Eleven years of blogging, eight of podcasting

Another year! The good news is that this blog is still active and luckily keeps being found by those searching for Italian specialties like pizzoccheri or canederli or Italian misconceptions like my 6 Italian myths. The bad news of course is that I haven’t posted any new articles or recipes this year. I know, it’s terrible – but it’s also okay, given that social media has taken the place of blogging in many ways.

But I did resume podcasting (yay!) and produced 16 new episodes with as many guests and collaborations this past year! This continues to be a lot of fun for me and I’ve already started to work on a new round of episodes to hopefully reach my dream milestone of 100 episodes very soon!

Here is a list of the episodes this year. Thanks again to all of my wonderful guests!

On a personal level, we keep well here in southern England, still working from home and enjoying plenty of homecooked food. We pretty much spend our time planning meals, cooking, cleaning the kitchen, and being grateful for having a dishwasher. As the government lifted all social distancing measures exactly two weeks ago, we are far from back to normal, unfortunately. Traveling is still not really possible, including to and from Italy which of course breaks our hearts. But we enjoy our area, which is wonderfully green after a very wet summer, and spending time with our cat Rascal, who just turned 19, overall doing great and still a great source of comfort and inspiration to us both.

I hope you’re all well, wherever you are, and please get in touch for collaborations, to be on the podcast, or just to say hi – I’d love that 🙂

[Thoughts on the Table – 86] Christmas Traditions from Growing up in Sicily, Canada, and Milan

A classic Christmas special, featuring two very special guests: my wife Candace and our dear friend Miriam. Join us to hear us compare our different childhood traditions between a farm in Saskatchewan (Canada), an apartment in Palermo (Sicily), and one near Milan.

During the episode, we talk about how Nativity scenes can take on a local flavor, Miriam’s riveting performance in her childhood Christmas play, stockings, the presents-opening ceremony (between candlelight and spotlight!), and of course and at length about the food of the holidays!

The music in the episode is by www.purple-planet.com.


[Thoughts on the Table – 85] Introducing Local Aromas’ Advent Calendar and More

Valeria and Benedetta are back on the show to talk about their 2020 Advent Calendar, a collection of 24 festive recipes, each expertly paired with a wine.

Join us to hear more about the 9 food ambassadors that contributed the recipes (including my friend Pina Bresciani) and to hear us dig into some of them, such as Tortellini, Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup), Insalata Russa (Russian Salad), and Salmon Mousse.

You can hear more about Valeria and Benedetta on Episode 79 and follow them on the Local Aromas YouTube channel as well as on Instagram and Facebook


[Thoughts on the Table – 69] Introducing Food Blogger Pina Bresciani

This episode’s guest is Pina Bresciani (pinabresciani.com), a talented food blogger based in Vancouver, Canada, with strong ties to Italy.

Join me as I learn more about Pina, starting from her upbringings in an Italian family in Vancouver, speaking Italian at home and English at school, and spending her summers at her grandparents in Sperlonga, a seaside town between Rome and Naples. Growing up, Pina continued to keep close ties to Italy, while growing fond of Vancouver’s natural beauty and multicultural vibe. In 2015, Pina decided to start a blog as a creative outlet and, naturally, she gravitated towards Italian culture, and, just as naturally, food became the main focus. Pina’s recipes show her continental Italian roots, at times incorporating a west coast influence, beautifully presented thanks to her amazing food photography.

During the episode, we touch on some of Pina’s posts:

We also talk about the Italian bar “etiquette.”

You can follow Pina on her blog, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

The music in the episode is by www.purple-planet.com.


[Thoughts on the Table – 63] Italian and Italian-American Christmas Traditions, with Nick Zingale

Hello and Happy Holidays!

My friend and recurring guest Nick Zingale is back on the show with his great storytelling to talk about Christmas and the way he and his Italian-American family celebrated it over the years: from the anticipation leading up to Christmas Eve, to the Feast of the Seven Fishes, to the many family gatherings. In the episode, I also share my Christmas memories from growing up in northern Italy, with a special emphasis on the food.

This post’s featured image was derived from “Christmas Tree Fruit” by Sergé, licensed under Creative Commons.


Mascarpone Cream – How to Make Panettone Divine

Growing up in the province of Milan, the presence of various panettoni in the house was reliably the earliest indicator that the Christmas season had returned. My father would receive a couple of panettoni as a gift from his workplace, my mother would bring one or two home she received from some the people she visited as a nurse, and my grandmas would always give us some of the ones they received since they couldn’t eat them all. Occasionally, right before Christmas, my family would also order an artisan-made panettone from their favorite local pastry shop.
Given the abundance of the seasonal sweet-bread, my family consumed panettone straight out of the box as dessert, afternoon snack, and even as breakfast. But after Sundays meals, and for sure on Christmas day, we used to serve panettone accompanied with something that made it even better: mascarpone cream and a glass of spumante!

What follows is the recipe that my grandmother passed down to my mother, who then passed it down to me. It’s quite simple to make, but it involves a certain amount of hand whisking. This preparation is what my family also uses to make tiramisù.

Mascarpone Cream

Yield: 10 servings

Total Time: 20 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

2 tablespoons per serving

Mascarpone Cream


  • 500 g fresh mascarpone
  • 5 of the freshest eggs
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of rum


  1. Take the eggs and the mascarpone out of the fridge an hour ahead of time so that they reach room temperature.
  2. Soften the mascarpone by stirring it energetically for one minute in a bowl.
  3. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes smooth and lighter in color.
  4. Stir in a tablespoon of mascarpone into the egg mix. Continue stirring until no lumps are left, and the cream begins to thicken.
  5. One tablespoon at a time, incorporate the rest of the mascarpone.
  6. Beat the egg whites until very firm, then gradually incorporate 2/3 of them into the cream (discard the rest), mixing gently from the bottom up in a circular motion.
  7. Slowly stir in the rum, mixing until fully absorbed.
  8. Just before serving the panettone, ladle a generous tablespoon of mascarpone cream over each slice and enjoy!