Friday, October 28, 2011

Pane, Pizza e Pasta

I thought I should mention some things we have been eating in Italy. As I mentioned earlier, groceries for a family of vegetarians and one vegan, can be challenging at any time, add to that a new language and differences in dietary habits and things can get a bit interesting. The food in Italy is fantastic. Things seem so much fresher and without so many additives. There is also a lot more local production and seasonal eating. There doesn't seem to be the widespread importing of food, which sadly we North Americans have been so used to. I must admit, I do like mango and avocado an awful lot and with out all the importing these things would not be part of my diet in Canada. Here, I have not yet found an avocado (but I hear they are here). And I have not been able to find frozen fruit.

So here are a few things that we have eaten a lot of, and I mean a lot.
Pane - Lots and lots of pane, it is fresh and it is good. Here in Tuscany they don't add salt to the pane. To be honest, they just don't add the salt the way we do in Canada, no salted butter to the children's dismay. Historically salt was a precious commodity and therefore used sparingly, it is where the word salary is derived. Really when you get used to unsalted food, which is better for you, you don't really miss it, too much. We are generally a whole wheat kind of family, integrale as they would say here. But here, the white crusty bread is plentiful and it make the most awesome paninis.

Pizza - Here there are many pizza places, and it is a pretty easy meal to feed a large family. We found a great place not to far away that makes pizza a metre long. You can have 3 different types of toppings on the one pizza, and it is sold by weight and it is fantastic! Yesterday we visited a little village and the local pizzeria squished the dough in a machine to make it super thin, it too was very good. And for the vegan you just say 'Non Formaggio' and all is good. For me two of my all time favourite foods are rucola (arugula in Canada, rocket in Australia, Roquette I believe in France) and prosciutto, and as luck would have it, the Italians like to throw that on top of a pizza, yeah for me!!!

Pasta - There is a whole aisle in the grocery store dedicated to pasta. And I mean a whole aisle, both sides and that is on top of the giant area of fresh stuff in the dairy aisle. There is an amazing variety of shapes, size and different companies, as well as pasta made with semolina, pasta made with rice or kamut or corn, you name it. For a country full of wheat products there seem to be a lot of alternatives for someone trying to avoid gluten. So far the family is set on a type of fat spaghetti, that actually isn't spaghetti but I forget the name, perhaps bucatini no.9. It is so fat and it is hollow in the centre and they love it.

I know it doesn't start with a 'p' so I didn't put it in the title, two other foods (and one is a beverage) I love are cappuccino and gelato, not necessarily together, but that is okay too. I just love the 'way' of coffee over here, you stand at the bar, you pay as you leave, it is lovely and good and inexpensive. The gelato is an art form all of it's own. In Firenze the gelati was sculpted into beautiful waves dotted with ingredients. We weren't the only ones taking pictures. And if there is one thing that will extend the life of a child after dragging them down cobblestone streets looking at piazzas and etruscan walls, it is a serving of well made gelato. So far a family fav combo is lemon and chocolate.

I promise to post some pizza and pasta pictures when I have some.

1 comment:

  1. Lemon and chocolate gelato sounds super tasty! My fave cake pre-gluten-free was lemon cake with chocolate icing. Not a combo you find in stores, I admit. I am snacking on a bag of Hickory Honey Baked Kettle chips, wondering how many points your pane is worth. :) Potato chips are gluten and dairy free sister, this is my new bandwagon, hop on. I admit I don't know what pane is, but I know 'pain' is bread in French, so guessing 'pane' is bread in Itialiano. See, I'm an armchair traveller, and you are my ticket to Italy.

    Love the photos. It helps me envision your life over there. What do Italians do for Hallowe'en? I'm sure something far cooler than us N. Americans. Do tell. And include pictures. :)

    Love you