Baci di Dama, the cookies from Tortona

Two half of a moon made of almond dough get together in a dark chocolate kiss: the baci di dama are cookies from Piedmont, in the specific from the city of Tortona, where it seems they have been created at first more than a century ago.

Discover how to make these tasty sweets, perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea party or after dinner.

Instructions
  1. Put the almonds in a food processor and chop finely, add the sugar and blend.
  2. Add the flour 00 and do the classic fountain shape: in the center put the butter at room temperature and begin to knead vigorously. Form a ball and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Take the dough and cut many small balls put them on a baking tray with oven paper and continue to cook for twenty minutes with oven at 150° C.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the topping: melt the chocolate in a double boiler (bain marie) and stir in the egg yolk.
  5. When cookies have cooled, take one at a time and dip it in the melted chocolate. At this point attach them to each other by pressing them a bit in order to make them adhere better.
  6. Your "baci di dama" are ready done and can be kept for several days in a box.
Recipe Notes

WHICH WINE TO MATCH: to enhance the flavor of these cookies, you may want to serve your guests a glass of Passito di Pantelleria wine.

TIP: if you have organized a picnic with your friends, then you can present these baci di dama on a tray.

Thanks to Cucinare Dolci


Marco Bravin, tradition and innovation

Marco Bravin, a young breeze in the kitchen among tradition and creative innovation, from Veneto to the capital.

1) You are very young, yet you have already collected a number of important experiences abroad and Italy, like the 3 years spent at the Propaganda Café. Now you are a liter of Vineria Vineria: how are your past experiences contributing to the creation of Liters?

Before working at Litro in Rome, I learned to refine my cooking idea in Ferrara at the Don Giovanni restaurant, where I worked for 3 years. I've learned a lot from them by managing high quality products, I can say that it was my "gym". The owners love cooking with authentic products such as fish freshly fished, wild animals caught in the valleys of Emilia Romagna. This all touched my heart and I tried to place those values at the base of my dishes. Today, I try to take inspiration from those experiences by preparing dishes that I firstly like and then that can give customers pleasure by making them rediscover lost tastes with raw materials whose origin is certified.

2) How was the passion for cooking created and what made you do your job?

Indeed I started to cook and to get closer to food when I was very young. Certainly I've to thank my family: my mom has always worked in gastronomy for example, my grandfather was a pastry chef and my dad likes to go hunting. This is where my love for nature, fishing, hunting, organic farming was born. I personally love everything that is true and genuine and my secret is to bring this philosophy into the kitchen using seasonal products and rediscovering the tastes of old time. My passion therefore has come while getting close to nature and its wildest aspects, I would say, but certainly also with the most genuine and healthy ones.

3) At Litro you use a lot of eco-friendly products, biodynamic raw materials, such as high-quality wines, and perhaps from small producers. Can you give us Some Italian example of these excellences that you use in the kitchen?

Here in Litro together with the owner Maurizio Bistocchi we certainly want to propose biodynamic wines but our pursuit of authentic and natural food reverberates, for example, also on our vegetables. Our restaurant is supplied exclusively by our biodynamic vegetable garden, which is a few kilometers from here (in the Monterotondo area, in Rome) where we directly grow naturally vegetables. I can tell you, for example regarding fish, that we do not serve fish that are bred but only fished in the open sea. So we serve even blue fish, commonly called "poor" fish, but certainly fished and not bred. For example, I use a lot of rock trellis in my sea dishes, cooked in various ways. Talking about meat, I love wild game, such as ducks coming from the sea and migrating to our Venetian valleys.

4) What do you think is the strength of Made in Italy, of our food and our gastronomic culture?

In my opinion, Italy is the number one country in the world for food potentials. We have everything. We live in a peninsula between seas, mountains, and hills. We have hundreds of types of fruit and vegetable. Unfortunately, there is no co-ordination on our incredible heritage of food & beverage. We should focus more on small producers trying to push them and let them be discovered abroad. That is also another face of our made in Italy. I think of small producers of cold cuts, oil, and cheeses. We have often hidden and unpublished excellence. I think that unlike other European cuisines, the Italian one is the most varied and potentially even richer in terms of nutritional values. At least on paper, we all know the benefits of mediterranean diet. On this belief there is no comparison with any other European cuisine.

5) What are your future projects?

I certainly want to grow and refine the philosophy of my natural cuisine. My strength is to listen to what nature offers us constantly. Try to make them a treasure and be focused on the authentic flavors that we have in our country, discovering and revising the old recipes. For this reason I spend long time, when I can, in the contact with nature, fishing and hunting. My passion is cooking so for now I just want to keep on being a good chef by refining my techniques and my recipes. I take the opportunity to greet all the friends of I Love Italian Food, and I am one of your most trusted readers!


The Real Italian Cuisine at Sydney Italian Festival

From November 20 to 27, Italian cuisine will be celebrated throughout the world. The second edition of the "Italian Extraordinary Italian Taste Week", promoted by the Italian Government and implemented by the Foreign Ministries, the Agricultural Policies, the Miur and the Economic Development, will be even more rich in content and this time the important Italian wine sector will be included in the promotion of our cuisine, involving institutions, embassies, consulates, companies and professionals in the food and wine industry.

I Love Italian Food, along with our Italian Food Ambassador Vincenzo Prosperi, is proud to give its support also this year as media partner of the Sydney Italian Festival, which will enliven the entire Australian capital for an entire week with a rich calendar of events dedicated to the real made in Italy cuisine.

There will be culinary experiences for everybody in restaurants, bars, wine shops and Italian gastronomy stores: real Italian food lovers will be able to get involved in the culture of our Bel Paese in tasteful tones.


I Love Italian Food Live in Shanghai

I Love Italian Food lands in the Far East during the FHC China, in Shanghai, which will start on November 14th for 3 days dedicated to the international food and beverage, and where we will tell and promote the real made in Italy food.

I LOVE ITALIAN FOOD WITHIN THE FAIR

From November 14th to 16th we will tell the Chinese audience, but not only, about some of the most popular Italian products at ICE stand. Together we will discover the world of truffles, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and the Italian Gelato with the Tartufo di Pizzo, a Calabrian specialty, through specific storytellings and live performances.

On November 16th, moreover, we will tell the uniqueness, the history and the ways of use of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the Oil Theatre where the public will be able to attend a cooking show and a tasting with our associate Coppini Arte Olearia products.

100per100Italian Experience

Wednesday November 15th, our 100per100italian experience night will take place at Prego, theWestin Bund Center Italian restaurant to celebrate the Italian food and gastronomic culture with a special menu made by the executive chef Saverio d'Antonio.

100per100italian Places

Telling the real Italian food is also about showing those places where it's possible to live a real Italian gastronomic experience.

Thus, Tuesday November the 14th we will be welcomed at Va Bene Italian restaurant by chef Natalino Ambra to tell you the philosophy, the values and the food that represents Italy in Shanghai.

I Love Italian Food Live in Shanghai will involve our network of international professionals and it is realized thanks to the support and collaboration of Coppini Arte Olearia, Milk and DairyDHL Global Forwarding, Insider China, GIV e Callipo.


I Love Italian Food brings you to FICO

From November 15th for the entire first month of activity, we will also host the new Italian Farmer Factory (FICO). As media partner along with Dissapore, we will bring you to discover the Italian food chains, the typical products and traditional preparations of our beautiful country.

Today journalists and media have been welcomed to start to know FICO and have a first meeting with its reality: 2 acres of fields and stables with more than 200 animals and 2000 cultivars, 40 peasant factories dedicated to the production of meat, fish, cheeses, pasta, oil, sweets, beer; over 40 different dining options, as well as 30 events and 50 courses per day between classrooms, theater, and educational spaces. The whole can be visited through a pedestrian or cycling route.

If you decide to discover FICO by December 15th, then we will wait for you at our media corner.


Patrick Pistolesi and made in Italy mixology

Patrick Pistolesi: international experiences, Jameson Whiskey Ambassador and Cocktail World 2012 Finalist. You are considered one of the Top Worlds in the mixology field, succeeding in creating a truly high-quality show. In short, when we are talking about "Rome to drink," you are certainly the right person to turn to.

How was the passion for cocktails born?

The passion for cocktails was born when I was very young: my mom is Irish, my dad Italian, so both of them have brought me into the Italian kitchen on one side, and on the other into the pubs in Ireland. In this last case, my cousins ​​also made me experience the Irish pub very soon. We could say that the figure of the bartender always fascinated me: this person who always calls by name everyone in the pub, no matter the personalities, in short, he's kind of the orchestra director of the adult recreation. All those bottles behind the counter were completely obscure for me at that time, then I learned to recognize them one by one. The barman is the one who welcomes from the door any kind of person, without distinction, in the place that is the least racist on the earth. So my passion was born immediately and I fell in love with this place, then obviously it grew also for need. I was lucky because it was one of the first jobs I did and I found the right one.

Italian mixology: can we talk about an Italian culture in this field too?

Absolutely and totally. The American Bar culture was born in America, where the cocktails has been consecrated. However, looking at how we have worked in the past here in Italy, we have always been dealing with alcohol. In modern mixology, we can not forget about the Italian aperitivo, famous all over the world, that made us leader in the whole field: with the creation of all those products such as Italian Bitters, Vermouth, or cocktails like the Americano or the Spritz, which was born during the First World War. All these foreign influences found their own expressions here in Italy. Think about tomato and basil spaghetti, which is the symbol of Italy, but with no Italian ingredients (if we look at the origin of raw materials): the spaghetti is Chinese, the tomato is South American and the basil is Thai. Everything that comes to us here in Italy finds fertile soil. So we can say that Italy has a great tradition in the food and wine field, but above all it has the ability to turn everything into excellence.

What are your favorite Italian cocktails and which one represents better our beautiful country?

What is most important is the aperitif, a totally Italian moment between 6 and 8 in the evening, just before dinner. On the other hand, the aperitif comes from "to open" which means "preparing for the meal" and we have our traditional drinks preparing for dinner. An uplifting example are the corroborating drinks, such as Vermouth, which is an alcohol-spiced wine and spice that is born as a genuine care. The bitter ones were created by those who knew well botanicals and medicine. Having said this, we can say that a Negro abroad, wherever you are, you can ask for it and find it without a doubt.

Mixology: history, tradition but certainly a great trend in recent years. How to understand when dealing with a professional?

Let's start from the assumption that ours is a work of great sacrifice. This I say because we are people who constantly answer questions, never statements. "Can I have ...?", "Where's the bath?", "How much does it cost?", "Do you have a phone battery charge?", Whoever has more. We are the information center of everything that happens from 8 pm onwards. It takes so much patience, so many nights spent guiding people and taking care of adult recreation. Even private life suffers. This is a work that is done with love and in which there must be a great passion, we must be totally devoted to what is our role and that helps to make a unique moment for gentlemen, that moment at the end of the work, in which you seek refreshment. This is important. Confirming the factor of sacrifice and total dedication, the study is also important, because this is what allows you to stand behind a counter and talk about everything, spacing. It is therefore essential to have a predisposition for human curiosity in all areas. So, what is a professional? It is he who sees the invisible things, that is, of the simplest things that are in front of you all day. A nonprofessor usually fills the mouth of millions of words, does pandasic flights, exhibiting his drinking culture. Here is a knowledge that we must be part of our work, but you do not have to blow it into the face of the customer who may even feel embarrassed: what you want at that moment is a moment of simplicity and not a mixing lesson. Having the discretion and the ability to anticipate customer desires, from small movements, is something that can only be understood through experience. A tip I would like to give young bartenders is to always say yes and to be as silent as possible to learn to be careful about what is said and to deal with people's habits. It is very important to be able to create this bond with the customer, something very rare, a very important trust relationship that only takes time. So at first look a lot, be sure to say too much about yourself. It's all a game of human mixing and emotions that can keep up in balance from 7 in the evening until late at night.

Where to drink here in Rome? Are there tips about real Rome institutions where to drink?

In Rome we are full of talented young people and also of great institutions. In the 1960s, we were the soul of the Dolce Vita, so I will leave immediately by some places that I think must be visited, the mecca that gathers both young bartenders, but also those symbols where you have to go for pampering: for example, the Stravinskij Bar within the Hotel de Russie is a wonderful place, an old Russian czar estate that then became the center of Rai and now a hotel whose guide has had Massimo D'Addezio, my most esteemed colleague and master . I also remember the Sofitel or Hotel Locarno, ideal for relaxing with something classic, from the taste of other times and taking some time for yourself with a beautiful Martini, to feel pampered. This concerns the hotel bars, but then there are so many categories.

For the aperitif I recommend the street bar, such as Brakes and Clutches which, in my opinion, beats all of them: it is a bar that in my opinion hides much its talent, is not vanity, does not compete, can take the mass, but at the same time it has a great preparation and a great research, together with the great professionalism of the boys who mix.

Then how do you not name Jerry Thomas guys? We can say that they have been the promoters of this Renaissance cocktail here in Italy, who united us all, putting the barman under the same star and creating a gathering place for a drink, where this new movement was born. From Jerry we can jump to equal foot to their other bar La Punta, a theme bar where you eat well, a place to spend an exotic evening. Obviously there are a lot of other colleagues I would like to quote, but I managed to put all the points together. Another speakeasy to mention is ARGOT with Gianluca Melfa, then the Club Derrière with the great Davide Diaferia and Giampaolo Dipierro, a viable alternative to Jerry.

Future projects?

Let's say I will continue to work for Jameson, this important Whiskey Irish company. I have always been fortunate enough to be able to work with companies such as Hendrick's Gin, Schweppes, etc.

At the moment I came to the third year with the Propaganda project, a beautiful project that, however, I think I will conclude soon to open a local one. I do not know when, but surely in 2018, when I will celebrate 20 years of career and I just want to crown them like this. I willingly spend two words for Propaganda: for me it was the Termini station for those projects in which I have always been called and involved to support their realization. I did jumps when Maurizio Bistocchi offered me to join the team. It was, and still is, a wonderful experience. The future is still in an embryonic stance, but we say that management is the one that has just been anticipated. Propaganda will remain the last venue to end this part of my career and then start another with a concept that will be all mine and that I have matured all these years. Even though I have always had a blank card and freedom of expression in my work, this will be my first true creature. Let's say this is what's boiling in the pot: a new opening in 2018.


The real made in Sicily goes to USA thanks to Gustoso

There are 12 Sicilian companies that have joined the "GUSTOSO" project, and I Love Italian Food will be media partner to promote the authentic made in Italy food products and, in this case, made in Sicily. The common goal is to conquer the American public by bringing Sicilian gastronomy products to the shelves of the Great Distribution in USA. Typicality, authenticity, bonding with the territory, Dop and Igp products, history and tradition are the values ​​that each of these medium-sized food companies transmit through their own work, thus gaining high-quality products.

The companies that are currently participating in the project "Gustoso" will sell under an only brand, which is Gustoso, to facilitate the approach and purchase of Sicilian product in the American market, a coordinated action supported by strategic marketing and communication plans to support 'Gustoso' products entry into the American market.

"With Gustoso," explains Daniele Cipollina, Founder of the network "the companies involved share the same idea of ​​approaching the market, benefiting from economies of scale. The network thus becomes a valuable tool for aggregating and improving competitiveness, as well as being able to benefit from solutions and facilitations to oversee the foreign market: from specific advice on export to commercial contracts, up to support for participation in races and international tenders".

The targets are ambitious: in 2018 the reference market will be North America, and from 2019 will be time for UK and to start to analyze the possible entry into the Chinese market. The business volume envisaged for the first 24 months of business, following the business plan, is $ 25 million.

"Gustoso," Cipollina concludes, "is focused on Sicilian realities, but it has the ambition to have a much broader perspective: the concept of territoriality of Made in Italy can expand to all Italian regions to approach in the near future all the Italian regional market as a whole through the system of business network. "

The project is also supported by two well-established chefs, with the task of enhancing the network products: Pasquale Caliri, ambassador of Sicilian cuisine in the world, is the chef of "Marina del Nettuno Yacting Club" in Messina and he offers sea food which is based on elements of the Sicilian tradition to propose new culinary trends. Peppe Giuffrè, born in Trapani and adopted by Palermo city, cooks, studies and researches to present and preserve the history of the gastronomic and cultural heritage of Sicily.

Gustoso is also seen as a partner in the project "Healthy Eating, Sicilian Eating", designed by Codacons Sicilia with the participation of Assoutenti, Confeuropa Consumatori, Consaambiente, Codici Sicilia and Udicon, which aims to protect the heritage Sicilian agro-food, material and immaterial.

The strength of Gustoso is not only in the business network itself, but it is also represented by the many partners who support it, as well as I Love Italian Food.


Made in Italy supports the cancer research in New York

I Love Italian Food is happy and proud to support the Association of Italian Chefs of New York in raising the breast cancer awareness.

On Sunday October the 15th, I Love Italian Food will be partner of the AICNY, which invites you in Little Italy of New York for "AICNY Goes Pink", the event in support of breast cancer awareness month! Located in the courtyard of the Most Precious Blood Church, experience more than a dozen amazing 100% Italian chefs who will organize performances and tastings.

Among the chef, let's mention: Raffaele Solinas (Maiella), Michele Mazza (Il Mulino), Massimo Sola (Sola Pasta Bar), Fortunato Nicotra (Felidia), Massimo Bebber (Cipriani) and many others, each at their own station, cooking delicious Naples pizza, Italian antipasti and fresh pasta in a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel. It will be also possible to taste figs with Prosciutto di Parma or Parmigiano Reggiano with Aceto Balsamico, while drinking 100% Italian cocktails. Sample them all is a delicious way to support the critical research needed to find a cure for breast cancer.

The whole proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, one of the biggest non-profit organizations for cancer research in the United States, and St. Patrick's Old Cathedral Basilica, which will host the event.

Thanks to our partners who supported this project: Rigoni di Asiago, Pomì, Saclà, Due Vittorie and Dalter.

More info and tickets available at: AICNY Goes Pink


Taste of Italy: the authentic Italian food in Los Angeles

On Saturday October the 14th, the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA) will animate Los Angeles downtown with the 9th edition of Taste of Italy, the annual event dedicated to real Italian food. Thanks to the participation of professionals and field experts, as well as special guests, Taste of Italy showcases the region’s top restaurants, and award-winning wineries, as well as chef demonstrations and live entertainment by LA Opera, Nick D’Egidio and the Dry Martini Orchestra and DJLo. To celebrate the IAMLA’s current temporary exhibition “The Sicilian Cart: History in Movement,” Sicilian food and culture will figure prominently at the event, from grilled octopus, to arancini and cannoli.

The event's proceeds will be donated to the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, which is not only one of the oldest remaining structure from the city’s historic little Italy (1908), but also the place where Italian history recorded on the American territory is preserved and shown.

For this occasion, we give all our followers and Italian food lovers the chance to use a special discount coupons to buy online tickets:
  • ILOVE5 - $5 OFF General Admission
  • ILOVE20 - $20 OFF Premiere Admission
Full price tickets:
  • $60 General Admission (6 food + 6 wine tastings)
  • $125 Premiere (10 food + 10 wine tastings, VIP bag, and red carpet entrance)

For more info and tickets: www.italianhall.org/TOI