Italian Olive Oil supplies are short…now what?

IMG_1497

This should be a must read for anyone who eats olive oil and who lives religiously by it, like my mother who bless her funky soul, would even put it in chocolate brownies growing up.

Amid Bugs, Hail, Floods and Bacteria, Italian Olives Take a Beating by The New York Times.

Basically what has happened is that in 2014, olive-growing regions in Italy experienced abundant rainfall coupled with a fruit fly invasion that destroyed most of their crops. The beauty of living in a country so dependent on agriculture, is that we can really feel environmental affects on even the smallest things like household staples. In the states, where everything is available year-round with a relentless global buying power to match, most environmental abnormalities have little consequence on everyday life.  Continue reading

A Florentine week of eats: countryside, street food and aperitivo

In the last week in Florence, I have been overwhelmed by flavor. Overwhelmed by the beauty of my surroundings. I have decided, being in Seattle for the last several months was nothing but good. Now, I can appreciate my surroundings (and tastes) with a clean slate or yet- a fresh palate. It is good to take breaks from monotony. Think of places which have summer year round due to being near the equator, do you think people there appreciate the beach and sun as say those living in Germany?

Without further rambling, here are some new food findings I have discovered in Florence thus far: Continue reading

Tuscan Baked Goods and Bakeries in Florence

Looking for the most buttery bakeries in Florence?

Buttery may not be the accurate term since most Tuscan baked goods are made with either no butter (i.e. pane toscano, cantuccini biscotti, etc) with olive oil, shortening or plain old fashioned lard, but for all intents and purposes, these are the bakeries where you can get the holy trinity of fat carbs and sugar. Italians and Tuscans especially take great pride in baked goods, especially breads which have hundreds of years attached in every crumble and every morsel of that “buttery” simple carbohydrate bite.

It is possible to find yourself in a conundrum of where to find the best baked goods in Florence as albeit the tiny size, the city is brimming with bakery shops at every corner and in between. Save yourself the hassle with this little guide. Continue reading

Food and Community- examples from Emilia-Romagna

emilia romagnaAs part of a monthly bloggers group I am apart of, Italian Food and Wine Travel, we journey through the world of Italian Food and Wine, one region at a time. This month the topic is Emilia-Romagna and in the past for this blogger’s group, I’ve written quick cheese guides. This month however, I decided to dive a little deeper and closer to my blogging roots. And that is- cross cultural examinations and analyzing food ways.

I have been in Seattle for nearly 6 months after a very challenging 2.5 years of establishing a life in Florence. I am just a few weeks away from being back in Florence after this little hiatus and I have been busy reflecting and observing my home country in comparison to my new one. Continue reading

Where to get Mexican Food in Seattle (which is not terrible)

taco truck seattle

See recommendation #4

I will be taking a short break from writing about my food memories in Florence to make the most of my time left in this food obsessed city. Stay tuned for the next few weeks, Seattle. The next posts are inspired from F.A.Q’s my tour guests in Seattle hit me with. I get my brain, prodded, picked and tested for food recommendations like a target at a firing range, with the hopes of hitting me right in the stomach for the best tips for eating around Seattle. A sort of “people’s request” response, I decided to start with Mexican Food since strangely enough, it is on the top 5 for the most common question. I must say, I am almost embarrassed to talk about Mexican food in Seattle because A. This isn’t Texas or California. and B. I am not an expert on regional Mexican cuisine. But you asked for it. Continue reading

Food Souvenir Shopping in Florence

My teeth are itching with excitement, my withdrawals from Florence turning to longing despair, I fight hard to remind my soul not to wither to American conservative consumerism and the end of my hiatus in my “hometown” is almost near…alas I still have some juice left for food travel tips in Florence albeit being oh so far for the last 5 months. My dear, how does time fly…

I am reminded, and have been reminded, every day for the last 5 months why Italy is the best place on earth. I cannot wait to return (just a handful of weeks!) to the place where passion is apart of the food pyramid, one of the elements and where plain style and sensibility are apart of everyday life. I can’t tell you how many times I bury my palms into my temples muttering “aye yai yai” seeing people wear flip-flops in the (nearly) winter, ordering caramel macchiatos, red wine with oysters, Pinot Grigio with Bucatini Bolognese, and donning t-shirts with no jacket (in the cold rain). Not to mention, the slew of terribly shallow cultural norms. As I mentioned in a previous post, 10 things I love about Italy still proves to me the priceless rewards of living in Italy.

I imagine that the travelers that are in Italy right now are looking for some souvenirs to bring back home especially during the holiday season where stores are practically rolling out the red carpet, taking pride in their products and dignity in the decorations making Florence even a little more magical than usual. Continue reading

Cicchetti Seattle: Tasty Mediterranean Food

Oven Roasted Artichokes on a Tahini Sauce

Oven Roasted Artichokes on a Tahini Sauce (photo by a fellow lush: Darcy H.)

Cicchetti is Italian for (Cicheti) Venetian “tapas” small plates and finger foods. In Seattle, Cicchetti is a Mediterranean restaurant claiming to serve Venetian-inspired cuisine with a Northwest twist. It is what I consider the mother-in-law, bit on the side to Serafina’s Italian Restaurant in Seattle- a very Manhattan style swanky Italian dining spot in Eastlake. Continue reading

A quick cheese guide to Piedmont

Piedmont is home to many luscious and decadent cheeses, making it almost a disservice to make a quick guide of it. Piedmont, is the food capital of Italy, in my opinion. It is home to the Slow Food Movement (although whose current operations I question), the annual cheese festival in Bra, the most prestigious truffles from Alba (Sorry, Tuscany. Not sorry, France.) Barolo wine for pete’s sake, the wonderful Nebbiolo grape, and fine heritage breeds of cattle to make typical plates like Vitello Tonnato (sliced veal with a tuna mayo cream). Piedmont seems to get a lot of countryside tourism, but the capital Turin seems to get very little exposure compared to other major Northern Italian cities like Milan or Venice. Turin has lots of craft cocktail bars, abundant aperitivo buffet lounges and groundbreaking restaurants. When I get to thinking about Piedmont, it is the next best place to Tuscany where I am foolishly loyal to. Continue reading

Street food with Malay Flavor: Kedai Makan Seattle

Pastry filled hand held lamb pockets

Pastry filled hand held lamb pockets

Brace yourself, Seattle. I think I found the one hole-in-the wall that is not a one-hit-wonder. The street food that really involves something besides pretentious “sliders” and “authentic” tacos.  Let me preface this post with the fact that I have never been to Asia. I am nothing close to an expert in tasting exotic Asian foods. However, have faith in my palate and critical eye to suggest to you what I think is the most heavenly street food that 8 dollars can buy in Seattle, and that is: Malaysian-style food at Kedai Makan. Continue reading