Tag: dishes

The Chinese New Year is coming: the dishes to celebrate it – Italian Cuisine

The Chinese New Year is coming: the dishes to celebrate it


It falls each year at a different time on our calendar, but always between January 21 and February 20. In this 2022 the celebrations for the Chinese New Year they start from February 1st and will last for the following 16 days, ending with the Lantern Festival. Two weeks full of celebrations, rites and events that welcome theyear of the Tiger, the sign of the Chinese zodiac that, in the next 12 months, will foster shrewdness and courage by replacing the Buffalo, a symbol of resilience, which accompanied us in 2021.

Great party on the table and in the street
Like all popular celebrations, the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, has its highlight in banquets to share with family and close friends in the name ofabundance: literal, with a number of superfine courses, but also metaphorical, with the use of ingredients that symbolize the prosperity. As for the western anniversary, the most magical evening is that of Vigil, with a rich man dinner among the domestic walls, lanterns to decorate streets and clubs and pyrotechnic games to illuminate the skies. To dominate mise en place and color arrangements Red, universal good luck charm.

Noodles, rice and dim sum
Unmissable on Chinese tables, they are no exception in festive ones: we are talking about noodles And dim sum. The former can be made of wheat, rice or potato starch, translucent like those of soy. The toppings are always rich with meat, mushrooms, dried fish, spring onions and spicy touches of chilli. THE dim sum are the typical ravioli, or jaozi, bundles, rolls and bao (soft sandwiches) with a thousand shapes and the most varied fillings. Also dishes based on enrich the table rice: sauteed with meat and vegetables or in the form of gnocchi (niangao), both salty and sweet, obtained from the "glutinous" one.

Sea and land specialties
Among the dishes that cannot be missed, the fish (whose word in Chinese sounds just like "abundance") and the finest fish specialties. Whether one of the most typical courses remains the controversial one shark fin soup (increasingly criticized because it puts sharks at risk of extinction), there is no lack of more sustainable alternatives such asabalone, particular monovalve mollusk, the oysters, i shrimp, lobsters and lobsters, sea ​​bass, groupers and freshwater varieties such as perch, steamed and finished with elaborate sauces. A curious specialty is the "Squirrel fish", one carp carved and fried, served still sizzling, which resembles the shape of the animal and produces a "creak" similar to a squeak. They come from the farmyard duck And chicken, who keep company with pig, a symbol of prosperity around the world. The meats can be used in soups, in the fillings of ravioli or, as mentioned, in the condiments of vermicelli, spaghetti or lamian, the special hand-rolled noodles. But also be marinated, glazed, lacquered, roasted, plated: many preparations for sumptuous dishes of earth that are mixed on the table to be shared among the diners, in perfect "sharing" style.

How to toast?
According to tradition, even during the holidays you dine at you or, at most, sipping distillates of rice or other cereals. As the Fenjiu, made with sorghum, barley and peas, aged in terracotta jars, with which to toast at the restaurant Dao di Roma which, in its Christmas Eve menu, offers among others i Baozi Cha Sha Bao, small bundles of soft dough. However, in recent years, even in China, an increasing interest in wine has been developing and the most refined restaurants are starting, even here, to offer highly respectable bottles. Thus, in Milan Bon Wei combines a selection of Amaroni from the Historical Families, the Association that brings together the most important and ancient wineries of Valpolicella: an unexpected but successful marriage with dishes such as crispy yellow grouper with black garlic, duck Yan Shui boiled "water and salt", the rib of beef Guo Qiao with black pepper and taro, a battered and fried tuber, served with a pork and chili sauce. Brianza MU Fish, Nova Milanese's address for Asian fusion cuisine, accompanies the dim sum of its celebratory menu with the effervescence of Lambrusco Doc Spumante. Two proposals very much in line with what is happening in the East, where reds are much more appreciated than whites. Although we (and many sommeliers) would like to recommend a great Classic Method, from Franciacorta to Trentodoc. For a cheers … to the health of the Tiger!

Francesca Romana Mezzadri
January 2022

Porchetta di Ariccia: among the 5 unmissable dishes in the world according to the New York Times – Italian Cuisine

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It has very ancient origins and is a typical product of Central Italy. It is made with the meat of female pigs that is massaged with salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic and then stitched. It can be enjoyed alone or accompanied with bread, bread sticks, pizzas




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Many contend for the authorship of porchetta, one of the most popular street foods, which the New York Times has even included among the five typical dishes not to be missed in the world. Beyond the controversies, the village of Ariccia sui Castelli Romani can boast a millenary tradition, apparently dating back to Latins, for the production of this roast of pig spread throughout the center of Italy (Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria and Marche above all, but also Romagna and Abruzzo).

To be enjoyed in fraschette
And it is in the Ariccino territory preparing the Porchetta Igp, to be enjoyed all year round in the typical "fraschette"(ancient taverns) of the Castles, and in September in the historic Sagra, with costumed procession and throwing of stuffed sandwiches from a wagon in front of the Town Hall. To Ariccia many historical porchettari follow the ancient art of craftsmanship. THE pigs, only of female sex because they are leaner and tastier, they are boned and cleaned; then, again by hand, salted, massaged and spiced with a mixture of black pepper, rosemary and garlic. We then move on to tying and sewing around a steel pole and cooking in the oven, until the rind becomes crisp: the wood-fired ovens of the past have been supplanted by those in steel, electric or gas. Finally the cooling down, because the roast loses its moisture and keeps better. There pork, whole or in the smallest logs (7-13 kg), it must have a nice crunchy brown crust, softer in the girth.

The rind? Yes please
The meat, between white and pink, is fragrant and tender, with a taste savory and spicy, with a delightful texture contrast to the well roasted rind. Cut with a knife, the porchetta is tasted in all its fragrance al natural, cold or hot, together with homemade bread from Genzano, with a soft and light crumb, or from Lariano, of semi-integral soft wheat and cooked in a wood oven. Or in a sandwich enriched to taste with salad, grilled peppers or aubergines, cheese (provola, pecorino). It can also be used as an ingredient in cooking, to flavor pasta, pizza and savory pies. OR eat hot as a main course.

January 2022
Marina Cella

Posted on 21/01/2022

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Befana: history, traditions and typical dishes – Italian Cuisine

Befana: history, traditions and typical dishes


He arrives with his broom and gives sweets to the good children and coal to the bad ones. The history of the Befana and the traditions linked to this figure

"There hag he comes at night with his shoes all broken . Or: "Theepiphany all parties take away . There are many proverbs and idioms handed down over time and linked to the feast of January 6. The last of the Christmas period, with many meanings and symbols, typical recipes and above all with many desserts surprises for the little ones.

Between sacred and profane

According to the Christian religion, Epiphany is the day on which the three Magi kings, coming from the East, as the second Gospel reports Matteo, following a star they managed to reach Bethlehem, in the manger where he was born Jesus to honor him with gods gifts. It is no coincidence that the word Epiphany derives from the Greek "Manifestation" and Befana is none other than one corruption lexical of this term. But January 6 is actually an important date since the times of pre-Christian antiquity. The ancients Romans, for example, on this day they celebrated the beginning of the year with celebrations dedicated to the god Janus and to the goddess Strenia, while at the time of the emperor Aureliano from December 25 (feast of the sun) until the twelfth day following that date a particular practice was introduced: to burn an oak trunk continuously since from coal product could have obtained benefits in terms of luck for the following year. Furthermore, always in ancient times, it was believed that in the twelve nights preceding January 6 the goddess Diana, flying in the sky together with other female figures, he could make the soil more fertile and more fruitful. It is therefore evident that the origins of these holidays, and especially of the Befana, the great secular protagonist of the Epiphany, are truly ancient.

From gods to witches

With the Roman church's condemnations of pagan rites, the previously celebrated female image began to take on another form. And from the divinities we passed to witches. Long skirt, apron with pockets, shawl, worn shoes, handkerchief in the head, a physical aspect that is anything but pleasant and inevitable broom: soon the iconography of the Befana as we know it today took over, also favored by the hostile climate of Middle Ages towards certain pagan representations. Yet there are also those who speak of a relationship with Saint Lucia, the saint of light, illumination and therefore of the "manifestation", or even of a legend linked to the Christian origin of this holiday. According to this version, the figure of the Befana could in fact be inspired by one old lady to which the three Magi would have turned for information on the road to Bethlehem. The woman in question, however, would have refused to help them, soon regretting it: the next day, realizing the missed opportunity to see Jesus, the old woman tried to follow the Magi but was no longer able to find the baby. And for this reason every year, on January 6, he goes to all the houses to bring gifts to children.

The stocking, the coal and the exchange of gifts

Whatever the true story of the Befana is, what is certain is that it is a figure closely linked to tradition Italian, despite some assonance with those of Celtic and Germanic origin. Suffice it to say that this word, used to mean a female puppet exhibited on the night of the Epiphany, was already widespread in the popular dialect of the fourteenth century, especially in Tuscany It is in the Lazio northern. Gruff character and, in some ways, a representation of the old year, ready to sacrifice itself to revive a new period of prosperity, the Befana over time has become a sort of Grandmother who rewards good children with gifts, sweets And treats (formerly also tangerines and fruit) and punishes the bad ones with charcoal. The dreaded charcoal which, however, can also become edible and a very simple dessert to prepare. But why on the night of the Befana there is the tradition of socks? Again there are several theories. One of these is inspired by a legend according to which Numa Pompilius, one of the famous seven kings of Rome, used to hang during the period of solstice in winter a sock in a cave to receive gifts from a nymph. However, this is only a hypothesis. And it doesn't matter: today the Befana continues to be awaited by everyone, even by adults (who, however, tend to exchange gifts that are less demanding than those of Christmas) and always remembering to keep alive the tradition of the stocking to be filled.

Befana from north to south

But what are the dishes always linked to this holiday? In almost all regions there are traditional recipes that continue to live, especially with regard to desserts. In Tuscany, for example, they prepare for the occasion i horses di Siena, soft biscuits with water, sugar, honey, candied fruit, anise, nuts and yeast, while in Versilia there are so-called befanini, citrus-based shortbread biscuits e rum, covered with colored grain. In Varese January 6 rhymes with pinsa, a polenta pizza prepared with corn flour and dried fruit, while in Liguria there are the anicini (aniseed biscuits), in Abruzzo the pepatelli (similar to cantucci, but based on black pepper, honey, flour, cocoa, almonds and orange peel) while in Puglia you go by purcidduzzi from Salento at cartellate from Bari. In Campania, finally, the arrival of the Befana corresponds with the preparation of the prima pastiera of the year.

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