Eating pizzoccheri in Valchiavenna

It’s a lazy Sunday lunchtime on a February Sunday and I’m having lunch in a restaurant with family and friends. The restaurant is La Genzianella in the hamlet of Fraciscio above Campodolcino in Valchiavenna. It’s a small place with an adjoining bar that fits snugly into its context with a wood-panelling dining room and a […]

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why valchiavenna will always have a place in my heart

On Sunday we finally got to the mountains. We went up to Gualdera above Campodolcino in Valchiavenna. Valchiavenna is the valley that leads up from the top of Lake Como all the way to Val Bregaglia and then Switzerland and up to St Moritz. I spent a lot of time there when I was young, […]

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Cooking up a tart’s spaghetti online cookery class

Hi everyone! Join me and cook along as I cook one of Italy’s most loved pasta dishes, spaghetti alla puttanesca or tart’s spaghetti. As we cook, we’ll be taking a journey through the Spanish Quarter in Naples, delving back into the history of spaghetti and taking a general look at what pasta means to those […]

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Spaghetti and sauce: a workshop for kids

We’ll be cooking spaghetti, making our very own fresh tomato sauce, busting spaghetti myths, exploring a bit of spaghetti history and learning a bit of Italian along the way. The emphasis is on both cooking and culture, so children will cook their own spaghetti and tomato sauce but also learn about the history of spaghetti […]

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casarecce with romanesco cauliflower

This is one of my favourites: pasta with Romanesco cauliflower (cavolfiore romanesco). I made today’s recipe also because I was feeling inspired by a cookery class I did with a friend who’s originally from Puglia a short while ago. We cooked orecchiette with cime di rapa or turnip greens, and she told us how her […]

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Tales from italian haute couture

Had a very enjoyable talk this morning with the loveliest bunch of ladies from the Benvenuto International Club in Monza about fashion, Rome and la dolce vita. It’s the time when Rome was known as ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ and the city’s film studios Cinecittà welcomed film stars and film directors who made films such […]

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focaccine

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m making focaccine, or little focaccia as adding the diminutive ‘ino’ or in this case ‘ina’ makes it little. So these are little focaccia, although if you’re familiar with the true Ligurian focaccia, don’t expect that. These are more like mini pitta breads and taste like piadina rather than true focaccia […]

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breakfast with a view, florence

Life is a series of breakfasts, or at least sometimes it’s felt like that and has been all the sweeter because of it. The current restrictions mean that it’s not always possible to relive the experience. It all depends on what level of restrictions we’re at. The covid restrictions here work on yellow, orange and […]

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A night in Pleiney

If you go to the Aosta Valley and follow the signs for the Great Saint Bernard’s Pass, you’ll get to one of the region’s lesser-frequented valleys, the Great Saint Bernard Valley. It’s the valley where the wind known as the coumba freida in the local dialect blows cold in winter, and the temperature remains cool […]

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An hour from Milan

When lockdown was lifted, it all felt like someone’s idea of a joke as it rained for what felt like an eternity. Then it stopped, and the heat arrived. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Italy, and in this case northern Italy, there is heat and there is northern Italian heat. It’s the […]

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pandemic

The last time I wrote this was almost two years ago after coming back from the UK when the world was still as we knew it. Two years later and we’ve lived through a global pandemic. The first place to be affected in Europe was the northern region of Lombardy in Italy where I live. A […]

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