Home-Baked Sourdough Bread – At Last!

Never would have thought I could obtain these results in my regular oven and without special equipment. But after 11 months of weekly baking, fresh sourdough loaves have become a reliable tradition in our family. I’ve been thinking of posting my method for a while, but only now feel confident that it’s sufficiently streamlined and … Continue reading “Home-Baked Sourdough Bread – At Last!”

View of Govone, Cuneo, from its castle

Geographical Indications: Italian Food, Made Official Or “Complicated Simplicity”

For the first time in this blog, I have the pleasure to feature a guest post. This article is by enologist, writer, and photographer Melinda King. To know more about Melinda, check out The Premise of Italian Cuisine podcast. Melinda King Italian culture is special in ways that are delicately combined, tangible and intangible. It … Continue reading “Geographical Indications: Italian Food, Made Official Or “Complicated Simplicity””

mistakes on the menu

Italian Words Gone Wrong – 6 Mistakes Native Italians Don’t Make

For a narrated version of this article, please check out: Italian Words Gone Wrong – Mistakes on the Menu Even though Italian food is prominent in North America as well as other English speaking countries, restaurant menus often use Italian words in ways that are not even remotely close to what would sound natural to … Continue reading “Italian Words Gone Wrong – 6 Mistakes Native Italians Don’t Make”

An Italian in Canada – From the Food of Italy to “Italian Food”

I came to Vancouver in 2001, right after getting my Electronic Engineering degree. I had a six-month contract as a software engineer, joining an Italo-Canadian development team. Naturally, I was very excited for the professional experience that awaited me, but I was even more excited for the opportunity to discover a big new city in an … Continue reading “An Italian in Canada – From the Food of Italy to “Italian Food””

Palio di Siena

Personal Space – Why Italians Seem to Require Less of it

Proxemics, the study of interpersonal communication, defines “personal space” as the cylinder of air surrounding each person which people consider as an extension of their body. The personal radius is largest between strangers and shrinks down the more people know one another, reaching zero (physical contact) for parent-child relationships and for couples. The personal radius … Continue reading “Personal Space – Why Italians Seem to Require Less of it”

the basic rules of italian food

My Guest Post on The Basic Rules of Italian Food

A few weeks ago, Diana Zahuranec, friend and recurring podcast guest, asked me if I was interested in writing a guest post for her blog: Once Upon a Time in Italy. Having lived in Italy for 5 years, Diana couldn’t help but notice that, when it comes to food, the otherwise chaotic Italians seem to follow a … Continue reading “My Guest Post on The Basic Rules of Italian Food”

Il Mercato – The Tradition of the Italian Street Market

~~~ This article is available in narrated version. Check it out! ~~~ Every year, when I go back to Italy to see my family, I manage to squeeze in a visit to a mercato. As you may have guessed, the word “mercato” means “market”, but what’s a mercato (plural: mercati) to the Italians? I asked … Continue reading “Il Mercato – The Tradition of the Italian Street Market”

Truffles Uncovered

I am very excited to announce that I have been invited to participate in a food lit event that will take place in Turin (Piedmont, Italy) this coming September. The event is titled “Turin Epicurean Capital” and will revolve around the universal meaning of food in life – naturally, a topic I feel strongly about. … Continue reading “Truffles Uncovered”

A World of Eggs – How They Differ Between Italy and North America

Chicken eggs are one of the world’s most popular foods and have a significant presence in the diet of both Italians and North Americans. However, their aspect and the way they are consumed are substantially different between Italy and North America. In this article, I will list 5 of these differences, while also describing why … Continue reading “A World of Eggs – How They Differ Between Italy and North America”

Gorgonzola – The Italian Blue

If you like blue cheese, but you haven’t tried Gorgonzola (), you’re going to love it. If you don’t like blue cheese, and you try Gorgonzola, you might very well start to like blue cheese! In fact, next to the traditional Piccante (pungent) variety, the milder Dolce (sweet) variety meets the palate of those who … Continue reading “Gorgonzola – The Italian Blue”

The Italian Bar – A Licensed Coffee House for Every Time of the Day

Despite being licensed, bars in Italy are nothing like pubs. They are more similar to coffee shops, but they are actually far more than that. They are an establishment that runs all day with a wide range of food items, and a necessity for tourists with fast and affordable refreshments and services. Bars, however, can … Continue reading “The Italian Bar – A Licensed Coffee House for Every Time of the Day”

Table Service, an Ocean Apart

Table service, the customer experience in restaurants, can be radically different between Italy and Canada. Most of my considerations can probably apply to all of North America, but in this article, I will be referring specifically to my Canadian experience. Guest and host In Canada, the ideal customer’s expectation of good service is to be … Continue reading “Table Service, an Ocean Apart”

Pasticcini, Italian Fine Pastries

Pasticcini are exquisite Italian fine pastries which have been perfected over the centuries to achieve the best flavors, textures, and fragrances. In the Italian tradition, assorted pasticcini are served as a dessert, as a treat to accompany coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, or as a cake alternative for celebrations and other special occasions (in which … Continue reading “Pasticcini, Italian Fine Pastries”

the evolution of coffee

The Coffee Machines – The Evolution of Coffee Extraction

Is there more caffeine in an 8 oz medium roast drip, in a single shot espresso, or in an 8 oz dark roast drip? Where does the espresso crema come from? What is the difference between the Percolator and the Drip Pot? What is the Italian Moka? This article answers these and more questions by … Continue reading “The Coffee Machines – The Evolution of Coffee Extraction”

heirloom tomato

Tomatoes and Pomodori – Differences Between Italy and North America

Everyone who has visited Italy agrees – Italian tomatoes are much more than a condiment for burgers or a colorful decoration! They are indisputably full of flavor, a fundamental part of the diet of the Italians, and a defining ingredient in their cuisine. Originally domesticated in Mexico and only brought to Europe by the Spanish … Continue reading “Tomatoes and Pomodori – Differences Between Italy and North America”

italian myths

Italian Myths – 6 Italian Food Staples Unknown in Italy

This article is about “Italian” dishes, products, and terms that don’t actually exist in Italy – true Italian myths like Spaghetti with Meatballs (an Italian-American creation), Caesar salad and Italian soda (successful inventions of Italian immigrants), Fettuccini Alfredo, Italian Wedding Soup and “Al fresco” dining (specific Italian items mistaken as traditional). Despite their Italian roots, these … Continue reading “Italian Myths – 6 Italian Food Staples Unknown in Italy”

amaretti and amaretto

Amaretti and Amaretto

Amaretti cookies and Amaretto liqueur are both well known in Italy and have been gaining popularity worldwide. The word ‘amaretto’ comes from the Italian ‘amaro’ (bitter) in reference to the sharp flavor of bitter almonds or apricot kernels. Despite the name, both products are predominantly sweet, and their bitterness only enhances the depth of flavor. … Continue reading “Amaretti and Amaretto”

Search Queries

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 … Continue reading “Search Queries”

The Boom of Limoncello

Limoncello (pronounced: lee-mon-chel-low) is a sweet, lemon-flavored liqueur made by soaking lemon peel in pure alcohol to extract its aromatic oils. Straight chilled limoncello is served after dinner as a digestive, or to accompany a dessert. When mixed with tonic water or sparkling white wine, limoncello can also make for a refreshing aperitif. The origins … Continue reading “The Boom of Limoncello”

Ravioli: the Food of Kings and Peasants

The word ‘ravioli’ (plural of ‘raviolo’) refers to all kinds of filled Italian pasta where a thin layer of dough wraps around a filling (‘ripieno’, in Italian). Ravioli are either boiled and dished out with sauce (a popular first course) or served in broth (a classic dinner option, especially during winter). The pasta layer, generally … Continue reading “Ravioli: the Food of Kings and Peasants”

panino, the italian sandwich

Panino, the Italian Sandwich

In Italy, just like in all Europe and North America, a ‘panino’ (Italian for sandwich) is a popular lunch option, and in some cases also a quick dinner alternative. Italian bars often press-grill their sandwiches to enhance the flavors, turn the bread more fragrant and crunchy, and melt any cheese. However, at home, or when … Continue reading “Panino, the Italian Sandwich”

The Italian Courses

Italians like structure in the way they eat. To them, the balance between the different courses of the meal is as important as the balance between the ingredients of each dish. In Italy, eating is far more than nutrition, it’s a moment of aggregation where families, friends, colleagues get together, relax and participate in the … Continue reading “The Italian Courses”

the magic of autogrill

The Magic of Autogrill – Highway Restoration, Elevated

If you are Italian, or if you have driven around Italy, you are probably familiar with “Autogrill” as a chain of restaurants that serve the highways all throughout the country. But even if you are unaware of Autogrill, every time you travel you are actually exposed to the Autogrill Group, a catering giant that runs … Continue reading “The Magic of Autogrill – Highway Restoration, Elevated”

Pasta Names Explained

In this atypical post, we will go over some of the most common pasta cuts and describe the origins of their names. We will use the following template: Italian Name (Literal Translation) Photograph* (photos are at scale) [sounds like, the accent goes on the syllable in bold] The root word that inspires the shape, to … Continue reading “Pasta Names Explained”

Aperitivo – The Italian Pre-Dinner Cocktail with Accompaniments

Known in North America by the French name apéritif, an aperitivo is a drink meant to be had before the meal as an appetizer. To this purpose, the apertitivo is usually a moderately alcoholic cocktail based on vermouth, bitters or white wine. Non-alcoholic versions also exist. Even though the aperitivo is technically a starter to … Continue reading “Aperitivo – The Italian Pre-Dinner Cocktail with Accompaniments”

rice demystified

Rice Demystified – Which Rice Variety is Best for Risotto?

Rice plays an important role in Italian cuisine, especially in the North as the main ingredient of risotto, and may be found in timbales and soufflés. Rice is also an alternative to pasta in soups and salads, whereas rice flour is used to make specialty bread, pasta, and even cookies. Not all rice varieties are … Continue reading “Rice Demystified – Which Rice Variety is Best for Risotto?”

cooking pasta 101

Cooking Pasta 101

In the Pasta 101 article we went through the different types of pasta and the Italian traditions around it. Let’s now talk some more on how to cook pasta, and particularly dry pasta (‘pastasciutta’). Let’s start with quantities. How much is one serving of pasta? It depends on the yield. Raw dried pasta absorbs plenty … Continue reading “Cooking Pasta 101”

olive oil facts

Olive Oil Facts

Along with wine and pasta, olive oil is one of the food items Italy is most known for. Olive oil is the only oil extracted from the actual fruit, as opposed to grains or nuts, and is one of the most ancient manufactured foods. The production of olive oil started over 5000 years ago in … Continue reading “Olive Oil Facts”


Antipasto – A Primer on the Italian Starters Course

The word ‘antipasto’ (plural, ‘antipasti’) comes from anti- (before) and pasto (meal) and has absolutely nothing to do with pasta. An antipasto is the Italian equivalent of the starters course, but it also defines each individual appetizer (or hors d’oeuvre) that this course is made of. For instance, an Italian would say: “We started the … Continue reading “Antipasto – A Primer on the Italian Starters Course”

there's milk and milk

There’s Milk and Milk

For a blog that talks about Italian food compared to its North American counterpart, milk is probably one of the less obvious choices of topics. But if cow milk is similar, how milk differs as a product and how Italians and North Americans look at it can be quite interesting. For instance, it is perfectly … Continue reading “There’s Milk and Milk”

wine and italy

Wine and Italy

With over 50 liters per person per year, Italy is one of the largest wine consumers in the world. It goes without saying that wine is deeply entrenched in Italian culture. Wine is standard on the dinner table of every family and it’s generally not seen as a decadent treat, but rather as a noble … Continue reading “Wine and Italy”

breakfast or colazione

Breakfast or Colazione?

Breakfast in Italy is called ‘prima colazione’, or simply ‘colazione’. It’s the first meal of the day and many say it’s the most important one too. However, North Americans and Italians have fundamental differences of opinions in what to eat for breakfast. The first main difference is that savory breakfast items are almost absent in … Continue reading “Breakfast or Colazione?”

eating vegetarian

Eating Vegetarian

Italian cuisine, like many cuisines of the Mediterranean, is considered “vegetarian-friendly” because it features plenty of meatless dishes. Since not everybody has the same definition of “vegetarian,” let’s first clarify the terminology. By vegetarian dish, I mean a dish where no meat or fish in any form was ever used (so, no shrimp, no chicken … Continue reading “Eating Vegetarian”


Is Water Just Water?

Mineral water is extremely popular in Italy. The major brands of mineral waters are from specific springs, which are sometimes also renowned spas, and therefore have a precise location of origin. But is mineral water just water? No, it also contains a unique mix of minerals and ions. Every spring is different, and the concentration … Continue reading “Is Water Just Water?”

italian dressing

“Italian” Dressing?

Italian dressing. Obviously you can’t find such a thing in Italy, exactly like you’ll hardly find anything called “Chinese food” in China. But it isn’t just the name that doesn’t exist, Italians don’t even know the concept of a (premixed) dressing that you can buy in a store. The main reason why Italians don’t buy … Continue reading ““Italian” Dressing?”


The Mystery of Bread

The smell of bread… Freshly baked bread has such an evocative fragrance. Italian bread, just like most artisan kinds of bread, is usually made of just yeast, flour, water, and salt. The Chemistry Yeast. The kind most commonly used is baker’s yeast, which is also used for brewing alcoholic beverages (in fact in Italian it’s … Continue reading “The Mystery of Bread”

gelato vs ice cream

Gelato vs. Ice Cream

What is gelato? Gelato is not Italian for ice cream. In Italy, the word ‘gelato’ (plural: ‘gelati ‘, literally meaning ‘frozen’ and with nothing to do with gelatin) refers to a product that resembles ice cream, but that is technically quite different, especially in its artisan version. Gelato is based on a custard typically made … Continue reading “Gelato vs. Ice Cream”

formaggio cheese

Formaggio – An Introduction to the Many Varieties of Italian Cheese

Even though Italy is a pretty small place, its regions are quite different from one another. And cheese (formaggio , in Italian) is one of the products that changes the most across the territories. Since the area of origin is a big part of what defines each cheese’s properties, many Italian cheeses have a protected denomination … Continue reading “Formaggio – An Introduction to the Many Varieties of Italian Cheese”

Dried and fresh pasta

Pasta 101 – A Primer on the Most Iconic Italian Food

Pasta is probably the most recognized Italian dish. And for good reasons. Pasta plays a fundamental part in the diet of every Italian – even daily! This article describes all main pasta types. Italians like pasta because they know it’s a filling meal that is easy to digest, a great option for the lunch break. … Continue reading “Pasta 101 – A Primer on the Most Iconic Italian Food”



Everybody knows pizza, in a form or another, and so does for sure every Italian. In Italy, a ‘pizzeria’ (a restaurant specialized in serving pizzas) is the default for low-commitment dining, a place for every time Italians don’t feel like cooking (especially -for some reason- on Sunday nights). A traditional pizza is an affordable and … Continue reading “Pizza”

espresso myths

Espresso Myths

What’s Espresso? Espresso is what you get if you order a coffee (‘un caffè’) in any Italian café (or ‘Bar’ as Italians call them). Home-made coffee generally isn’t espresso, it’s a short coffee made with a stove-top machine called ‘Caffettiera’ (either ‘Moka’ or ‘Napoletana’). More recently, however, electric espresso machines have appeared in many Italian … Continue reading “Espresso Myths”