Archive for the ‘Other eating’ Category

Sugared Almonds, or confetti as we call them in Italy are one of my greatest passions.

I compulsively eat as many as I can find until my teeth ache.

Our new pack memeber was born on 24th May and little Phil’s baptism provided an opportunity to eat a lavish meal and to gorge on confetti.


What I think is fascinating about confetti is that they have evolved so much from the simple ‘sugared almond’ definition they almost warrant a new name like ‘almond delight’ or something less naff.

Anyway in the eighties you could find chocolate flavoured ones but now the choice is truly inspiring. You can select pear and milk chocolate, pear and white chocolate, coconut, strawberry, chapagne and all sort of flavours.

So quite frankly next time you hand me a bomboniera (the exquisite silver ornament that is packaged next to the confetti in crinoline and bows) be  aware that it will be torn to pieces as soon as I get in the car so that I can unlock the almondy goodness inside.Image


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On today’s online version of Corriere della Sera an interesting video by Beijing based restauranteurs that explains a little about how to make it in Beijing with an Italian restaurant.

Difficulties catering to sophisticated Beijingren and sourcing genuine Italian products (such as mozzarella di bufala, salami, burrata etc).

PS. Sorry it’s all in Italian!!

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Deep in the rolling hills of Oltrepo Pavese every year an extraordinary tournament takes place. Sponsored by Cantina Travaglino, Calvignano cheese rollers from all over Italy meet here to er…roll a cheese up a hill.

Cantina Travaglino

You start from the bottom and throw your cheese rolling it off a belt-type thing to give it extra spin. The cheese has to roll in between certain marks and go higher than everyone else’s cheese, marks are set and you keep moving further up the hill.

The ‘Cantina’ is pretty old and their wine rather good so the event attracts as many people to watch the cheese rollers as it does general wine lovers on a day out.

Young they are not: like cheese, for cheese rolling you apparently need to age a bit before you get really good..

The precious cheese…

Some of these rounds of cheese are cherished for a year before they are taken out to compete. Sadly they all meet the same end and are eaten after the match.

Getting ready to roll…

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I blogged last week about this  kid who photographed and published on her blog the pics of the ‘food’ that her school proposed as ‘school dinners’.

Now the BBC reports that Martha Payne, blogger and tiny whistle-blower, has been banned from taking photos of her school dinners by the local council.

With the staggering amount of hits her blog had received Martha was also reportedly raising money for charity.

This is from her ‘Goodbye’ post:

“This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today. 

“I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.”

Later her father explains:

Hi, Veg’s Dad, Dave, here. I felt it’s important to add a few bits of info to the blog tonight. Martha’s school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I’d like to thank them all. I contacted Argyll and Bute Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography.

“It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2000 for charity is forced to end.”

Sad to see her go and a very bad PR move by the council. When you have that much visibility (thanks to Martha) you really need to work with it to show the world that you are willing to make changes not try to muzzle it.

That is of course if you actually are willing to make changes .

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This delightful initiative is run by Architects without borders Piedmont and an association called Terra Terra.

The oven, entirely constructed in environmentally friendly or low impact material represents the kitchen as heart of the community, a place to meet up and do something constructive together.

The very act of baking harkens back to primitive activities  (think sharing a meal in the cave) and bread making in particular, as bread is very much a staple food.

The oven is a charming alternative to mass-produced, anonymous consumption of food and a chance for communities to mingle and share experiences related to cooking and to life in general. The creators of the oven had in mind the traditional village oven around which people would queue, chat, gossip and generally open up.

The over called, Il Focolare, is currently being built by voluntary helpers and people who want to hone in on their construction skills, so if you happen to be near Turin on 9th and 10th June be sure to pop into the PAV (Parco Arte Vivente- Living Art Park) and check out the latest stage of development.


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As promised after Beer Food at the Castello Visconteo in Pavia, we couldn’t miss out on Pavia Wine the following sunday.

It was boiling hot, not the organiser’s fault although let’s face it May would have probably provided better weather for tasting full bodied reds. Unlike Beer Food the event took place in covered first floor of the castle beautiful, but not very breezy.

Also unlike Beer Food there was absolutely nothing to eat! Now I know that if you are a proper wine connoisseur you are very likely to do that spitting into a bucket thing instead of drinking the wine, but this was not the tone of the event. Even the sommerlier seemed rather (very) drunk. Every 15 minutes some salame from Varzi was brought out only to disappear within seconds as the ravenous crowds swept in.

Most of the local wine producers were there, with some new names we didn’t know although the usual favourites are Giorgi, La Versa and Mazzolino. A lighter Buttafuoco was a nice surprise.

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This place is a really little find. After cramming into an impossibly small and inanely crowded  bar for an overpriced aperitif we strolled towards the second flat we were going to view that day and  in Via Casale we found this really cool bar/shop. Basically selling wine and olive oil on tap it also offers the option to buy a small glass of wine (about the size of a shot glass) and a board with cheese, salami and ham and bread sticks.

What is really impressive is how cheap it all is. One glass of wine is 1 Euro and the food, served on a wooden cutting board cost from 3-6 Euro. Trust me, you won’t get anything cheaper in this area.

But it’s not just cost that attracts people here as the atmosphere is delightfully informal and unpretentious. When we finally move I’m going to make this a regular.


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