One of the most interesting aspects of keeping a blog is to look up the statistics on how people come across it. Aside from being referred by other websites, many visitors stumble upon the blog by using search engines. When they do, the exact sentence that they typed in into the search bar is collected in the statistics (although anonymized).
This atypical post contains the verbatim transcripts of some of the most interesting search queries that I have seen over the 15 months of running Quatro Fromaggio and Other Disgraces on the Menu. Some of these queries led the visitors to relevant articles which hopefully answered them. Some other queries instead brought up pages that did not satisfy the visitor at all. For some of those, this post also tries to provide some answers. In a way, this post was written by the visitors themselves!
To get started, something that surprised me. Some people were able to get here by performing extremely generic searches. Here are some examples:
Q: what to eat in Italy
Q: type of italian food
Q: typical italian breakfast
Q: various cheese names and their origin
Q: frequently mispronounced Italian
Q: most often misspelled italian words
A: Answering these questions is really hard, but if you read this blog you’ll hopefully get an idea 🙂
Speaking of spelling, many visits came from people who were unsure how to write Italian words. For instance:
Q: correct spelling of margarita pizza
Q: correct spelling of osso bucca
Q: correct spelling of proscuitto
Q: foccaccia misspelling
Q: fromaggio or formaggio
A: Pizza Margherita, Osso Buco, Prosciutto, Focaccia, Formaggio (see Top Misspelled).
Other people were instead completely confused on the meaning of some Italian words:
Q: what is formaggio cheese
Q: how many cheeses i n qu atro formaggi pizza
Q: how many cheese’s in a formaggi cheese
Q: what is formaggio cheese in english
Q: is parmesan cheese the same as formaggio cheese
Q: what cheese can i use in place of formaggio
A: ‘Formaggio‘ is Italian for cheese. “Parmesan” is the English translation of Parmigiano, a type of formaggio.
Q: in cuisine what does colazione mean
Q: colazione for breakfast
A: ‘Colazione‘ is Italian for breakfast.
Some people got here while looking for tips and tricks on Italian food and wine. These are some examples:
Q: why should cored wine bottles be stored on their side?
A: To keep the cork wet, as a dry cork will shrink and let some air into the bottle.
Q: “passito de pantelleria “once opened”
A: Fortified wines such as Passito di Pantelleria usually keep really well, they can be stored in a cool place or in the fridge for quite some time. See the Wine and Italy article for more information.
Q: porcini risotto “dirty water”
Q: do i have to wash porcini mushrooms before rehydrating them
A: The leftover water where the mushrooms have been re-hydrated may or may not be clean (it depends on whether the mushrooms had been cleaned before being dried). Personally, I don’t find that using that water adds that much flavor to my risotto, so I discard it. However, I don’t squeeze or rinse the re-hydrated mushrooms.
Q: perforated pan on top of a pizza stone
Q: perforated pizza disc versus regular pizza disc
A: As far as I know, the perforated pan works better than a regular pizza pan, but it’s used directly in the oven – not on top of a pizza stone. The pizza stone (alone) works best, but it’s harder to use.
Q: can prosciutto ham be kept unrefrigerated
A: No. The whole uncut prosciutto can be stored at low temperatures; once opened it needs to go in the fridge.
Q: where to fill demi johns with amarone della valpolicella
A: I don’t know, but let me know as soon as you find out!
Sometimes the results of searches must have been really disappointing! For example for queries like:
Q: dolcetto d’asti wine kit
A: Seriously? You can’t have a wine kit for a DOC wine, sorry! Unless of course you live in Piedmont 🙂
Other times instead, people were really onto something. For instance:
Q: why italians call a croissant, brioche?
A: Because they don’t know French pastries 🙂
Q: is gelati plural for gelato
Q: is formaggio another word for cheese
A: You got it!
People also wondered about weird stuff, or they wanted to know they’re not alone:
Q: what is the italian gelati flavour that tastes like cough medicine
A: Amarena? (Sour cherry)
Q: most popular mouthwash in italy
A: I don’t know… but it’s probably mint flavored.
Q: which type of pasta goes best with aglio
A: Aglio is Italian for garlic. I hope you mean ‘aglio, olio e peperoncino’, in which case I’d say ‘spaghetti’.
Q: soft meringue is disgusting
A: I agree 🙂
Some people wanted to know more about the Italian multi-course meal:
Q: italian courses in a meal
A: See the Italian Courses article.
Q: what is companatico and why am i charged for it
A: ‘Companatico’ is the collective name given to anything that goes with bread. That is the entire meal 🙂 No wonder why you were charged!
Or they had specific questions about the Italian breakfast:
Q: italians eat cold cuts for breakfast
A: Some do, but most don’t. It’s more common in the northern regions, near the border with Austria.
Q: qhat to eat dor breakfast in italian bars
A: The most popular breakfast in bars is cappuccino and croissant. See the Breakfast or Colazione article.
Q: what do italians eat for brunch
A: Brunch is not an Italian tradition. When Italians feel like a late breakfast, they just call it early lunch.
Q: reasons italians don’t have milk in their coffee
A: A lot of Italians do, actually. Not the majority though.
Q: what do italians enjoy with their coffee
A: It depends – something sweet, some chocolate, a glass of mineral water.
Lots of searches were also about autogrill, aperitivo and antipasto.
Q: autogrill panini italy
Q: camogli autogrill
Q: how to order at autogrill italy
A: See the Autogrill article. It’s particularly interesting that people don’t know how to order at an autogrill. It’s probably not the most obvious process 🙂
Q: appertivo – free buffet offered at bars during the happy hour
Q: best aperitivo in milan
Q: non alcoholic aperitivo
A: See the Aperitivo article.
Q: antipasto pickled in oil
Q: antipasto with tuna and pickled vegetables
Q: types of green olives for antipasto
A: See the Antipasto article.
Many people were interested in learning more about Italian wine:
Q: term for wine in italy with atleast 1% more alcohol than the legal minimum
Q: uva fragola wine illegal italy
Q: what does the term “novello” indicate on a wine label?
A: The term for a wine whose alcohol level is greater by at least 1% than the minimum established for its designation is ‘Superiore’. The wine “Fragolino” (made with ‘uva fragola’, Concord grape) is illegal in Italy. The term ‘Novello’ indicates that the wine has been bottled within the end of the year of when (at least 30% of) its grapes have been harvested. See the Wine and Italy article for more information.
Or Italian cheese:
Q: mozzarella cheese in north america compared to italy
A: Italian mozzarella is better than North American mozzarella, and mozzarella from Naples is better than mozzarella from Milan.
Q: what is the name for cottage cheese in italy
Q: what kind of cheese is sottilette
A: The Kraft product “Jocca” is cottage cheese. ‘Sottilette’ is (processed) cheese slices.
Q: what cheese do you use in quatro formaggi
A: There isn’t a rule, any four kinds of cheese will do. On pizza, they are usually chosen between gorgonzola, scamorza, ricotta, fontina, grana padano; plus of course mozzarella (which may or may not be counted).
Q: formaggio taleggio in north america buy
A: Specialty Italian stores usually have it.
Q: what kind of cheese mixes well with gorgonzola
A: It’s an interesting question. Gorgonzola is normally eaten by itself (delicious on bread!). It is however mixed with other cheese when making cheese sauces, or on gorgonzola pizza (where mozzarella is also added). Another interesting mix is the Torta al Gorgonzola e Mascarpone.
Q: ice cream in italy
Q: semi fredi gelato
Q: what is the meaning of gelato
A: ‘Gelato’ literally means frozen. It may resemble ice-cream, but it’s a completely different product. A ‘semi-freddo’ is the equivalent of an ice cream cake. See the article on Gelato vs. Ice Cream for more information.
Or even the soft drink “Chinotto”:
Q: what does chinotto taste like
Q: aftertaste chinotto
A: Chinotto is a citrus used to make a popular Italian soft drink. Its bitter aftertaste makes it an acquired flavor.
Italian dressing is also often puzzling to people:
Q: what kind of vinegar is in italian dressing?
Q: what oil is most commonly used in italian dressing
Q: different types of italian dressings
Q: how do italians dress their salads
Q: what kind of oil and vinegar goes on a table
A: See the Italian Dressing article.
People were also interested in the proper way to cook pasta, and some were particularly confused on this regard! For instance:
Q: why it is suggegted to cook the food in salty water
Q: how salty should water for pasta be?
Q: how much salt stays with pasta
A: Salted water gives flavor to the pasta and makes it less likely to stick to itself. Typically, ½ Tbsp of salt is needed for every 4 cups of water. Not much salt will be actually absorbed by the pasta. See the Cooking Pasta 101 article for more information.
Q: “dried egg noodles” gram per person
Q: how much fresh pasta for a first course
Q: how much pasta is a serving in italy?
Q: 80g raw pasta how much cooked
Q: how much is 60g of pasta
A: See the Cooking Pasta 101 article.
Q: which italian pasta doesnt overcook?
Q: what does it mean when it says cook pasta raw
A: Every pasta eventually overcooks. Quality durum semolina pasta takes longer to cook and therefore it also takes longer to overcook. Cooking pasta ‘raw’ doesn’t mean anything, cooking pasta ‘al dente’ (to the tooth) means that the cooked pasta should be firm enough to require it to be chewed. See the Pasta 101 article for more information.
People were also quite interested in gnocchi:
Q: what sauce should gnocchi be served with?
Q: fist size gnocchi
Q: gnocchetti alla romana
Q: ricer alternative gnocchi
A: Gnocchi are served pretty much with any kind of pasta sauces. Perhaps we can consider ‘canederli‘ as fist-size gnocchi. ‘Gnocchi alla Romana’ are made with semolina flour (and no potatoes). In making gnocchi, a potato masher or a food mill can be used as an alternative to the potato ricer.
But they were mostly curious about “Pizzoccheri della Valtellina” – the article which has the highest number of hits to date:
Q: pizzoccheri meaning
Q: pizzoccheri what sort of cheese should i use
Q: what is an equivalent to valtellina casera cheese
A: the name Pizzoccheri has nothing to do with pizza. According to their official website, it derives from ‘pinzocheri’, which jokingly means “bigot people”. ‘Valtellina Casera’ cheese can be replaced with other mild semi-cooked cheeses (such as young Fontina, Montasio, Raclette or Gouda).
Finally, other people were instead more into science and wanted to find out how certain ingredients compare between Italy and North America.
For instance, they look for facts about olive oil:
Q: facts about italy’s olive oil
Q: fats and oils triangle
A: See the Olive Oil Facts article.
Or about rice:
Q: indica and japonica rice examples
Q: relative absorption of water different type of rice
A: See the Rice Demystified article.
Q: difference between italian and american milk
Q: is milk in italy fortified with vitamin d
Q: pasteurized milk shelf life canada italy
Q: does milk in italy taste different
A: Italian milk has a shorter shelf life, and it’s not fortified with Vitamin D. The difference in flavor is mostly due to the cows’ different diet.
Q: is italian milk homoginized
A: Yes, it’s homogenized.
Q: does italy have pasteurized milk
A: Yes, though unpasteurized milk can also be found. See the There’s Milk and Milk article for more information.