I cannot wait to see these in the historic center of Florence when I’m there in May. They are so cute!
- ‘Just say no’ to Parmigiano: I must agree with Mario Batali (one of my heroes) when he says that Parmigiano Reggiano is the “Undisputed king of cheese.” Italians sprinkle parmesan onto and into many dishes, from appetizers to main courses.
Exception to note: Italians to do not add Parmigiano to any dishes with seafood (pasta or main course).It is considered somewhat sacrilegious to add such a strong-flavored ingredient as Parmigiano to the (incredibly) fresh and delicate taste of fish or shell fish.I have actually seen waiters at restaurants in Italy refuse to bring Parmigiano to someone who has ordered seafood pasta!
- Names and sequence of courses in a meal:At a restaurant, or at home for special occasions, Italians meals flow in this order: Read more
It is believed that Valentine’s Day can be traced back to Roman times during the reign of Emperor Claudius II in the 3rd century. Believing that single men would be more dedicated to their lives as soldiers, Claudius banned marriages for young men. Valentine (a Roman priest) found this law unjust (and unChristian). The priest continued to marry couples in secret despite the Emperor’s decree. Valentine was ultimately discovered and Claudius condemned him to death.
- St. Valentine: (C) 2009 John Sheppard
Legend has it that Valentine actually sent the first Valentine’s Day message: While in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him regularly. The day he was executed (February 14), Valentine left a letter for her and signed it “From your Valentine” thus giving birth to this famous expression.
Love celebrations in mid-February can be traced back to pagan Roman festivals where naked men sacrificed animals then used the animal skins as whips to spank young maidens and increase their fertility.
This celebration was called “Lupercalia” and was held on Febuary 15.
It is believed that the Roman Empire later converted this festival to a Christian holiday and named it for St. Valentine. After Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, many pagan festivals were converted to Christian holidays.
In the province of Lucca in Tuscany, cooks often make this dish called Pasta Tordellata. Tordelli are the Lucchese version of ravioli and Pasta Tordellata is a pasta dish with the ravioli filling on the outside.
This is a hearty dish which is normally made during the winter months.
Pasta Tordellata (serves 8) Printable version
I have always been fascinated by the elegant antique doors and artistic door knockers in Florence. People make fun of me because I often stop to look at or take pictures of doors.
Below is an a link to “The Italian Notebook” and an article that illustrates these beautiful knockers and doors in the capital of Tuscany.
From an article in “Italian Notebook,” mouth-watering, barbecued chicken wings (ali di pollo grigliate) are perfectly rendered in a jpicturesque wooden chalet on the slopes of the Dolomites in northern Italy. They even have a top-secret sauce,
Of course, this being Italy, there are many more wonderful dishes served in this chalet: