What is in this mysterious white box?


Aka: how an Italian can make her american friends happy…
Aaka: the white mistress of happiness (… the good one).

And here I am, back to San Francisco finally. After a long period in Italy traveling between Naples, Montesarchio and Torino, and after a short trip to Egypt working on Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, I am back. This time I didn’t forget to bring with me some fundamental stuff from Italy.

1) Italian ground coffee. This is necessary to use my coffee machine without damaging it with a too fine or too thick coffee. My moka was giving a horrible coffee and had started to whistle while brewing, a whistle that sounded like a cry for help. But now it is working perfectly, she is happy and I am also happy to taste a true Italian coffee when I need it.



2) I tarallini pugliesi al finocchietto. There is no english word for tarallo or tarallino. These are hard biscuit rings typical of many regions in the South of Italy. Among the best, are definitely the tarallini from Puglia with seeds of finocchietto. Taralli are made in an unusual way: there is no leaven in the dough, but there is olive oil, and the rings of dough are boiled in water before baking, this results in the hard crunchy texture that characterizes tarallini.



3) Finally, HER, the lady of all pleasures, the undisputed queen of every Italian antipasto, the pure white flower of ephemeral goodness, the fresher juicy fruit of all springs of the palate. HER, Our Lady Mozzarella…  Ok ok ok, I probably lost control in my excitement, but I swear that I am not far from the truth. With all respect for all cheese in the world, Italian, French, American, etc., mozzarella really embodies the philosophy of specialty, regionality, it is still impossible to taste a true good mozzarella far from where it is produced… i.e. in my region in the South of Italy, between Napoli, Benevento and Caserta. Mozzarella has a soft and elastic consistency, is moist and oozing with milk, and has an intense salty milky tasting. It is kept in its water, or juice, and it lasts with the right consistency for no more than one day. There is no point for me to describe it in detail, just important to know that what Italians call “mozzarella” is made from “buffalo milk”, the mozzarella made of cow’s milk is called “fior di latte”. The difference between the two is that the buffalo mozzarella is fatter and more tasty; the fior di latte is lighter and blander in taste.

So, I successfully drove 1 kilo of both buffalo and cow’s through American customs and enjoyed it with some friends in a “mozzarella feast”, accompanied with tarallini and a salad of tomatoes simply dressed with salt, oregano, and olive oil… it was “old” of two days and passed through a warm/cold/warm environment during my trip, but was still definitely enjoyable.


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