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Sicilian Mackerel Pasta via Venice

Sicilian Mackerel Pasta via Venice

Oddly, you don't really hear a lot about food in Venice. Sure, the seafood is divine, being so freshly caught and well, it is Italy... So the bar is fairly high relatively speaking. Yet, very little is said of Venetian cuisine. By and large the general consensus is that everything is expensive and not quite the same value you get from other parts of Italy. Disregarding the economics, though, there are several lovely food experiences to be had.

Today, I want to share a dish l recreated back home from my trip to the city, where I had the best Sicilian food. A mackerel pasta with the distinctive Sicilian chilli flecked tomato sauce and with layers of flavors and surprises on the palate!

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Travel: The Romance of Cinque Terre

Travel: The Romance of Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is the quintessential Summer Riviera spot.

For those tired of the French coastline, its crowded beaches and uber expensive real estate, the Italian coast line next to it is very appealing alternative. They may share the sea but not much else, from attitude to cuisine to lifestyles.

While I was living in Italy, my friends and I decided to make a day trip from our apartments in Reggio Emilia in the mid-central Italy to the North-Western coast where the stretch of the riviera is. A quick research on the place told me it was a hot spot for visiting Americans. Somewhere I read that it had been featured in a 70s Hollywood movie and had since become a bucket list destination.

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Torta di Farro

Torta di Farro

Spring has burst through here - in colors and warmth! The leaves are no longer shyly peeking out but bursting through with full vigor and a spirit to make a statement. And, then the flowers, gently lifting their faces and emboldening in vibrance and aroma. Running past a wall of violets in full bloom and inhaling deeply their fragrance gives me momentum and deeper spring to my step. I want to go out; I want to commune with nature; I want to find excuses to stay in the positivity of this season.

Yesterday, I was suddenly come upon an urge to bake. Perhaps, something within me wanted bursting out too. Since I am on the elimination diet, I cannot eat wheat and I do not have the access (and budget) for the other gluten free flours i typically use, like almond and oats.

I made a simple cake with farro, dates and nutmeg and topped with some seeds.

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Imperfect and Comfortable

Imperfect and Comfortable

Travel my dear is the real essence of life....

That is truly something I believe. And, I have been on the road more than I ever imagined for the last three months. In my own version of around the world in 40 days, I went from the comfortable to the nostalgic to the challenging to the global and back. From US to Italy back to both coasts of US to Japan to China to Singapore back to Italy to London to Ireland to North Italy and, finally back again to central Italy, my temporary home!

To me, Panzanella feels the best way to reintroduce myself back into the world of reality from the surreality of the last few months. It also brings me a whole circle to my Italian present, the dreams of my past, and the groundedness I have always sought......

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Festive!

Festive!

And, so begins my festive season.... With great cheese and simple pairings....

What is the start to YOUR Holidays?

As my time here teaches me, the true value of the Italian culture is in the way they do not see tradition as a shackle but rather as a way of life; A point of differentiation that needs to be proudly maintained and taken joy of. From amazing cheeses to generations old balsamic vinegar to all the cured meats, the magical food history of this land is rich and bountiful. And, unlike the American mentality to hoard and pile richness on richness, the Italians elegantly approach each ingredient with the respect warranted for it all by itself. And, they indeed pair, it is not to be over-the-top but to be subtle complement of flavors that leave your floored with they deceptive simplicity!

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