#285 I miss feste – 5

La Domenica delle Palme, ‘palm Sunday’

People brings to the Church branches of olive and palms leaves

Palmes are sometimes artistically  braided

A few cities are particularly famous for their braided palms, such as Bordighera on the Riviera Ligure.

In my area, in the past, Children use to bring to the Church a cake, along with their olive branches and palm leaves. The family met for lunch and shared the cake, a ciambella (lit. ‘donut’) or in my dialect canestrello that had been blessed during the Mass.


(See also “I miss feste -1-2-3-4″ https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/176-i-miss-feste/



https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/199-i-miss-feste-4/ ‎)



#283 I miss farinata


or Farinata e pizza

This is what you get when you go to La Spezia, and in particularly at La Pia a pizza and farinata place, since 1887.

They made a very “rustic” pizza, normally margherita (tomato sauce, origano, mozzarella), quite thick, and a fantastic farinata.

Farinata is a thin “pancake”, made from chickpea flour, and oil, baked (in a wood oven, no question) in a huge round baking tray, with some olive oil.

Is soft and crispy at the same time

You can find it in any Pizzeria in Liguria and Lunigiana. In Tuscany, in Pisa and Livorno they have something similar, called cecìna (from ceci, ‘chickpea’)

thicker and softer than farinata, often served with focaccia

this version, in Livorno is called Cinque e cinque, 5+5, because at the old time it was “5 lire di focaccia e 5 lire di cecìna” (‘five lire for a slice of focaccia plus 5 for a slice of cecìna‘).

I enjoyed that when I lived in Pisa, but farinata stole my heart many years before!

#269 I miss paste – 2

Let’s start with local specialities.

In Pontremoli, in the green Lunigiana, a magic Middle-Earth between Emilia and Toscana,

la città del libro (‘the town of books’), town of the prestition Premio Bancarella (‘Bancarella Award’), there is an old café-patisserie, called Antica Pasticceria degli Svizzeri (‘of the Swiss’ in honour of the two Swiss brother who founded it)

where they make the Amor.

A fabulous pastry, made of two vanilla wafers filled with a thick butter cream. The recipe is still a secret.

Ah sweet taste of childhood, a visit to this magic land of deliciousness was a must every time we went to Pontremoli.

(See also “I miss paste – 1” https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/265-i-miss-paste-1/ )

#257 I miss frutti di mare – 1

Very often people ask me how can I live so far away from the sea.

Well, I do. Sadly.

It’s weird actually, especially if you were used to it, as the most of the Italians are.

What I really miss is fresh fish and seafood, or frutti di mare, as we say, ‘the fruits of the sea’.

Wherever you live in Italy you can’t be too far away from the sea. As a child I lived in the countryside, half an hour driving from the coast of Liguria. My mother always cooked fish at least once a week, we could find it at the market

But there was also an old man driving a small truck and going town to town, village to village, almost door to door selling fish. Il Pescivendolo.

He stopped in the middle of the square an screamed at the top of his voice “Pesceeeee! Pesce frescooooo”


When he has fresh anchovies from Monterosso he used to scream “Monterossoooo!”



#252 I miss Italian vintage recipe – 3

Pellegrino Artusi, a businessman with a passion for good food and cooking

Author of the epic cookbook “La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene

Self-published in 1891, a few years after the independence and reunification of Italy (1861). Not only a ricettario, but a best-seller and a powerful tool for the diffusion of Italian language in the peninsula. The most of the Italians at that time were indeed dialects speakers, Italian was for many, as a matter of fact, a foreign language, imposed by the new government.

My mother had two copies of this book. As a child I used to read it, and I was fasciated by this weird, ancient Italian prose, full of outdated terms, such as ramerino for rosmarino (‘rosmary’), ramaiuolo for mestolo (‘spoonful’), and balsamella for bechamelle.

(See also “I miss Italian vintage recipes – 1 – 2”


https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/240-i-miss-ita…tage-recipes-2/ )

#250 I miss carnevale – 5

Carnevale di Viareggio, Lucca, Tuscany, from 1873

Burlamacco is the official maschera (lit. ‘mask’, but actually ‘character, figure’), the symbol of the event

created in 1931 by the painter Uberto Bonetti

Carnevale di Fano, Pesaro-Urbino, is the most ancient one, after the Carnevale di Venezia, celebrated for the first time in 1347

Carnevale di Ivrea, Torino, since 1808, and the famous battaglia delle arance (‘oranges battle’)

(See also “I miss Carnevale – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4”




https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/241-i-miss-carnevale-4/ )

#244 I miss risotto – 3

My mother’s favorite risotto recipes:

Risotto con i funghi, for someone the only option is using fresh mushrooms, someone else uses dried ones, someone add tomato sauce, someone else doesn’t. Well, whatever. I like it. And for the record my mom makes it with a soffritto with onion, celery and carrot, and dried mushrooms.

Risotto con i carciofi (‘Artichoke risotto‘)

for this one as well my mom makes a soffritto with onion, celery and carrot.

Risotto con i gamberetti (‘Shrimps risotto’)

As many other Italian recipes, this has several versions, my mom makes it with fresh shrimps, brandy, parsley and garlic finely chopped, and a touch of panna (‘cream’).

Riso al latte, not a dessert, as someone might think, but rice literally cooked in milk, with some butter and parmigiano. Not a real risotto, but a big classic that reminds me my childhood

(See also “I miss risotto – 1 – 2″ https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/230-i-miss-risotto-1/

https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/235-i-miss-risotto-2/ )