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Forno Campo De Fiori, Rome, Italy, tasted on  March 19, 2004 After a long break, we're finally back in gear describing our whirlwind trip to Italy. In Rome's Campo de Fiori market is Forno Campo de Fiori - a bakery/pizza shop. When you're done browsing the produce and the Ronco-style vegetable slicers, this little corner shop is a wonderful place to stop and snack. Through one door you can try and slither your way through the throngs of customers clamoring from some baked item. To the right is another door through which you can watch the bakers make all the fresh baked goods.

We were really there for the pizza, so we indulged. And frankly, the pizza was damn good. The mozzarella was so pure and distinct in flavor. The tomato sauce was slightly pulpy in a good way and in terms of flavor had a savory tomato perfection. Could pizza be simpler than simple? If so, this was. The flavors were super fresh. There were a few variations including one with herbs and lots of air pockets. This was my personal favorite.

After we finished our first round, Peyman and Alex peered through the side door to the bakery area and were treated to one hot plain pizza - just bread and oil. I will admit that when you got it hot, it was pretty much unbeatable. It made a big difference. Though I find that it's impossible to beat most baked goods when they are fresh out of the oven. DebDu, Peyman, and Alex were absolutely in love with the pizza here. Debbie and I thought it was great, though not to the degree that everyone else did. Either way it's definitely a great place to stop and enjoy yourself.

 

     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

 

 

   

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  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.  

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