Posts in Italian Culture

We are now well into pumpkin and persimmon season here in the Italian Riviera, and we've been delighting ourselves silly in various versions of pumpkin ravioli (Cappellacci) and the big, raw, slimy kaki fruit. Fresh persimmon has a buttery taste and subtle sweetness, an excellent pair to pumpkin's deep, nutty flavor. Or so I ventured to believe when I set out to perfect fall biscotto. 

This truly autumn creation is a moist, chewy round of maple-y goodness, perfect for popping in your mouth with your espresso. If you don't often bake without butter, milk or eggs, the texture might be a surprise, but to those accustomed, you'll recognize the result.

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Porcini Mushrooms are a-flourish in all of Italia! It is mushroom season, when farmers harvest the wild breed from the forests of the nearby hills. The trunks are 1-2 inches in diameter, average about 5 inches in height, and entice you to take a bite out of their raw, glossy tops (maybe that's just me). All the best markets feature them prominently for about 2 Euro a pop, and all the best restaurants have a special menu dedicated to all things porcini. Our favorite of all the combinations are Pasta + Porcini, the best pair locally to known as Spaghetti + Porcini. Let us share our secrets of our vegan (butter and dairy free!) version, brought to you by your very own chef, Erik. 

I recommend first watching this enlightening tutorial to wash and clean your porcini before you cook.

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If you’re from Milan, color blocking might be a bit passé, a bit “so 2 years ago.” But for the most of us, pairing complimentary-colored tops and bottoms has been a fun, warm weather look that we’ve “dared” to wear since neon shorts became a thang. But, even more than its upscale visitors and their fashion-forward frocks, Portofino has out-trended us all once again. This former fishing village mixes and matches their pinks and oranges better than even Beyoncé recently did.

Portofino has famously sported vivid, warm hues for centuries. The town was founded by the Ligurians, conquered by the Romans, frequented by the English (Bryon and Shelley were fans), and then made popular with golden age Hollywood stars by Rex Harrison. As writer Rory Ross puts it, “Were you to photograph Portofino today and compare it to a photograph taken when Rex Harrison ‘discovered’ the place in the Fifties, the pictures would almost be identical.”

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