Tag: tells

There is a spy in the cart (which tells us how we are) – Italian Cuisine

There is a spy in the cart (which tells us how we are)

The food remains an authentic passion for Italians: even if they have to pull the case crisisin fact, the budget for the food sector "holds" (14.2% of family spending, two percentage points more than the average European) as taste remains the driving factor in the choice of food for 78 out of 100 Italians. Instead, the to cook like a little less. The time spent in the kitchen has been drastically reduced: 37 minutes average per day against 60 of twenty years ago. In parallel, purchases have increased ready meals (from salads in a bag to cooked dishes) and electric pots (instant pots) for quick cooking. And then more and more often we eat outside the home (36% of food spending). But above all the habit of ordering is spreading lunch or dinner on the phone or on the web and app to have them delivered directly to your home, as more than one does Italian out of four. It was the edition that photographed the habits of Italians 2019 of the Coop Report, Which explores the evolution of our country, both in terms of consumption and lifestyles and attitudes social. An observatory that, year after year, has become an important compass to understand how it is changing Italy just starting from the supermarket cart and the articulation of the expenses of the families.

Sushi is the sprinter among the "fast" dishes
Rapid and protein: these are the three characteristics of Italians' favorite food in the last year. The search for a difficult one equilibrium between private life and large load of work (400 hours a year more than the Germans), coveted by one Italian in two, pushes to prefer ready-made foods short while and with little effort. And so in a year the sales of "Instant food" increased by 9.3% to € 1.6 billion. And the offer has also increased: from the carpaccio di meat or fish with pizza, from stuffed pasta to meatballs, from pasta salads to polenta, from the fruit ready to the shelled dried fruit, there is only the embarrassment of the choice. The one that stands out on all these proposals is the sushi: 42% of those who do the super shopping usually buy it when they go to do the expense.

The menu turns into a single dish. Single
The Italian meal, with courses well marked by the appetizer sweet? Filed for the holidays. In everyday life the main dish wins, better if ready, even in a more meaningful sense large (from the first or second courses ready to fourth range fruit and vegetables) and without preclusion towards the most meal solutions modern, represented by replacement bars, by snacks sweet or savory. All product categories with growing sales, often in double digits. Something is also on the beverage front changing. We remain the land of wine, we continue to love the "bubbles" (and so we buy more and more sparkling and prosecco), but we are more and more "Beer lover": we bought them 7 million of hectoliters in 6 months.

Italian? It is always better
THE'Italianness is another key theme reported by the Coop Report. Half of Italians when shopping must be guided by the values ​​of "made in Italy" and the supply chain. And these attributes come to count even more than taste and taste price. 78% of consumers are reassured from products with 100% Italian origin, whose sales in 2018 are grew 4.8% compared to the previous year. Another 42% believe that a controlled / safe supply chain is synonymous with quality. Therefore, the area of ​​security is the predominant one in the choice of what buy and consume, and is worth more than double compared to pleasure e gratification (20%).

Gourmet always, more and more healthy
There is another basic trend that has been accompanying us for some years: it is the salutismo, which drives food spending by 27% of Italians. For 71% of Italians eat with quality food it is the most important habit to cultivate one's well-being. And this attitude is expressed in many ways different. Among those that emerged in the last year, the first is the preference for foods rich in fibers to the detriment of those who mainly supply fats and carbohydrates. In fact the food that has seen more purchases increase has been vegetables (+ 8%) and even fruit was purchased more than in 2017 (+ 2.2%). The second phenomenon of the year is the boom of the flavored waters (+ 164.7% sales by value) that goes hand in hand with the parallel collapse of the sodas carbonated. The advance of dried fruit continues (+ 4.1%). And then there is the "sanctification" of the protein, linked to physical form, performance and tone. You are in the shopping cart more cold cuts (+ 2.9%), more cheeses (+ 1.5%), more dairy products (+ 1.1%) and even more meat which, after years of crisis, has returned to growth (+ 3.5%). Also in 2019 the increase in sales of meat continues (especially packaged (+ 13.2%) while collapse those of substitute products, such as vegetable frankfurters, frozen ready meals veg, tofu, seitan and croquettes vegetable.

Also in Italy comes the "Greta effect"
The most recent novelty is concrete ecologism, that is the adoption of choices and styles of consumption that are attentive to the sustainability environmental, which in the case of food drives the expenditure of 22% of Italians. From the growth of the shared mobility (adopted by 4 out of 10 Italians) to the preference for fashion clothing sustainable (1 Italian out of four) to finish with the attention to search on the labels indications, stamps and information on sustainability (one Italian in two). And this sensitivity green is even greater in young people, who fall fully within the definition of "generation Greta ", and in the over 40s, the so-called "perennials", which are much greener than the millennials. Yet this desire for purchases "Ecological" he is not yet completely satisfied with what is on the market. Only 16.4% of the companies proposes eco-friendly products and so 14% of consumers find it difficult to make a purchase "Green".

Manuela Soressi
October 2019

Soft octopus: the expert tells how to choose and cook it – Italian Cuisine


How to do the soft octopus? It is the king of shellfish, one of the most appreciated and sought after fish products. As long as it is of quality. If indeed a good one octopus it turns out to be tasty, savory and soft, the poor one has little flavor and, above all, tough and rubbery meat.
The first defect is to be attributed to provenance, the second to the way it is treaty before the sale and, at home, before cooking.

171526The number one pitfall represents hardness and rubberiness: it is a moment indeed to transform a delicious mollusk into a "shoe sole". There are many tricks, starting with freezer, often paradoxically recommended (and for various purposes) with fresh fish.

Do not spend time instead in cooking with suighero caps, since it is an example of absolutely wrong folk wisdom. This tradition is born among fishermen, but with all other purposes.

The fishermen instead are usual beat them on the rocks and it is said that if freshly caught, the octopus actually softens.

There are many recipes, from octopus with potatoes to gallega, and the traditions associated with its cooking, which in some cases involve the removal of skin and suckers, among the most varied.

To clarify all these aspects we went to the fish market with Sandra Ciciriello (*), partner of Viviana Varese in their Alice Restaurant (click here), in Milan.


The first clarification of Sandra is known: "Octopus is only what it has two rows of suction cups along the tentacles ". The molluscs that have only one are of other species, such as the dormice.
Then, he settles once and for all the diatribe between octopus and octopus: "They are the same shellfish and today, by law, the name of sale in the fish market can only be octopus".

Having established what we are buying, let's see how to understand if it is a good buy.

Nostrano and fresh
To begin with, you need to check the fishing area that – we remember – must always be indicated on the label. The octopus national it is very precious, fished on the coasts of the Tirreno as on those ofAdriatic, from Liguria to Puglia, from Tuscany to Sicily.
It can arrive on the benches still alive, as Sandra shows us touching a tentacle making us notice how the suction cups retract suddenly.
Moreover, the octopus of the day has a color very clear, even creamy white (especially under the head), which gradually becomes pink, darker and gray as the mollusk "ages".


Defrosted from Morocco
Returning to the origin, the octopus habitat, which is caught all year round, extends to the whole Mediterranean. Outside Italy, the best comes from Morocco, both from the coasts overlooking the Mare Nostrum and from the Atlantic ones: "In the North African country, octopus fishing has for some years quota", says Ciciriello." The fishermen have shares that they must respect, and this affects the conservation of the species and the quality, which is excellent: from Morocco comes the absolute best octopus frozen, that is defrosted at the point of sale ".

Frozen? But isn't it always better to buy fresh fish? The octopus is the exception that confirms the rule: "Cold is the best way to enervate the meat of the octopus. This is why putting the fresh one day in the freezer, then thawing and cooking it, is a great way to have a tender octopus after cooking. "

Traditional curling
The other system is "Curl it": "At home I used to put the octopus in a basket (perfect for the salad spinner) with salt and ice, then I placed it in the sink. back and forth, 'ninnandolo', for about a quarter of an hour: the octopus made foam and emitted dark water, almost black. At the end of the treatment, he was ready for cooking ".

Even today this technique is adopted, as Sandra reminds us, at port of Bari where the fishermen gather the octopuses in big baskets that shake on the pier.

The best cooking
Back home with the best octopus on the market (remembering that the defrost is consumed within 24 hours), it's time to cook it. A delicate phase that, however, with the right tricks, it is impossible to go wrong.

There is a Neapolitan saying which reads: "The octopus is cooked in his water"." Boiling it in so much water, the flavor is lost ", explains Sandra." The best thing is to put it with just a finger of water in the casserole or even in pressure cooker, as Viviana does for her recipe ". Covered and brought to the fire, during cooking the octopus itself will emit a abundant liquid, red and savory that the chef uses, in small quantities, making it thicken to create a accompanying sauce.

THE times they are quite long, about 40-50 minutes for a one kilo octopus, which are reduced to about twenty in a pressure cooker. In all cases the octopus is cooked to perfection when a toothpick, inserted between the tentacles and the head, easily enters.

Remember then don't salt it: in general, it is already sufficiently tasty and in case you can adjust the flavor later.

Once boiled, the octopus is the perfect base for many recipes, from thesalad with potatoes to a pasta sauce.To enhance and intensify the marine taste, cooking is ideal to the plate. It is sufficient to scald it, for 3-4 minutes, over high heat in a non-stick pan with a lid, or on a cast iron plate. Or try the even more delicious alternative, toasting it on the embers of the barbecue.
In all cases, you will bring to the table a large dish that, following the advice of the expert, will be impeccable.

Roberta Fontana

(*) Sandra Ciciriello is an authority on the subject, that's why.
"I have been dealing with fish for thirty years. I started in the markets, I became a buyer turning all the suppliers in Italy and participating in auctions to bring the best of fish from Chioggia to Manfredonia, from Viareggio to Anzio. in retail, I had my own retail business, I treated the fresh, the preserved, the frozen … ".

All this before entering, in 2003, the adventure in catering. Today he is maître, sommelier and tireless business woman: with Viviana they have recently inaugurated, within Eataly Emerald (click here), Alice's Gastronomy.
But he never stopped loving and buying the best fish. And walking with her through the fish market stalls is a fascinating journey.

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