Category: Delicious

Coffee and cream at a bar in Perugia, Italy.

10 Rules Of The Italian “Bar”

In Italy, you can get your upper and your sedative in the same place. Morning, noon, and night. Want to make that a macchiato? How about a shot of brandy in it? And a pastry…with a glass of prosecco? And then another coffee in the afternoon to ward off the 3pm dull, before aperitivo rolls in around 5:00?

You only need to go to one place: a bar.

How the word bar worked its way into Italian language is a mystery to me (I imagine the French/anglicized term café is not used because it’s too close to the Italian word for coffee = caffé). But I do know that the culture, rules, and rituals of “bar” hopping differ greatly from what we anglophones are used to. So to help orient you for your next Italian travel, here are nine rules to help you navigate Italy’s infamous bar: (more…)

Bar in Parma, Italy

THE ITALIAN “BAR” – Leave Your Laptop At Home

We would’ve missed so much if our faces had been glued to computer screens. But I’ll get back to that. First, let’s begin with some terminology.

BAR: your one stop shop for everything pick-me-up in Italy.

In Italy, there is no such thing as a café. That’s a French idea, adopted by the Americans (who-knows-when). A bar in Italy, though—that’s where you want to go. Where they serve coffee beverages and all kinds of alcohol. Where there’s sometimes food*. Or live music (er, ummm…bad English hits). And pastries. Where people chat and mingle and catch up…

All in one place. Lookey, lookey, there’s more!

Horse figurines

Horse Meat, Anyone?

Horse is not my first choice of meats. Cow, pork, chicken—those are the usual ones. Duck, rabbit, even venison or buffalo are all acceptable animals to eat. But horses? They are friends, not food.

Being from Kentucky, and having ridden horses all my life, I always swore that horse was the one meat I could never eat. Yet I seem to be a homing device for bizarre foods: sea snails, cow tongue, haggis, blood sausage, tripe, geoduck, crocodile, and hippopotamus—I’ve tried them all (drawing the line at goat’s eyeballs).

But call it peer pressure, chock it up to an impulsive thirst for adventure, blame it on a moment of insanity…the truth is, when faced with the option (and the challenge), I broke down.

I ate horse. Giddyup for more!

Large, teardrop-shaped bread of Altamura (Italy), scattered on a shelf.

The Hunt For Altamura’s Secret Italian Bread – Part 2

This post is one of a two-part series, The Hunt For Altamura’s Secret Italian Bread — Part 1 and Part 2.

“He said go that way,” Jason explained. He was nonchalant in his lack of concern for precision.

“What do you mean, ‘that way’?” I urged. But he ignored me.

I followed.

We wound onto side streets and shimmied through narrow corridors between buildings built so closely together you could reach out of one window and touch the other.

Dish up some more!

Various breads spread among different baskets.

The Hunt For Altamura’s Secret Italian Bread – Part 1

This post is one of a two-part series, The Hunt For Altamura’s Secret Italian Bread – Part 1 and Part 2.

Every culture in the world has their version of it. The Russians have their rye, the German’s their white braided breads. India has her naans and puris, and France has her world-renowned boules and baguettes. Italy, however, is not the place I think of when I think of good bread.

When I think of Italy, I picture squishy, pure white balls of mozzarella. Shiny sun-ripened tomatoes. Earthy, cloudy extra virgin olive oils. I picture a place where pasta fresca is as ubiquitous as American corn.

But exquisite bread? That belongs somewhere else.

Admittedly, I’ve been wrong about things before. And so I must now hang my head when I say: I was wrong about this.

Hungry for more?