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Chufi

al and alla

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I was thinking about scaloppine with marsala and as I looked up recipes online, I found it described both as scaloppine AL Marsala and scaloppine ALLA Marsala.

Which is the correct Italian spelling? Or are they both correct but mean different things?

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I was thinking about scaloppine with marsala and as I looked up recipes online, I found it described both as scaloppine AL Marsala and scaloppine ALLA Marsala.

Which is the correct Italian spelling? Or are they both correct but mean different things?

al is correct. Marsala is a wine and masculine. But nothing is that simple. Even though "al" may be correct in certain situations (i.e., with masculine noun), "alla" is sort of idiomatic and frequently found, probably derived from the French à la. They essentially mean the same thing when used correctly (al Marsala, alla crema, for example), but if there is a nuance of difference, it's that the grammatically correct al or alla refers to a specific ingredient and the idiomatic/colloquial alla may refer to a person or a way of cooking. Nevertheless, it's wrong except with a feminine noun. You would certainly say "allo chef" not "alla chef."

If you look up recipes on line, you will find a lot of bad Italian. Make sure, at least, that you look at Italian sites for a better chance of correct Italian usage.


Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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I was thinking about scaloppine with marsala and as I looked up recipes online, I found it described both as scaloppine AL Marsala and scaloppine ALLA Marsala.

Which is the correct Italian spelling? Or are they both correct but mean different things?

The correct spelling is scaloppine AL Marsala. This is because we're writing about wine and in italian grammar wine (vino) is masculine so both the article and the preposition became masculine: a (preposition), il (article) = al (preposition combined with the definit article). The only wine that is feminine is the Barbera (for example scaloppine alla Barbera: a+la=alla)

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If you want to make them 'alla' you could make them 'alla Marsalese'. Otherwise, it'll have to be 'al Marsala'.

As for feminine wines, there's more beside Barbera...Which famous wine do you find in San Gimignano for example?

Man

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Uh correct! Barbera isn' the only feminine wine :biggrin: Yes how could'n think of Vernaccia? :blink: "Alla marsalese" means "the way they cook in Marsala" (the city in sicily), for example "triglie alla livornese" (mullets alla livornese)

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Uh correct! Barbera isn' the only feminine wine  :biggrin: Yes how could'n think of Vernaccia? :blink:  "Alla marsalese" means "the way they cook in Marsala" (the city in sicily), for example "triglie alla livornese" (mullets alla livornese)

Ok, I understand.

there are a LOT of scaloppine alla Marsala roaming the internet though :smile:

which leads me to the question.. how 'bad' a mistake is this? Ofcourse from now on I'll try to do it right.. but, if an Italian sees alla Marsala, will he be horrified or just slightly annoyed?

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but, if an Italian sees alla Marsala, will he be horrified or just slightly annoyed?

He'd probably take it as a "sign" that the chef isn't Italian, and wouldn't eat there. The same goes for me. But I vote for "horrified" of your two choices.


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Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

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there are a LOT of scaloppine alla Marsala roaming the internet though  :smile:

which leads me to the question.. how 'bad' a mistake is this? Ofcourse from now on I'll try to do it right.. but, if an Italian sees alla Marsala, will he be horrified or just slightly annoyed?

Speaking personally...I wouldn't be either horrified or annoyed, but I would definitely take that as a hint that the speaker is a foreigner or not very knowledgeable about Italian wines (or both). So I agree with markk that if I saw it on a menu, in both cases I would be slightly put off...(OK, thus betraying my insufferable chauvinism and unjustified mistrust of foreigners at the stove in Italian restaurants, for which the only cure is clearly a meal in a certain place in Umbria...).

In the game of feminine wines, what about a delicious dessert wine produced (among other places) in the Lipari islands? That is a tough call, as I have heard it sometimes referred to with 'il' though in my opinion it is definitely a 'la'.

Man

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In the game of feminine wines, what about a delicious dessert wine produced (among other places) in the Lipari islands? That is a tough call, as I have heard it sometimes referred to with 'il' though in my opinion it is definitely a 'la'.

I'll join the game: Malvasia!

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there are a LOT of scaloppine alla Marsala roaming the internet though  :smile:

which leads me to the question.. how 'bad' a mistake is this? Ofcourse from now on I'll try to do it right.. but, if an Italian sees alla Marsala, will he be horrified or just slightly annoyed?

Speaking personally...I wouldn't be either horrified or annoyed, but I would definitely take that as a hint that the speaker is a foreigner or not very knowledgeable about Italian wines (or both). So I agree with markk that if I saw it on a menu, in both cases I would be slightly put off...(OK, thus betraying my insufferable chauvinism and unjustified mistrust of foreigners at the stove in Italian restaurants, for which the only cure is clearly a meal in a certain place in Umbria...).

In the game of feminine wines, what about a delicious dessert wine produced (among other places) in the Lipari islands? That is a tough call, as I have heard it sometimes referred to with 'il' though in my opinion it is definitely a 'la'.

Man

Huh? Did I hear something??? :laugh:

And I'd sell what's left of my soul for a small bicchierie of Pantelleria......

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I have been living in Italy for 25 years and still have problems with all the endings on masculine and feminine. ( and also spelling in English!)

What sounds right is al barbera..not alla barbera, perhaps since it is still wine, which is masculine?

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Italian grammer!

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I have been living in Italy for 25 years and still have problems with all the endings on masculine and feminine. ( and also spelling in English!)

What sounds right is al barbera..not alla barbera, perhaps since it is still wine, which is masculine?

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Italian grammer!

As an Italian who has been living in the UK for 20 years and is still grappling with the language, I sympathise.

About 'al' and 'alla', here's a little tip to avoid any embarrassment: skip the determinate article and just use 'con' (no puns, please...): scaloppine con Marsala!

It doesn't sound quite as smooth as the 'real one', but it's correct and it holds its own on a menu. And if you add other ingredients, it actually even sounds good: scaloppine con Marsala, pinoli e uvetta; risotto con Barbera, verza e burro di malga...

I am feeling hungry.

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and, slightly OT; why are Barbera and Vernaccia feminine wines?

(and even more OT... why does the answer to a question always lead to new questions ...  :unsure:  )

Their names end in A...

tracey


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and, slightly OT; why are Barbera and Vernaccia feminine wines?

(and even more OT... why does the answer to a question always lead to new questions ...  :unsure:  )

Their names end in A...

As does Marsala...

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On this website : http://www.ordinegiornalisti.veneto.it/ the guidelines document for journalists states : ALL wine names in Italian are MASCULINE (that means AL or ALLO) with just 2 exceptions : LA Malvasia and LA Vernaccia. ( i.e. ALLA Malvasia, ALLA Vernaccia ). This should be an authoritative and accurate source but I'll get confirmation from a second source. This is something we need to get right !

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