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pamela in tuscany

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    Montepulciano, Italy
  1. pamela in tuscany

    Voyage into Creativity

    Hello John! What an excellent review of what must have been a fabulously interesting visit. I am one of those people trying to get reservations to El Bulli… unavailable in all of 2007… As you know, I am a traditionalist when it comes to cooking, but my background includes influence from Jacques Maximin as well, going back to when I worked with Joachim Splichal, another Maximin protégé and culinary wizard in his own right, for a short year’s stint in the mid 80s. These are two men who can literally pull inspiration from the air. Chefs in Italy are trying to emulate this creativity, but few have arrived. Two that I have experienced are Massimo Bottura in Modena (Osteria Francescana) and Davide Scabin in Torino (Combal Zero). Fantasy and precision in the kitchen, dishes truly inspired by local ingredients and some amazing imagination... You wrote, “described four elements that go into making a great chef. The chef must be aware. Once aware of one’s culinary and other surroundings that chef can then be inspired, which leads to the ability to interpret those surroundings. But a great chef does not stop there. Instead, the great chef continues to evolve. Ferran Adria, perhaps more than any other chef who has ever lived, is the embodiment of those four elements.” I think this is very interesting, and I assume that ‘surroundings’ includes local and seasonal ingredients. Scabin also has list of what he wants his patrons to experience with his food: 1) Taste 2) Pleasure 3) Emotion 4) Experience 5) Remembrance While I am a bit nervous about eating something called gluconodeltalactone, I am fascinated by the depth of thought going on in these kitchens.
  2. Ever since I tasted Neals' Yard's Montgomery cheddar at Salone del Gusto two years ago, I have been craving it. Anyone know of a mail order source for shipping in the EU?
  3. pamela in tuscany

    A year of Italian cooking

    I'm jazzed! I'm pretty sure I saw one of my cookbooks on your shelves! Yay!
  4. pamela in tuscany

    Going to Viareggio

    In Viareggio, I tried Ristorante Romano and liked it. I've only been once, and I ordered the Minestra di Farro, Verdure, e Pesce (farro soup with vegetables and fish) because it is their Buon Ricordo dish (you get a ceramic plate, I collect them...). There is a good gelateria, Mario, on Via Petrolini...
  5. pamela in tuscany

    Vissani - Baschi

    I am curious, Francesco, was the chef there? I was there at the end of September, having decided that I should not be the last person in Italy to try this restaurant... chef was not in the kitchen. I thought the food was good (i did tasting menu, too), no complaints except for the price, which I found exorbitant. At least you would hope for good service, but all of the attention went to the only other table occupied, a group of eight men. eh.
  6. pamela in tuscany

    Tuscan Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

    I humbly submit our agriturismo, Poggio Etrusco. We are ten minutes from Montepulciano, halfway between Rome and Florence (good day trips), and central to a lot of wonderful food/wine/art/history. Please see my website: www.FoodArtisans.com Best, PamelaItalian Food Artisans
  7. pamela in tuscany

    Montepulciano eats?

    Thank you for that mention docsconz, we also have a room (no kitchen) for Euro 85/night, including breakfast. there are photos,etc on my website, www.FoodArtisans.com. sorry I didn't meet you tsquare, next time give me a call and we can meet for coffee at Caffe Poliziano! Next week we start picking olives! Pamela
  8. pamela in tuscany

    Dried Pasta

    Look, I trust Russ' taste buds (especially since they are in accord with mine on this...). It is not even that you have to define a 'distinctive' flavor, it is that the industrial product has essentially 'no' flavor. I want to sum this up by saying that if you don't believe there is a difference between industrial and artisanal pasta, do a side by side tasting, with nothing more than a light touch of olive oil on it. Both want a good amount of salt in the cooking water.
  9. pamela in tuscany

    Walking in Tuscany

    In Pienza, try to get into Latte di Luna, roast suckling pig and the duck are wonderful. Buon viaggio!
  10. pamela in tuscany

    Pizza at home

    I tested all of the recipes for my Pizza book when I was in the states, using my 1940s O'Kieffe & Merritt gas stove. Gas ovens work well as you can place an extra pizza stone on the floor of the oven to help radiate extra heat. While you can't get to the wood-fired temps of over 700°F, you can still get it pretty hot, maybe 550°F. Many people have wood-burning ovens, especially in the old country houses like ours. Here is Gaetano Cannetiello teaching a pizza class at my house. Our oven is at least 300 years old...
  11. pamela in tuscany

    Artisanal Knockoffs

    OK, now I think you are showing off a bit! Erika doesn't just let everyone taste the extra-extra-extra old stuff! acetaia del cristo
  12. pamela in tuscany


    Ice cream can freeze due to the (by definition, minimum 11%) fat content. Lower fat mixtures like my pistachio gelato won't freeze without stablilizers and it needs to be consumed within the day. That is why truly artisanal gelato producers here make it fresh every day. As that is economically difficult, many add stabilizers to carry it to the next day(s).
  13. pamela in tuscany


    gelato doesn't freeze well! Eat it at once, and eat it all!
  14. pamela in tuscany

    artisanal products

    The consortium for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and their US representative in Syracuse, NY (Ciao Ltd), are ever vigilant for counterfeit products that are trying to ride on the fame of this cheese which has been perfected over 700 years of tradition. There have been products from Argentina, Germany, the US, and maybe even Spain, made in a similar way, but they cannot have the guarantee that you will get from the consortium that the cheese is flawless, made in the prescribed way, in the prescribed zone. You can identify Parmigiano-Reggiano by the brand on the rind, and if you can see a whole wheel, you will find the number of the dairy and the date produced.
  15. pamela in tuscany

    artisanal products

    Besides the american products with italian roots, i think it is important to focus on our own American traditions, new and old. Slow Food <www.slowfood.com> has really helped heighten awareness of this, and the founder of the US contingent, Patrick Martins, has started a new program called Heritage Foods USA. They support authentic American breeds raised naturally and humanely without antibiotics and hormones. I just got their brochure, and it makes me wish I was over there to order and try some of these: American Bronze Turkey, American Buff Goose, Katahdin Lamb, Berkshire Pork. Plus, native beans, rice, flour, and herbs. This sounds like an advertisement, but I think it is worth checking out: <www.heritagefoodsusa.com> Now, back to Italy.