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Caffé: Drink it like the Romans do PDF Print E-mail
Sep 30, 2008 at 01:48 PM


First published by MOMONDO

I've had my tea, done my stretching exercises and gotten dressed and now, since I need something a bit more to get me going - to carburare as the Italians would say - I'm ready to go downstairs and get my first espresso of the day.

Pastateca: a pasta palette PDF Print E-mail
Aug 12, 2008 at 08:41 PM
Bucatini all'amatriciana, a Roman favorite
Pasta. That magical word which brings to mind a host of pleasures and makes your mouth water - a mix of textures, the tang of a spicy sauce or the velvet smoothness of something creamy, and above all the satisfying feel of something truly al dente. Pasta, in its various forms, shapes, lengths and colors, may well be the comfort food par excellence and one way to buy it, if you are in a position to cook while you are visiting in Rome or if want to take some back home, is to make a stop at the new Pastateca. Located near Piazza di Spagna: this shop sells over 300 different brands, shapes and types of pasta from all of Italy's 20 regions. Their website allows you to order on line and also provides over 100 recipes which you can try out using their products... or not.

Via della Vita 44-45
Tel +39 (06) 45491431


RESTAURANTS: "Gusto" PDF Print E-mail
Aug 10, 2008 at 10:54 PM

        It may sound odd, but this sprawling food emporium always seems to me to be a happy mix between my adopted home, Rome, and my hometown, the Big Apple or, as the Italians would say, the Grande Mela. Spread out over what is almost an entire block, Gusto - located in Rome's central Piazza Augusto Imperatore, half way between Via del Corso and the Lungotevere - is more than just a restaurant. The latter is itself, a dual offering - on street level an informal pizzeria plus, and a more upscale eatery on the first floor up where, amazingly enough for Rome, Italian food is combined with a happy mix of Pacific Rim cuisine.

        But that's not all. On the ground floor, near the main entrance, there is the Emporium, a cookwares store which also sells honeys, jams, bottled condiments and sauces. At number 7, there is a Wine Bar with live music and, upstairs, an Enoteca with 1500 labels plus all sorts of wine books and paraphernalia. And, oh yes, I was forgetting. Around the corner at Via della Frezza 16 is the Osteria, with a more traditional Mediterranean menu and, upstairs a cheese shop where you can shop or nibble on the spot.

        The entire complex, which seats over 400 people, is open seven days a week Check the website - - for further information, phone numbers etc.
By the way, on Saturdays and Sundays the Pizzeria offers Brunch from 12:00 to 15:30. When I first came to Rome, no one even had ever heard the word brunch. Now is it very much in vogue but I have to admit that I have never tried brunch at a Roman eatery so I have no idea what they serve. I'm assuming it's an imitation of things American but I'm just guessing.


FOOD: Top chef offering low-cost dining. PDF Print E-mail
May 09, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Gianfranco Vissani
One of Italy’s best known chefs, GianfrancoVissani, has decided to meet the economic crisis head on and offer visitors to his Umbrian restaurant gourmet meals at only 30 euros a shot. Starting today the Ora Vissani, the Vissani hour, will lbe launched, with prices cut drastically at  what is normally a luxury dining spot, Casa Vissani on Lake Corbara near the town of Baschi.

        The discounts will apply to lunches consumed between one and two p.m. in the afternoon  on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturday.  The meal, which up to 14 guests will eat at a common table, will include a pasta course, a main course and a dessert, plus a glass of Brunello wine. Another special menu at the new Cantina Vissani, run by the chef’s son, Luca, will involve tasting menus of  crudo –  a choice of meat or fish – for 50 euros, wine not included. See for information and reservations.

Mozzarella: Scientist speaks out PDF Print E-mail
Mar 28, 2008 at 06:54 PM
        Just for the record I have translated part of a statement by Antonio Malorni, Director of Food Sciences at the Avellino branch of the CNR, the National Research Council, Italy's most prestigious state research agency, that was published on Friday, March 28th, 2008 in Corriere della Sera.

I believe it is the duty of a researcher to take a stand against alarmism and scientific terrorism. From 2003 to 2005 as a CNR expert, I monitored the products of the "Consortium for the protection of Campania buffalo mozzarella" and I can testify that 87% of the samples examined were totally free of any contamination, which in terms of scientific practice means foods which contain less than one picogram of toxic equivalent per gram of fat (1 pgTEQ/g), since there is no food product on the face of the earth which has zero levels of dioxin and probably there has never been.

Of the remaining 13% [of samples], 11% contained dioxin levels of between one and two picograms of toxic equivalent (1-2 pgTEQ/g) and only 2% of the total exceeded the level of 2 pgTEQ/g of fat, thus nevertheless remaining below the precautionary level of 3pgTEQ/g set by law. Since I also viewed the samples analyses carried out by the producers themselves, I can put consumers' concerns to rest: Campania buffalo mozzarella, at least that which bears the Consortium's brand, is totally safe to eat.
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