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Municipality of Amatrice

 

‘SALSA ALL’AMATRICIANA’

PRODUCTION DISCIPLINE

The ‘Amatriciana sauce is a typical product of the gastronomic tradition of Amatrice, to be able to boast of the Communal Denomination (De.Co.), it must be obtained, in the ‘white’ or ‘red’ versions, in compliance with the conditions and the requirements established by these production regulations.

The product born from an elementary pastoral preparation that has its roots in the social and economic history of the Amatrician side of the Mount of Laga, from which the preparation originates.

In particular, the use of aged guanciale (*) and pecorino cheese transposes the relationship with an extensive livestock farming in the Amatriciana sauce which has characterized the relationship of man with a difficult territory for centuries: in the past local shepherds, in the period of transhumance, who forcing them away from home for a period of 4-5 months, they brought with them, for their sustenance, some products of easy and prolonged preservability such as, precisely, the guanciale, pecorino, and flour.

The original recipe is white, tomato-free, also called ‘Gricia’, and dates back to the period in which the city of Amatrice was in the territory of ancient Abruzzo.

The ‘Salsa all ‘amatriciana”‘ is linked to the history of Abruzzo until the date of 1927, the year in which with the creation of the Province of Rieti new boundaries between Lazio and Abruzzo were established.

This can be found in the text of the author Anna Gosetti della Salda, in her classic ‘Italian regional recipes’ (1967), the result of rigorous field research and the reconstruction of the geographical paths of the dishes. Gosetti also writes, in the notes, that the one she collected ‘on the spot’ is the true recipe of amatriciana as it was prepared for Amatrice at the end of the 1950s.

The introduction in the tomato recipe occurred at the end of the eighteenth century when the Neapolitans, among the first in Europe, recognized the great organoleptic qualities of the tomato, and so also the Amatricians, whose territory fell in the Kingdom of Naples, had the opportunity to appreciate it and, with happy intuition, they added it to the ingredients of the original recipe.

Some erroneously attribute the Amatriciana to the Roman cuisine, having lost the historical memory of the fact that it was instead the shepherds, who with the seasonal movements of the transhumance towards the Roman countryside, made known this recipe in the city of the Popes.

The ‘Salsa all’amatriciana’ is included in the list of Traditional Agri-Foodstuffs of the Lazio Region (GU n. 141 of 20/06/2014).

Only some ingredients of this gastronomic product can also come from areas other than the municipal area.

TYPICAL PRODUCTION AREA OF ‘AMATRICIANA SALSA’

The production area of the Amatriciana Sauce, coincides with the territory of the Municipality of Amatrice.

The ‘Salsa all’amatriciana’ is:
– ‘’white’, in the tomato-free version, also called ‘Gricia’;
– ‘red’, in the version with tomato.

Amatriciana sauce, in the ‘white’ (also called ‘’Gricia’) or ‘red’ version, can be used for immediate consumption or packaged in sterile containers to be subjected to heat treatment, in order to sterilize the finished product.

 

  1. WHITE AMATRICIAN SAUCE

  1. Ingredients

The ingredients, referring to the preparation 500 gr. of pasta, are:

  • 125 gr. of ‘Guanciale Amatriciano DE.CO.’
  • A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil;
  • a dash of dry white wine;
  • pepper as needed
  1. Method

  • Browning lightly in extra virgin olive oil the ‘Guanciale Amatriciano’ De.Co., in a strictly iron pan,  well neat from the skin and cut into long strips.
  • Add the white wine and black pepper as needed, and cook over low heat for a few minutes until the pork cheek is lightly browned, being very careful not to brown too much, a fundamental rule for the success of the recipe.

Recommended pairings:

Combine the sauce with a spaghetti of excellent quality, cooked al dente in plenty of salted water and add abundant ‘Pecorino di Amatrice’ De.Co., and ground black pepper as needed.

  1. RED AMATRICIAN SAUCE

  1. Ingredients

The ingredients, referring to the preparation 500 gr. of pasta, are:

  • 125 gr. of ‘Guanciale Amatriciano DE.CO.’
  • A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil;
  • a dash of dry white wine;
  • 6 or 7 San Marzano tomatoes or 400 grams of quality peeled tomatoes;
  • a piece of fresh or dried chilli (if necessary);
  • Salt and Pepper as needed
  1. Method

  • Browning in a frying pan with extra virgin olive oil in a strictly iron pan, the ‘Guanciale Amatriciano’ De.Co., well netted by rind and cut into long strips.
  • Add the white wine and black pepper q.b., and possibly the chili pepper, and cook over low heat for a few minutes until the pork cheek is lightly browned, being very careful not to brown too much, a fundamental rule for the success of the recipe.
  • Remove the strips of pork cheek from the pan, drain well and keep aside, preferably warm, to avoid the risk of them becoming too dry and salty.
  • Add the tomatoes cut into fillets and remove the seeds, having previously blanched them or use 400 grams of quality peeled tomatoes.
  • Salt, stir and cook over high heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the chili, and add the strips of cheek previously set aside to the sauce, stirring the sauce again.

Recommended pairings:

Combine the sauce with a spaghetti of excellent quality, cooked al dente in plenty of salted water and add abundant ‘Pecorino di Amatrice’ De.Co., and ground black pepper as needed.

 

Source: https://www.comune.amatrice.rieti.it/deco/disciplinare_salsa_amatriciana.pdf

 

It’s a deed I’ve always done naturally, but I never thought about what was behind it…

The original post was written by professor and writer Enrico Galiano:

 

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BASED ON A TRUE STORY

I worked as a waiter for eleven years. Among the many things I’ve learned there is this, that the world is divided into two categories: those who pass the dish to the waiter, and those who don’t do.

Those who pass you the plate, are the ones who see you, they realize that you are there and busting your ass, so when they are finished and you show yourself in front of them to take away the dirty dish, they lift it, they hand it to you , so that you do not have to lean over each time, with the risk of perhaps dropping a cutlery from the dishes you already have in your hand. Usually they also say “thank you”, even if they were actually doing you a favor.
The impulse every now and then, I remember, was to hug them.
A deed of nothing costs no effort.
But a deed that says it all.
I have always loved those who pass you the plate, because they are almost always very humble people, they recognize your dignity, they don’t treat the waiter like a servant: they know how much is lucky in the fact that they are sitting there eating and you are there standing up to busting the ass out.

All this to say that in my life I happened to find myself at the table with many people: writers, politicians, sometimes even TV personalities, and most of them, however powerful and important, maybe even funny sometimes, they were people who didn’t pass the plate to the waiter.
Some, indeed, often treated him very badly.

And yesterday, yet, I got the lunch with Clara Sànchez.
I don’t know if you know her, but she’s a writer who sells millions of copies all over the world.
She is someone that has some reason to feel arrived.
To feel important.
Here, all this to say that Clara Sanchez passes the plate to the waiter.

It’s not that you are arrived when you have oceanic crowds cheering you or pharaonic bank accounts.
You arrived when wherever you arrived, you’re still one who passes the plate to the waiter.

 

waiter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libro de arte coquinaria

Libro de arte coquinaria Maestro Martino

 

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What distinguishes a Chef from a charlatan?
Knowledge of the ingredients, intuition, humility, ability, willpower, courage to experiment.
Luck has little to do with, a donkey can pretend to be a horse… but sooner or later he is braying!

 

Starting from the publication of the “Libro de arte coquinaria” of the Italian Chef and gastronomist Maestro Martino, who lived between the XIV and the XV century and considered the most important European Chef of the XV century, a cornerstone of Italian gastronomic literature that testified the passage from the medieval to the renaissance cuisine to get to the last Chefs on the web and television, it is interesting to see how much in over six centuries has changed, even if not always the change is synonymous of improvement.

I greedily browse books and web pages published by Italian Chefs (with some foreigner) looking for some, it is appropriate to say, “delicious morsels”, the perfect delicacy, point the focus on particular indiscreet, some yielding to the vanity anyway revealers of the human, anthropological characteristics of the cooks.
To worthily celebrate my compulsive hunger for knowledge, it is necessary, first of all, to leave out nothing of the browsed pages, because the “gold nugget” could hide, for example, between the folds of a carbonara or in the corners of a meticulous report about cooking of a risotto.

And then it turns out that, for example, al dente pasta, the workhorse of Italian cuisine, explained precisely by Maestro Martino in his “Libro de arte coquinaria” had very long cooking times.
But going to more recent times it turns out that in 1844 the pasta was cooked an hour, dropped to 45 minutes (The learned Chef of 1871), 15-20 minutes suggested (The real Genoese cuisine of the late nineteenth century and the military Chef of the 1932), again one hour (How can I eat well? 1913), 45 minutes (The healthy kitchen 1846), although there are some voices outside the chorus like that of the Neapolitan Chef Ippolito Cavalcanti who advised in 1837 to drain pasta when it “showed still a certain tenacity“: with the passing of time, this gastronomic revolution has also contaminated northern of Italy, despite having established itself as a general rule only after World War II.
The homologation of pasta cooking needed tests, time and tastings, one the goldl nugget was provided by Chef Elio Sironi who a couple of years ago discovered and sold pasta with “indirect cooking“, ie cook in boiling water for two minutes and fire off the remaining time so as not to disperse the starch in the water and enhance its flavor.
The phenomena that take place during the cooking of the pasta are three: the diffusion of water inside the pasta which is at any temperature; gelatinization of starch above 60 degrees; the denaturation of gluten between 70 and 80 degrees.

The essay of Benjamin Thompson on 1799

The essay of Benjamin Thompson on 1799

Following this rule (recycled by Benjamin Thompson who on 1799 wrote an essay on thermodynamics applied to cooking food), any temperature above 80 degrees is a useless waste of energy but its assertion that the water turned off enhances the flavor of the pasta is groundless.

Among the folds of an interview with two Michelin Stars Chef Gianfranco Vissani, we discover a self proclaimed lover of traditional cuisine that does not boggle to point the finger at colleagues who accuse of having turned the kitchen upside down, with modern cooking forms that he says “are the greatest disgust in the world and kill flavors and consistency, everything tastes like boiled “.
Vissani talks about the vituperated vacuum cooking at a low temperature, I honestly do not share his opinion while I admit that it does not work on everything and the results can be different by the beginners expectations.
And continuing asserts that “many cooks are not even able to cook the pasta, use tap water and the chlorine affects breaking the spaghetti because the chlorine does not evaporate, indeed, when boiling it concentrates, a good restaurant should know it “.
And more” I saw famous chefs in television programs salted the meat before cooking it, another told that the salt evaporates: it is the water that evaporates, its a disaster!
But also Chef Vissani does not come out well: the verbal confrontations with the gastronomist Luigi Veronelli who accuses him of using soy oil instead of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying, are well known, but the golden nugget of the traditionalist Chef resides in this transposition (should be better call it destruction) of bucatini alla Amatriciana composed by mixing the sauce and putting it on the bottom of a cup, adding a bucatini mousse on top and finally the sponge cake soaked with “Strega” cordial.
It was a recipe so successful that on the web it is impossible to find any image… thankfully!

In this mine we can find also the amatriciana with the garlic of the Chef Cracco that has triggered many reactions, the most significant of which was the invitation of the Chef from the typical cuisine school of Amatrice to try the original recipe.
But the echo had not yet been turned off than during the Mastechef contest, the USA Chef Joe Bastianich suggested a competitor to use the onion in the preparation of gricia, the ancestor of Amatriciana.

Bill pizza Cracco

Bill pizza Cracco

Pizza Cracco

Pizza Cracco

Well, he’s American, will think the readers, and instead to give a strong hand we find the Italian Michelin Star Chef Cracco: pure delirium.
But Chef Cracco offers us another of his pearls on a silver plate when at the beginning of the year in his new restaurant in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan he proposes his pizza.
Not even to say (just watch the photo) to understand what is the wasps’ nest that has raised between pizza’s purists and non.
There is no scandal or worse outrage because it costs too much, everyone spends his money as he wants, but let me say it is ugly, it looks like a burned Apulian frisella, and there are several versions of pizza… that do not include the crap of Cracco that would do better continue to make the judge at Masterchef.

 

Starter Milena Galbanelli

Starter Milena Galbanelli

Few months ago it was the time of Milena Gabanelli, a well-known and well-loved Italian investigative journalist who, at dinner to Marconi in the Michelin-star restaurant of Aurora and Massimo Mazzucchelli to Sasso Marconi (near Bologna), took a photo of her starter and published it on social media, commenting on it, a very common practice: “NOTHING HEAVY This is an appetizer I do not know what I ate because I could not taste it (cod was written there) But these chefs …?! Milena Gabanelli “.
Her very critical caption and the fact that the restaurant it is a Michelin Star, triggered immediately the controversy.
It is also true that it was not an appetizer but an “amuse bouche”, but it is still a miserable course for which a restaurant should be ashamed.

 

 

The six Chefs Moretti beer advisors

The six Chefs Moretti beer advisors

Chefs Antonino Cannavacciuolo, Davide del Duca, Christian Milone, Davide Oldani, Claudio Sadler and Viviana Varese lent themselves to advertising a beer allowing it to put on their label a caricature instead of the legendary “Baffo“.
It turns out that all six Chefs of the labels, apparently have a close link with this brand of beer: Del Duca and Milone won the Birra Moretti Grand Cru Prize (respectively in 2014 and 2012), the competition promoted by Birra Moretti in collaboration with Identità Golose (The International Chef Congress), which tests the originality, skills and imagination of the best young Italian talents under 35 inviting them to challenge each other proposing dishes in which beer is used in combination and as an ingredient, Cannavacciuolo, Oldani, Sadler and Varese, instead, four stars of the Italian culinary firmament, have been part of the jury of the Prize and have been called to decree the most virtuous among the emerging Chefs.

 

 

Joe Bastianich mcdonalds advisor

Joe Bastianich mcdonalds advisor

That what reported is a striking case of conflict of interest is undoubted, the fact remains that the next time the Chefs will go to advertise McDonald’s?
I‘m sorry, I forgot, Chef Joe Bastianich advertise McDonald’s, Chef Cracco, instead, advertise the San Carlo’s chips, Chef Bruno Barbieri advertise the industrial chicken Amadori brand and I could go on, this is a real mine, more than golden nuggets gives us some ideas for reflection about the opportunity to go and sit at their tables.

 

 

 

 

Today we are invaded by chefs that if you go to dinner in their restaurants, they are not there because they are always on TV.
Who fuck is cooking then?
Obviously, their brigade, authentic hidden protagonists, who in addition to having much of the merit in achieving the coveted Michelin star by the restaurant (and, of course, by the Chef), are often also paid a little.
So, the question arises spontaneously… but these mega star Chef, will they be able to cook?
Or is it all a cackle, maybe seasoned with crystals of lamb meteorite in liquid and gaseous nitrogen crust with ionized particles to the lobster of Garda Lake?
A bruschetta, thank you… better if it’s good!
I love cuisine.
I love haute cuisine.
I love certain personages, who managed to make what was once a simple and noble work, an art form.
However, in my opinion, the true phenomena of modern cuisine are those who, in addition to having the right honors, always profess humility.
Because, being a cook or a Chef, it’s hard work.
And if you do it with humility, respect and passion for quality, it is even more so.
And the true aces, after appearing on TV or in a magazine, go back to the kitchen to cook, to discover, to experiment and invent a new dish, with the sole purpose of surprising their customers.
Fortunately they are not all affected by “phenomenalism”, and I love these Chefs, even cooks.
So, less Chefs and more cooks.
We need it!
And to the phenomena Chefs I ask “do you make me a spaghetto garlic oil and pepper?”
Let’s see if it is good, at least at the height of your stars.
Now I close, because talking about phenomena in the kitchen, start to spinning my balls… sorry, start to dynamize my balls.
Because dynamizing means spinning
(Crozza docet).

 

Olives

Ripe olives

 

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Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Benefit

Bruschetta

Whizz up the tastiest salad dressings, add a finishing flourish to soups or use as a dip for a bruschetta.

Made from the very first pressing of olives, extra virgin is the most flavoursome as it’s not been diluted and has had minimal processing.

In a similar way to wine, olive oil has a complex variety of flavours to look out for, expect a balance of fruit, spice and pepper; however, unlike wine, olive oil does not improve with age, so use liberally and look for a dark glass container to store in as light can rapidly diminish the oil quality.

Extra virgin olive oil has a low burn point which if reached can break down the nutritional benefits and produce harmful chemicals but used correctly has featuring heavily in the healthy Mediterranean diet.

 

Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Scientific studies indicate that olive oil, among all the oils, is the healthiest one.

Unlike other products for seasoning, extra virgin olive oil is the only one obtained solely through a mechanical extraction process such as centrifugation or dripping or squeezing in order to obtain a real fruit juice.

According to the European rules, is considered extra virgin oil when cold pressed mechanically and have some peculiar characteristics.
Through the “panel test”, an organoleptic analysis also regulated by strict European standards, is evaluated the taste, color, smell and appearance of the oil.

In the extra virgin olive oil the beneficial components for health are the polyphenols, responsible for the characteristic taste of the oil: the more there are and the more it is spicy and fruity.
Polyphenols are a family of strongly revalued chemical compounds because:

  • antioxidants, therefore they act as inhibitors of the “free radicals” of the organism able to activate tumor forms and other diseases;
  • reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) circulating in the blood, which thus remains smoother and with less risk of heart attack.

Among other things, with their antioxidant action, they lengthen the life of the oil, whose alteration is mainly due to the action of oxygen.
The other beneficial components of the extra virgin olive oil are unsaturated fatty acids, in particular oleic acid, which is monounsaturated, present for about 75% and can be defined as the “guardian” of the arteries as it binds to cholesterol in the blood dragging it away.
Given that its acidic composition is similar to mother’s milk, extra virgin olive oil is recommended as an aid for the weaning of children; it is also useful to take it in old age because it help the assimilation of calcium and its mineralization, helping to prevent osteoporosis.

Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP

Riviera Ligure DOP

As for wines, even among the various extra virgin olive oils there are those PDOs recognized by the European Community as high quality oils.
Oil producers who come from a PDOs production area must scrupulously respect the production regulations, their olive groves must be registered in the olive-oil-producers register and must also submit the production report to the Chamber of Commerce, providing the guarantee that the entire spinneret of production (processing, storage and bottling) takes place in a certain designation of origin.
The quality of extra virgin olive oil depends on the cultivation of the olives, the agronomic technique, the environment, the harvesting period, the processing technology and the conservation of the oil.

 

 

What does extra virgin mean?
T
he “virgin” attribute for the oil indicates that the extraction process is carried out exclusively with physical and mechanical methods, without the use of solvents that characterize, for example, the extraction of many seed oils and without mixing with oils of other nature.
The olive oil is extra-virgin when, in addition to being mechanically extracted, it has an acidity lower than 0.8% (the good quality oils have a much lower acidity).
Up to 2% acidity, the oil is considered “virgin”, over the oil can only be traded after its refining in which it is deacidified with chemical processes and sold as “refined olive oil”.
Olive oil without specific attributes, is instead a mixture of refined oils and virgin oil in an indeterminate percentage with a total acidity of less than 1.5%.

Cilento DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cilento DOP

Buying guide
Extra virgin olive oil is not a product for which to save on; many of the oils sold in large-scale distribution are made up of mixtures of oils and have prices that are slightly higher than the cost of the bottle and the cap which, by themselves, make us realize that the quality of the product is poor.
Recognizing a good extra virgin olive oil from the perfume and taste may require a minimum of training, but the low cost of the oil can be a first exclusion criterion.
Find your oil with experience using these suggestions.

Smell:
Firstly, in an extra virgin olive, is the smell of the olives to be able to say that it is “fruity” oil, an oil, i.e., in which the scent of the fruit (olives) is perceived in a well-defined way.
The oil must be free from defects in the production chain such as rancid, mold, sludge, etc.

Color:
The color of an extra virgin olive oil can vary from yellow to green, with infinte shades in between.
Contrary to what many believe, a greener oil is not necessarily better or more genuine because its coloring is given by the degree of ripeness of the olives at the time of harvest and their variety; a greener oil has a greater presence of chlorophyll, usually due to less mature olives, more yellow has instead the prevalence of carotenes, if the color tends to orange-reddish, it is likely that the oil is oxidized.
Whatever the color, the extra virgin olive oil must have one: if the oil appears colorless or transparent, it is better to desist from the purchase.

Taste:
W
hy does the new oil pinch and is bitter?
Those who are not experts in freshly pressed olive oil tend to exchange the pinching and bitterness of the new oil as defects. In reality it is not at all like this, they are invaluable characteristics that help us to distinguish a good extra virgin olive oil from one of dubious quality.
The acidity of extra virgin olive oil can not be perceived through taste; in its chemical composition there are no perceptible acids, not even salts or sugars.
Bitter and spicy are both dependent on the type of olive that will be used, the type of processing and the degree of ripeness.
An extra virgin olive oil that does not pinch has probably lost these substances, proving more vulnerable to oxidation and aging, as well as less healthy for our body.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Val di Mazara DOP

Val di Mazara DOP

Purchase period:
T
he ideal season for buying the extra virgin olive oil is autumn, since it is at this time of year that olives are harvested and cold pressed, without any thermal alteration or chemistry: only this procedure, in fact, allows to obtain the term Extravergine to the olive oil, characterized by precise organoleptic qualities.

Conservation:
Extra virgin olive oil must be kept in dark bottles to protect it from light; like all fats, extra virgin olive oil must be protected from oxidation and contact with polluting substances as well as odors as it absorbs them easily, a feature that makes it perfect for the production of perfumes, essences, balsams and aromatized oils.
The ideal storage temperature of the oil is 15 ° C (the cold does not alter the structure of the oil and does not affect its preservability): if you do not have a dry and well-ventilated cellar, look for the coolest (and darkest) point of the house.
Experts reccomend to consume the oil in the same production year, because the antioxidant content that preserves it from rancidation fades over time, but remains edible up to 20 months from the squeezing: it can therefore be said that the content of natural antioxidants of an extra virgin olive oil together with the way in which it is conserved, defines its duration.

Cost of extra virgin olive oil:
How many olives do you need to make a liter of oil? The olive oil yield is a fairly variable parameter: different varieties of olives give different yields but in principle to make a liter of oil it takes about 6-7 kilos of olives.
The cost of a single liter of extra virgin olive oil is estimated according to its type and type of processing, the costs of cultivation of the olive grove (plowing, pruning, harvesting), milling and packaging costs (labeling, cans, bottles packaging), advertising and transport as well as olive yield depending on the vintage and the variety.
The cost in Italy for 2018 is estimated between 5 to 10 euros per liter, with higher peaks due to particular oil excellences.

 

 

Spaghetti di Gragnano alla carbonara

Spaghetti di Gragnano alla carbonara served at Aromi Diversi

 

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How many carbonara recipes exist?
For the for the orthodoxes of the carbonara, there is only the one made made with crispy guanciale(*), whisked eggs yolk and pecorino romano cheese, the others, if exist, are not true carbonara but something else; but going back in time, we realize that this delicious dish of Italian cuisine, has a recent history, and in about seventy years of life has undergone transformations lasting even long periods where the orthodoxes of the carbonara of those times, recognized it as the original single discarding all the others.

One of the latest transformations dates back to some years ago with the advent of the low temperature cooking technique (Sous Vide) that promises to obtain a perfect consistency of the eggs without adding cream or other ingredients: actually I get the same consistency even with the classic method but so is it.

In the specialized pages of blogs and social media, the controversy surrounding the carbonara regarding the ingredients and its preparation are the subject of clashes between the insiders, each one with its own pecorino cheese or guanciale, each one convinced that the creaminess of his is better than that of another, the common denominator is the good quality of the pastas.

But what triggers the insiders is the “Carbonaragate“, the scandal originated by the video of the French version of Carbonara who sparked outrage from Italian foodies who made the following request: “Let Italians cook pasta, please!”
The french crap carbonara, indeed, using boiled bacon, crème fraîche and a raw egg, leaves the internet appalled.
Not even the time to turn off the echo of the comments, a new video it appears, if is possible, even worse than the previous.

The carbonara, as I think we understand, is a very loved and debated dish of the traditional italian cuisine, upset the recipe is like equalize “pate de porc” to the “foie gras” or use pork in the  “beef Wellington”: you can’t compare apples to oranges!

 

On the origin of carbonara there are, at least, three hypothesis.

The first assigns the paternity to Renato Gualandi who would create it at the end of the second world war.

According by the second, the dish would be an invention of the “Carbonari” (not the Risorgimental rebels so called), those who made charcoal, a long job during which they fed with easy-to-find ingredients mixed with macaroni.

The third and last origin would be Neapolitan, hypothesis put forward by an Italian-American journalist as bizarre as arrogant, who credits his thesis uphold that similar ingredients appear in various recipes of that region: with all respect for Naples and its wonderful cuisine, I think that such a thesis has no foundation because many other Italian regions have the same ingredients in their recipes and it is not clear why the Neapolitan.

Which of the three hypotheses is the right one, probably will never know, however one thing is certain: the carbonara is perfectly suited to the Roman cuisine that was, and still is, made with flavors and rustic ingredients such as guanciale and pecorino.

 

I then gathered over the 10 carbonara’s recipes, starting with the first of Chef Renato Gualandi until today, it will be interesting to see how a dish could have had so many transformations.

Lyophilized eggs

Lyophilized eggs

1944, September 22: the first carbonara – Chef Renato Gualandi
The first homologated carbonara is that of Renato Gualandi who coocked the dish in Riccione (Italy) during the meeting between the English VIII Army and the American V. He seasoned the pasta with mixed bacon, cream of milk, cheese and egg-yolk powder and ground pepper that the Americans had in large quantities and served this pasta for dinner to the generals and the officers, a successful choice.

1952: Pasta Carbonara -y Patricia Bronté
S
he coock the first carbonara appears to Chicago: tagliolini, eggs, lettuce and parmigiano.

1954: Spaghetti alla carbonara – “Italian cuisine”, III, 8 (August 1954)
T
he first Italian recipe. In this version it was made from eggs, bacon,  gruyere cheese, garlic and pepper.

1954: Spaghetti alla carbonara – “Harper’s Bazaar”
A
n unorthodox American carbonara with butter, clams, yolks of eggs, Parmesan cheese and pepper.

1955: Macaroni alla carbonara – Felix Dessì, La signora in the kitchen
T
his time the pasta should be seasoned with eggs, Parmesan or pecorino cheese and pepper.

1960: Spaghetti alla carbonara – Luigi Carnacina, La grande cucina
A
great Chef inaugurates the guanciale and cream season and the other ingredients are butter, whole eggs,  grated Parmesan cheese and pepper.

1986: Bucatini alla carbonara – Matilde Laurenti, The true Roman cuisine
T
he carbonara orthodoxy makes its way into a recipe book dedicated to Roman specialties. The ingredients are bucatini, bacon or guanciale, eggs,  grated Parmesan and Pecorino cheese,  onion, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and pepper.

1989: Spaghetti alla carbonara – Gualtiero Marchesi, Italian regional cuisine
I
ngredients: guanciale, cream, egg yolks, grated pecorino cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

Spaghetti alla carbonatriciana- Luca Cesari

Spaghetti alla carbonatriciana

2017: Carbonara cooked at low temperature
Ingredients: spaghetti Cavalieri or big spaghetti Rummo,  as many whole eggs as many egg yolks, guanciale, grated pecorino romano cheese, little salt and aboundant pepper. The sauce obtained with the eggs, the egg yolk and pecorino cheese is cooked in Sous Vide.

Spaghetti alla carbomatriciana – Luca Cesari
The two recipes symbol of the Roman tradition gathered in a single dish that looks to the future.
Ingredients: spaghetti Cavalieri or big spaghetti Rummo, as many whole eggs as many egg yolks, guanciale, grated pecorino romano cheese, San Marzano tomatoes, little salt and aboundant pepper.

 

 

Appetite comes with eating, and after the first list of 10 carbonaras I have looked for what other changes have been made.
Carbonara: the author variants

Carbonara di pesce
A
urora Mazzucchelli  prepared her dish using scallops and mullets. No eggs, replaced by an emulsion of scallops corals.

Carbonara di montagna
T
he South Tyrolean chef Norbert Niederkofler use only local products such as spelled pasta, lard, speck powder and mountain grazing cheese.

Risotto alla carbonara
C
hristian and Manuel Costardi seasoned their risotto with beaten egg yolk, crispy bacon, pecorino cream and a sprinkling of pepper.

Carbonara ice cream
I
side De Cesare transformed into ice cream eggs and cheese with spaghetti of courgettes, crispy bacon and black truffle.

Fagottelli(**) alla  Carbonara
H
einz Beck the dressing stuffed the fagottelli while the sauce is based on veal and zucchini.

Negativo di carbonara
A
ntonello Colonna: also in this case it is the pasta to be filled with carbonara and then seasoned in the crème fraîche.

Pizza carbonara
S
tefano Callegari merge the classic pizza base and the traditional carbonara seasoning.

Black is black Chef Davide Scabin

Black is black Chef Davide Scabin

Black is black
D
avide Scabin spaghetti with cuttlefish ink cooked in a vacuum, caviar and cream of eggs whipped with guanciale fat and cheese.

Sommario di carbonara
R
iccardo Di Giacinto who enclose all the elements (eggs, cheese, guanciale) within an egg shell.

Carbonara veg
S
imone Salvini presents his carbonara prepared with wholemeal spaghetti, tofu and almond milk: in 3 ingredients we summarize the philosophy in the kitchen of Simone Salvini (sic!).

Carbonara di mare
M
auro Uliassi season his dish with a cream composed by mantis shrimps eggs, gray mullet eggs and sea urchins. The guanciale is replaced by cod tripe.

Carbonara a freddo
P
aolo Parisi features fresh eggs tagliolini, a mix of Parmesan and pecorino cheese, eggs, marjoram, lemon and squeezed garlic.

Healthy carbonara
T
he japanese Chef Kotaro Noda promises to cook a carbonara lighter than a salad thanks to the particular glaze of the bacon in the oven to prevent it from reaching the smoke point.

Uovo 65
R
oy Caceres serves it as an appetizer and not as a first dish completely deform in the concept of a typical dish, it is an egg cooked at 65 ° C topped with a mousse of pecorino cheese and parmesan.
The pasta? Puffed rigatoni and crispy bacon.

Carbonara sbagliata
F
erran Adrià proposes taglierini topped with Parmesan cheese, smoked bacon, egg, plus a “reinforcement” of agar-agar powder, butter, cream, truffle oil and, in the creative version, even peas.

 

Carbonara: the home variants

Tuna carbonara
C
omposed of eggs, garlic, Parmesan cheese, tuna and parsley as well as oil, salt and pepper.

Carbonara with mushrooms and bacon
Composed of porcini mushrooms, diced bacon, Parmesan cheese, parsley, eggs and garlic as well as oil, salt and pepper.

Carbonara with aubergines
Composed of aubergines, Parmesan cheese, capers and eggs as well as oil, salt and pepper.

Carbonara with peppers
Composed of tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers and eggs as well as oil, salt and pepper.

Vegetarian zucchini carbonara
Composed of eggs, pecorino cheese and zucchini as well as oil, salt and pepper.

 

The Italian patriotism, already sarcastically described by Winston Churchill who claimed that “the Italians lose the football matches as if they were wars and lose the wars as if they were football matches”, could be further enriched with the rewriting of article 1 of the Constitution as follows: “Italy is a democratic republic founded on Carbonara, sovereignty appertain to the egg yolk, which is whisked according to pecorino and limits of the guanciale”.

Carbonara: the crap variants

Carbonara americana italian style
Frozen bacon (so that it is easier then cut it into cubes) fried, whole eggs, butter, garlic, cream, peas and Parmesan cheese: next ingredients? Beetroot, broccoli or cucumber?

Carbonara Sarcozy
The French Chef who calved a similar abortion have perfumed it with “eau de tristesse”.
He seasoned farfalle (***) (cooked in water and oil, to prevent sticking and obtaining a slimy product to which no sauce can stick) with boiled bacon and shallot, crème fraîche, parsley, as well as salt and pepper. Once placed up the pasta, a raw egg is added to it center (hopefully fresh and without salmonellosis problems).

Baked carbonara with asparagus
Created from an overseas disturbed mind, the dish composed by lardon, cheese, eggs, asparagus and cream, has nothing in common with the traditional recipe that does not include oven or asparagus.

 

Colombian Carbonara
Proposed by a terrifying restaurant in Bogota, it is made up of chunks of chicken and an unspecified vegetables. The “Italian food” hashtag would be enough provocation to declare war on the South American country.

Carbonara and cutlet
I wonder why we did not take us to accompany the pasta to a chicken schnitzel with fries. Composed with cheese, potato, chilli sauce, milk and… a touch of class: the raw sliced tomato.

Carbonara broccoli and chicken
A Chinese who prepares a carbonara in New York? Probably the google translation service did not work right because he has prepared the criminal dish with toasted chicken and broccoli. The only acceptable ingredient is the linguini.

Carbonara soup

Carbonara soup

Carbonara soup
There is no limit to the worst, this Chilean version of carbonara is the proof. Impossible understand how this obscenity was composed, if this mess contains pasta or something else, just a dish filled with an orange-yellow broth that seems to contain potatoes with a pile of minced vegetable that could be parsley.

Carbonara with hazelnuts
Directly from the capital of the Czech Republic, here is another unprecedented crap composed by roasted cauliflower and hazelnuts. Are we sure it’s not the squirrels’ food? Will they bark the nuts before putting them in the plate?

American carbonara
Have you finished the pancetta (not even to talk about guanciale) and all the shops are closed? Or are you lazy to go out shopping? Does not matter, open the fridge, get hotdogs, eggs and cream, the first cheese you find and the pasta is ready… to be thrown into the trash basket.

Carbonara for disturbed minds
Wholemeal pasta, tuna, yogurt, mushrooms, onion, minced turkey, eggs and pepper: whoever has made this list of ingredients has no idea what it is a carbonara. But the sublime art of the author of this crap is espressed with the fried egg on top of the pasta: put on the top of the steamed rice is Thai cuisine, but on the carbonara is an absolutely no-sense.

Carbonara with precooked rice noodles
Asia also affects carbonara even though, with this recipe, it is even closer to the original one than most of  others. As a premise, the author uses precooked noodles, rolled bacon thinly cut into strips and fried, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese and pepper. I put it in the worst variants even if it does not deserve so much severity of judgment, but I continue to prefer good quality pastas cooked at the moment and you?

Avocado Carbonara
Lemon juice, eggs yolk, avocado, cream, salt and pepper: why not find a name for this recipe by this unknown author, this new Chef in search of an author? Carbonara is carbonara, if there is the avocado would be called avogadonara.

Spiralized Sweet Potato Carbonara noodles
Eggs, parmesan cheese, pepper and few table spoon of coocking water season the noodles (obtained from the carving of sweet potatoes) boiled in hot water around 3 minutes and drained. Into this mess is added mushrooms, spinach and bacon sautéed in a pan with garlic and olive oil. I am speachless (and is better)!

Carbonara with whole fish

Carbonara with whole fish

Carbonara with whole fish
Finally an unpublished ingredient: salmon. Broccoli and steamed salmon for an inedible crap. Please avoid to call it carbonara, no even a dog can eat.

Smoked salmon carbonara
Whole eggs, cream, smoked salmon, onion, shallot, parsley, Parmesan cheese, garlic, pepper and olive oil. Please stop with Master Chef programs, wake up, just a question to the author of this crap: how many ingredients does original carbonara require?

Cheese cream carbonara
Milk, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, peas, fried bacon and cream cheese to season this new entry carbonara pasta. The purpose of this lethal recipe has double effects: destroy the reputation of carbonara and enrich the drugs corporations, I just watched the video and my cholesterol rised.

Carbonara in the microwave
Crippled spaghetti and diced bacon get killed by microwave in a little water, drained and seasoned with lyophilized chicken broth, Parmesan cheese, egg yolk, cream and pepper. Why so much cruelty?

Spaghetti carbonara mega hiper sztoss – Krzysztof Szufla
From Poland with fury, tomatoes, cubes of baked pork , sauted mushrooms, a lot of frozen paprika, mix of frozen spices and herbs. The composition of the dish is even more bizarre, if possible, of the ingredients and is made by leaning on lettuce leaves a first layer of boiled tagliatelle, seasoning it with the mixture of the above ingredients, adding thick slices of Camamberg Cheese (I know, even the French Chefs are thinking to invade Poland), a not specified grated cheese; a second layer of tagliatelle that goes seasoned with the rest of the ingredients on the list and… ketchup spread on the top. Would be better for everyone if Krzysztof Szufla cooking his zurek, barszcz bialy, bigos etc, hoping he cooks those better than carbonara.

Vegan carbonara
Soy souce, maple syrup, apple cyder vinegar, olive oil, liquid smoke, mushrooms, garlic, soaked cashews, soy milk, nutritional yeast, silken tofu and peas. Flying over the complex and absurd preparation, the incredible list of ingredients used for compose a dish (that originally needs just three basic ingredients), no one in this receipe recall the carbonara, give a different name no?

Carbonara with ice cream
This is at the top of the crap recipes: fried bacon, egg and cream seasoned pasta above which is added a scoop of ice cream. Well, with this flagship, the mad cook have scraped the bottom of the barrel.

 

Guanciale

Guanciale

Fagottelli Heinz Beck

Fagottelli

Farfalle pasta

Farfalle

(*) Guanciale is an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek

(**) Fagottelli is a kind of stuffed pasta

(***) Farfalle is a kind of pasta that takes its name from the butterfly that the particular shape recalls

 

 

Gragnano's Pastas

Gragnano’s Pastas

 

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In recent years, a growing number of Hollywood stars have approached Italian cuisine, entering in a prestigious way on the world of restaurants.

Sting: winemaker and Italian cuisine lover

Sting: winemaker and Italian cuisine lover

The list includes top names such as Francis Ford Coppola, Sting, Lady Gaga, Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and others that would be too long to list: other than and exotic food, ethnic restaurants or fast food, Hollywood, at least in the kitchen, rewards the Made in Italy.

But if in Italy cuisine is so important, the undisputed queen on the table of every Italian, the first dish par excellence and cult approvated unanimously by kids and adults, is without a doubt the pasta that, in all its countless formats and condiments , has for the Caesar’s descendants an incomparable appeal than any other dish.

The Italians are known as “mangia spaghetti” and, in fact, pasta is one of the most widespread Italian gastronomic symbols in the world and the fresh one is the flagship of numerous national dishes.

The many sizes and innumerable stuffings give life to a multitude of different pastas spread in each region.
Tagliatelle, tonnarelli, cavatelli, lasagne, orecchiette, paccheri, fusilli, gnocchi, cannelloni etc but also stuffed pasta such as ravioli, culurgiones, agnolotti, tortellini, cappellacci etc.

Wheat

Wheat

The common denominator in all types of fresh or dried pasta is given by the wide spectrum of flours that can be used for the doughs, ranging from soft wheat flour (from which milling is obtained integral flour, flour type 2, 1, 0 and 00 – usually used for home-made pasta -) to the flour of durum wheat from which milling are obtained whole wheat flour, semolina flour and semolina flour remilled) passing from the chestnut flour, spelt flour, buckwheat flour, burnt wheat, etc, while the variables are water or eggs as well as dyes such as spinach, cuttlefish ink, tomato paste, carrot concentrate, etc.

The stuffings, instead, are related to the territory and seasonality, but can also be the result of imagination or personal taste.

Pasta is not just a dish for gourmets or to eat for goodies (of course that helps), but if consumed within certain quantities and with the right seasonings, becomes an absolutely balanced and complete dish, a healthy feeding included in the Mediterranean diet.

The success of a good pasta is not simple, has some unmissable passages, skipping one makes the difference between a quality pasta and a crap.
The good pasta must be rigidly composed by a wheat of excellent quality, in defect, even the best pasta maker, has no hope of a positive results.
That said, the the task of pasta maker is creating the dough, giving it the appropriate shapes and sizes and properly dried it.
Do all above seems easy, but for those who propose themselves in the pasta’s market with excellences products, it is extremely complicate.

Bronze estruders

Bronze estruders

Take for example Gragnano, the place par excellence of dry pasta obtained EXCLUSIVELY with bronze extruder.
To achieve those results is necessary to know perfectly the products, use, I repeat,  bronze extruders, that are the only ones able to guarantee the porosity of the extruded pastas that become perfect, once cooked, to collect the seasoning sauces, but it is also (and especially) in the duration of the drying times and the controlled temperature values ​​that the goodness of the pastas is decided: by varying them, the obtain products are completely different for consistency, flavor and the ability to keep the texture in cooking.
Slow drying at a moderate temperature enhances the goodness of the product to the detriment of the ability to keep the texture in cooking which, instead, is obtained by fast drying at high temperatures.
Most of the crap pastas are “cooked” twice: the first time from 90 to 115 ° C in the pasta factory during the drying phase and then around 100 ° C in the pot at home.
Incredibly, the drying temperature is greater than that of the cooking water.
The drying systems called HTSt (High Temperature-Short Time, VHTs (Very High Temperature-Short Time), or even AT and AAT (with or without steam injection), allow to reach very high temperatures, thus reducing the processing time thus saving noticeably on costs, but in the other way it changes nutritional value and arouses some perplexities among nutritionists.

What is the difference between bronze and teflon estruders?
The drawing process is the same, however the quality and the goodness of the product derive from the choice of the material.
The bronze estruders exert a traction on the mixture that produces on the surface micro lesions which, as a result of the drying process, give the pasta that typical rough and porous character, while the teflon estruders , common used for the fast production of cheap pastas, makes the surface of the dough smooth with the consequence that the condiments are not retained as the dough is “slippery”.

This explains the difference between two kind of pasta: those of Gragnano are a bit more expensive not because of the brand but for the highest quality of traceable products in the doughs, the use of bronze extruders and a meticulous care in the phase of drying; the cheaper pastas, probably well presented and sold at popular prices, are composed with untraceable products, processing and drying in the fastest and most profitable way for the producer.

Cheaper or expensive? This is a personal decision, I prefeir to eat pasta one time per week… but a highest quality pastas.

Cooking pasta

This is thChef time who must know both the product purchased from pasta makers and its origin.
In Naples (but almost everywhere in the world except for some countries allergic to good cuisine 🙂 ) it is used to cook the pasta in boiling salted water, in the proportion of 1/10(100 g of pasta 1 litre of water).
To understand if pasta is “al dente” there is a universal method: drain, for example, one macaron, open it with a fork and, if in the section there is a very thin white line, is cooked “al dente”; of course, following the personal taste, can be decided a shorter cooking, but if pasta is cooked more long the recommended time, can not talk about pasta al dente and in Naples it would directly thrown into the garbage bin.

Thickened pasta

Thickened pasta

Seasoned or creamed

If we were to season the “Mandilli de saea” (translated means silk handkerchiefs), sheets of lasagna seasoned with Genoa pesto sauce should be seasoned away from the fire, it is unthinkable to cook parmesan and pecorino cheeses (contained in the pesto) to avoid an indigestible sauce.
But if we want to season the same pasta with a meat sauce? I would say that it is advisable creaming it. During cooking, the pasta yields its starch, seasoning it in a pan with the sauce allows the pasta to yield part of its starch which being a natural thickener, goes to make the sauce more dense which, added to a little cooking water makes it creamy and goes perfectly seasoning all the pasta. Obviously the pasta must be drained 3-4 minutes before that one indicated in the package since the creamy will start in the pan where the pasta, with little cooking water (just the one necessary to not stick to the bottom) will its starch, after which it will be added to the selected sauce to arrive at the end of creamy when it is still al dente and not over.

What kind of pasta?

For the Neapolitans, great pasta masters and more, connections like “candele spezzate” (translated means broken candles) and Genoese sauce (its the famous ragu of Naples), are absolute and indissoluble, but I think about the choice, unlike other factors come into play, first of all is the taste for one format instead of another: for example, I do not like the pasta called butterflies (its shape is similar to the famous lepidopter), a very popular format in a lot of other italian restaurants.
I like all the kinds of pasta, first of all the one coming from the pasta factories of Gragnano, for which I have an indescribable passion, but not even the butterflies of Gragnano could change my mind.

La scarpetta

La scarpetta

La scarpetta

Along with the pasta is accompanied by “la scarpetta“, a typically Italian gesture with which the goodness of a course is honored by collecting liquids from the dishes with a nugget of bread.
Loved by many and detested by the maniacs of the “Galateo” (etiquette) that absolutely does not prohibit it, but relegates it only to informal occasions “and using the fork, “la scarpetta” has now clearly regained dignity, so feel free to try it: you will like it and no one will be amazed.

What do we mean with “la scarpetta“? Translated mean “the tiny shoe”, but the etymology of the term is still uncertain.

Obviously speaking only about pasta is reductive, moreover we will talk about it in the next articles

Enjoy your meal

 

“If it is true, as Alexander Dumas (father) says, that the English live only by roast beef and pudding; the Dutch by baked meat, potatoes and cheese; the German by sauer-kraut and smoked lardon; the Spanish by chickpeas, chocolate and rancid lardon; the Italians by macaroni, there will be no wonder if I return often and gladly by them, also because I have always liked them; indeed i was very close to gain the title of Mangia maccheroni.”
(Pellegrino Artusi)

 

 

In my article I will only write about Italian cuisine because is my job but without wanting to do wrong to all the other wonderful worldwide cuisines.

Classic example of fake italian restaurant

Classic example of fake italian restaurant

 

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Abroad (but in many cases also in Italy), many restaurants denominated “Italian” are fake as a three euro coin, id est they have a cook who is not Italian and, when he is italian, comes from a completely different profession.

It is estimated that in about 60% of the cases in these fake Italian restaurants, staff of low manpower depicted as “Chef” is not able to transform Italian raw materials into traditional dishes to which they should be inspired.

All this creates a certain confusion in the customers who, convinced of spending an evening in the name of Italianity, receives dishes that have nothing to do with Italian cuisine.

One of the master characteristics (but below we will go to see the many others too) of this type of restaurant is the falsely nostalgic appearance, usually the one that includes checkered tablecloths, classic (and uncomfortable) wooden chairs , in short, a way to give the impression of entering a postcard of the past as in a dream.
You will wake up from this “nightmare” in the moment you go to the tasting: too often the dishes are cooked too long, dry, little seasoned and with absolutely alien ingredients when we talk about Italian cuisine.

Cucina

Cooking is like loving: you completely abandon yourself or you give up

It is also true that, on some occasions, we let ourselves be guided by prices, but if a very high price of a dish does not guarantee its goodness certainly a price too low is synonymous with rip-off: below a determined prices you can not have a good product neither a good Chef nor a good service becuse from the compendium of these three items you obtain the price of the dish ordered.
A very high quality of beef tenderloin tartare can not cost 3 euros even if you are in friendship with the restaurateur and you can get a discount, unless you do not accept to eat a meat part of a cut of inferior quality, hard and nervous, in short disgusting.
The same judgment is good for any dish you order, you need to learn to distinguish the term “expensive” from the term “value”: we are in an era in which we know the price of everything but not its value.
For example, the weigh of meat multiplied the cost per kilo give back what everyone pays from the butcher, but for eat the mentioned tartare in the restaurant must be added the work of the Chef and the Kitchen staff who transform in tartare a piece of meat, the products to seasoning, plateings, decorations, service, tax ecc… in short, a long chain of costs that can not and must not be left to the restaurateur but charged from the customer.

One of the most popular cuisines in the world risk to be questioned by these pseudo-restaurateurs who take advantage of the fame that derives from the italian food and open fake Italian restaurants offering dishes that make you shudder.

For example, on the beautiful Langkawi in Malaysia, and I speak for cuisine experience and knowledge of the place, spread everywhere around the island you can find countless fake Italian restaurants.
In fact not one and I repeat no one is Italian, all are managed by Indians who open these places with the names of popular italian restaurants.
But starting from the manager to the scullion, passing for the kitchen staff, all are Indians.
Would be nothing wrong if they cook real italian dishes instead disgusting concoctions that have nothing to share with the italian dishes.

It is commonplace that when during the travel it is a must to eat local food and I would personally agree with this thesis, provided that who agree have to taste everything and not just the three dishes “eatable”, this is anything but not an immersion in the local culture, it is enough to see in Thailand the disgusted faces of foreigners who see the sale of insects and more.
In any case we feign to believe the story of the cultural immersion , sometimes can be difficult to conciliate the food products offered abroad with our eating habits (especially those of Italians who are very demanding and with all the reasons for it) too different, too “audacious”, too spicy, but also far from the idea of ​​hygiene in western countries restaurants .
However, after a few days of “immersion” (you can believe me, I have customers who testify what I write) foreigners and especially Italians, enter the phase that I define: “I want to eat something good!”
With all the respect the local cuisine (which has delicious dishes) it’s time to smile in front of a plate of pasta or a pizza, something that is cooked without too much garlic, without soya sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, coriander, curry ecc …, in short, something that has a natural flavor and if it happen in the right restaurant the good mood appear.

But what happen if we go in the fake italian restaurant?
I think that would be not necessaryd even to mention them, unworthy places to define Italians, traditional dishes emptied of anything original and revisited in the worst ways, prepared with products that in Italy are not only unused but even unknown, crap that give body to the “false italian recipes” for which, when those who come for the first time in a “real Italian restaurant” are amazed at the difference, sometimes they can not even understand what there is in the plate.
Certainly having eaten a “carbonara” with bacon, egg, parmesan, mushrooms, onions and parsley as well as cream that goes to season a poor quality of overcooked pasta will be unprepared when he will receive a plate of pasta “al dente” seasoned with a cream of egg yolk and pecorino cheese, melted just with cooking pasta water as in the tradition and of crispy guanciale.
No Bacon, no mushrooms, no onions, no parsley, no wipping cream!

TripAdvisor and various social media are useful as long as you do not accept reviews of travelers for two reasons: the first is that, unfortunately, not all reviews are authentic travel experiences but packages purchased by some dishonest; the second is given by the fact that in Italy we still rely on the dear “tam-tam” that usually works while the use of social networks has not had the same fortune that abroad, its why the reviews are often made by foreigners who in reality do not know authentic Italian cuisine.
The reviews on social networks should be interpreted: a restaurant with 1000 positive reviews without any complaint is not credible; if the reviews are all made by foreigners, the opportunity to enter a restaurant should be attentively considered, as an Italian I tend to trust the opinions of an Italian. What then I would not entrust my savings is very different, but as regards the kitchen we tend to be reliable.

Spaghetti with meatballs

Spaghetti with meatballs

Here are some tips, a sort of manual to try to avoid restaurant’s scammers. Obvious that there is no perfect formula, it is clues, but as Agatha Christie teached “a clue is a clue, two clues are a coincidence, but three clues are an evidence!”

And exactly as Agatha Christie would have done, we to start from outside of the restaurant ad if stands too much Italian colors, it could be a deceptive way to attract customers.

Nobody speaks Italian in the restaurant. If it is an Italian restaurant, an Italian must be there, as long as it is not temporarily absent for various reasons.
To avoid risks, just ask if there is an Italian, can be it the owner, the Chef, the manager, there is no Italian restaurant without Italian management.
If the answer is positive well, otherwise the only acceptable answer is that the Italian will arrive within a certain time, but at that time, if you come back, you will have to find it.

We browse the menu but there is something strange: in Italy no one dreams of proposing spaghetti with meatball (absolutely not an Italian dish, where meat and pasta are served with different courses except for Neapolitan and Genoese ragu).
But the mistakes do not stop, we begin to read that they serve pasta marinara souce, which actually exists in Italy but it is different from that proposed by the fake italian restaurant, it is just tomato sauce, a wrong way as foreigners call pepperoni the salami.

The courses are listed or described in a different order from the standard Italian cuisine and among the appetizers is included garlic bread: in Italy the slices of bread grilled and rubbed with garlic (eventually added of tomato sauce or pesto saue) is called bruschetta, just the foreigner call “garlic bread” but not the italian in the menus.

If you are in an Italian restaurant it is obvious that all the ingredients are local.
When the adjective “Italian” is used next to the name of a dish and an ingredient as corroborating, an attempt to condition the customer’s perception is often underway.
Italian pasta, Italian dressing, for example, are very precise signals to pay attention.

Carbonara with cream and poached egg

Carbonara with cream and poached egg

Carbonara with cream: I mentioned it before, no thank you, this is a huge scam.
Those who followed Chef Jamie Oliver make the same mistake.
In his website describes carbonara as a classic delicious condiment made with cream, bacon and parmesan.
Sorry Jamie, the carbonara is completely different.

The dressing set is another important clue.
The vinaigrette obtained by mixing an unknown oil and vinegar, is not typically Italian.
But even the mania of dusting any dish with fresh pepper, including salads, is not a typical Italian culinary habit.

 

Fortunately abroad, there is not lack of Italian restaurants and pizzerias where is possible eat well.
Sometimes it may be difficult to find them, as mentioned there are too many restaurants that have only the Italian name in a special way where it is more widespread trade in Italian food imitations, products similar by shape and very close by name to authentic Italian products.

To help you avoid rip-offs in Italian restaurants abroad you can download the Authentico app, enter the city where you are and discover the list of real Italian restaurants and authentic pizzerias. Just one click!

And now a bit of joy with Italian grandma who taste strange dishes abroad.

 

 

Denominazione di origine inventata

Denominazione di origine inventata

 

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The goodness of the innumerable typical Italian products, most of the dishes and the Mediterranean diet itself has gone beyond the national borders obtaining many awards and continuing to gather followers.
Italy is a country that can boast a thousand culinary excellence, a compendium of the ancient rural wisdom that has been able to evolve and pass on to the centuries old traditions that stand the test of time, but some legends that accompany them are inventions that took shape during the industrial crisis of the 70s.
It was then that Italian farmers and entrepreneurs decided to combine their efforts and start to completely invent a false but credible millennial tradition of our food and the subsequent storytelling to support it.

So we find out that the word “Italian cuisine” is just a semantic matter, as digging in a very recent past we discover how much marketing has been used and still strives to maintain the amazing status quo of the Italian gastronomic industry.
To confirm this, a very authoritative and uncomfortable investigation conducted by Alberto Grandi, Professor of Business History in Parma, in his book “Denominazione d’origine inventata” (Invented denomination of origin) points the finger on the untouchable myth of Italian food and wine and unveils many of the countless tales about the so-called typical products; it is an absolutely authoritative publication that will make people angry – but perhaps also to think – all those who are fideistically in love with the great myth of Italian typicality, going to reconstruct the events that have led some of the most famous and titled products typical Italians to become a symbol of our cuisine and our country in the world, highlighting paradoxes and distortions of a system in which the denominations of origin multiply at a fast pace and where the protection consortia are struggling to date the history of the product at the dawn of time.

But why use these unworthy means?
Well, probably because most of the people do not love or have studied the history little except if do not talk about a so snobbish story as that of cooking and the idea of having at table, for example, a vegetable whose seeds come from prehistory and to be able to boast, is a bit as having an antique furniture: even if it is full of woodworm and is inconvenient to use, will always be able to find accommodation and use to demonstrate their cultural wealth, asserting that it is , in any case, it is an indispensable furnishing component.
The dishes we are fond of would have been randomly put together by Pellegrino Artusi, “without paying too much attention to their authenticity”. Moreover, it would not have been possible to do otherwise, because, Alberto Grandi re-proposes: “until the second post-war period we were a starvation country”.

But let’s go into the matter and start with a question: where was Italian cuisine born?
Obviously in Italy, it seems the logical answer suggested, but would be better “depends”.
Until March 17th 1861, Italy was only a geographical expression, only later it will become a nation as we know it today.
So the second question is: is Italian cuisine born that day?
For this question the answer is an absolute “no!”
Even if the inhabitants of the country known today as Italy had been eating for a long time before that date, it is also certain that what is today called “Italian cuisine“, even though with all the approximations of the case, was born about a century after.

And now let’s move on to some striking examples: the wine with a Controlled Denomination of Origin (CDO) Marsala produced in Sicily, mainly Marsala from which it takes its name, was invented, marketed and produced on a large scale by a British merchant who added alcohol to wine for the sole purpose of keeping it better during transport to the motherland.

Panettone never really existed, it is a well-thinked invention of 1919 by Angelo Motta, today taken by pastry Chefs. Different than “pan de Toni”.
In 1937 Alemagna inaugurated its industrial line in a former spinning mill. The artisanal production began in the 80s, with the decline of major industry.

Parma ham seasoning

Parma ham seasoning

Italy has 10 protected ham. Modena,s people sustain that it was invented by the Celts, the Parmesans from the Romans and over more.
In reality, from Friuli to Sicily, as in Europe, the pork leg has always been processed, salted and seasoned.
However, the travel guides of the beginning of 900 tells of Tuscan ham and not that of Parma, whose fame dates back to the second half of the century.
The Consortium was founded in 1963, two years after that of San Daniele, but has the market record with 40%.

The pasta made with Canadian wheat, the one that has a firm texture, until to 1945 was consumed mostly in Naples where it was produced.
Senatore Cappelli’s pasta is the result of crosses of many varieties of different grains, in particular one coming from Tunisia.
Italian pasta has long been more African than Italian, and even today most of the grains come from abroad.

Modica chocolate was born in the early 90s from an invention of pastry chef Franco Ruta: do not separate the cocoa butter from the seeds and work at low temperature to leave the sugar granules intact.
The Protection Consortium instead is from 2003.

Seasoning of the real Traditional Balsamic Vinegar made in Modena

Seasoning of the real “Traditional” Balsamic Vinegar made in Modena

Without the balsamic vinegar made with caramel, no one would know the precious one, to which only afterwards was added theappellation “traditional”.

Olive oil has always been an industrial product, then the denomination came and today in Italy there are 52 PDOs and 10 new candidates.

Pachino’s tomatoes are a hybrid patented in 1989 in Israel.
In the absence of seeds that guarantee the same characteristics continuously, growers buy new plants every year.

Parmigiano has a thousand years of history, but the one mentioned by Boccaccio does not look anything like the current product: it was much smaller and in Parma it was not even of great quality.

The “lardo di Colonnata” (Colonnata’s lard) did not exist, at least not until the 80s. It was lard as it is everywhere.
The denomination is dated 2003, the interest for the pork fat matured in the marble basins begins in the 90s.
There are no explicit references to the product as we know it in the historical documents.

Parmigiano reggiano

Parmigiano reggiano

Parmesan more similar to the one created centuries ago by the wisdom of the Emilian monks is the one produced in Wisconsin, USA.

And all that trouble to define the CDO, PDO or PGI wine on the basis of alleged and ancient traditions of the vineyards?
A noble intent but it is forgotten that in the second half of the 1800s a parasite destroyed all the vineyards in the Italy and European territory.
Having to start from scratch, our winemakers necessarily used non-native grapes and various grafts.

Spaghetti Bolognese originally did not exist, but now they are on the menu even in Bologna.
They are a typical product, just like Nutella.

 

The master question is: why  today we still need to bother the Celts to say that a cheese or ham is good?
Is it perhaps not time to stop believing this new gastronomic religion that admits such amount of heresies?

The valid products exist, it is up to the Chef to make these excellences art…  but on this we will reason in another article.

 

Alberto Grandi (Mantova, 1967) is an associate professor at the University of Parma.
He teaches History of Businesses, History of European Integration and has taught Economic History and History of Food.
He is the author of about forty essays and monographs in Italy and abroad.

 

 

Tazza di caffè

 

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Which is the place of origin?

Before the 19th century there were many who hypothesized the origins of coffee, among which Pellegrino Artusi speaks in his famous manual “Science in the kitchen and the art of eating well”, arguing that the place to start discovering the origin of the drink should have been Yemen,because the coffee of Mokha  (city of Yemen) was the best coffee he had ever tasted.
Just in 19th century it was concluded that the plant had Ethiopian origins, namely the region of Kaffa, from which the drink took its name: “coffee”.

Legends

Coffee bush

Coffee bush

The mystery of the origin of coffee is surrounding by numerous anecdotes and legends, one of those tells that Kaldi, a 6th century shepherd, left his sheep free to graze in search of bushes and grasses. One night the sheep, however, did not return to the sheepfold and were found by the shepherd the next morning near the bushes of red berries, particularly lively and awake.
Kaldi decided to collect some berries and take them to a nearby monastery where the frightened monks decided to throw them into the fire. The aroma that was released convinced the religious to pick the fruit and prepare an invigorating infusion that helped them stay awake during the long prayer vigils.

Another legend speaks of a meeting between the Archangel Gabriel and Muhammad in which the latter was helped during a moment of exhaustion by a drink black as the Holy Stone of Mecca that allowed him to disarm in battle 40 riders and satisfy no less than 40 women (sic!)

Surely between the 12th and 14th century, coffee began to spread in the Yemen thanks to the Ethiopian invasions of the area and the Arabian peninsula through the coasts of the Red Sea until arriving in the first half of 15th century in Instambul.

History

The first to import coffee beans into Europe were the Venetian merchants who in 1605 bought from Muslim merchants a load of coffee with tea, cocoa and tobacco and maintained the monopoly of the coffee trade in Europe for about a century, until also other European powers began to treat coffee directly with the Arabs who very jealously guarded the plants and traded only seeds that could not sprout.

In 1616, however, the Dutch managed to steal some seedlings in Yemen and then import them into their own colonies of Java and Sumatra. The coffee was planted by the French in their colonies in Martinique, Santo Domingo and in Guyana and in 1727 Brazil, Portuguese colony, will become the largest coffee producer. In 1730 the english began the coltivation in Jamaica and in 1750, thanks to the Spanish Jesuits, coffee arrived in Cuba and then in Colombia and Mexico and then returned to the African continent, in Tanzania in 1877 and Kenya in 1892.

In the first half of 15th century in Instambul was open the first “coffeehouse “(Kahwe Khaneh) and the coffee was called” Wine of Islam “being a valid substitute of alcohol banned by the Koran but will have to wait for about a century when around 1650 in London opened the first caffeehouse, a sort of club where was possible taste the drink; in 1663 they became 88 throughout England and about sixty years later there were already more than 3000.
As in Istanbul also in England they spread as meeting places especially for writers, politicians and philosophers.
Shortly thereafter, this dark drink spread throughout Europe: in 1670 the first coffeehouse was opened in Berlin; the opening of the first coffeehouse” in Austria is linked to the siege of Vienna in 1683 when the Ottomans withdrew leaving on the edge of the city the sacks with their supply of coffee.
These bags were given to the Polish military Georg Kolschitzky who opened the first European coffeehouse called “the Blue flask” where they were also served small crescent shaped sweets symbol of defeated Turkey, the ancestors of today’s Croissants.
The last place reached by coffee was Paris in 1686.

Caffe Florian Venice

Caffe Florian Venice

The city of Venice, where coffee arrived in 1570, was the first to make use of this drink in Italy; the first shops, however, were opened only in 1645 by the doctor and writer Francesco Redi while the first coffeehouse was inaugurated in 1720 on San Marco Square and named “Florian coffee”.

It was only few years after the first coffeehouse was opened in the United States, precisely in the city of Boston called “London coffee house”, eight years later, in 1696, in New York it opened “The King’s Arms”.

Around 1700 in Europe every city had at least one caffee house, but we must wait until the beginning of this century to talk about espresso thanks to the invention of the espresso coffee machine, wrongly attributed to Luigi Bezzera, a mechanic (not an engineer) Milanese who patented the first steam coffee machine, modifying the project already patented by Angelo Moriondo, an industrialist in Turin.
Not everyone knows it, but Turin has also been and still is the Italian capital of coffee, leading the art of roasting, and boasts an absolute supremacy that nobody can ever take away from, because – just in Turin – in 1884 it was prepared and served the first espresso coffee in the world that made its official debut at the Torino General Expo.

First coffee machine

First coffee machine Angelo Moriondo

Angelo Moriondo

Angelo Moriondo

Gazzetta Piemonte 1884

Gazzetta Piemonte 1884

First coffee machine Moriondo scheme

Scheme of first coffee machine Moriondo

Bezzera had probably seen, and reasoned above, the machine of Moriondo, so that the patent granted to him titled: “The innovations in the machinery to prepare and serve immediately drink of coffee” (Patent No. 153/94, 61707, granted 5 June 1902).

Bezzera probably guessed the potential of the machine, so much so as to be able to sell the patent to Desiderio Pavoni who, with his company “La Pavoni”, started producing the machine.

Pavoni 1910

Pavoni 1910

The espresso machine in itself, was a large vertical cylinder, containing a brass boiler kept under pressure by a gas burner; on the side of the boiler were installed the groups containing ground coffee (absolutely similar to those of modern machines).
Opening the tap, the boiling water passed through the coffee at a pressure of about 1.5 atmospheres obtained from the steam produced by the boiler and in a minute (well away from the handful of seconds of today) the coffee was made.
These steam coffee machines was used until 1945, when Angelo Gaggia invented and patent the lever system in 1938 but like Moriondo he used the machine for his own bar and only in 1948 the production began in an industrial way.
Since then, the evolution of the cafeteria has been continuous, passing from the machine to levers (or pistons) invented and patented by Angelo Gaggia but exploited industrially only since 1945 (first in its coffehouse) and from 1948 commercialized on an industrial level to the machines automatic household items, now common anywhere with costs ranging from one hundred to one thousand euro, with the possibility of using ground coffee, pods and plastic casule very practical that, alas, on the contrary have an absurd increase of plastic in the environment.

Gaggia Lever

Gaggia Lever

The piston machine had absolute innovations: the possibility of preparing coffee with water at a temperature of 90° C instead of 120° C of steam coffee machines, and a water pressure of about 9 bar (instead 1,5 bar) due to the pistons that the compressed in 20-25 seconds (against the minute).
These innovations produced, in turn, two positive results: first the coffee lost that bitter taste due to exposure to high temperature for a long time, in practice it did not burn, but the real treat was the formation of the cream on the coffee, the hallmark of the best known Italian drink and copied such as the pizza 🙂
From the levers machine they switch to that one where the water was put under pressure by means of a pump (making the work much less laborious) and with the pre-infusion leaving the water go in contact with the coffee powder for a few moments before the pump exerted pressure on the coffee, favoring a better extraction of the black beverage, to those with heat exchanger to obtain a great stability of temperature to pass to the double boiler machines, which allowed to prepare hundreds of coffees every day with the same high quality up to automatic machines with which you just press a button and the same grind the coffee, create the milk foam without any other intervention by the operator who just give the cup to the customer.

Moka Bialetti 1933

Moka Bialetti 1933

The first small, very famous “moka” coffee makers for home-made coffee, were designed in 1933 by another Piedmontese, Alfonso Bialetti in Crusinallo of Omegna, founder of the homonymous Bialetti firm.

 

Napoli caffè Gambrinus

Napoli caffè Gambrinus

The tradition of “caffè sospeso” (suspended coffee) in Naples

It is well known that coffee, along with pizza, is one of the most well-known things of the Neapolitan tradition, although not many know a little legend known as “caffè sospeso”.

Between history and legend

There are many legends that tie Naples to coffee, but the only ones to be taken into consideration are those that arose after the beginning of the nineteenth century, that is, those that appear to be the first peddlers.
They wandered around Naples with two containers, one for coffee and the other for milk, advertising their products aloud in the crowd. These figures, now extinct, have played a very important role in the Neapolitan culture.
The custom of “caffè sospeso” is dated towards the beginning of the Second World War when, in difficult times and extreme poverty, people began with the custom of drinking a coffee and paying two, a cup for those who do not they could afford it and people used to make this meaningful gesture with joy

Caffè sospeso today

Despite the falsehoods told about Naples that describe the inhabitants as scammers, profiteers if not worse, something absolutely insulting and devoid of any foundation, both the peddlers (before) and the bars (today) do not hold that money but, really, they serve many free coffee how many “caffè sospesi” are paid for them.

Il caffè sospeso by Luciano De Crescenzo

Il caffè sospeso by Luciano De Crescenzo

It is for this reason that today this tradition has spread in Italy and abroad.
In 2010, in fact, Caffè Gambrinus, on the occasion of the celebrations for 150 years of activity, wanted to take up this act of kindness, in order to bring to light one of the most important traditions of the Neapolitan culture.
Also the writer and philosopher Luciano De Crescenzo, in the book entitled, in fact, “The suspended coffee” wrote: “A Once in Naples, in the Sanità district when one was happy, because something went well, instead of paying a coffee he paid two and left the second coffee, the one already paid, for the next customer. This act was called “il caffè sospeso”. Then, occasionally, a poor man appeared to ask if there was a “hanging”. It was a way like any other to offer a coffee to humanity“.

The tradition of “caffè sospeso”, therefore, represents humanity, the incredible feeling of love, compassion, understanding and all the other positive feelings that are part of this city and that we must never forget.

 


When I die, you bring me a coffee and I’ll resurrect as Lazarus.

 

 

How to choose wine at the restaurant

 

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In the age of the Internet and social media, people increasingly tend to want to show instead of being. If they watch a football game everyone suddenly becomes coaches, if you talk about politics all have the solutions of the ills of the world, but recently they have also become all Sommelier as well as judges of Master Chef. In the rampant obsession with food, understanding of wine seems to have become a fundamental requirement of belonging to civilization, flaunted with superiority even by people who, outside the comfort zone of tannins, find it hard to master the difference between grape and grappa.
Ordering a bottle of wine can therefore become a very demanding experience for those among us who do not understand it. Having the wine list in your hand while the rest of the table is waiting for you, and in some cases of trite fun while reading the names of wines that tell you little or nothing, not being protected by the monitor and armed with the keyboard, completely without virtual ammunition, having to admit their ignorance. But you do not need to be an expert to order a great wine and impress your diners. I will explain to you how things are, so you will know exactly how to orient yourself with wine cards and Sommelier, then I will give you an infallible script to order wine. When you have finished reading this article, you will aim straight at the center of the target and you will always know how to hit it.

  1. A minimum of preparation in advance: you know very well that the Internet is full of simple and accessible information on everything, including wine and now many restaurants have menus and wine lists online. From wherever you are, thanks to smartphones, you are able to gather information so you do not get to the restaurant unprepared
  2. the choice of wines should be combined with the food you want to order in order to properly match it, unless you want a wine in particular that you like and do not care if it is matched correctly
  3. do not forget, if you are in the company, that you are not the center of the universe. After sitting at the table and after everyone has had time to consult the menu, ask the guests if they want to drink wine and, if so, if they wish by the glass or in the bottle, if they have particular preferences or idiosyncrasies. Personally when I dine with my daughter, since I like Prosecco and my daughter abhors bubbles in favor of Arneis White Wine, in order to not deny the pleasure for both of the two wines, we order a bottle by type and rest takes home: there is no shame in asking, probably this is a “shame” all Italian, abroad is also commonly done with advanced foods, the famous “doggy bag”
  4. house wine by the glass or a bottle? The typical volume of wine by the glass in restaurants is around a fifth of the bottle and generally has a higher price mark than a single bottle. So if you know that at your table you will consume at least four glasses of the same wine, take the bottle. Sometimes, however, it is worth paying extra for the individual glasses. You will have a greater variety of wines to try during dinner, as well as the versatility of perfectly matching each course to a different wine. But getting out of math to get back to the subject, is obviously that a good wine of the house can overcome, without difficulty, a poor wine in the bottle, can be fantastic; long ago in a small restaurant in the center of Genoa I got as a house wine a Pinot Noir vinified in white (sparkling wine): fortunately I was not a driver and I could get more, only a long time later I would have been able to drink the delight of God after rummaging for an hour in a winery. But I think, it is my opinion, that starting with the idea of a wine and give up because of a few euros of difference by settling for anything else, is at least absurd: at that point I prefeire to drink a good beer instead a bad wine. Eat well and drink better!
  5. mentally fix a price limit of your wine: the restaurants ingeniously use psychology to push you to order expensive bottles. For example, the so-called “anchor effect”: several studies show that the consumer’s brain tends to attach great importance to the first price that reads on a list, and to use it as a benchmark for all subsequent ones: so if the first price that read it is 90, a bottle of 70 could end up looking like a relatively cheap, even if initially you were prefixed not to spend more than 50. For this you should first decide your limit, and strictly adhere to it
  6. despite appearances, the Sommelier or the Waiter is not there to judge but to help you. So that you can do your best, though, you’ll have to give him some starting information: do you want white or red? A full-bodied or light wine? By making food orders first, it will become easier for him to suggest a good match. Finally, to make him understand your budget with discretion, you can use a formula like: “I was thinking of a bottle like this”, indicating a wine that costs what you want to spend or even a little less
  7. if the manager of a restaurant puts on paper a particularly unusual or exotic wine with the difficulties of research and supply that this may entail for him, it probably means that the wine is really suitable to be combined with the dishes proposed in that restaurant. Moreover, the fact that the wine is unusual and not very well known allows you to make all the questions you want the waiter without appearing incompetent (without being pedantic, I recommend)
  8. the restaurants generally sell the bottles two-three times as much as they pay although, of course, the price varies a lot depending on the price range and type of restaurant. The reload is usually inversely proportional to the price, so on the cheaper bottles is charged more, in percentage, than on the most expensive ones. This is a reason to be wary of the “house wine”, which is chosen to be sold in quantity and therefore with a good profit margin: for a little you pay it, it is usually much more than it is worth
  9. none of us wants to look too stingy when ordering wine at the restaurant, and so we often do not feel good to order the cheapest bottle on the list. The second cheapest is a good compromise between the need not to spend a fortune and to save face. Small problem: restaurateurs are perfectly aware of this mechanism, and therefore tend to attribute the second lowest price to a bottle on which the reload is very high. In contrast, the cheaper bottle is often a good deal, so you should not be afraid to order it
  10. taste the wine: here the risk is to be overwhelmed by the solemnity of the ceremony. The things to remember are actually few. First of all, look at the bottle immediately: it often happens that the vintage of the wine served does not correspond to that indicated on the list. At the time of the tasting all you have to do is look at the wine, smell it and drink a little sip, reminding you that the purpose of the tasting is not to determine if you like wine (you have already ordered it) but to understand if there is something wrong, for example, if it taste of cork. So do not overbalance with value judgments above “all right”. But if you feel an unpleasant taste or smell, do not be ashamed to tell the waiter, who will take the bottle back and serve you another one.  After confirming that the wine is free from defects, it is time to relax and enjoy the fruits of so much effort! I recommend, enjoy the wine without any haste. Some waiters will be hyperactive in filling your glass continuously, because they want you to finish the first bottle as quickly as possible in the hope that you will order another one. On the other hand, if they are too slow to fill your glass, do not hesitate to take the bottle and do it all yourself.