Come Along on a Virtual Tour of Italy
A Slow Virtual Tour of Italy
I’m embarking on a relaxed virtual tour of the wines and foods of individual regions in Italy. I hope you’ll join me!
Digging a Little Deeper
You might already know I’m a pretty ardent fan of the Piemonte (Piedmont) region of Italy. In our recent visits we have discovered a few things about Italians through the Piemontese:
- Italian is important – When you rent a car in Italy, you’ll never see a Peugeot, only Fiat. What’s a Peugeot? They make wine in France? Really?
- Region is important – (In the Piemonte) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese? Oh, we don’t eat that here. Marsala wine in the cooking? No! Never! Let’s use this local Barbera d’Alba.
- Local is important – (In Neive) We serve Barbaresco wines in our restaurant, go to Barolo if you want to drink Barolo. Note that Barolo is about 25km (15 miles) from Neive.
- Fun is important – Make time for friends, good food, and good wine. This is universal good advice!
You learn there is no “Italian Wine” or “Italian Cuisine”. If you want to learn Italy, you need to learn regional Italy. The sheer number of regions with their own wines and food can be overwhelming. Daunting or fun? Thus the idea of slowing down and exploring each region, one at a time.
In our virtual tour, we’ll explore one region at a time, and we’ll do our best to find regional recipes for wine & food pairing. We’ll adapt in the best Italian tradition by using our local Minnesota ingredients when possible and appropriate. Of course, we have very few olive trees in Minnesota! I’m thinking about the whole exercise as a preview for future trips as well as more informed enjoyment of Italian food and wine here at home.
Since this is a virtual tour, I’ll need some help. Here are a few of the tools I have gathered:
- Lidia’s Italy – Not exhaustive, but Lidia Bastianich gives us recipes from a number of distinctive regions
- La Cucina – The Italian Nonna Cookbook – Breadth and depth with the key ingredient: regional reference. Each recipe has a regional tag and there is a whole separate index to the recipes by region. Perfect!
- Vino Italiano – A nice reference text explaining the wines region by region in some detail. There’s a bit of regional food information, but we’ll look further for recipes.
- Slow Wine 2014 – Published by Slow Food, this English language version includes a variety of wineries in each of the regions, including some information on the most historic and traditional producers
- Individual regional cookbooks – As I can find these on Amazon, I’ll pick them up and share with you here.
Surprise! A New Italian Food Wine & Travel Blogging Group #ItalianFWT
Jennifer Martin is a fellow food & wine blogger with a particularly deep Italian connection and passion. We met in our monthly Wine Pairing Weekend group. Jennifer has just organized a new group, this one focused on Italian food wine and travel. What perfect timing! I’m planning to participate and I hope you’ll join in. We’ll be posting on the 1st Saturday of each month, with a twitter chat set for that day. Watch for #ItalianFWT and join us!
First up? The Veneto, home of Prosecco, Soave, Valpolicella, and Amarone. Venice, Verona, Belluno, Lake Garda. Should be fun! Look for blog posts on November 1 and follow the conversation on Twitter at #ItalianFWT.