Monday, April 19, 2010

Missing Italy, Missing Fabrizio

Fig.1. I love this man. No it's not what you think, I love Fabrizio because he feeds me, usually food I've never had before. Culatello from Zibello, Lardo from one of his neighbours, or an obscure cheese from Sardinia, this man is has it all.

Just back from a three week trip to Italy, and beside the jet lag, I’m finding it hard to re-adjust to my Montreal routine; it’s as if with every visit to Italy I leave a piece of myself behind. I keep thinking about the markets. The markets in Italy are wonderful: they hark back to another time. And while their primary function is economically based, the Italian market unearths a sense of informal community void in the West. Spontaneous episodes of conversation, usually about politics or soccer, which always get heated but always end with a laugh (usually). This sense of community is something anthropologist, Victor Turner refers to a Communitas: The power of a common experience in an unstructured community where people are equals.
I know it’s been awhile since my last post and I apologize, I’ve been on a rut since I returned—I really, really miss the food. Have a look at the pictures and join me in my sulk.

Fig.2. Baccala at the markets are sold with bones and without.

Fig.3. Saturday market in Ceprano. The produce in baskets indicates that it was grown from a local source, otherwise known as "personalized consumption." In small town Italy, eating local is not a catch phrase, it's the norm.

Fig.4. Saturday morning in Ceprano.

Fig.4. Artichokes, stems and all, are now in season in Italy, and in abundance.

Fig.5. Sfusato lemons from the Amalfi coast. The white flesh is sweet, these lemons are used to make limoncello

Fig.6. Campo Di Fiore market in Rome, opened every morning.

Fig.7. Cured sausages, at the market in Col Felice.

Fig.8. Bigger is sometime better, these prosciutto were the biggest I've ever seen. Fabrizio cuts me a few slices by hand; many Italians are not fans of the automatic slicer.

Fig.9. Olives and salted sardines. The fish are rinsed in water, deboned, and packed in oil.

Fig.10. Again, sometimes size does matter, these specimens gave me zucchini envy.


Tosh said...

I am a Canadian, but not of Italian descent. Rather Japanese in fact. A wonderful article. I have always viewed how the produce markets and "small" purveyors on both sides of the Atlantic are in stark contrast to the large chain stores. I was wondering if, in Italy, they have managed to keep out Walmart? Because if they do not, I have to very much join you in your sulk. At least we have you and David Rocco's "Dolce Vita" - Food . Tune-in and I guarantee it will lift your spirits!

The Hungry Italian said...

Hey Tosh,
There are no Walmarts in Italy and based on thier retreat from Germany, I doubt there will ever be. And you're right about the "stark contrast". In Most of (Latin) Europe, the food markets come to you.
As for Rocco, he does portray the proverbial "Italian dolce vita", very well, which makes me kind of want his job and thus putting me more in a rut.
Thank you for the comments Tosh,

Tosh said...

as the saying goes: "you are what you eat!" Keep the faith Sandro .. keep the faith. And thank you for your wonderful blog; it does much "to lift the spirits." Maybe one day Rocco will invite you along with him to Tuscany :D

Food and Fate said...

Caro Sandro,
Yes we do ship to Canada.

I like your philosophy about food - we share a lot in common.

stay in touch,