Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Festa di San Giuseppe

In Italy, today is the Festa di San Giuseppe, and it's also the day that fathers are celebrated. All over Italy, and especially down here in the south, families will be getting together for a delicious lunch and will be giving small gifts to their dads, just like we do in the UK.

There's one particular thing that Italians like to eat today (yes, there's always a specific food for every occasion!) and that's the Zeppola. A fried or baked ring of dough served with chocolate and a type of custard, this sweet treat is incredibly yummy. Before lunch on March 19th, the bars and bakeries are full of people buying dozens of the things. And rightly so, because it's hare to stop at just one...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Cheese please!

I am a massive fan of cheese. Not all cheese (I stay far away from brie), but normally I can't get enough of the stuff. I love going to the cheese counter here and picking up some fresh mozzarella or buying a chunk of Parmesan.

 There's one Italian cheese that I am seriously falling in the love with though, and that's Provola.

This semi-hard cheese can be found all over Italy, but was originally manufactured in the southern regions. It comes in all different shapes and sizes, but around these parts I usually see it in big ball shapes. If you pick up one of the bigger ones, the name given to it is usually Provolone, wheras the smaller ones are simply Provola.

Made from full-fat cow's milk, it's definitely not the healthiest option, but it's really rather tasty. You can get it smoked (affumicata) or plain, but I find the smoked one is a bit more flavoursome. In my opinion, the best way to eat almost any cheese here, is on its own. Not in a sandwich, not on top of pasta...but in a nice little chunk on its own. Yep, even with Parmasan; don't be so hasty in grating it directly onto your pasta dish. Cut of a piece first and sample the amazing flavour.

Here's some smoked Provola that I picked up yesterday:

Are you a cheese fiend like me? What's your favourite?

Monday, 4 March 2013

Sunday Snapshots

Just when I was complaining about the weather, a beautiful, sunny Sunday pops up.

And so despite the fact that I had done this the night before:

(Yes, that's mint vodka with Kahlua...!)

...In the morning, I got out of bed (albeit begrudgingly) and headed outside into the blinding sunshine. Yes, literally blinding. I had to shield my eyes for a good 20 seconds until I became accustomed to the glare.

It was a GLORIOUS DAY. Before doing anything else, myself and my man went for a coffee and a great big croissant. Then, we strolled around, launching a 'ciao!' at people we knew (the whole town comes out on Sunday morning, either for a walk after church, or to pick up some delicious cakes) and generally enjoyed being outside. Let's hope the weather continues behaving, and we can do this every Sunday!

You can just make out the Scouts in the background, doing...well, Scouty things)

Now that's definitely a Spring sky...

I hope you all had a smashing weekend!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Winter Blues? Just pick up a pizza!

Yesterday afternoon, for the first time in what seems like forever, I finally stepped out onto my balcony...and felt warm. Yesterday afternoon was gloriously sunny, and I truly felt like spring was making an early appearance.

As the evening wore on however, I was catapulted back to reality, as the grey winter skies arrived once again, bringing a load of  rain with them. Sigh. Is anyone else getting really fed up of winter now?

When this happens, we often decide to abandon our giro around town, and opt for something much more agreeable: a film and a pizza. Recently, we took this beauty home, stuck on a film, and ignored the yucky winter rain:

Spring, Summer and Autumn are glorious months in southern Italy, with blue skies in April, endless hot days in July and balmy evenings in September. But Winter? Well, you just have to hunker down, enjoy a bit of Italian telly and crank up the central heating. At least the quality of the pizza doesn't change with the seasons....