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Tuscan Food Diary


Adam Balic
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Adam,

I'm jealous! What a wonderful, mouthwatering diary! I never thought of photographing all the food I tasted during my travels with such loving care.

I just scrolled down again to show the pictures to my husband (who's also a certifiable foodie) and his response was to put the back of his hand across his forehead in a ock swoon and say, "I've got to go lie down..."

Keep up the good... well, it isn't exactly work!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Awesome, Adam. That meal looks just perfect for the raw February weather that I remember - and which your outdoor market pics hint at. The coldest weather we have ever experienced in our lives was when we lived in Carmignano - though that was as much to do with the fact that we were in an unheated former sharecropper's house in the country that was very drafty. Still, that Tuscan winter cold chills to the bone, so the ceci cooked in the forno and the roast veal look sensational - warming, rich and filling in every way. What wines are you drinking, out of interest?

Edited by Marco_Polo (log)
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Mostly some young local reds, but also 1996 Canvalle vignavevecchia and 1999 Villa il Poggiolo, Cianchi Baldazzi Carmignano. Both good, the former especially good with the veal. Still very young though.

We are having trouble with the car that we have access too (can't find the keys), so I don't think that we wil be able to go to carmignano this time, but I think that I have found a bottle of vin santo that is made around were you lived. When I get it I will post details.

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Bit of a tourist day yesterday. Badly engineered towers that sort of thing. Saw one of these down at the local river, I assume it is edible, so does anybody have a recipe?

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We had a few fresh cheeses to use up. I have never really liked buffalo mozzarella, prefering the sweet milkyness of the cows milk version. But I now get it, this buffalo Moz. is like cheese crack, milky, tangy and delish. I know why I haven't eaten its like before, as it has a very short shelf life.

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The other cheese we had (which looks a little sad), as a burrata, a similar stretch cure skin, wrapped about very rich milky curds. This comes wrapped in a fleshy green leaf, the state of the leaf tells you about the cheese apparently. But I have noticed that this cheese comes wrapped in the much more robust aspidistra leaf, when sold in the UK, so I guess this is cute marketing really.

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We were knackered, so dinner was simply, multi-starched and used up the extra veg.

Pumpkin and radicchio risotto

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Sausage, pepper, swiss chard and tomato pasta

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For breakfast we had blood orange juice, coffee and a slice of this easter bread.

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Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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Dammit, even your wildlife photos are perfectly poised! :laugh:

Looking forward to tracking down burrata in Puglia when I'm there.

Good to hear about the buffalo mozzarella. I was always wondering if I was missing something when I was unimpressed by it. But like you said, I've also heard the flavor diminishes rapidly after production, even within 24 hours!

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Another trip to Florence to visit Mercarto Centrale. Delayed due to snow, so only had a very short amount of time for shopping, no market photgraphs I'm afraid.

This is the lamb we will have for dinner. Lamb isn't that common a meat in Tuscany (although locally common in some cases). It is a good illustration why it is not possible to re-create some dishes well outwith the region of origin. "lamb" in this case means very young, milk fed. The lamb we have in the UK would for the most part be considered 'mutton'.

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I also got some wild strawberries to go in prosecco later

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For lunch we went to Trattoria La Casalinga near St. Spirito. Good honest local food, can be full of tourists (like me) during the high season, but still manages to produce good workmans food.

I had Tripe.

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My friend had tortellini with rabbit sauce.

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All very nice.

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Thought I may have solved a minor culinary mystery yesterday. In England there is a 'sausage' called a "faggot" which is chopped seasoned liver wrapped in caul. The name is thought to derive from faggot=bundle. But, 'faggot' is very similar to the italian "fegato" (liver) and I have had a private theory that the english Faggot sausage is a transliteration of the Italian for liver. You know the scenerio, Traveling Italian sausage maker in medieval England is asked what that item is and he says "Fegato", locals remember it as "faggot". Anyway, yesterday I came across this item, called a "fegattinini" (little liver).

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Sadly it turns out that faggot=fagotto in Italian. It is one of these tricksy Indo-European words that is common to many languages, so no room for English transliteration really. Tasted nice though.

And yet as far back as the 14th c. in Tuscany fegatelli was the name of a caul wrapped liver sausage. Meanwhile per the Oxford English Dictionary the word faggot was used for wood as far back as 1300, but I dont see any culinary references in English pre 1700 and that's for a "faggot of orange peel", so I would guess there's a relationship here...

What a great photo. I've read about the dish, but never seen it, and now I really want to try one!

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Adam, thank you so much for the wonderful pictures! I'm sure that I'll never have the wherewithall to be able to travel internationally, but your GORGEOUS pictures bring Italy to me. (Now I have to drain the drool from my keyboard before something shorts out!) :raz:

Edited to bring variety to the adjectives...

Edited by judiu (log)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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And yet as far back as the 14th c. in Tuscany fegatelli was the name of a caul wrapped liver sausage.  Meanwhile per the Oxford English Dictionary the word faggot was used for wood as far back as 1300, but I dont see any culinary references in English pre 1700 and that's for a "faggot of orange peel", so I would guess there's a relationship here... 

What a great photo.  I've read about the dish, but never seen it, and now I really want to try one!

I also still think that there is a connection, as the faggot stands out alone in English cooking, there not being very many examples of similar caul wrapped sausages. Definately worth more investigation.

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Adam, thank you so much for the wonderful pictures! I'm sure that I'll never have the wherewithall to be able to travel internationally, but your wonderful pictures bring Italy to me. (Now I have to drain the drool from my keyboard before something shorts out!) :raz:

My pleasure. I have been brief in my replies as I am on holidays, but it is good that other people can enjoy some of the things that bring me pleasure in Italy.

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Adam.. fagottino is a small bundle.. usually refering to a cloth wrapping.. like a hobo sort of soft suitcase!

Often a fagottino can now be a CREPE with a filling.. or a fresh pasta , copying the shape of the cloth wrapping.

Perhaps the fegatelli is also a fagottino...being that it is wrapped in the caul fat.

Sorry you didn't yell up when you were at the market today!!!

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I also got some wild strawberries to go in prosecco later

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Fragolini del bosco. I love those sweet, fresh little strawberries! That picture is another reminder of what the usual produce is like there, and not here.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Fragolini del bosco. I love those sweet, fresh little strawberries! That picture is another reminder of what the usual produce is like there, and not here.

Yes, alas, I am weeping. All of these photos are amazing, and the pork roast reminds me of what my mother would make...and to think we took it for granted.

Emma Peel

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I also got some wild strawberries to go in prosecco later

gallery_1643_811_331635.jpg

Fragolini del bosco. I love those sweet, fresh little strawberries! That picture is another reminder of what the usual produce is like there, and not here.

Yes they are lovely. This is what I think they are very good for.

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Much, much better then the revolting sweet sparkling wine made from the fragolino grape. This grape is actually a native american species Vitis labrusca, in theory it is illegal to make wine from this grape, but you still see it everywhere.

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It's illegal to make wine from the fragolino grape grape where? In Italy or the US?

I have to admit to never yet having tried prosecco! I like other sparkling wines, so I'd probably like that one.

What I remember having fragolino di bosco in was macedonia di frutta con gelato, a treat I got myself every so often at my favorite bar on the Piazza del Campo in Siena. I forget the name of the bar, but it was good each time I went there, and one of the bartenders remembered me each time (1991, 1994, 1998).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Yesterday I bought some wild boar from Mercato Centrale in Florence. Although it is possible to get wild boar in the UK, this is farmed and in my opinion tastes milder (if sweeter) then regular pork. In Tuscany they hunt wild boar in the autumn (from experience I can tell you not to go walking in the Chianti woods during hunting season). The flavour of the meat is quite varible, depending on age, sex and condition on the individual animal, and the specific cut of meat.

I have marinated the meat overnight in red wine, vinegar, shallots, carrots, celery tops, bay leaves and spice. This will be turned into a sauce for pasta later.

This is the meat before marinating, as you can see it is darker then pork or wild boar from the UK. Bay leaves are traditionally used with cooking wild boar and these were supplied by the butcher.

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Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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It's illegal to make wine from the fragolino grape grape where? In Italy or the US?

I have to admit to never yet having tried prosecco! I like other sparkling wines, so I'd probably like that one.

What I remember having fragolino di bosco in was macedonia di frutta con gelato, a treat I got myself every so often at my favorite bar on the Piazza del Campo in Siena. I forget the name of the bar, but it was good each time I went there, and one of the bartenders remembered me each time (1991, 1994, 1998).

Illegal in Italy according to the Italian Trade Commission (it is illegal to make wine from the grapes of the American native vines that are used as rootstocks for the European vines).

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I'm surprised you would braise a lamb that young (shame on you!). You'll have Artusi hopping in his grave!

That wild boar looks like it has a good fat content. The stuff I was getting in the US was darker, leaner, and less attractive (if diced meat can in any way be described as attractive - which, let's face it, it can). Can't wait to see how yours turns out.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I'm surprised you would braise a lamb that young (shame on you!).  You'll have Artusi hopping in his grave!

That wild boar looks like it has a good fat content. The stuff I was getting in the US was darker, leaner, and less attractive (if diced meat can in any way be described as attractive - which, let's face it, it can). Can't wait to see how yours turns out.

Artusi was from Emilia-Romagna and therefore foreign. It is well known in Tuscany that foreigners have odd ideas. The recipe is Marcella Hazan, I say we let them slug it out. :raz::smile:

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