I’ve always been fascinated by what’s behind a dish. If we look beyond what’s on our plate we find history, culture, tradition. Eating is like reading the story of the people who invented the dish, the place where they lived, the habits they embraced.
Food is very much part of Italian culture. It’s in our blood – our food speaks about us and for us. We communicate, love, care – all through food. Never underestimate how an Italian feels about food! Eating something delicious made with love is the ultimate pleasure and pure joy for us. I come from Abruzzo, a small mountainous region where every place, town, village has its own food traditions and recipes. Just travel twenty kilometres across the region and the cuisine changes completely. This huge variety tells a tale of a remote land, where the rules of food have been laid down by stunning and, at the same time, inhospitable nature. The highest mountains of the Apennines march across my region with the Gran Sasso range reaching almost 3000 metres. You can see its highest peak, Corno Grande, from almost everywhere in the region.
In the past, the hostile geography of Abruzzo was an obstacle to people movement. My ancestors lived, married, raised children and died in the same place they were born or just few kilometres away. In terms of habits and traditions, this means that every place, even the tiniest, developed its own culture, including a unique cuisine that is now part of our story, culture and identity. Being a poor region, people cooked with a few simple ingredients, forcing them to be creative in how they used what was available. Remarkably, almost everywhere in Italy, this is the way we still cook nowadays in our everyday life – simple recipes, fresh ingredients, healthy balanced meals. Fortunately, our methods are so simple that anyone, with no exceptions, can cook Italian, have fun and stay healthy.
And so, in this blog, I want to share what I have learnt through the years, cooking for my friends and family and exploring the culture and the places beyond the food. I’ll be writing about simple-to-make, traditional Italian recipes, with a touch of culture and, of course, about myself, my family, my memories and my experiences as a daughter of my amazing, but still too little known, region of Abruzzo. And I’m delighted that my sister, Agnese, a trained Sommelier, will be posting too, to give us advice on the best Italian wines to accompany the food I make.
I’m excited about this journey through food and beyond! But I don’t like to travel solo, so I hope to find many travel companions along the path…. because food is so much more than just what we eat!