesan cheese or a Picolit with blue cheese are a heavenly experience but sometimes I admit I just drink what I’m craving. It may be a glass of Franciacorta or a […]

Centopassi – Organic Wine from Free Land

On my last trip to Sicily I spent a day at the Centopassi vineyards with Francesco Galante. It wasn’t my first visit. In fact Francesco remarked “I think you’re the only person outside of Centopassi who has witnessed every step of our growth and changes first hand in the Portella della Ginestra Vineyard .”  Centopassi […]

Italian Adventure

My italian adventure began nearly 8 years ago. I packed my bags for 3 months to see if I could make it in Italy. Coming from NYC, I left with Frank Sinatra’s voice singing “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…” after all if I made it in NYC 3 times over why […]

The Etna Wine Buzz

Despite the looming presence of Europe’s highest active volcano and the labor-intensive terraced vineyards, Etna currently is one of Italy’s most exciting wine regions. Etna is not only drawing attention to Sicily but is in great company with some of the best wines in the world. It’s no wonder that young Sicilian winemakers are making […]

Ravioli Making with Mom

I often wondered if it was normal to talk about food from dusk to dawn or at least that’s what it seemed like growing up in an Italian-American home. No sooner was the morning coffee poured than we were chatting about what we would conjure up for lunch and dinner. It’s no surprise that my fondest […]

Casatiello – Savory Easter Bread Recipe

In Italy a holiday or truly any celebration without food is unimaginable. Whether the festa (party) is at home, a restaurant or in a piazza (square), it most always includes a special meal and a customary dish. Pasqua (Easter) is no exception. At the end the 40 day lenten fast, religious processions begin as does the […]

Carbone Vineyard & Aglianico

Eating our way around Matera was a blast but we were disappointed with the wine selection. None of our favorite Basilicata wine producers were to be found. We reminisced about our first trip to Basilicata. It was July when we visited Carbone vineyards in Melfi set under the grandeur of Mount Vulture. Sara and Luca Carbone met us […]

Bread, flatbread & crepes at Dall’Antò

I’m often asked what is Dall’Antò? A good answer may be a venue where you can sit at a communal table and spend hours leafing through a library of gastronomic treasures while eating traditional flatbread, crepes and roasted vegetables OR a shop where you can enjoy a glass of wine with baccalà mantecato (salt cod mousse) sandwiched between […]

Where to Eat in Matera

Last year we visited Basilicata for the first time. We loved the landscape, history, people, food and wine. Between Christmas and New Years we spent three days in Matera. Many know it as the city where Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” were filmed. […]

Cesare al Casaletto

If you consider yourself to be an adventurous tourist (and if you enjoy really really good Roman Italian food), Cesare al Casaletto is a necessary addition to your Rome itinerary. Located deep in the Monteverde neighborhood, this classic trattoria is about as local as it gets, packed daily and nightly with Romans and passionate foodies. It’s […]

Sicily Part 3 – Etna with The Etna Wine Lab

This is part 3 of a 3 part post of my favorite memories from my last trip to Sicily. You’ll find Part 2 here. We sped off leaving I Vigneri in the distance…two more vineyards to visit. I was floating on cloud 9…for the rest of the day I watched my family digest a small piece of […]

5 Holiday Breads

While most people know Italian food for its divine pizza, pasta, and gelato, many are unaware that Italy also boasts an impressive variety of holiday breads in its culinary repertoire. In fact, Italy has a longer tradition of holiday breads than any of the aforementioned foods! Here is a list of five must-try sweet breads when visiting […]

Dining in Rome During the Holidays

Visiting Rome during Christmas and New Year’s comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is finding a restaurant at which to share a special meal with loved ones. But not to worry – we’ll save you the trouble of sifting through dozens of prix fixe menus and opening hours. Any of the restaurants on our list […]

Agustarello in Testaccio

Just a few blocks away from the Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio lies Agustarello, a family-run trattoria boasting excellent traditional Roman dishes that taste just like mamma’s cooking, so to speak. Named for its founder, Agustarello, the trattoria is now run by his son, Alessandro, and Alessandro’s wife Antonella. Over the years, they’ve built a reputation for delicious […]

Bruschetta with Tomato & Olive Oil

Repeat after me: brew-SKEH-tuh. Bruschetta! One thing that was much debated amongst my family on our first trip to Italy was the pronunciation of this word for toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomatoes tossed in olive oil. I now know that the proper pronunciation involves a hard “c” sound; though for most Americans […]

Nyawa Funding Group (NFG) One Year Later

This post has little to do with Italy, travel, food or wine. I lead Italian wine tastings when I visit the U.S.. One year ago, I led an Italian wine tasting at the Nyawa Funding Group (NFG) fundraiser. NFG is a non-profit company that tackles measurable and achievable projects in Sierra Leone. Before presenting the wines, I listened to Jason Lamin, […]

Caffé vs. Coffee

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE coffee. And who doesn’t, really? Warm, comforting, and on occasion life-giving, coffee is an essential part of American life. In Italy, too, coffee is revered as one of the holy grails of the country’s culinary finesse. Italians take their coffee just as seriously as Americans do, if […]

3 Cheeses to Taste at Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi

Since arriving in Rome, I’ve had to work hard to break out of my all too-comfortable college dining habits:  a lazy dinner of ramen after a long day of classes, squeezing a group of 10 friends around a table at the local pub and ordering five plates of nachos, or (after six hours of field […]

Top 5 kitchen supply stores in Rome

As local Rome residents, prolific bloggers and active on social media, we are often approached by readers and followers seeking local insight and travel advice. Requests range from “Can you lend some Rome accommodation tips?”, or “Where can I find the best gluten free pizza in the Eternal City?” being the most common. We’d do […]

Vineyard Visit to the Roman Countryside

A recent Friday morning in August my friends Gina, Eleonora, and our 8 year old mascot (and budding photographer) Elliot set out early of hot and dusty Rome headed for the Roman wine country nearby. Olevano Romano is an hour South-east of the city center and an historic location known for its Cesanese wine. Produced for […]

Sicily Part 2 – The Etna Wine Lab & I Vigneri

This is part 2 of a 3 part post of my favorite memories from my last trip to Sicily. You can find Part 1 here. As I walked between the alberello vines at 1200 meters my heart raced like a child waiting to jump out of bed on Christmas morning. It’s no secret that I love […]

Sicily Part 1 – 5 Cherished Memories

This is part 1 of a 3 part post of my favorite memories from a recent trip to Sicily. Anyone who has met me knows that I am a bit obsessed with Sicily. My Sicily obsession has grown since the death of my Sicilian grandmother Maria in 2003. I am thankful to her for sharing her […]

Strawberry Shortcake from Ma’s Kitchen

I’ve been eyeing strawberries at the Rome food markets for weeks. Ma (aka my grandmother) loved strawberries, sliced and sprinkled with sugar, over ice cream or in cake fillings. She made whipped cream and fruit filled shortcake for summer parties and birthdays, pineapple for my great grandfather Domenico’s, strawberry for my cousin Jimmy’s. On the […]

Recipes from my Grandmother’s Kitchen

Can a book of recipes capture a lifetime? My grandmother Louise, known as Ma to her family and friends, kept her recipes in a leather bound book. She hand wrote each one. She added recipe clippings from magazines which she’d take and make her own. During my last visit to Boston, I read each page, overcome […]

Top 5 Gelaterias

As the weather begins to warm up and the torrential rains that have plagued Romans all spring seem to be abating (fingers crossed!), people are once again turning their eyes and stomachs to gelato. The perfect snack for a warm afternoon (or anytime really), it is a staple Italian sweet for tourists and locals alike. […]

Orange Marmalade

From lemon curd tart to orange marmalade, I love cooking with citrus fruit. The sharp and bitter flavor combined with the sweetness of sugar is unique. Although I like my marmalade straight up, you can customize it to suit your taste – infuse it with ginger, vanilla or cloves, use thickly sliced orange peel, add more […]

Lemon Curd Tart

I’ve been meaning to post this lemon tart recipe since I made it for Valentine’s Day. A weekend trip to Naples was all the inspiration that I needed. Each time we visit my family in Campania, we leave with a car full of organic oranges and lemons picked from the garden. Thanks to the 30 […]

Torta di Alici e Patate, Anchovy & Potato Pie

I posted this photo on Instagram two days ago and received many comments to my surprise. I was happy to discover that many people share my love for anchovies and it reminded me of my MO which is keep it simple. The tastiest dishes are made with a few fresh ingredients and lots of love. […]

Top 5 Coda alla Vaccinara (Oxtail Stew)

I giggle when I think of the first time I ate coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew) more than 6 years ago. I was at a trattoria in Trastevere with a dear friend/chef. After appetizers, pasta, a main course and dessert the conversation went like this…”I could eat something else, you? You’ve never had oxtail?! you call […]

Quince Jam

When I was growing up, there wasn’t a jar of Smucker’s to be found in my parents’ house. Lucky for me, my grandmother and mom made Concord grape jelly every year. I never gave much thought to this yearly ritual. I watched and learned. It was part of life. When I moved to Italy, I graduated […]

Grilled Eel

January 6, the Epiphany, marked the end of the holiday season but I’m still thinking about my favorite holiday dish, capitone (female eel). I’m a bit obsessed with it. Slippery on the outside but tender, pure white and tasty eel appears on many tables across Italy on Christmas Eve. My traditional family recipe is marinated eel but recipes range from spit-roasted […]

Dining in Rome During the Holidays

With only one week until Christmas, I hope that you’ve reserved your tables for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve! Although it can be a bit daunting deciphering opening hours and prix fixe menus, there are a number of wonderful restaurants open for the holidays. For starters check out The Rome Digest’s Where to […]

Traditional Sweet Torrone

With less than two weeks until Christmas, I’m stockpiling seasonal sweets. Yesterday I stopped by my neighborhood pastry shop in Monteverde to order panettone and walked away with two chunks of torrone. The impossible to resist crumbly blocks of torrone bianco al miele remind me of Christmas Eve with my family. The snow-white candy never failed to appear on the Tringali […]

Date Nut Bread

With winter upon us, I find myself thinking of the holidays, missing my family and spending time in my kitchen keeping warm, baking and cooking. I leafed through a handwritten book of family recipes and the one for date nut bread caught my eye. Another one of my grandmother’s, the same woman who taught me […]

Join The Rome Digest for a Charitable Thanksgiving Lunch

The Thanksgiving day countdown is on. Historically, Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks for and celebrating the harvest. It is a day when families and friends share a meal at a table overflowing with seasonal vegetables, turkey and pumpkin pie. This year I’m looking forward to the charitable Thanksgiving-themed lunch organized by The Rome […]

Pasta e Fagioli, Pasta & Beans

My grandmother from Avellino has been on my mind lately. Hours spent in her kitchen, watching her turn the simplest ingredients into the most comforting and delicious dishes. I miss her, our talks and her kitchen. I miss the smell of fresh garden tomatoes simmering in a pot on her stove top, filling the house […]

Sicilian Sweets for the Festival for the Dead

Last night I dreamt of my grandparents who passed away many years ago. We were gathered around the kitchen table, laughing, talking and eating as usual. As tomorrow is All Souls’ Day, my superstitious self said “how appropriate you had a visit from the dead” so here’s to my grandparents.Thanks for the visit. Celebrating the […]

FrankRizzuti – Cucina del Sud Ristorante

I woke up this morning thinking about my most memorable meal in 2013. It was in July during my first visit to the region of Basilicata. The three hour lunch flew by in what seemed like thirty minutes. FrankRizzuti – Cucina del Sud Ristorante opened its doors in June 2012. At Cucina del Sud, Chef and Owner Frank Rizzuti creates innovative plates […]

Caponata, Cooked Eggplant Salad

It is eggplant season. Market stands are piled high with the tear-shaped violet-purple-black vegetable. Caponata or capunata as my Sicilian grandparents would say is a cooked eggplant salad made with fried eggplant, celery and capers seasoned with vinegar and sugar. While variations of ingredients exist with some recipes adding raisins, potatoes and pine nuts and others including peppers, […]

Le volpi e l’uva Wine Bar in Florence

Everyone these days is looking to eat at an authentic Italian enoteca. It is becoming increasingly harder to find one that hasn’t yet conformed to tourism and let go of its old world originality. Well, I have news for you, my hope in a good traditional enoteca experience has been restored. Le volpi e l’uva, an […]

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Christmas Eve 2012

A client recently said to me “I thought the feast of 7 fish was an Italian-American tradition not an Italian one, is it true?”As I sat down to my first Christmas Eve dinner in Italy, I thought of this question and am happy to say that this tradition continues in many Italian homes. I was […]

FVG Wine Tasting at Vino Roma

Vino Roma is a wine studio where you can learn about Italian wines through guided tastings. I’ve attended both “My Italians” and “Sparkling Saturdays“. Last week a special tasting, “Super Wines of Friuli” was on the calendar. With sommelier exams on my mind, I couldn’t wait to delve into this region with wine educator, colleague and friend Hande Leimer (pictured below). […]

Pizzeria Tonda

What to say about Pizzeria Tonda? It is one of Rome’s best pizzerias. With warm service, bright decor and simply delicious brick oven pizza, it is still going strong. I ate there with a group of friends on Monday night. Starters included home-made crisps, suppli ortolano (Roman vegetarian fried rice ball stuffed with eggplant, zucchini, pepper and mozzarella) and eggplant trapizzino. Three […]

Panificio Bonci is open – pizza bianca, bread & biscotti…

Panificio Bonci is open! The latest addition to the Gabriele Bonci dynasty opened its doors this week. Last night I attended the launch party where Bonci served up savory and sweet treats. Trays of pastry puff pizzette with tomato sauce and absolutely addictive pizza bianca were served. What makes the crust perfectly crisp? skill, love, 2 day dough leavening and quality […]

romeo | chef & baker

I am a huge fan of Glass Hostaria, Salumeria Roscioli and Il Forno Roscioli. When I heard that they were combining forces to create a new venture, I couldn’t wait to experience it. Cristina Bowerman, Fabio Spada and the Roscioli brothers, Pierluigi and Alessandro are the chefs & bakers behind Romeo. Pulling on their collective strengths, Romeo offers thin crust […]

The People & Food of San Vito Lo Capo – Laboratorio Dolci Peralta

“It all started with la graffa, a Sicilian fluffy donut jam-packed with sweet ricotta and dusted with sugar. When I was 11 years old, my parents sent me to apprentice with a barber. I spent my weekly earnings on movie tickets and graffe. With my love of sweets and empty pockets, it was apparent that I […]

The People & Food of San Vito Lo Capo – Pescheria Alfonso

I feel a deep connection to Sicily, her people, land, food and wine. It started with my grandparents, Maria and Sebastiano, who grew up near Siracusa. It grows each time I visit. I recently spent a week at San Vito Lo Capo. I couldn’t wait to buy, cook and eat local seafood. First stop, Pescheria […]

Nuovo Mercato Testaccio & “Mordi e Vai” (Tripe Sandwiches)

It is official, the inauguration of the Nuovo Mercato Testaccio (New Testaccio Market) is today. I stopped by the original Mercato di Testaccio and found Carmelo d’Agostino, tomato expert, there alone. Sadly, he’s not moving to the new market but he’s hoping to find a space in Testaccio. Despite my mixed emotions about the controversial closing of the […]

Caldo freddo – Sicilian Ice Cream Sundae

It’s hot as #@! in Rome. All I can think about is my recent escape to San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily. Home to crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and stunning mountains, it is the birthplace of the caldo freddo (hot cold) dessert. Caldo freddo is an extravaganza of sponge cake soaked in liquor, gelato (italian ice cream) […]

Happy Easter

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted. I’ve been happily traveling and have much to report. Today, I want to wish a Happy Easter to my family, friends and all the amazing people in my life. I am grateful. Here’s my Easter post from last year which lies close to my heart. Buon […]

An Afternoon with Arianna Occhipinti

I met inspirational, natural wine maker, Arianna Occhipinti for the first time at Sicilia en primeur 2011. Arianna and her wine are the new and the old Sicily, strong, surprising, rooted in tradition with an eye toward the future. They reflect the land of Vittoria and the region of Ragusa. Arianna’s energy is infectious, her love […]

“Sparkling Saturdays” at Vino Roma

Yesterday I attended “Sparkling Saturdays” led by Hande Leimer, co-founder of Vino Roma. I met Hande recently and can objectively say she is one of most talented wine educators whom I know in Rome. I truly enjoyed the way she presented each bubbly. What a perfect start to a Saturday evening! We tasted 5 sparkling […]

Blue Inc., Boston

Each time I visit Boston, I’m hopeful that the food scene has improved. During my last trip, my friend Eda and I opted to try Blue Inc., one of “Boston’s 11 Hottest New Restaurants of 2011” according to Zagats. Fans of Gordan Ramsey’s “Hell’s Kitchen” will recognize Blue Inc. Executive Chef and Owner, Jason Santos. His […]

Artichoke & Chard Savory Pie

In the U.S. when I hear the word pie the smell of baked fruit and cinnamon floods my nostrils. Visions of warm apples in a golden crust topped with melting vanilla ice cream come to mind. In Rome, I think of torta rustica or savory pie. It’s hard to imagine that the Romans made savory pie-like pastries during […]

10 Most Memorable Meals, 2011

When food historian, blogger and travel writer, Katie Parla asked me what my “best bite in Rome” was in 2011, it got me thinking about the many amazing dishes I’ve eaten over the past year. Eating is an emotional experience, it’s not only about the blissful food but the friends and family who sit at the […]

Christmas Eve & the Serpent that Didn’t Get Away

The smell of seafood drifts through my house; it’s Christmas time. Today, homes across Italy celebrate with il cenone, a massive Christmas Eve menu of multiple courses of fish. My grandparents immigrated from southern Italy where capitone, large female eel, is THE traditional fish of Christmas Eve.Memories of my grandfather Edmundo from Salerno cleaning a bucket of live […]

Christmas Eve & the Serpent that Didn’t Get Away

The smell of seafood drifts through my house; it’s Christmas time. Today, homes across Italy celebrate with il cenone, a massive Christmas Eve menu of multiple courses of fish. My grandparents immigrated from southern Italy where capitone, large female eel, is THE traditional fish of Christmas Eve.Memories of my grandfather Edmundo from Salerno cleaning a bucket of live […]

Vegetarian Rosemary White Bean Soup

When I found out that my good friend Elena would be going to NYC for three months, I immediately told her to block a day for lunch. With the chilly weather in Rome descending upon us, it was soup time, rosemary white bean soup to be precise.  I was inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe in […]

Antico Forno ai Serpenti – Pane Pizza Biscotti

There’s a definite food buzz around Rione Monti punctuated by a few notable openings in the last week.I visited the newly opened “Antico Forno ai Serpenti” and had a chance to interview owner Alessandro Santomauro and talk with Sergio Conti who oversees all baking and bread making. I also spent some time in the kitchen and […]

Simply Satisfying Biscotti

When winter strikes, I find myself spending more time baking. A few years ago my Mom gave me a leather bound book with my grandmother Louise’s signature recipes. She hand-wrote each one. It is the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. I keep adding more of my grandmother’s recipes to it, testing them and retesting […]

Mauro Musso’s Magical Pasta

Thanks to a 7-course pasta tasting organized by Katie Parla and hosted by Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi, I had the chance to meet Mauro Musso and taste his magical pasta. Mauro’s passion for his craft and his quest for rare flours are inspiring. Two weeks later and I’m still craving the one dish that […]

Coffee Addict in Naples – Take 2

I was in Naples last week, eating, drinking and eating some more. In the countless times that I’ve visited Naples over the past 20 years, I’ve avoided Caffè Gambrinus.  Gold accents, chandeliers, bow-tied baristas (barmen).  It’s all a bit too fancy for me.This trip I reluctantly gave it a try.  I ordered a caffè strapazzato, it’s THE COFFEE […]

“Diamantini di Cioccolato, Riso e Caffè” Biscotti

I received Luca Montersino’s Le Dolci Tentazioni (sweet temptations) cookbook for my birthday in July. Until recently, it sat on my bookshelf collecting dust. Montersino is known for his “healthy” pastry recipes. Many of them are gluten free, substitute olive oil for butter and use grains like kamut and quinoa instead of more processed grains. I […]

Hostaria da Settimio – My Neighborhood Trattoria

Last weekend, I had lunch at one of my go-to-spots, Hostaria da Settimio in Monteverde. I stumbled upon it in November 2009.  Honest prices, homey food and a welcoming owner make for a winning recipe.  Carla, the mayor of Settimio, bops from table to table reciting the menu, taking orders and chatting with the regulars. […]

Lemon Daal, Un-Italian Comfort Food

Shopping at food markets around Rome is always inspirational to me. I love to cook and when I feel like making something un-Italian, I head over to the market at Piazza Vittorio. It offers local and seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as international ingredients. After a quick chat with my go-to-spice vendor, I decided […]

Rome Street Food

Rome Street Food… …Has No Right to Look This Good! Photo essay. Read on Cond Nast Traveler website.

Glass Hostaria – Where Rome Meets NYC

Last week, I clicked my heels together walking down a Trastevere street.  My mind, eyes and stomach were delightfully confused. I had just finished a 5 hour fine dining experience at Glass Hostaria. Located in the heart of Trastevere, Glass boasts the highly creative cuisine of Chef Cristina Bowerman, modern décor, professional service and an extensive […]

Bicerin, A Chocolate-Coffee Dream

It is a sunny, crisp autumn day and an opportune time to enjoy a Bicerin. Just as each region of Italy has its own cuisine, many have their own speciality coffee drinks. Enter the Bicerin, a coffee potion created during the 18th century in the city of Turin in Piedmont.  For a coffee-chocolate addict like me, this scrumptious […]

Music, Symbols and Metaphors – An Exhibit by Elena Di Cesare

Last Thursday, I attended the opening party of an art exhibit by an Italian-Australian artist, Elena Di Cesare (aka Archibaldi) at Contesta Rock Hair in Rione Monti. Elena is a close friend and incredibly inspiring and talented artist. I have been privy to watching her pieces evolve over the past 4 years from sketches of […]

Granita & Brioche – Breakfast of Champions

By November in Rome, I’m usually hankering for hot chocolate, ribollita and roast chicken. With unseasonably warm temperatures, I’ve got granita on my mind. It is a slush like drink made from water, sugar and fruit, coffee or nuts. Originally from Sicily, it is usually served with sweet brioche for breakfast. Seem like an odd combination? This […]

Ess-a-Bagel, NYC

I’m in a NYC state of mind. It’s breakfast time and I’m craving a warm, doughy, massive Ess-a-Bagel smothered in luscious cream cheese. A carb-lovers dream, the original kosher shop opened on 21st S Street and 1st Ave in 1976. Choose from more than 15 cream cheese creations and over 12 bagel varieties. Sesame, pumpernickel or the […]

2 Days of Eating in NYC…the Highlights & Lowlights

NYC was my home for 7 years.  Every time I visit the U.S., I hop on the Boston-NYC Chinatown bus to visit friends, breathe in the city and eat.  I was recently in NYC for a two day trip.  Here are some food highlights and lowlights of my trip: Momofuku Noodle Bar The first of […]

Picchiapò & Cicoria Strascinata at Da Benito

I had lunch today with Context Travel food docents, Eleonora and Brette at Da Benito in the Jewish Ghetto. It is a no frills family run Roman trattoria. By the time I arrived orders had been placed. I quickly hopped on my fellow foodies bandwagon ordering picchiapò and cicoria strascinata (chicory sauteed with olive oil, garlic […]

Italian Caffè in NYC

Since I left NYC over 5 years ago, Italian style coffee bars and small batch roasters have been popping up around the city. When I visit, I look forward to stopping by some of my fav coffee bars and trying out some new ones. Here is a list of the ones that I hit up […]

Burritos – Anna’s Taqueria

I’ve been in the U.S. for 2 weeks. When I land in Boston, my first food stop is my Mom’s kitchen and then Anna’s Taqueria in Davis Square. It is a no frills, order at the counter, sit in or take away taqueria located near Tufts University.  I start with chips and Anna’s creamy guacamole made […]

Street Level

Story by Gina Tringali Photos by Susan Wright Many a visitor to Italy hankers after an experience that lets them get in touch with daily life.  A great way to do this is to explore the fresh food markets and aromatic alleyways to be found in quieter locations, such as Palermo. 

Lunch in Siracusa – Sicilia in Tavola

After KBT and I grazed our way through the Ortigia market, we sped off to our lunch reservation at Sicilia in Tavola. We started with polpette di pesce neonata grigliate (grilled whitebait patties). The fluffy clouds were laced with peppery parsley, parmesan and topped with a splash of lemon juice. They were cooked perfectly. (Note: […]

Eating our way through the Ortigia Market – Siracusa, Sicily

I can’t spend enough time in Sicily. I am a bit bias given two of my grandparents were born near Napoli and the other two near Siracusa (Syracuse)…so when my friend, KBT, and I squeezed in a food crawl in Siracusa I was elated. The cool sea air of the nearby fishing port engulfed us […]

Antica Marina Osteria – Catania, Sicily

Seafood, Sicily, summertime…jackpot! I’ve been living in Rome for 4+ years and it’s become increasingly difficult to find a meal that brings joyous tears to my eyes. I knew there was a good chance that I’d find what I was looking for in Sicily. During a road trip in July along the east coast of […]

10 best music venues in Rome

Rome’s music bars and clubs span everything from rock and classical to jazz and blues. Gina Tringali selects her 10 greatest hits This article written for, and republished from here Teatro dell’Opera di Roma In the country where every person can recite the lyrics to Verdi’s “Va Pensiero”, opera is a way of life. From […]

Power to the People

Story by Gina Tringali Photos by Susan Wright Land confiscated from organized crime and turned over to social co-operatives has spawned a new generation of Sicilian organic winemakers who are not only providing fully paid work, but are earning praise for their quality produce. As part of the Libera Terra (Free Land) project, the vineyards […]

Sweetest side of Turin

Article by Gina Tringali Photos by Susan Wright Bordered by France and Switzerland, Piedmont is the birthplace of Slow Food. The regional capital, Turin, exudes charm, elegance and culture, yet it is often overlooked by tourists. But, there is one particularly indulgent aspect to Turin that no self-respecting food fan can fail to revel in. […]

Palazzone vineyards

Article by Gina Tringali Photos by Susan Wright A 13th century inn for pilgrims that’s now awash with modern chic and bottles aged in an Etruscan grotto among the chestnut and oak trees make for a unique and prize-winning experience in Umbria’s Orvieto region. Wine is the fruit of a territory, of a grape and […]

Sicilian Dream

Article by Gina Tringali Photos by Susan Wright Count Paolo Marzotto’s retirement bet, that he can put Sicily further onto the wine map, starts to pay off. |

When in Rome…

Article by Gina Tringali Photos by Susan Wright Ah! Italian espresso. We hear a lot about it, but if you find yourself in the “Eternal City,” where do you head for the ultimate caffeine fix? Photographer, Susan Wright and correspondent, Gina Tringali, went in search of the not-to-be-missed, artisan outlets. (Published in BeanScene)

Making Pizza with Bonci at Tricolore

I’ve been waiting months to take Gabriele Bonci’s pizza course at Tricolore. Since the rush of bloggers, foodies and groupies partook in this Roman Pizza Guru’s initial lessons back in January, many of the kinks of this 2 day, 170 euro course have been worked out. Special thanks to writers like Katie Parla for giving […]

Friday Night at L’Osteria di Monteverde

Last Friday, I had dinner at L’Osteria di Monteverde.  I’ve been a bit anti-Osteria di Monteverde since it took over the space of a popular locale and the menu was changed to typical Roman fare.  I visited the Osteria when it first opened its doors in September and wasn’t impressed but after much hype, I decided […]

Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter from Naples!

Like all holidays in Italy, Pasqua (Easter) has many traditions both religious and culinary. After 40 days of fasting for Lent, Easter Sunday arrives with enough food to feed an army.  Dishes include lamb or goat, savory Easter breads with a different twist from every region, la colomba and hollow chocolate eggs. I am lucky […]

Easter Egg Explosion

              Easter is right around the corner. Bakers and bread makers are churning out colombe, casatiello (easter bread made with pieces of salame, pecorino cheese and eggs) and la pastiera napoletana. Artisans work round-the-clock cranking out chocolate creations. Like all food, Italians take chocolate  seriously, especially at Pasqua (Easter). […]

Le Tre Zucche Ristorante

Last Thursday, I had dinner at Le Tre Zucche in Monteverde. Open for nearly six years, it is hands-down one of my favorite restaurants in Rome. The professional and warm service, simple and elegant décor, extensive wine list and creative regional plates can be credited to the talented duo; Fabrizio Sepe, chef and co-owner, and […]

Coffee Addict in Naples

Being coffee obsessed, there is no better city to visit in Italy than Naples…the home of pizza margherita, mouthwatering sfogliatelle and coffee extraordinaire…need I go on?  Last weekend, it was time to say hello to spring and adieu to winter and il caffè alla nocciola in cialda (espresso topped with hazelnut cream served in a […]

Sicilia en Primeur 2011 – Tastings & Reflections

I spent four days at the Sicilia en Primeur 2011, tasting Sicilian wine and meeting wine producers. It was an intense, informative and fun event. I visited the Terre Sciane and Pantelleria group of wine producers for two days before arriving at the Donnafugata Resort near Ragusa where we tasted wines for two days. There […]

Riverpark – A Tom Colicchio Restaurant

It probably comes as a surprise that I love food. Everytime I visit NYC I feel like I’m cheating on my faithful boyfriend, Italian cuisine. My restaurant wish list is made before I hit the ground and it rarely includes Cucina Italiana. I hit my regulars…Momofuku noodle bar for my pork bun fix, Sobaya for […]

The Best Coffee Bars in Rome

I am a coffee addict. Truth be told, I can’t function without my morning espresso or caffè as it’s called in Italian. It’s one of my vices. Since moving to Rome, 3 years ago, I’m forever on the lookout for that perfect cappuccino and caffè with a distinct crema, that caramel-colored layer of goodness that […]

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