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pamela in tuscany

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Everything posted by pamela in tuscany

  1. 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
  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. I'm jazzed! I'm pretty sure I saw one of my cookbooks on your shelves! Yay!
  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. In Pienza, try to get into Latte di Luna, roast suckling pig and the duck are wonderful. Buon viaggio!
  10. 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. 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. 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. gelato doesn't freeze well! Eat it at once, and eat it all!
  14. 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 whe
  15. 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, n
  16. There are significant differences in PRICE, TEXTURE, FLAVOR, and NUTRITION between artisanal dried pasta and industrial dried pasta (fresh pasta is another story altogether). PRICE is a consideration, and it is more expensive to make an artisan pasta. First, they are using bronze dies which are more expensive, more labor intensive (to clean), and have to be replaced more often than the teflon dies which can be cleaned easily, last forever, and spurt out pasta at an unbielieveable rate. It is the bronze die that gives the TEXTURE that holds the sauce. If you've ever had your pasta run to one s
  17. I'm not sure what I could add of value. Taste is subjective and everyone has a valid opinion on that. Let's just say that if we were on a sinking ship, I'd jump in the rowboat with slkinsey or fat guy (how can you argue with member #1 with 17,890 posts?). I used to say that my friend Gianluigi Peduzzi at Rustichella d'Abruzzo makes in one year what Barilla makes in one day. He recently corrected me to 'what Barilla makes in a half day.' For the record, the artisanal dies are bronze, not copper or brass.
  18. Stored properly - in a cool, dark place - olive oil can last for years. But the flavor and quality declines every day from the time it is pressed. That is why you want to buy oil in its first year (all italian exports have exp. dates on them). Luckily I was a bit greedy with my harvest of 2002...when I got only 10 litres last year, at least I still had cooking oil from 2002 to use. When my ten litres was gone, I bought fresh oil from my frantoio for the table. Unusable would be obvious. Poor handling causes the oil to be rancid, recognized by a highly detectable odor.
  19. sure, why not. but use fresh toasted ones. The ones soaking overnight have given up all of their flavor to the milk.
  20. Hi Rachel, sorry for the delay in responding to this, I thought it was about the books. I started traveling in Italy in 1983, making almost annual treks over here with an empty suitcase and returning back to the states with cheeses, dried mushrooms, oil, vinegar, you name it! Now we have access to so many products that one doesn't need to do their own importing. Even though I wasn't planning at that time to write any books, I was an avid journal-keeper. These notes came in handy later. My first book about Italian ingredients was Parmigiano! in 1997. As I researched it, I began to realize that
  21. I'm a bit of a purist, especially when I find something I like ... and even more so when it is made by someone I know. Meeting the individuals and families who devote themselves to a product makes you really appreciate what you are eating. Seeing the (this is an over used word, but so appropriate) passion someone has for making a single product is so impressive. We americans think we have to be able to do everything. How many people do you know who do one thing Really Well? As far as the knock-offs, as long as we are clear on what something is, it has it's place. Supermarket balsamic vinegar h
  22. there are a lot of american products with italian roots, some better than others. Aside from artisan know-how, raw materials make all of the difference, also climate. Some products can get very close. I've tasted Paul Bertolli's balsamic vinegar (made near sonoma, calif.)..... created following the traditional method used in Modena, using barrels made in Modena by our mutual friend Francesco Renzi....and it is wonderful. But, on the other hand, I have yet to taste a grana cheese that can match Parmigiano-Reggiano. Maybe in another 700 years, Americans will get it down! Recently I've been sear
  23. right, "concentrated" grape must doesn't necessarily mean cooked...which would account for the white color.
  24. thanks for the input, tommy. I think we've arrived at the same conclusion!
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