Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Chinese Cuisine

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China is approximately the fourth largest country in the World, just slightly smaller than the USA, but has the largest population of anywhere at around 1.4 billion people.  That is roughly 1.1 billion more people than the US!  It is no wonder then that Chinese Cuisine is so diverse.

Traditionally the cuisine of China has been split into four distinct areas, North, East, South and West, although more recently it has expanded to eight, known as the Eight Great Traditions.  The style of cooking varies enormously across the country depending on the climate and the terrain, and, of course, the diverse range and supply of fresh ingredients. One constant that does not vary is the freshness of meats and vegetables that are used in perfect harmony.  In this introduction to Chinese Cuisine I will cover the four main regions.

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Lu Cuisine (Shandong)

The northern of our four traditional regions is Peking (Beijing).  With mountains to the north and Inner Mongolia to the west the climate and landscape here is fairly bleak.  Spring and summer can be dry and dusty but winter is freezing cold!  The main crop is wheat, rather than rice, which is used to make noodles, pancakes and dumplings. 

peking duck 5695632 1920

Meat, in particular mutton, was introduced by the Mongols and tends to be plainly cooked with the addition of onions, leeks and garlic.  The most famous dish from this region is Peking Duck, with its fabulous crispy skin, is à throwback to the Imperial Court from Beijing and is more elegant than much of the cooking from the outlying areas of the region.

Su Cuisine (Jiangsu)

To the East on the plain formed by the delta of the River Yangtze lies the region of Shanghai. This area is one of the leading agricultural areas of China and produces rice, wheat, barley and an abundance of fresh vegetables. It is also known as the land of rice and fish, both of which feature heavily in the cuisine of the region.  Shanghai is the largest city in China and its cuisine is noted for the use of red-cooking with dark soy sauce and plenty of sugar producing dishes that are rich and sweet with exquisite flavours. 

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The Yangtze has a heavy influence on the area with the land being well irrigated and countless streams and small lakes ideal for ducks, fish, frogs and eels.  Traditional dishes will include whole fish steamed in Lotus leaves, which also grow well in the small lakes.  Eastern China is also known  for “paper-wrapped” dishes such as chicken or prawns flavoured with ginger or mushrooms.

Cantonese

To the South is the province of Canton, a mild, semi-tropical climate growing an enormous amount of fruit, vegetables and rice all year round.  There is plenty of feed available for livestock so good quality chicken and meat are in plentiful supply.  To the south of the region the South China Sea provides excellent fishing for a huge variety of fish and seafood. It is probably seafood that plays the major part in Cantonese cooking.  There is an abundance of prawns, lobster and crab which are often stir fried with ginger and onion.

But seafood flavours are often found in meat dishes through the use of oyster sauce or shrimp paste.  Beef with oyster sauce is a favourite.  For centuries the Cantonese have been known for their cuisine and it is probably the most recognisable Chinese cuisine in the Western Hemisphere.  The Cantonese use delicate cooking methods, poaching or steaming, in order to preserve the flavour and quality of their ingredients.  Steamed scallops in black bean sauce sounds heavenly!  They have also developed a cooking method called Cha Siu – literally barbecue roasting.  It involves marinating meat, often pork, for a time and then cooking it quickly in a very hot oven. 

Szechuan

To the West the largest province in China lies in a great basin surrounded by mountains. The scenery here is spectacular with massive gorges cut by the mighty Yangtze river.  In the past the only means of communication with the outside world was via the Yangtze.  The climate is warm and humid and crops can be grown almost all year – fruit and vegetables, mushrooms and spices, particularly chilis and the famous Szechuan pepper. 

As you might expect the food from this region is known for being strongly flavoured and full of hot spices along with garlic and onions.  It can also include the aromatic nutty flavours of peanut, cashew, sesame and pine nuts.  The region is also noted for its food preservation techniques like salting, smoking, drying and pickling. 

Food Drink Magazine Issue 14 September 2021

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Food drink Magazine Issue14

 

 

Food Drink Magazine Issue 14 September 2021

Thai Cuisine, All You Nedd to Know Abou Thai Cuisines and Restaurants,Thai Foods, The Oreo Cafe: What Went Wrong?!, Recipe Thai Chicken in Green Curry, Have Restaurant Reviews Become Weaponised?, The Power of a Review, Top 10 Thai Cuisines and Restaurants, Going French in the UK are this month’s topics.

You can reach our Digital Magazine at https://issuu.com/fooddrinkmagazine and https://www.magzter.com/US/HGH-Perfect/Food-Drink-Magazine/Food–Beverage/All-Issues.

Food Drink Magazine Issue 14 September 2021

Sovi Non-Alcoholic Wines Continues Global Expansion to Canada

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Sovi Wines Debuts Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Rosé

Sovi Wine Co., a Sommelier-owned non-alcoholic wine company based in Napa, California announced today the expansion of Sovi distribution to Canada. Canadian connoisseurs can now purchase Sovi Rosé at a variety of retail locations in Calgary and through Not Wasted for direct home delivery.

“Our mission has always been to bring delicious non-alcoholic California wines to the world, one location at a time, and we are honored to add Canada to that list.” said Julia Littauer,

Co-Founder of Sovi and former Sommelier “Canada’s sophisticated wellness culture makes it a great market for non-alcoholic beverages, and we are excited to offer our premium wines to a new market.”

Crafted with premium, sustainably grown grapes from California vineyards, Sovi Rosé is bubbly yet dry with aromas of pink grapefruit, cherry, and watermelon. From harvest to bottling, Sovi partners with winemakers using traditional methods, achieving the flavor, texture and balance you would expect from a traditional glass of wine. Sovi then uses a state-of-the-art technology to remove the alcohol from their wines, while preserving those delicate aromas and flavors that make each varietal unique. The process of crafting Sovi’s premium, non-alcoholic wine embodies all the history, the tradition, the ritual of making a classic bottle of infamous California wine, but without the alcohol.

Consumers can purchase a Sovi Sparkling Rosé 4-pack of 250ML cans for $20.00 to be delivered directly to their door through drinksovi.com in the U.S. and Not Wasted in Canada. For the full list of retailers in Calgary, please visit drinksovi.com and follow Sovi on Instagram at @drinksovi.com.

Going French in the UK (Bistrot Pierre)

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Going French in the UK Bistrot Pierre

The last time I visited Britain was in the spring of 2018, well before anyone had heard of Covid, travel restrictions and negative tests.  I have lived and worked outside the UK for the past 14 years, rarely visiting in that time, but still have family who live there.  The purpose of my visit this time was primarily to see my parents, both of whom are getting on in years – but please don’t mention that to them!

My wife and I have spent the last 30 years or so within the hospitality industry so any chance we get to visit somewhere new is also an opportunity to check out what’s happening on the local restaurant scene.  But for this visit my mother could not resist booking us a lunch at a French Bistrot – did somebody say, “selling sand to the Arabs”?  We live and work in France and run our own restaurant here.

Bistrot Pierre
Image by philip_rimmer from Pixabay

Bistrot Pierre

So it was that on a wet Thursday lunchtime we found ourselves going to Bistrot Pierre, established 1994.  On a good day there is outdoor seating on the balcony that goes round this circular building situated on the promenade of Weston-Super-Mare, but we were unfortunate with the British weather, it was lashing it down.  However, the view of the pier and out to sea is still worth it.

First impressions on walking in are good.  You could believe you were in a French bistrot with some traditional signage and artwork and adverts for Ricard etc.  One interesting sign sitting on the hostess station was that all staff are fully vaccinated and each has to take a lateral flow test before their shift – definitely a sign of the times but certainly reassuring.  We were led upstairs to the Bistrot, downstairs is a café/bar, and offered a table in the window overlooking the pier. And then, for a while at least, it started to go wrong.

Run DMC’s “It’s Like That” at an inappropriate volume and a young waitress coming across asking “how are we today, guys?” All of a sudden this was more TGI Friday, which I used to love, than French Bistrot.  There seems to be a training manual kicking around the hospitality industry in the UK that states that all young waiting staff must be overly informal with their customers and call them guys.  Hang on a  minute, this is a lunchtime in September, look around at your clientele, assess the average age and then ask if ‘90’s rap and calling everyone “guys” is the right image. 

Going French in the UK (Bistrot Pierre)

But before U2 had hardly started following Run DMC the fire alarms went off!  In true British style, or French, we all sat there!  It appears that a customer had inadvertently hit the fire alarm button next to the front door thinking it was an automatic door opener – despite all the fire notices surrounding it!  Unfortunately, after some time it was evident that the system would not reset and we were asked to leave the restaurant and wait outside.

For anyone who has spent any time within the hospitality industry we all know that fire alarms are just some of the daily inconveniences we face and the staff at Bistrot Pierre were professional and understanding in their handling of the situation.  After being allowed back into the restaurant the waiting staff offered to have recooked any food that had been left on tables when we had to leave.  So, let’s talk about the food.

The signature dish of Bistrot Pierre is Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French bistro favourite, which none of our party had.  The menu certainly has a nod towards traditional French eating and includes a Prix Fixe menu for 2 courses and 3 courses at lunchtime. 

Going French in the UK (Bistrot Pierre)

French favourites such as Deep Fried Brie or Mushroom Fricassée as starters and classic Steak Frites, Salmon Nicoise or Duck Breast as mains.  I had Prawns in Chilli and Garlic to start.  Four good size prawns in a very tasty tomato based sauce with a good level of spicing and served with some bread.  I followed this with an 8oz sirloin steak topped with a very French garlic and herb butter.  I ordered the steak very rare (not blue) and it arrived à little shy of medium-rare, simply garnished with a bunch of watercress and some French Fries.  Nice steak, good butter, thoroughly enjoyable.  I skipped dessert, shared some of my wife’s Brownie and watched my father plough his way through an enormous Strawberry Pavlova!

Going French in the UK (Bistrot Pierre)

There is a staffing crisis within the English hospitality industry at present which is not helping restaurants when it comes to building à team, either front of house or in the kitchen, and it is starting to show.  If Bistrot Pierre can improve the service training and fix the music selection it could be superb.  Don’t get me wrong, the service was very good but there is a need to develop those staff that they have and, hopefully, keep them for a while.  Bistrot Pierre is a chain restaurant and they have several outlets situated throughout England and Wales.

Tazzy Candy is Bringing Lollipops Back and Leaving Sugar Behind

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tazzycandy

Tazzy Candy, a women-owned, better-for-you candy company, announced today the launch of their new lollipop line. Tazzy Candy lollipops have no sugar and are made exclusively with natural flavors and colors from real fruit and vegetable juice. The lollipops are vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and only 12.5 calories per pop. Founded by Delia Hughes and Lindsay Simon, the two 29-year old entrepreneurs are on a mission to disrupt the better-for-you candy space with alternative sweets that are satisfying, long-lasting, and full of vibrant, unconventional flavors. 

“Our obsession with candy started over ten years ago when Delia and I met in college while studying Food Science in a candy laboratory,” said Simon, co-founder of Tazzy Candy. “We were candy fanatics, but also into health and wellness, which is a conflicting combo. Delia would buy “better-for-you” candy and complain they lacked flavor and had funky textures. My issue was I always ate snacks too quickly. We were just never satisfied,” continued Simon. “One night, we found ourselves brainstorming solutions, just as we had back in the candy laboratory,” said Hughes. “We would meet on Tuesday nights in my apartment and craft recipes from scratch, taking notes on what worked and what didn’t. Finally, after years of countless kitchen nightmares and late nights, we had a product that was juicy and long-lasting, without the use of sugar. So, we took a leap of faith, left our corporate jobs, and launched Tazzy Candy.”

Tazzy Candy’s portfolio consists of a range of lollipops that will surprise you. Their unconventional flavors are curated specifically for an adult palate with recipes that balance sweetness and allow the natural fruit flavors to shine through. These ingredients leave a uniquely clean mouthfeel that is beloved by the Tazzy fan following.

Tazzy Candy

Tazzy launched with the classic lollipop format to bring fun and nostalgia back into the lives of adult candy lovers. “During the day, we’ll eat these lollipops as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, but by night, you’ll find us crafting jazzed-up cocktails with these pops as stirrers,” said Hughes.

The two women have gained a lot of attention due to their innovative candy and their differentiated branding. Tazzy Candy celebrates individualism by creating an eye-catching persona on the front of each product. The mission behind these characters is to embrace a diversity of style, personality, and flair. When choosing a name for the company, the founders looked for something that exemplified their own character. Thus, they landed on Tazzy. Tazzy is short for the Tasmanian Devil, a feisty, strong-willed creature often underestimated due to its small, unassuming appearance. The duo looks to this name for inspiration as they continue to tackle the challenges of being two young female entrepreneurs.

Lindsay and Delia have launched three lollipop products: Sour Watermelon, Spicy Mango, and the “OG Mix,” a mash-up of Lemon, Mango, and Pink Grapefruit.

Next month, Tazzy Candy will be launching “Do Good” Acai Berry Lollipops in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The “Do Good” pops were created in partnership with the duo’s two friends, Jacquie and Kerry, who were diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2020, and METAvivor, a non-profit organization dedicated to Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) research and awareness. 10% of the net proceeds of each “Do Good” purchase will be donated to METAvivor.

 With more innovations on the way this year, these two women are buckling up for a sweet, sour, and probably even spicy candy adventure. 

 Find their products online at Tazzy.coAmazonSnackmagic.com, or at The Goods Mart. To learn more, please visit tazzy.co and follow Tazzy Candy on Instagram at @tazzycandy

The Power of a Review

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The Power of a Review

You’re hungry so you decide to go to that new place you have wanted to try. You go in and eat something new, something different from your usual meals, then the time for you to let the world know how this new food place did, has arrived. Or at least the world that is your followers. If you’re elite on Yelp then the amount of followers can range from hundreds of followers to thousands. And they are all there to read what you think about the new food place. To follow your advice should they go? Should they avoid the place at all costs? Is the new place the place for them to spend their hard earned money? 

All the answers to their questions are given by you. They all have their notifications on so when you post your review, they can be one of the first people to read it. So for that small or large circle your review has a lot of power a lot of influence a lot of meaning. But for the restaurant it carries even more importance. If it’s a bad review and you have a small following then its ok your impact is minimal, just another unsatisfied customer. On the other hand if you’re Elite on Yelp and have a large following, the impact of your review is substantial.

With one review you can potentially affect the restaurant in a very important way. That bad review could potentially mean a loss of profit. A loss of customers, and those customers have been lost without even walking into the restaurant. Your review alone was the whole reason why they never even bother to go there. And restaurants know this and have ways to try and avoid having a bad review from any of their customers.

To the restaurant any customers could be a factor in losing new customers in an already fragile restaurant economy. Some restaurants go as far as posting signs asking you to let them try and fix the problem before you post a negative review. Restaurants know that a bad review can affect them in an expensive way.

The Power of a Review

The real problem that restaurants face and can’t really do anything about is our personal opinion. They can’t do anything about our personal taste, our taste buds decide what we like and dislike and the restaurants can’t do a single thing about that. They can cook a plate to perfection, hitting all the right temperatures.

Using all the right portions plating it like it’s about to go into a photoshoot and it can all be ruined by our taste buds. An ingredient in that perfect recipe can be something we don’t like and that will ruin our whole dinner experience. And once we feel like our dinner has been ruined we jump on our social media and let our whole following know that we hate the place.

We start to point out all the little things that we ignored until our night felt ruined. We start to notice the wait for the table was long. The waiter took a few minutes too long to bring the appetizers or the drinks. All of a sudden everything is horrible and it’s all due to something the restaurant can’t fix, our taste buds.

That’s why we need to keep in mind that our words have that much power and can affect a place in a big way. We need be careful what we type. We need to make sure that what we say in the reviews is correct or at the very least make sure we say it’s our personal opinion. If once that’s clear your followers still want to avoid that place or still want to give it a try then it’s entirely their decision.

The Oreo Cafe: What Went Wrong?!

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The Oreo Cafe:

As a person who grew up with Oreos, I can tell you that it’s exceedingly rare to find a situation where I will turn one down. I mean, I don’t keep them in the house because I’ll keep eating them till they vanish…often in one sitting! So, when I found out that the Oreo company just started up a cafe at the (local to me) American Dream Mall, I had to check it out.

Unfortunately, this might be one of the only times where I actually have to write a review that’s not glowing about something that doesn’t involve snooty doorkeepers. Either way, I feel like it has to be discussed simply because I took the trip out there and it was a lesson in corporate greed. Or just corporate failure.

How I Found Out About Oreo’s Cafe

I’ll be honest. I got an Oreo horoscope from Twitter and it came with a cute message telling me to check out the world’s first Oreo cafe. Luckily, it was literally 15 minutes away from me by car and at a mall I’m quickly growing to love. 

So, I ended up going there. 

Finding out about the place was one story. On the other side of the story was actually arriving in the mall and trying to find it. There were no signs as to where it was. Not even in the directory! I had to ask a clerk at a store where the cafe was. Apparently, it was tucked away on the third floor of It’s Sugar! 

The Oreo Cafe: What Went Wrong?!

The Oreo Cafe

After we wandered about, we got to the third story and there it was…Right amidst a mess of Oreo swag and a bunch of screaming kids. Honestly, the swag stands were slick. I actually wanted to buy a shirt there, really. But the cafe itself? Well…

It was more like a cafeteria. I appreciate the Oreo-themed ceiling, but the tables were basically IKEA tables with Oreo stuff printed on them. Around the area was an Oreo banner and a booth that looked like it belonged in a food court.

I mean, to a point, I don’t know what I was expecting. I low-key had hoped that it would be a kawaii-style cafe, the way that they would have it in Japan. You know what I mean, right? Everything cute as a button, Oreo-centric, with gourmet goods that look perfect, in a quiet setting with table service? 

Yeah, this was not that. There were a bunch of loud kids here, which is great if you are a parent who wants to give thier kids a place to chill. For me, and my more adult tastes, it was awkward sitting there with my spouse as the only non-family there. It really looked like a cheaper Dunkin Donuts that had a theme glued to it. 

The Food

So, our food order here wasn’t actually food. I ordered a coffee drink with blended Oreo goodness into it and my husband ordered some plain vanilla ice cream. We each took a bite (or sip) out of each, and immediately recoiled. 

It was sweet. Like, cloyingly sweet. Sweet in a way that people over the age of 25 will not want to try. Heck, I’m pretty sure that people over 18 might have a diabetic shock trying to eat it. Worse, both the ice cream and the whipped cream had a strange fatty texture to them that clung to your mouth. 

Neither my husband nor I were able to stomach our treats, though we both admitted that the waffles the kids at the next table had looked good. Actually, everything looked great. It just tasted like diabetes. Even my coffee was less like a coffee and more like a thick shake with lard in it.

If you take a look at my photos, you can tell that I’m a bit queasy. Thank you, Oreo cafe. You have done what drinking 5 Monsters a day could not. I’m not even mad. I’m impressed. 

The Oreo Cafe: What Went Wrong?!

What The Hell Happened?!

I’ll be honest. I probably should have seen the writing on the wall with this cafe the moment it was in a candy shop. I have been dealing with upscale stores that are pretty, quiet, and awesome. To a point, I may have forgotten that families with kids exist and that kids don’t want to have gourmet truffle fries.

Even so, I can’t help but notice that the food was pretty gnarly, even for parents who are used to going to Chuck E. Cheese. It’s all the high fructose corn syrup and fake flavoring they added to the goods here. That, with the synthetic oils they used in the food, messed everything up.

My Verdict: Yikes?

I’ll be honest. I enjoyed the swag outside the cafe more than the cafe itself. This is not a cafe for adults. It’s 100 percent made and marketed towards kids and parents who want to pay a premium price for stuff that your dog wouldn’t even want to eat. 

I loved the concept, but god-DAMN Oreos, you really have to rework what you’re doing. This was not a cafe. This had two “coffee” drinks and the rest were…something else. If you have an extra $20, don’t go to this place. Just get an Oreo tee shirt instead.

Have Restaurant Reviews Become Weaponised?

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Have Restaurant Reviews Become Weaponised?

There is no doubt that we live in a world whereby you are only as good as the last review you received.  Last year I wrote an article for this magazine about the modern review culture and how we have become obsessed by, not only leaving reviews, but by reading them and digesting them as if our lives depended on it. 

The point at which I draw the line is when I get asked to leave a review or comment regarding the packaging or the state of the delivery driver’s van. But, unfortunately, this culture has led some people to become malicious in their opinions and leave comments that they know will do harm to someone’s business.  This is how review culture has become weaponised and we need to do something about it now!

There are plenty of restaurant review sites

Let me explain.  There are plenty of restaurant review sites out there but two of the biggest are possibly Tripadvisor and Google.  Tripadvisor has certainly tightened its criteria over recent years and has made an attempt to give less credence to one-time reviewers.  The one-time review can work both ways, in that a restaurant owner may ask his friends to give him some 5 star reviews.  Conversely, it can also be used against the restaurateur if, for example, someone has an unjustified reason to be negative or works for a competitor restaurateur. 

Tripadvisor believes that if a person has done several varied reviews there is a greater chance that their reviews will be genuine.  But what measures do they take to ensure that a review is genuine and that that person has actually eaten at the restaurant?  The answer to that, in my experience, is very little.  Some years ago my own restaurant was the subject of a malicious review attack.  I knew that these people had never set foot inside my restaurant but when I confronted Tripadvisor their response was that the review matched their criteria. 

I even asked the “reviewer” to tell me what they had eaten, because there was no mention of this in the review.  So the next malicious review picked several menu items from my published menu, but again Tripadvisor stated that the review matched their criteria.  As a business owner it is extremely difficult to get these comments removed and, although we can respond to each review, most potential customers are only scanning through in order to get an overall picture and are not interested in reasons and responses.

Have Restaurant Reviews Become Weaponised?
Image by athree23 from Pixabay

The biggest culprit, however, is Google. An anonymous person, bored on a sunday afternoon, can flick through a series of businesses and leave a “rating” from 1-star to 5-star.  They don’t have to leave a comment or their name or actually have any knowledge of that business.  Or perhaps they do have knowledge of that business and just want to do it harm! If you were so minded it would be possible to lower the average score of a business very quickly. 

We have a situation locally where I live whereby a restaurant owned and operated by a couple is being targeted by local people who do not like that they are not French.  À series of negative comments and 1-star ratings has severely affected the business and the well-being of those who operate it to the extent that they have closed temporarily.  These small-minded, pathetic individuals will never be brought to task because the review websites make it too easy for this to occur.  Their motivation is not to highlight restaurants but to gain as many reviews as possible making them the go-to site for travellers and in return earning extra advertising revenue – sounds cynical; maybe, maybe not.

A friend and local restaurateur is so incensed by the unfairness of the system that she wants to start a movement against the big companies.  What people don’t realise is how hard we work within the hospitality industry and that our business is not just a job; it is a way of life and occupies practically every waking moment of our time. Most importantly we are human with families, personal issues, good days and bad days.  As restaurateurs we don’t have a choice of whether or not we are included on review websites.  So, we want to call on Tripadvisor and Google and all the others to tighten their criteria.

Firstly, do away with the rating system.  Do not allow anyone to just rate a restaurant, make them write a structured opinion that includes information about the place where they have eaten. If the restaurateur does not believe that the person has actually visited their establishment, make the customer provide evidence, whether it be a till receipt or photos taken at the time. 

Secondly, if the restaurateur has a genuine grievance, investigate it properly.  Don’t just state that it fits with your criteria or current algorithm. 

Thirdly, if a restaurateur wants to have their listing suspended temporarily or removed permanently, let them.  I know the argument is that the customer should be able to see a balanced overview of the businesses available but for some business owners the pressure is too much particularly when suffering a negative run of reviews.

Unfortunately, I know it will be too much to ask for the small-minded idiots who deliberately leave bad reviews in the hope of harming someone’s business to change their ways.  But I think that as restaurateurs we should call out these people and not let them hide in the shadows and remain anonymous.  If just one person reading this thinks twice about how they word their next review and the impact that it might have, then my work is started.

Italian Food

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Italian Food

In my opinion Italian Cuisine is amongst the finest in the World, and I say that while living in France!  It is also one of the most imitated cuisines in the World and can often leave the diner feeling underwhelmed when it is done badly. The variation of fresh ingredients combined into some of the most scrumptious dishes imaginable. 

Italian food is not just pizza and pasta, although they will feature heavily, but some delicate blendings of meat and fish with flavoursome sauces that change throughout the seasons.  

Italian food is very much about freshness, flavour and variety and will change depending on the region.  In the north, near the Alps, the diet will be quite different to the southern, Mediterranean regions.  What follows is a brief overview of eating in Italy.

Italian Food: Ossobuco
Image by RitaE from Pixabay

In winter try Osso Bucco (literally bone with hole), beef shin cut across the bone cooked slowly with fresh vegetables, tomatoes and white wine.  The marrow dissolves into the sauce, creating the hole in the bone, making a delicious rich dish.  In summer, how about a fresh sea bream straight from the Mediterranean, grilled on the BBQ, drizzled with olive oil and served with a fresh salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves.  And one more dish for you, Saltimbocca, which translates as jump in the mouth, referring to the flavours that explode together.  Thin veal slices married with Parma ham and fresh sage leaves all brought together with a Marsala wine sauce.

pasta 1463930 1280
Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

So what about the pizza and pasta?  Italian restaurant menus are often composed of antipasto (before pasta) which can often be some olives or cured meats, primo (first course) pasta is always the first course of choice, secondo (the main course) often meat or fish and dolce (dessert) possibly fresh fruit or, maybe, something a little more decadent.  Eating pasta as a first course will be a small portion and will only be the pasta dish – it will not be served with bread or a salad – and will have a light sauce.  Italians do not eat pasta everyday.

Pizza is the ultimate street food in Italy and is often served from kiosks a slice at a time. However, if you venture out to a Pizzeria, pizza is considered a food for sharing with friends, although you should order one pizza per person.  True italian pizza is thin crust but at the same time light and fluffy.  Stuffed crusts and deep-dish are not Italian.  The best pizza I have ever tasted was in Italy (surprise!) and what made it truly great was the addition of an egg in the middle as it came out of the oven – the egg white cooked with the residual heat and the yolk stayed beautifully soft and runny. 

Whilst researching for this article I was surprised to learn that there are some fairly strict rules with regard to eating in Italy and I will try to summarise as best I can.

  1. Breakfast is composed of sweet pastries and is the only time of day you should order a cappuccino coffee.  After 11am coffee is espresso – end of story.
  2. Pasta is served as pasta and not with garlic bread or salad.  In fact Italians eat one dish at a time, so salad would be a separate course.  Bread would be served with cheese or cured meats and no butter.
  3. Do NOT add cheese to a seafood pasta – ever!
  4. Never cut spaghetti.  If you are 5 years old it is acceptable but after that twirl it round your fork.
  5. Drink wine or water with your meal.  Drink beer or soda with pizza.
  6. If you don’t finish your pizza do not ask to take the remains away.

Just recently archeologists have unearthed a fast food store in Pompeii, after being buried in volcanic lava for nearly 2000 years.  It is believed that hot drinks and food would have been served to locals who did not have their own kitchen in their home.  The site is due to open to the public some time later this year.  However, I suspect the menu may have changed!

If you get the opportunity to visit Italy, enjoy your food and try to avoid the tourist traps.  If you find a menu with pictures, move on!  Try going up a side street to a small Trattoria and do your best with the locals.

The Revolution of Italian Cuisine

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The Revolution of Italian Cuisine

The list of various necessities of life cannot be complete without the inclusion of food. If you want to lighten up a person’s mood, order some food or take them to the nearest food restaurant near you and let the food work its magic. The same applies to wanting the forgiveness of a loved one; just get some homemade cuisine alongside some flowers and bang, you’re good to go.

We sometimes get bored from eating the same food over and over again. Over the years, food has come to serve as means of connecting and bringing people together from across the globe. This has been made possible by cooks and people sharing their traditional cuisines with the rest of the world on various social media networks. Let’s not forget the work of food bloggers and travelers who travel to certain places in the world to discover different dishes among the people in that country.

How Italian Cuisine has become one of the Most Popular Dishes around the World Today

Italian cuisine is a cuisine commonly known among the people of the Mediterranean Basin, which consists of a variety of ingredients, recipes, and cooking techniques. Italian cuisine is based mainly on the quality of the ingredients rather than the style or method of preparation. This has made it one of the most popular dishes around the world. The simplicity of the cuisine makes it easy to prepare even if you’ve never come across the dish before. This is because it generally consists of only two to four main ingredients. It also provides plenty of tastes and flavors that influence different cuisines around the world.

Which is the oldest Italian cuisine made?

Atriya is a cuisine developed in Sicily. It is mostly considered as the first real Italian cuisine. It is made from flour and water into long strings. It eventually became trii in Southern Italy, also known as spaghetti.

Different Italian Cuisines

The various areas of Italy have different dishes they consume, according to CNN. In Central Italy, the common food consumed is spaghetti and pizza. Fish, potatoes, rice, sausages, pork, and cheese are also common among the people of Northern Italy. The Southern Italian cuisine comprises tomatoes, capers, peppers, olives, and olive oil, garlic, ricotta cheese, artichokes, and eggplants.

Italian Rice Cuisines
Image by DanaTentis from Pixabay

Italian Rice Cuisines 

  • Risotto Congamberi

Risotto Congambeti is an Italian dish that uses rice (resorting rice), butter, olive oil, and almighty shrimp as the main ingredients. Other ingredients also include onions, celery, garlic, stock, white wine, and seasonings.

  • Risotto al Salto

This Italian Rice cuisine uses risotto alla milanese or risotto al parmigiano, butter or olive oil was an ingredient. The butter or olive oil is spread into a pan and the risotto is added to the mix.

  • Risotto ai funghi porcini 

Its ingredient includes mushrooms, rice, olive oil, meat stock, butter, shallots, pepper, salt, and white wine.

Ritalian fish cuisine
Image by JLB1988 from Pixabay

Italian Fish Cuisines

  • Zuppa Dipescue 

This Italian seafood stew includes squid, mussels, clams, and shrimp. The base soup consists of clam, broth, white wine, and tomato sauce.

  • Seafood salad

also called the Feast of the Seven fishes, is a seven-course meal eaten mostly on Christmas eve. This makes it one of the popular Italian seafood dishes. The number of fishes included has no limits.

  • Scampi

Scampi is one of the simplest dishes of Italian seafood. Its ingredients include scampi or large prawns which are covered in a little spicy cherry tomato sauce, with garlic, onion, dried chili, and some seasonings.

italian meat cuisines

Italian Meat Cuisines

  • Polto alla cacciatora 

This fish is known by Americans as “chicken cacciatore”. It ingredient includes a cooked bird (broiler), tomato sauce (must be spicy), herbs and some mushrooms. The bird is sometimes substituted for rabbit or hare.

  • Involtiai al pomodoro 

Also known as braciole are made by rolling small beef cutlets into bite-sized parcels with celery, cheese, pork, which are browned and covered in tomato sauce.

  • Picchiapo

This cuisine was common among the people of Roman. The recipe involves pieces of boiled beef mixed with onion, olive oil, canned tomatoes, and some white wine.

How the journey of Italian cuisine to popularity began?

The journey first started when the people of Italy went to the United States of America in search of jobs. They had to make their own traditional dishes with the ingredients available. This brought about Italian-American cuisine. It made it impossible for the Americans not to fall in love with Italian food.

Why everyone craves Italian food

  • Easy access to the ingredients

The important ingredients needed for Italian cuisine are common everywhere provided you have a supermarket near you. This makes it easy for the dishes to be prepared.

  • Easy to afford

Although the food is famous, it’s quite cheap. It’s easy to order pizza or make some lasagna without wasting much money on the ingredients.

  • The food is shared

Italian food is shared among friends, families, and food blogs. This has resulted in the increasing number of people that consume the dishes.

  • Its health benefits

Italian cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Some of its ingredients include fresh vegetables, olive oil, non-fatty red meat, chicken, and fish rush in vitamins.

  • Different varieties to select from

Italian cuisine comes in different varieties which even makes it difficult for you to be selective, from rice to fish to meat cuisines, you’ll definitely find the best one for you.

      The influence Italian cuisine had on the British cuisine

      The introduction of Italian cuisine into the UK around the 1960s has provided informality as compared to the formality the UK restaurant possessed.

pizza

     Pizza, one of the popular Italian dishes.

 Pizza is basically the Italian name for pie. History has it that it was consumed by ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, which has today improved tremendously with different toppings such as vegetables, meat, fish as well as fruits. Pizza is said to have modernly originated from Italy, the city of Naples. 

In 1869, queen Margherita with her spouse visited Naples and requested pizzas from the city’s Pizzeria Brandi. The variety she enjoyed was called Pizza Mozzarella which was garnished with soft white cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil. It was not long after named pizza Margherita after the queen of Italy. 

The immigrations of the Neapolitans into the United States for factory jobs made known of pizza to American cities and other immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since then till today, pizza has become one of the most consumed food worldwide with over 5billion sales each year. 

Top Three kinds of Pizza and Their Toppings 

  • Meat lover’s pizza 

Toppings; Cooked and crumbled Italian sausages or ground beef, bacon, and sometimes sliced ham

  • Deluxe / Supreme Pizza

Toppings; cheese, bacon, pepperoni, red and green pepper, ripe olives, onions, basil. 

  • Pepperoni  

Toppings; olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, pepperoncini.

Health Benefits 

  • The pizza sauce is mostly made from tomatoes which are rich in antioxidants like cycopene which can help reduce blood pressure, minimize cholesterol and even help in the prevention of cancer.
  • Pizza toppings like ham or beef can be a source of lean protein. Cheese provides the body with essential protein to build and repair tissues. 
  • Green leafy vegetables contain vitamin k which helps reduce the risk of heart diseases. Carrots which are high in vitamin A play a very important role in eye health. 


Benard Mount

5 Food Prep Items Every Home Chef Can’t Live Without

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5 Food Prep Items Every Home Chef Can’t Live Without

As a food writer, I don’t just go to restaurants—though that is a huge part of my work. I also read cookbooks, study food history, and also learn to cook like a chef. I want to be the writer who can write about every aspect of food. So, rather than stick to the restaurant stuff, I decided to help people get a better idea of what my kitchen looks like. 

To do this, I’m going to talk about my favorite food prep tools and why everyone should have them in their kitchens, too. 

KitchenAid knife

1-A Knife Set from KitchenAid

I got a KitchenAid knife set with a sharpener and cutting block. It is basically my life. Every chef needs to have a good knife kit, and for a while, I had an IKEA set. I stupidly thought it wouldn’t be that bad.

The IKEA set was stainless steel…and it friggin’ rusted. And they dulled after I basically sneezed on them. Never again. So far, I’ve had the KitchenAid set for about a year and have noticed no problems with it whatsoever. I love them. 

3cup

2- 3-Cup Food Chopper from Hamilton Beach

I remember trying to chop food with a hand chopper. I hated it. This sucks, because I basically live on guac, shepherd’s salad, and salsa. Like, for real. I eat a sickening amount of it. So, what was I to do? Give up on my foods? Nope.

Hamilton Beach’s 3-cup food processor is what I got. I just have to push on the lid and everything gets chopped in seconds. Since I got it, I’ve started to go through about three pounds of tomatoes and onions per week. Take from that what you may. 

3-A Food Steamer from Amazon

Yes, it’s true. I love me my wontons and steamed dumplings. If you’ve ever had a steamer, you already understand how magical it can be to bite into a dumpling fresh from the steamer.

But, there’s more to this issue than just my dumpling love. Since the bottom half can also be used to cook soups, it’s a great space-saving tool for people who want to have a lot more food prep tools in a lot less space.

51wMqG0mYXL. AC SL1357

4-A Turkish Coffee Pot from Destalya

Now that we’ve gotten a little bit more into the world of mutli-purpose food prep, let me introduce you to my coffee pot, my tea pot, my butter warmer, and my sauce heater: a Turkish coffee pot. 

It’s small, it is amazingly good at evenly conducting heat, and makes sure that your tea gets heated fast. I “put the kettle on” at least four times a day thanks to my green tea habit, so this gets a ton of use. 

crockpot

5-A Crock Pot by Crock-Pot

Okay, raise your hands if you have one of these at home or knew I was going to say this. Okay, everyone? Well, maybe that makes sense. These are a darling of almost every household that involves crazy work hours. 

When we use the slow cooker, we’re able to spend a day doing our thing. It’s all “set and forget.” Mine has a removable pot for easy cleaning, and honestly, I use the pot part as a baking dish from time to time. It’s amazingly versatile. 

What’s Your Favorite Tool?

Kitchens are never one-size-fits all, especially when you live in a studio apartment like I do. There are always some food prep items or appliances that work better for some people than others. Hit me with your faves!

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