When we think about Italian culture, several things might immediately pop into our heads. The first thing that comes to mind for me is always “Civilization” and the many connotations of the word.

From the steep Alpine slopes of Sampeyre to the coastline of Napoli, all the way down the heel of the boot to Lecce, and everywhere in between, Italy’s cuisine is as varied as its landscape. All too often when we think of Italian food, our minds immediately might go to things like spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti…

Buongiorno e buon anno! Hello and happy new year! More than a year ago, I was searching for wineries on other travel and directory sites. What I found was the standard fare, easily found in other guidebooks and on the well-trodden wine lover’s path. Even these directory listings provided only basic information about opening times and…

W is for white cauliflower: White cavolfiore (cauliflower) is widely and internationally known, such a common vegetable that the average dinner-partier does not think twice about the origins of that hard, bumpy, white vegetable among the others on the veggie and dip platter. The white cauliflower is actually relatively new in terms of cultivated plants…

V is for vitellone bianco dell’apennine centrale IGP: The Vitellone Bianco dell’Apennine Centrale IGP, or white veal of the Central Apennine mountain range of Protected Geographic Origin, is superior quality veal that is raised in Campania near the Apennine mountain range. The cattle and steer are also raised in other Italian regions near the Apennines,…

U is for uova ‘mpriatorio: Uova ‘Mpriatorio (oo-oh-vah m-pree-ah-tor-ee-oh) is a simple Neapolitan dish that features a sizzling red tomato sauce with two or more sunny-side up eggs cracked into it, served with a hunk of bread to sop up the good juices. It is an expression of the Neapolitan and Campanian way of utilizing…

Q is for Quaglia di Capri: A traditionally popular and economically valuable dish of the island of Capri has been the quail. The common quail, Coturnix coturnix, is a small bird in the pheasant family with rusty red plumage mottled in black and white. Historically, Capri depended on quail hunting as a large part of…

P is for Patata novella: The image of Italy may recall baskets of tomatoes, plates of pasta, fragrant basil bouquets, and platters of hard and fresh cheeses. It is perhaps surprising, then, to learn that the humble potato is one of Italy’s most widely cultivated vegetables, second in national production only to the tomato. It…

J is for Jellied Pork: Jellied pork, or gelatina di maiale, has a strong Irpinian heritage, specifically in the Upper Valley of the Calore River. In the local dialect it is Ilatina ‘r puorcu. Jellied pork was, at a time when the majority of Italy’s population did not have access to abundant food like today,…