Home | Restaurants by City | Food Photography | Archive | Philosophy |

   
     
 
 

Monday
December

06

2004
12:01 AM




Permalink

 


 
   

 

Italy, March 11, 2004 I don't like doing anything half way. And when I'm going to have an experience that I'm really looking forward to, I really want to savor it completely. I'd rather wait awhile to do it, than do it part way now, with a promise of more later. This was the case for me when it came to going to Italy.

The land, the language, and most of all the food have been calling to me all my life. And every time I have had an opportunity to go, it's either been for not very long or under circumstances that I felt wouldn't allow me to really enjoy my visit. Finally we had the opportunity to go for over a week, and decided it was time to go.

There was a lot of debate about where we should go. South? North? Rome? In the end we decided to head to the region most famous for food (of course) Emilia Romagna. The thing that put me over the edge in deciding to target that region is that it's home to three of Italy's most perfect food: Parmigiano Reggiano from Parma and Reggio Emilia, Prosciutto di Parma also from Parma, and Balsamic Vinegar from Modena and Reggio Emilia. The trifecta!

Finally, I decided to do a little reading up on the region. I got Emilia Romagna, Flavors of Italy, Eating In Italy: A Traveler's Guide to the Hidden Gastronomic Pleasures of Northern Italy, Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History (Arts and Traditions of the Table), and Al Dente: The Adventures of a Gastronome in Italy. They helped a bit, but ultimately there's no substitute for being there. We flew through Amsterdam so we could have a little mini-vacation on the way back.

What follows is over 20 entries spanning our trip from Rome through Florence to Bologna and the countryside of Emilia Romagna. Enjoy.

 

     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

 

 

   

OUR SPONSORS

 

Tastingmenu is focused on superlative restaurant experiences from two perspectives: behind the plate and behind the stove. Tastingmenu is written by Hillel (professional eater) and Dana (up-and-coming professional chef) in Seattle, Washington.


Search tastingmenu

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
             
     

 

     
     
 

  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

Browse tastingmenu

 

Home | Restaurants by City X | Food Photography | Archive | Philosophy |
Free eBooks: All About Apples | Autumn Omakase

More: Discussion | Cool Food T-Shirts | Ingredients | Markets | Recipes
Search | Blog FAQ | Other Blogs
 

Best of tastingmenu

 

 


City View
June 9, 2006
San Francisco, California
 

05-har gow.jpg

 

Entry: July 6, 2006


Blue Plate
June 8, 2006
San Francisco, California
 

11 macaroni and drunken spanish goat cheese.jpg

 

Entry: June 19, 2006 


L'Atelier de Jol Robuchon
March 31, 2006
Las Vegas, Nevada
 

07 roquette salad gaspacho and tofu.jpg

 

Entry: July 18, 2006

 

 

Browse by City

 

Boston | Chicago | Houston | Las Vegas | Los Angeles | Maui | New York | Philadelphia | Portland | San Francisco | Seattle | Toronto | Utah | Vancouver | Washington D.C.

Bangkok | Beijing | Hong Kong | Seoul | Tokyo

Amsterdam | Berlin | Italy | London | Madrid | Paris | Vienna

 

Browse by Month

 

2006

J F M

2005

J F M A M J
J A S O N D

2004

J F M A M J
J A S O N D

2003

J F M A M J
J A S O N D

2002

A  S O N D

2001

D

     
 

     

Comments, questions, or feedback: info / at / tastingmenu / dot / com
All pages Copyright (c) 2001-2007 tastingmenu.com

Last modified 12/14/07.