Musings from Italyum on food, drink and cooking.
For a while I’ve wanted to write about the “Aglio di Resia” (the garlic from Resia valley) and what my Italian cousin Donatella is doing to bring this wonderful ingredient the fame it deserves, however I’ve always waited and waited, despite her numerous invitations to go there and see what’s going on. That is until this summer! I decided to spend some time in the north-east of Italy (the name of the region is Friuli Venezia Giulia), near the borders of Slovenia and Austria.
In April I visited Italy just a week, to see the family and relatives. It happens that my brother lives in Suzzara (province of Mantova), just few miles from the river Po, the biggest river in Italy. Despite Suzzara being under the province of Mantova (in Italy provinces are like the counties here in the UK), their local food is strongly influenced by the nearby province of Modena. From Suzzara, cross the river and you are in the province of Modena.
Modena is in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and it is very close to Bologna, so you can imagine the type of food they eat there; real no-fuss-food. Local trattorias, both on the hills at the foot of the Apennini mountains and along the river Po are well known for serving "Tigelle" (also called Crescentine), "gnocco fritto" and "piadine romagnole".
In the website we have already published the recipe for the gnocco fritto and the piadina romagnola, so give it a go but here I would like to talk about the tigelle - a topic which I have never covered before. Tigelle are similar to blinis, but a bit crispier. They are made more or less with the same ingredients used for the piadina romagnola, and then cooked is a special mold pan that allows to make more than one at a time. They are served very hot with a lard mix called "cunza" (cunza is a mix of lard, rosemary and garlic - cunza is also called Modena pesto) that you spread onto the tigelle.
Federico has just been working on baking small baguettes with "poolish" a pre-ferment that allows for more complex flavours to develop.
(More photos in the gallery.)
Would you like Federico to share the secrets of making these delicious loaves?
On the 16th January, we had the great honour of being featured as the Amazon free app of the day. In under a few hours, the app was downloaded 45,000 times and the stress on our web server caused a huge meltdown!
We were warned that the promotion would cause a fair bit of increased interest, so we prepared by moving most of the site onto a content distribution network. However, such was the demand for the app, that even this was unable to handle the hungry app enthusiasts! I sat at my computer all day monitoring the site, and all seemed well. But, just as I was about to break for dinner, a big surge of interest from Americans (presumably thinking about lunch) overwhelmed the server and it went up in a ball of flames (metaphorically I think.)
Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals series is on the TV at the moment, and we think it is an interesting concept. Whilst we believe that when it comes to cooking, great things come to those who wait, creating delicious quick meals is something the Italians do well.
For your convenience, here is a list of our recipes that you can knock up from start to finish in 15 minutes for a quick snack.
We hope you like the new look to the site. Italyum has come a long way since it's creation in 2005.
We thought that as the web becomes more sophisticated, we needed to update our site again. The redesign aims to:
So far so good. The response we have had is really positive, and the information about how people are using the new site is really encouraging. Since the redesign, people are staying around 50% longer on the site. What do you think about the redesign?
Do get in touch!
Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.
Like the recipes? Buy me a beer!
Dont' forget - if you have any questions about our recipes, you can ask Federico directly on our Facebook page. It's also the perfect place to share your love of Italian food, and get exclusive updates on new recipes. Buon appetito!