Jul 232015

How to dine in Venice, a fishy tale…

Wexler, sepia

The Bortoluzzi family and staff, Constance Wexler, pooches Texas and Bubba outside Trattoria Antiche Carampane, Trattoria of the “Old Tarts” Original color photo montage © copyright Peter Wexler, 1998

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Jul 212015

I’ve been on my soapbox for years about the fakery of too many products being passed off as Italian when, in fact, they are not. Wisconsin “Parmesan” isn’t parmigiano-reggiano, the true Parma cheese crafted with 800 years of knowhow and tradition behind it. Canned tomatoes are brazenly branded “San Marzano” when they have never been kissed by the Italian sun. It’s the age-old problem of profiteers making off with Italy’s good name — and benefiting from its cachet. No more. Italy has a plan. It’s called the “Made in Italy” campaign and it aims to educate, promote, and protect the genius and high quality of Italian artisanal products abroad. Carlo Calenda, Italy’s […more…]

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A Bold Italian Move: Made in Italy, The First-Ever Campaign to Promote and Protect Italian Artisanship Abroad
Jun 202015

Come join me at L’Italo-Americano, my new soapbox for Italian cooking. My introductory essay, how I went from political aide to professional eater, is my Italian-American story, here.

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How I Became a Professional Eater, or Saying No to Papà...
Jun 162015

You may know it as “broccoli rabe,” but any Italian will prickle at that mangled term for their beloved bitter greens. Here’s a crash course on how to pronounce it, cook it and love it, with eight terrific new recipes, read on….

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Rapini: Ultimate Italian Soul Food with 8 New Recipes for the Beloved Bitter Greens
May 302015

Once upon time, there was Balducci’s, the grocery-cum-take-out market that started people thinking about real Italian cooking at the outset of America’s food revolution. Maybe they even started it, at least the Italian flank. NYC was the epicenter of the foment in those days and it sent shock waves across America. In the 1970s, when other “Italian” grocers were selling the usual American-Italian provisions and Italian-style restaurants were still thinking along the lines of tomato sauce and blankets of cheese on top of everything, or branding their restaurants “Northern Italian” (only the color of the sauce changed, from the perfunctory red to indiscriminate white), […more…]

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Grocers of Legend: From Fruit Stall to Food Empire and Embracing "Local"
May 132015

A few weeks ago a message arrived in my inbox announcing that The Italian Trade Commissioner, Pier Paolo Celeste, is off to a new post in Moscow, and of course, there would be a little send-off. I don’t deny I was feeling sad about his leaving, as we’ll miss the creativity and vigor he brought while in New York City. Here’s to your mission in Moscow, Pier Paolo. Stay warm and in bocca al lupo! — You sure know how to give a party! Photos: ©Nathan Hoyt/Forktales 2015  

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D'Ya Think the Italians Know How to Give a Party?  Arriverderci Pier Paolo!