Ready? In three, two, one - start singing......Maaaa....Laaaa..... Domenica Italiana......If there's an ounce of Italian in you, the next line will come easily....
Perhaps I am aging myself, or perhaps I am feeling a bit sentimental today, but out of nowhere, this song came to mind. I grew up listening to this tune by Toto Cutugno. It was released in the mid-to late 80s, and this song became a national anthem at that time, sang by young and old alike, it still remains an extremely popular Italian tune.
"Ma la Domenica Italiana c'è qualcuno che ti ama..." In every Italian Sunday, there's always someone that loves you.
I grew up loving Sundays, and that love for this day still remains today. Perhaps you may think that as kids, loving Sundays just meant no school, but I know it was far deeper than that. Even as a child, it had little to do with school, and all to do with family and traditions.
The town I grew up in, and return to every summer, is a little town called Palermiti, in the provence of Catanzaro in Calabria. What woke me up on Sundays was not a knock on the door telling me to prepare for school, but rather the smells. Two specific smells to be exact. My dad brewing espresso, and my mom preparing Sunday lunch. Even as kids, my sister and I were permitted to have some espresso, but fear not, this was not an ordinary black espresso for us, this was a Sunday treat prepared by my dad for my sister and I.
On Sundays, upon entering the kitchen half asleep and in our jammies, my sister and I would find my dad beating several fresh egg yolks with a few tablespoons of sugar, creating a creamy concoction. I knew what was coming and my sister and I could not wait. The milk would be almost boiling on the stovetop, the coffee percolating in the old-fashioned espresso maker. And that was it, those were the ingredients with which magic happened and "caffe allo zabaione" was born. Fancy name now, but to us, it was simply "caffe con uovo sbattuto," coffee with beaten egg. Our two mugs were already prepared on the table. He'd take a few tablespoons of the creamy egg yolk and sugar mixture, add it to the mugs, add the hot milk and a small shot of freshly brewed espresso, and we would have the most delicious coffee drink ever created. One that would make Starbucks jealous that they didn't think of it! And what accompanies this treat best for any Italian kids? Nothing but "pane & Nutella" of course! Freshly baked bread with a thick layer of Nutella. There were no worries of "too much sugar for the kids" in those days. Just enjoying a treat that would later become one of my favorite childhood memories of growing up in Italy.
And if I were to ask friends or classmates, I image their Sunday mornings started very similar.
The day continued with preparation for Mass. By this point, the meal prepared by mom had finished cooking, and it would be waiting for us when we returned home from Mass. The three of us ladies would head to church, walking of course, because the town was so small and the walk to Mass was a great opportunity to meet the locals doing the same thing. I loved our walk to Mass, crossing through the town piazza, an activity my much shier mother and sister disliked. "If I could get to church without crossing this piazza," my mom would mumble under her breath. In the piazza, we'd encounter folks, mostly men, sitting at outdoor tables, playing table cards, drinking coffee from the cafe, or sometimes, something stronger, even in the early morning hours.
The reason I loved our walk though, was because of the smells, again. Just like my mother, every other woman in our town would be preparing their Sunday lunch. On our walk, we would smell sauces, frying peppers, braciole, cutlets, meatballs and other deliciousness. By the time we'd reach church, we'd know what every local was having for lunch! When the smell of cutlets hit, my mom would turn around and kiddingly say to me, "No, you're not going there for lunch today!" Knowing full well that cutlets was one of my favorite dish, which she prepared often, but I still envied when we weren't having them!
After our religious duty was over, which, of course, included prayer and some mandatory small-town gossip, we'd make our way back home. Not before making a most important stop though. The stop to the pasticceria, the pastry shop. Our small town didn't always have a pastry shop. Imagine the town's delight when one did open. Sunday is definitely a day most pasticcerie double their inventory. Sunday is also a day in which most social visits occur. What to bring your host that will be well appreciated? A tray of pastries, of course!
The cases were lined up with all sorts of sweets and precious cookies that I could smell well before entering the shop. And although we didn't always wait for Sundays to have these tempting treats, they felt and tasted that much more special on Sunday, because almost like a holiday in itself, Sunday always had a special air to it.
While all Sundays growing up in Italy felt special, summer Sundays were that much more special because of one other main reason: Beach time! I loved our Sunday afternoon spent at the beach! But I was the only one. Unfortunately for me, I was, and still remain, the only one in my family that actually loved the beach.
My begging and pleading would start early, crack of dawn early. Since my dad was the only driver, he's the one I focused on buttering up to. "We got your favorite pastry for dessert. Are we going to the beach this afternoon?" My delivery was none too obvious! I'd plead and beg. The quick reply: "No." My reply: "E dai! Per un po?" Come on, just for a bit! "No." And on and on it went. My mom, who despite her dislike for the beach, sometimes would support me. "Falla contenta per un po." Just make her happy for a short bit. The "so she'll shut up" was implied! It worked more often than not!
My lack of swimming skills, then and now, never prevented me from loving the beach. But my biggest fear of the beach growing up was of not touching ground while in the water. Rational fear, I suppose, for a non-swimmer! But my adventurous spirit wanted to go far into the ocean anyway, fear and all. "Mi porti lontano?" Will you bring me far, far away, I'd ask my dad. So off I went, "swimming" with him, on his shoulders, arms wrapped so tightly around his neck that I wonder how I manage not to choke him. In hindsight, I don't think we ever went that far, far away at all. His swimming skills weren't that great either. But for a few short minutes, while swinging my legs freely in the water, not touching the ground, I felt invincible.
"Ma la Domenica Italiana è una Domenica serena, e se vai a cercar fortuna in America ti accorgi che l'America sta qua."
"Sundays in Italy is serene. But if you go looking for luck in America, you'll realize that America is right here. "
Sundays in Italy are indeed, special, and as much as I think mines were particular, they were and still remain, the norm for many Italian and Italian American families. Sundays in Italy are about large meals, church and connection. Sundays are about soccer, beach visits or pic-pics in the mountains. Sundays are about visiting your parents, the in-laws or the grandkids. Above all else, Sundays are about family. Spending time with your loved ones, enjoying love, life and leisure. After all, you'll always find someone that loves you on Sunday.
And despite our move to the US, looking for luck, as Toto Cutugno would say, we kept many of those Sunday traditions with us when we transferred to Boston. My beloved beach days did end, but our special morning coffee, our large Sunday lunch and our family connection certainly did not. And our yearly return trips in the summers just reinvigorated my love for Sundays.
So even today, Sunday remains and will always remain, my favorite day of the week. But I must admit, I do love them that much more when spent in Italy. And although dad is gone, I don't ever have a caffe allo zabaione or swim far, far away, without thinking of him.
CAFFE ALLO ZABAGLIONE - Serves 2
2 Egg Yolks
4 Teaspoons Sugar
2 Cups Whole Milk
2 Shots Hot Espresso
1) In a large mug place the egg yolks and sugar and using a spoon, vigorously mix until they form a light and creamy mixture.
2) In the meantime, heat up 2 cups of milk, almost to the boiling point.
3) Divide the egg mixture into two mugs, distribute the milk evenly between the two mugs and add the freshly brewed espresso.
4) Immediately stir with a spoon, so as not to end up with scrambled eggs.
Enjoy immediately, preferably with pane e Nutella. :)
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I don't know about you, but if there's one item in my kitchen that is an absolute must-have, is an all-purpose non-stick frying pan. Actually, more than one is generally required, preferably in varying sizes for varying cooking needs. I mean, really, who has just one frying pan in their kitchen? Whether it's to cook up a quick frittata, cook the classic Italian sausage, peppers & mushrooms, fry up some lamb & rosemary chops or in today's case, some chicken with lemon and capers, non-stick frying pans are required items in everyone's kitchen.
Unfortunately, not all non-stick pans are created equal, so I felt pretty fortunate when I came across the DiamoTech pan. My collection of pans was starting to wear out from all the use, especially at the handle, so when this one came along, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful, sturdy handle. Many reasonably priced frying pans found at local housewares or department stores are great at the beginning of use, but after repeated use, they wear out or lose their non-stick capabilities, requiring oil or cooking spray. Unless you move up to the much more expensive ones. Sure, you have plenty of beautiful options available, be it at the stores or on line, but the cost for some of these is so expensive! I don't know about you, but I honestly find spending $50.00 - $60.00 on a small, non-stick frying pan a tad expensive.
Some of my pet-peeves with frying pans include the handle getting hot during cooking, the bottom not being flat enough to create a beautiful frittata, pans not being oven-safe (for when you want to finish a dish in the oven), uneven heat distribution, especially on lager pans and well, not being non-stick, making them hard to clean. Last but not least on my list of pet-peeves, cost. Go do a quick Amazon search now and see that a decent quality small pan will set you back at least $50.00, and when you run cooking classes, like I do, I need lots of pans!
But alas, I have found my new go-to brand for inexpensive non-stick pans! The DiamoTech is inexpensive, under $20.00 for a 9.5 inch, handles extremely well, and doesn't have any of my pet-peeves listed above, and, it comes with a lid! I couldn't wait to try the 8.5 inch size. Perfect size for when you're cooking one to two servings, or for a 3-egg frittata or omelet. I had a few chicken cutlets in the fridge so I decided to make some lemon-caper chicken. A super easy, yes, even lazy, recipe that cooks in less than 15 minutes. The bitterness from the lemon pairs well with some sautéed broccoli rabe. The below recipe is for 1 - 2 servings, but doubles easily, just use a bigger DiamoTech pan. Yes, I used a little bit of oil and butter in this recipe, even though I used a non-stick pan, both add a lot of flavor. And the clean up? I could have used just some paper towels to wipe it clean! My type of cleaning!
Ingredients below serve 1 - 2 servings
2 thin chicken cutlets
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon butter
spring of rosemary
2 tablespoons capers
1) Rinse chicken cutlets under cold running wanter and salt to taste
2) Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour and set aside
3) Heat the olive oil and butter in pan for 1 minute, reduce heat to medium.
4) Add the chicken and rosemary and juice of half lemon. If lemon is dry, use the entire lemon. You want about several tablespoons of lemon juice to the pan.
5) Cook chicken for 4 - 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
6) During the last minute of cooking, add the capers.
7) Plate and serve with some vegetable on the side.
*Disclosure: I received a free 8.5 Inch DiamoTech non-stick pan for an honest review. That said, I only post on items I love and fully recommend, that's why you see so few reviews or endorsements!
If you read my previous blog post, you might recall that I just got back from leading a wonderful Italian culinary journey with celebrity TV chef Joanne Weir. The week was as wonderful as you might expect, and other than the weather being a bit warmer than anticipated, (can't control Mother Nature!) the week could not have gone better, even if we tried! It was a memorable week with a mix of travelers, many of which had been to Italy before, but a few had not.
With summer right around the corner, which is peak travel season in Italy, and of course, the fall season soon to follow, another busy travel time for Italy, I thought I would put together a quick guide for Italian travel etiquette. If you have been to Italy before, some of these are obvious, some perhaps, if you have never been to Italy, may surprise you.
In any event, I hope this quick reference guide will serve you well as you head to Italy this summer, or perhaps on our fall trip to Bologna!
If you travel anywhere north of Amalfi & Naples, you will find that just about everyone speaks English. From the sales assistants at the museums, the gelato sales clerk at the Gelateria, the ticket assistant on the train, the waiter at the restaurant or the bartender at the wine bar, you will be hard pressed not to find an English speaking person. I just got back from Italy and everywhere I went, I was greeted with "Can I help you find something," or "Is this a gift or for yourself." I wondered how they knew I spoke English, after all, everyone tells me how Italian I look!
Despite the fact that it will appear that everyone speaks English, I really suggest that you do make it an effort to try and speak a few Italian words. You may butcher the pronunciation, you may mix up the verbs, but making an attempt to speak a few words in their language will go a long way! The locals will appreciate it and you will immediately notice that their faces light up. Start with a few simple words when entering a shop, such as "Buon Giorno" (Good Day), "Buona Sera" (Good Evening), "Grazie" (Thank You). It's unlikely that a simple greeting will allow you to pass as a local, but it will help in being seeing as a very polite tourist!
Whether it's the taxi driver, the waiter or the tour leader, you may be wondering, "Should I be tipping in this situation?" Tipping can be tricky in Italy, but the bottom line is that tipping is not expected. Waiters and waitresses are paid a higher salary than the same roles in the US, as are taxi drivers. Also tour guides are paid reasonably well by their employers. Do keep in mind that when you visit a restaurant in Italy, you are automatically charged a "coperto," which is a cover charge for table services, few breadsticks placed on the table and tap water.
That being said, tipping is VERY MUCH appreciated and will go a long way, especially if you will be revisiting that spot during your vacation! I don't use any of the above services without tipping. And while it does not have to be what we're accustomed to tipping in the US, at 15% or 20%, if the service is exceptional, I say why not? For example, I recently stopped for an early dinner in Verona. I was by myself and needed a quick bite. I just had a simple pizza and bottled water and my bill came to only 7 Euros. I gave the waiter a 10 Euro bill and told him to keep the change. By all standards, that was generous seeing how small the bill was, but he was extremely polite, came to my table a few times asking if I needed anything, started a friendly conversation and filled my water glass a few times. So in my opinion, he deserved the few Euros. And it worked out well because a few nights later, I returned there with a few members of the tour group, and he was there, of course, we were treated very well.
So while not expected, don't be stingy! When budgeting your trip, do set aside a small allowance for tipping! If you are joining us on one of our tours, we will advise you along the way, so there are never any awkward moments.
If it's one thing Italians are known for, it's for their style! I was recently dining at a lovely restaurant in Venice and we were seated outdoors. For the duration of the dinner, I felt like I was attending a fashion show. Women frolicking around in beautiful dresses, men in freshly pressed pants and button down shirts. Just another Thursday in Venice, I thought. Now, I am not implying that you will need an entire new wardrobe, although if you do, Italy has great shops! But keep in mind that items such as shorts are almost never worn in big cities, nor are flip flops. Both great if you're headed to the beaches of Southern Italy, but if you're visiting one of the main cities, leave those items behind. And don't get me started on the white Nike sneakers.
Men should leave behind their shorts, baseball shirt and hats and faded jeans that have seen better days. Dresses are popular for the ladies in Italy, but do give some thought to the dresses you bring. Leave the strappy cotton dresses at home and opt for more stylish dresses that don't bare every inch of your skin. It goes without saying that shoulders and knees should be covered when entering a place or worship. Also, Italians love their accessories, so whether it's a lovely leather belt for him or a stunning necklace or sunhat for her, do accessorize your outfit. And don't forget the sunglasses, useful in the summer heat, and a fashion statement in Italy!
With all that being said, don't dress like you're going to a wedding either, unless you are! Don't over do it, just put extra thought and attention, but avoid the sequence! :)
We briefly discussed the tipping situation above, but here area few more things to keep in mind for when you're eating out in Italy.
Italians have great respect for food and as such, a dining experience should be treated with respect. If your are dining in a nice restaurant, dress appropriately. Again avoid shorts and flip flops at all costs. Avoid removing shoes under the table, eating a hurried meal, talking loudly, especially in English, and scarfing down food like it's going to be taken away from you. An early dinner is a sure way to tell your waiter that you're not a local, as Italians dine pretty late. Sodas are considered children's drinks, so order wine or some sparking water. Unless the place is very casual, don't ask for ketchup, just don't. As far as finger food, never mind, Italians don't really use their hands to touch food.
When in doubt about the menu, feel free to ask your waiter. They are very helpful in assisting you in selecting what's best on the menu and suggesting a great wine to go with it.
LA BELLA FIGURA
Loosely translated, "la bella figura" translates to making a beautiful impression. No matter the situation, Italians love making an impression. So whether they're headed to a wedding, their evening passeggiata (pre-dinner stroll) or the bank, Italians live to impress, even if sometimes, they're just impressing themselves by how fine they look! Their children are generally also well-behaved, their tone calm and not laud. They walk about with poise, head straight, shoulders back. They look good and they know it!
To emulate this while traveling in Italy, adopt the same mentality. Put extra effort in your appearance, make sure your clothes are pressed and free of stains. If traveling with kids, make sure they are respectful when visiting shops or restaurants. Grazie & Prego (Thank you and Please) are words you should be using a lot when in Italy. If you're tired during your journey, take a few minutes of rest but don't just sit on the sidewalks, don't sit on church steps or any steps for that matter. This is seen as rude and un-classy, rightfully so. If you need to use a restroom, walk in any cafe, order a low-ticket items, then ask to use the restroom. Don't just expect to use the facilities without being their customer.
Basically, pretend you are always being recorded, don't do anything you would be ashamed of having broadcasted on TV!
One of my favorite aspect of traveling to Italy is the shopping! Whether at the grocery stores, yes, I actually LOVE to go food shopping in Italy, the open air markets, the specialty shops or boutiques, Italy is a shopper's paradise. But one thing to keep in mind when shopping in Italy is to not manhandle the merchandise! Have respect for the items you have not yet purchased.
If you're visiting the grocery store, respect the food. Do not open any packages with the intention of paying for it afterwards, do not touch the produce with bare hands, use instead the disposable gloves available, do no squeeze any of the produce to test for ripeness. Do not scream at your child to calm down, do not go running down the isle. If you drop it, pick it up and if you change your mind about an item in your cart, return it to the spot you got it from.
At souvenir shops, you may be permitted to pick up the items but know that if you break it, you buy it. Do not try hats or sunglasses without asking if you can first. A simple "Posso?" meaning, "may I" will do. Do not say something like "I just saw this cheaper down the road" or they may respond with "you should go back there instead." Don't ask to sample every flavor of gelato, and don't try every item of clothing at the boutique and walk away empty-handed. Do not ask for a discount, unless you're at an open air market in which bargaining is acceptable, but be polite about it, don't slash their prices by more than 10-15%.
Sales clerks at higher end boutiques love helping customers, so utilize their expertise, ask for help and they will be more than willing to offer it.
One final thing I want to say is that as much as you may want to fit in like a local, you are, after all, a guest in someone else's home, and you should respect that. Even myself, although born in Italy, I at times feel more like a guest than a local. With that in mind, be respectful of their land, their customs, their traditions, their spaces and their people. After all, you want to be invited back, don't you? ;)
Ready to travel to Italy? Consider joining us on an upcoming culinary adventure to Bologna, or allow us to design a custom package just for you!
Ci Vediamo in Italia!
Many of my followers have asked how my collaboration with celebrity TV Chef Joanne Weir came to be.... As such, I am here to tell you all about it!
In early 2017, I decided it was time to up by business game. As all new entrepreneurs know, the road can be lonely, mistakes can be costly, and if you have always worked for others, chances are, you will need some business mentorship along the way. And that's exactly what I decided I needed at that point in my life.
I joined a business coaching program that offered mentorship, and along with the many wise tips and advise that I received from the program, one aspect that they strongly advocated for was the use of LinkedIn. Until that point, my LinkedIn use was very casual, to say the least. I had a profile, a few hundred connections, but it was by no means stellar. My main social media use comes from my Facebook business page. The business coach urged the program members to up our LinkedIn game, revise our profile and start adding connections. It was sage advise that I am so glad I listened to!
At the advice of my business mentor, I started going on a LinkedIn adding spree! I started growing my network by adding people who we had mutual connections with. As is typical in any form of social media, people have the option to accept or reject. And while LinkedIn is a professional network and less about social media, it works in similar fashion. I'd say 99.5% of the people I added accepted my request. I added chefs, winery owners, culinary instructors, anyone who had an Italy-related business, and yes, an occasional TV chef or two! For every acceptance, I wrote a very thoughtful and long private message introducing myself and my business and offering the possibility for a collaboration.
As you might expect, Chef Joanne Weir was one celebrity chef I added to my network. I didn't send her a personal invitation, just a simple "add" and moved on to adding many others along the way.
On June 17th, Joanne accepted my request to add her to my LinkedIn network. Upon acceptance, I had a choice to make. I could send her a long, private message telling her what I did and how I might be able to help her, but I didn't do that. By that point, I was hitting "LinkedIn exhaustion!" I was adding folks daily and spending hours on private messages, that I just didn't have it in me. She was a busy TV chef, so I sent her a very brief private message that simply read: "Thank you for the opportunity to connect!" No more, no less. I was polite in thanking her for accepting my request, but skipped my usual 3 paragraph intro message. I figured I'd never hear from her again, so I moved on.
On July 1st, I received a LinkedIn message notification. I had a message from Joanne, and it partly read: "Hi Francesca, I'd love to hear more about what you do. I saw your profile and it sounds so interesting. Would you tell me a bit more? Or we could connect by phone? Thanks for linking. Joanne" I was very surprised by this message, seeing as my message to her was very brief.
That evening, at 9:00PM, I replied, in part, as following: "I would love to share with you more of what I do! When might it be a good time for a call?"
I wasn't holding my breath on a reply. But if I was to hold my breath, it would be only for a few minutes, until her reply came. "Would you have time on Wednesday? BTW you are the first person I have contacted on LinkedIn. You're the first profile I relate to."
I will say that for a few minutes, I thought that perhaps, it could be a fake profile. While I respect LinkedIn as a platform, let's face it, it's not something that an established TV personality really needs, so for a few minutes, I did consider that someone had created a profile under her name.
Any doubt I had that I was exchanging emails with a fake profile was quickly put to rest when Joanne and I spoke on the phone. I immediately recognized her voice from the many years of watching her on TV. She applauded my business, my efforts and what I do at Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures. She again mentioned that she's never connected with anyone on LinkedIn, she never reached out to anyone and this was a first for her. Of course, I was very flattered. I told her how my family watched her shows, and what fans we were. I'm sure she had heard this before many times! Original, I wasn't! She was very pleasant, professional, funny and easy to talk to. The conversation flowed very easily and we mostly talked about Italy, our similar businesses, my culinary trips and my Italian upbringing. She was intrigued and wanted to hear more.
And that's when she asked! Would I be interested in working with her on an upcoming culinary journey to Veneto?
We had a few more conversations thereafter and, as you might expected, I welcomed the opportunity to work with Joanne. We spoke on the phone regularly and we met in person, at, of all places, the Boston Logan Airport. She immediately entrusted me with the planning of the week, from finding restaurants, arranging transportation, preparing for a day trip to Venice, and all communication with the vendors we were to use.
The pressure was on, and I was more than ready to take on this new opportunity.
I have very high standards, and as you might expect, so does Joanne. Being in this field, our priority is making sure participants only see a flawless program. It's a bit like looking at an iceberg. Participants should only see the top, while all the planning, calls, emails, arrangements and issues that might arise are at the bottom of that iceberg, not to be seen by the travelers.
And after 10 months of hard work in preparing a most memorable week, sending hundreds of emails, calling vendors right and left, the planning phase was over and it was time for the group to arrive. The anxiety was building! The week consisted of a mix of cooking classes and excursions. Our home base was the Serego Alighieri Estates. Their wonderful facilities would be home for the week and we'd use their well-equipped kitchen to hold the 5 cooking classes we had planned. We'd also visit Venice one day, several wineries, a riseria, a private boat ride on Lake Garda and a beautiful afternoon in Sirmione. Not to be forgotten was a memorable dinner right on Borghetto Sul Mincio, at the world famous Antica Locanda Sul Mincio restaurant. We also had some surprises along the way, which the group really enjoyed.
As is typical in group travel, we had a wide mix of participants. The group consisted of travelers with special dietary needs and other special accommodations were requested. We had a blend of expert travelers, to folks who had never been on any international trips. We had expert cooks, to novices, couples to singles. Despite their differences, they all had one thing in common, they were about to share a most memorable week, build life-long friendships and bond over this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was really a magical blend of participants and as a travel planner, I could not have asked for a better group.
It's amazing how chance encounters come to be and I have given this opportunity a lot of thought. Had I not signed for up additional business mentorship, I never would have connected with Joanne on LinkedIn. Had I not responded to her message, this opportunity would never have come to be. Had I said "no" to her request for my assistance, I never would have had this opportunity, I would never have met this wonderful group of 13 travelers, folks who I have no doubt, I will keep in touch with for years to come.
For every new person I encounter, I always tell them what I do, because I really, really love what I do! I get to bring people back to my native land! But with group travel, it's not uncommon for me to hear something to the fact of "But I don't like tours" or "Group travel isn't for me" or "It's cheaper for me to do this on my own." And that's ok, I am not out to change anyone's mind, but I will say that the bond that is built over group travel is incomparable to anything else you'll experience in your life. Friendships are created over shared experiences, and whether you are part of a couple, a solo traveler, an expert adventurer or it's your first trip, you will always have the support of your fellow travel companions.
Interested to learn more about our upcoming trips? Be sure to use the contact us button or email me at: email@example.com
Ci Vediamo in Italia!
Hi there, thanks for visiting my blog! Here you will find recipes, short stories, tales, rants and whatever else is on my mind with regards to food, Italy, travel and along those lines. Drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you!