Christmas is coming! Looking for a great gift for your best friend, your parents or simply yourself? What about food? Here the best from Italy

Looking for a great gift for your best friend, your parents or simply jourself?
Text and photos by © Cesare Zucca

While in Milan, I visited the spectacular MILANO GOLOSA 2022, an annual food bonanza featuring the most exquisite, unique, niche colletion of Made in Italy food.
Here my choice of some of the BEST ITALIAN FOOD to enrich your cuisine and bring to your table.
Buon Appetito!








onverre isn’t just an expert assembly of ingredients in a jar, but a
dynamic product rich with soul.

Its glass container holds the story of the chef who has created an exclusive recipe imbued with the flavors of his homeland, sharing it with the world

The authentic taste of the italian cooking tradition sealed in glass…he research of high-quality raw materials to create excellent products is one of the cardinal rules of Bonverre’s philosophy. Only with the very best ingredients is it possible to give rise to Italy’s true regional traditions without compromise. .. BONVERRE isn’t just an expert assembly of ingredients in a jar, but a dynamic product rich with soul. Its glass container holds the story of the chef who has created an exclusive recipe imbued with the flavors of his homeland, sharing it with the world




BIOE’ Extra virgin olive oil is produced exclusively from organic farming, respecting the environment and above all produced with all the precautions that guarantee its excellent quality. Suitable for those who love a healthy diet and quality at the table, Bío extra virgin olive oil enhances all preparations in the kitchen; consumed both cooked and raw, this excellent product has great nutritional value and is also a valuable food for feeding children.




I TAKE TO THE BEAUTIFUL GARDA LAKE , WHERE OIL IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE BEST OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY… OLEARIA CALDERA draws inspiration to offer its customers the best extra virgin oils. The founder’s thirty years of experience and persevering will have given life to a prestigious company, sensitive and attentive to the requests of an increasingly demanding consumer.I looove the antique tiles look of the label , and … what a taste!


LES MOVE TO TUSCANY TO DISCOVER THE BIO OLIVE OIL PRODUCED BY FATTORIA DI MAIANO , just 5 km from Florence. in a breathtaking panorama of green hills with cypress woods and olive trees, and rooms available for a beautiful weekend


MADE BY ANTICO FRANTOIO DI PERMA, In the heart of Basilicata,
where olive trees embellish the hills set among the Lucanian Dolomites, A high-quality product needs to be dressed in beauty. So we decided to give a new look to our long-established oil: ceramic design bottles handmade and painted by Basilicata artisans.





The name itself Fattoria Oliveto testifies to the company’s ancient vocation for the cultivation of olive trees. At an altitude of about 150 meters above sea level centuries-old olive trees are cultivated in the old traditional forms. The varieties are the most common in the Chianti area: Frantoio, Moraiolo, Leccino and Pendolino.


Not a macaroon, not a Bacio di Dama, not a Giuanduja Creme…. those “loveble ” kisses are the Bacio Ninin, made with the ingredients that come from the teritory, such as Piedmont IGP hazelnuts, stone-ground soft wheat flour type 1, fresh eggs and butter. The generous filling consists of a cremino, prepared with dark chocolate 60% cocoa, Piedmont IGP hazelnut paste and Boubon vanilla from Madagascar



WELCOME TO SPACCANAPOLI ! Discover how to make a true Neapolitan Pizza

Spaccanapoli is a colorful journey through beauty, taste and … the unmistakable scent of pizza! An itinerary that, in my opinion, is the soul of Naples, its essence and all its lively Neapolitan reality.

You are ready? Let’s go! For this new adventure I let myself be accompanied by Gennaro Buonocore (already the name is a guarantee …) Neapolitan doc and a very special guide at the helm of  which organizes tours to discover the beauty, the taste and the secrets that this magical city can offer.

So, do you want to make a REAL napolean pizza?
Who better than the Piazza Verace Napoli Association could tell me?
Here is the original recipe handed down by generations of pizza makers.
The diameter must not exceed 35cm. The raised edge (the famous cornicione ) must be about 1-2 cm, well swollen and free from burns. The Neapolitan pizza must be soft and fragrant.

water: 1 liter
salt: 40-60 gr
of fresh beer 0.1-3 gr,
mother 5-20% of the flour used
of dry beer 1 to 3 ratio compared to fresh beer
flour: 1.6-1.8 kg (00 or 0 flour)

Flour, water, salt and yeast are mixed, starting with the water, making sure that direct contact between salt and yeast does not occur for more than 5 minutes, otherwise the salt would damage the yeast cells. Pour a liter of water into the mixer, dissolve a quantity of sea salt between 40 and 60 g, add 10% of the flour with respect to the total quantity envisaged, then dissolve the yeast, start the mixer and the rest of the flour is gradually added until the desired consistency is reached, defined as the dough point.

The dough must be worked in the fork, spiral, plunging arm mixer (all with rounded corner and rotating basket) until a single compact mass is obtained.
To obtain an optimal consistency of the dough, the amount of water that a flour is able to absorb (hydration) is very important.
Leavening and maturation
The dough, once extracted from the mixer, is left to rest covered with a damp cloth so that the surface cannot harden, forming a sort of crust caused by the evaporation of the humidity released by the dough itself.
After the time deemed necessary to settle and rest the dough, the dough is molded, traditionally done by hand.

In the Neapolitan technique, in the traditional hand staglio, the dough is shaped (staglio) in the form of balls with a technique that recalls the preparation of mozzarella (mozzatura).
For the “true Neapolitan pizza” the loaves must have a weight between 200 and 280 g, to obtain a pizza with a diameter between 22 – 35 cm.
Once the loaves are formed (staglio), a second leavening takes place in food boxes of varying duration, depending on the temperature and humidity characteristics of the environment and the absorption of the flour used.
Maturation consists of a series of biochemical and enzymatic processes that break down the most complex structures, proteins and starches into simpler elements. Overall fermentation times: min 8 – max 24 hours (with the possible addition of processing hours – max 4 hours).
How to roll out the pizza
With a movement from the center outwards and with the pressure of the fingers of both hands on the dough, which is turned several times, the pizza maker forms a disc of dough so that in the center the thickness is not more than 0.25 cm with a allowed tolerance of ± 10%.
The toppings
The products used must preferably be of Campania origin.
The hand-crushed peeled tomato must be not dense and with pieces still present.
Fresh tomatoes should be cut into wedges.
The buffalo mozzarella (cut into slices) or the fior di latte (cut into strips) must be distributed evenly.
The grated cheese (if used) should be spread on the pizza with a uniform and rotating motion.
Fresh basil leaves are placed on the seasonings.
The extra virgin olive oil is added with a spiral movement.

The cooking Cooking must take place inside a wood oven which must have reached a temperature of about 430-480 ° C between the stalls and the vault. With these temperatures it is sufficient to insert the pizza for 60-90 seconds, in which the pizza will cook evenly over the entire circumference.



Spaccanapoli è un colorato percorso tra il bello, il gusto e… l’inconfondibile profumo della pizza! Un itinerario che, secondo me, è l’anima di Napoli, la sua essenza e tutta la sua vivace realtà partenopea.

Siete pronti? Partiamo!

Per questa nuova avventura mi sono fatto accompagnare da Gennaro Buonocore (già il nome è una garanzia…) napoletano doc e guida davvero speciale al timone di che organizza tour alla scoperta del bello, del gusto e dei segreti che questa città magica può regalare.

Prima sosta il Belvedere di San Martino, dove è possibile ammirare la città dall’alto. Dalla collina del Vomero inoltriamoci nel colorato mercato della Pignasecca, percorrendo le scale della Pedamentina arriviamo nei caratteristici Quartieri Spagnoli.

Incrociamo via Toledo fino al meraviglioso Palazzo Carafa di Maddaloni. All’improvviso, il tortuoso itinerario prende respiro e sfocia nella Piazza del Gesù. Se siete appassionati di cinema, riconoscerete la facciata del Palazzo Pandola ha fatto da set L’oro di Napoli e Matrimonio all’italiana di Vittorio De Sica con la più grande diva napoletana: Sofia Loren.

Sofia Loren e Marcello Mastroianni in una scena tratta dal film Matrimonio all’italiana girata a Palazzo Pandola. Sullo sfondo si vede Piazza del Gesù Nuovo

Nella Piazza troneggiano la Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo e l’Obelisco dell’Immacolata, avvolto da un’aura leggendaria… infatti, grazie ad un gioco di luci ed ombre, permette di intravedere l’immagine della morte! Meglio fare un salto al vicino Scaturchio, la più rinomata pasticceria napoletana: babà, pastiera, sfogliatelle, struffoli, zeppe di San Giuseppe….
Dimentichiamoci la dieta….

I famosi dolci di Scaturchio

Da qui il primo tratto che incrociamo è Via Benedetto Croce, celebre filosofo che visse nel Palazzo Filomarino che potrete ammirare lungo la strada.  Sosta d’obbligo, il Monastero di Santa Chiara, con il suo splendido Chiostro maiolicato, un’ oasi di pace ricoperta da maioliche multicolore.

Il Monastero di Santa Chiara

Lungo questo percorso sono sorti piccoli hotel e bed and breakfast, che permettono ai turisti di vivere Napoli proprio come fanno i napoletani. Tra questi consiglio il 4 stelle Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel situato al piano nobile di Palazzo Tufarelli, dimora storica del XVII secolo.

Nelle 7 suites e 3 glam room, il classico degli affreschi incontra un design moderno e confortevole, le finestre si affacciano sulla città,  un attento restauro ha conservato molte delle caratteristiche di questo magnifico edificio (soffitti con travi originali, splendide porte dipinte, finestre alte, pavimenti in cotto antico) mentre un mix di mobili antichi e contemporanei uniti ai comfort di oggi , lo rendono aggiornato e accogliente.

Boutique Hotel Santa Chiara

Qui il breakfast è, per dirlo alla napoletana, “nu babà”!
Ho trovato tutte le prelibatezze della pasticceria napoletana, incluse le torte e le sfogliatelle di Scaturchio, accompagnate da altre squisitezze dolci e salate, oltre a frutta freschissima, uova e omelettes a richiesta.

Delizie mattiniere del Santa Chiara Hotel. A sinistra il Danubio, un pan brioche al prosciutto e formaggio

Dopo pochi passi si arriva in Piazza San Domenico caratterizzata dalla guglia, costruita lì dove un giorno sorgeva uno degli ingressi alla città greco-romana. Da qui, percorrendo la salita accanto alla piazza, arriviamo a uno dei luoghi più misteriosi della cirttà: la Cappella Sansevero che conserva all’interno il celebre Cristo Velato, opera scultorea di Giuseppe Sanmartino, che rappresenta Cristo morto, adagiato su un letto, coperto da un velo di marmo talmente realistico da sembrare vero.

Il Cristo Velato

A pochi passi vi aspettano due piccoli gioielli, la Chiesa di Sant’Angelo e la scultura del Dio Nilo,  raffigurato come un vecchio che appoggia i piedi sulla testa di un coccodrillo. Subito dopo incontrerete un altarino dedicato a Maradona, dove una teca custodisce la foto di Maradona ed un suo capello.

Nel vicino vicolo, chiamato “vicut Cornelianus”, si trova la Chiesa di Santa Luciella,  piccolo gioiello architettonico che, grazie all’Associazione Respiriamo Arte, è stata recentemente riaperta al pubblico. Nell’ipogeo è situato un raro esemplare di cranio con cartilagini mummificate, ribattezzato come il “teschio con le orecchie” La leggenda del teschio è legata al culto delle anime pezzentelle, ovvero senza una degna sepoltura, i cui scheletri venivano dimenticati nelle fosse comuni.

il “teschio con le orecchie”

Riprendiamo il cammino: la via cambia nome e diventa San Biagio dei Librai con il Palazzo Marigliano e il caratteristico cortile con la scala a doppia rampa.. Sosta d’obbligo alla Taralleria Napoletana di Leopoldo Infante, tempio del vero tarallo , un cibo “di recupero” nato a Napoli durante il ‘700, quando i fornai riutilizzavano gli avanzi della pasta di pane aggiungendo strutto di maiale e pepe, un cibo che arriva fino ai giorni nostri, nella sua veste originale, con sugna, pepe e mandorle fino alle varianti con pomodori o friarielli.

Qui non mancano le curiosità come l’ Ospedale delle Bambole, una bottega che dal 1840 è capace di ‘guarire’ le bambole rotte. E’ un negozio che riceve richieste da tutto il mondo  e che aiuta tutti i vecchi giocattoli a ritrovare l’antica bellezza. Entrerete: in luogo irreale popolato da teste, braccia, piedi, occhi, un’interna anatomia delle bambole, alcune in cura da molti giorni, altre solo di passaggio.

Incrociamo Via San Gregorio Armeno, famosa in tutto il mondo per le statuine, da quelle del Presepe ai vip di oggi… e non mancano le star dello sport e della musica, e dell’attualità, da Bruno Vespa, al Papa, a Pino Daniele a Renato Zero.

”O’ Cuzzetiello” ,
Uno snack? Macchè….”O’ Cuzzetiello” , è davvero un pasto completo, concentrato in un piccolo pezzo di pane cafone servito con il tradizionale ragù. Ci riporta al rituale culinario della domenica e un appuntamento per i più golosi. Anche nelle strade dove oggi viene proposto come “Street Food”…

Voglia di cioccolato?
Quasi 100 anni fa, Isidoro Odin, cioccolatiere di Alba, partì alla conquista di Napoli con tanta voglia di sperimentare, di regalare emozioni ed esperienze memorabili attraverso le sue creazioni. E ci è riuscito. Dalla bottega di Via Chiaia alla fabbrica di Cioccolato, oggi Gay Odin è considerate il paradiso del cioccolato vanta ben 9 punti vendita.

Alla fine di Via San Biagio dei Librai incrociamo via Duomo e poi Piazzetta Forcella in uno dei più autentici quartieri napoletani dove si può ammirare il volto di San Gennaro del famoso street artist Jorit. Spaccanapoli termina qui, ma sono certo che le vostre avventure e i vostri racconti “spaccanapoletani” continueranno….

Il murale di San Gennaro di Jorit Agoch

La pizza più buona?
Ho provato a chiedere in giro quale fosse la migliore pizzeria rischiando di sollevare una guerra civile… Chi diceva un nome, chi controbatteva con un altro indirizzo, chi mi diceva da Gennaro, chi da Michele… Consigliatissime anche Vesi e La Figlia del Presidente, storiche pizzerie di Spaccanapoli

Insomma, dopo un buona mezzora di indagini, ho tirato le somme e mi sono infilato nella più ‘gettonata’: Lombardi a Santa Chiara, e non ho sbagliato!
Nata nel 1922, la pizza di Lombardi è stata servita a personaggi illustri come Gabriele D’Annunzio, Matilde Serao, Salvatore Di Giacomo e Benedetto Croce che abitava proprio di fronte alla pizzeria,
Lombardi continua a celebrare l’ illustre storia della pizza con farine attentamente selezionate e topping realizzati con  ricercate materie prime, dal San Marzano Dop alla mozzarella di bufala campana Dop, mentre ogni mese arriva “La pizza del mese” che segue il ritmo delle stagioni. Al timone I maestri Pizzaioli Michele Lungo e Carmine Prisco che ci sorprendono con le loro pizze “gourmet” come l’ultimissima “new entry” alla pancetta, fichi e gorgonzola.

Una pizza “gourmet” di Lombardi: crema di zucchine, chip di zucchine, prosciutto cotto croccante, basilico cristallizzato, fonduta di bufala

Il bello , il gusto e… la pizza! Weekend a SPACCANAPOLI, la strada verace che “spacca in due” la città.

Come si prepara una Vera Pizza Napoletana ?
Chi meglio della Associazione Piazza Verace Napoli poteva dirmelo?
Ecco la ricetta originale tramandata da generazioni di pizzaioli.
Il diametro non deve superare i 35cm
Il bordo rialzato (il famoso cornicione) deve essere di circa 1-2 cm, ben gonfio e privo di bruciature
La pizza napoletana deve essere morbida e fragrante.

: 1 litro
sale: 40-60 gr
di birra fresco 0.1-3 gr,
madre 5-20% della farina utilizzata
di birra secco rapporto 1 a 3 rispetto al fresco
farina: 1,6-1,8 kg (farina 00 o 0)

Si mescolano farina, acqua, sale e lievito, partendo dall’acqua assicurandosi che il contatto diretto tra sale e lievito non avvenga per un tempo superiore ai 5 minuti, altrimenti il sale andrebbe a danneggiare le cellule del lievito. Si versa un litro di acqua nell’impastatrice, si scioglie una quantità di sale marino compresa tra i 40 e i 60 g, si aggiunge il 10 % della farina rispetto alla quantità complessiva prevista, successivamente si stemperano il lievito, si avvia l’impastatrice e si aggiunge gradualmente il resto della farina fino al raggiungimento della consistenza desiderata, definita punto di pasta.

L’impasto deve essere lavorato nell’impastatrice a forcella, a spirale, a braccia tuffanti (tutte con cestello ad angoli smussati e rotante) fino a che non si ottiene un’unica massa compatta.
Per ottenere un’ottimale consistenza dell’impasto è molto importante la quantità d’acqua che una farina è in grado di assorbire (idratazione).
Lievitazione e maturazione
L’impasto, una volta estratto dall’impastatrice, si lascia riposare coperto da un panno umido in modo che la superficie non possa indurirsi formando una sorta di crosta causata dall’evaporazione dell’umidità rilasciata dall’impasto stesso.
Trascorso il tempo ritenuto necessario all’assestamento e al riposo dell’impasto, si passa alla formatura del panetto, tradizionalmente eseguita a mano.

Nella tecnica napoletana, nello staglio tradizionale a mano, l’impasto viene sagomato (staglio) sotto forma di palline con una tecnica che ricorda la preparazione delle mozzarelle (mozzatura).
Per la “verace pizza napoletana” i panetti devono avere un peso compreso tra i 200 ed i 280 g, per ottenere una pizza di diametro tra 22 – 35 cm.
Una volta formati i panetti (staglio), avviene una seconda lievitazione in cassette per alimenti di durata variabile, in funzione delle caratteristiche di temperatura e umidità dell’ambiente e dell’assorbimento della farina utilizzata.
La maturazione consiste in una serie di processi biochimici e enzimatici che scindono le strutture più complesse, proteine e amidi in elementi più semplici. I tempi complessivi di fermentazione: min 8 – max 24 ore (con eventuale aggiunta delle ore di lavorazione – max 4 ore).
Come stendere la pizza
Con un movimento dal centro verso l’esterno e con la pressione delle dita di entrambe le mani sul panetto, che viene rivoltato varie volte, il pizzaiolo forma un disco di pasta in modo che al centro lo spessore sia non superiore a 0.25 cm con una tolleranza consentita pari a ± 10 % .
I condimenti
I prodotti utilizzati devono essere preferibilmente di origine campana.
Il pomodoro pelato frantumato a mano deve risultare non denso e con pezzi ancora presenti.
Il pomodoro fresco va tagliato a spicchi.
La mozzarella di bufala ( tagliata a fette) o il fior di latte (tagliato a listelli) vanno distribuiti uniformemente.
Il formaggio grattugiato (se usato) va sparso sulla pizza con movimento rotatorio e uniforme.
Le foglie di basilico fresco sono poste sui condimenti.
L’olio extravergine di oliva viene aggiunto con movimento a spirale.

La cottura
La cottura deve avvenire all’interno del forno a legna che deve aver raggiunto la temperatura di circa 430-480 C° tra platea e volta. Con queste temperature è sufficiente inserire la pizza per 60-90 secondi, in cui la pizza si cuocerà in maniera uniforme su tutta la circonferenza.

Buona pizza!


In Italy, it is a tradition to eat them at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve because they are said to bring money and luck. Lentils are considered the oldest legume, cultivated as early as 7000 BC. in Mesopotamia and loved by the ancient Romans, to whom we owe the custom of eating them on New Year’s Eve and giving them a “scarsella”, or a leather bag containing lentils, with the hope that they would turn into sound coins during the year. Even today we say “Eat the lentils that bring good …”
Only New year’s Eve?
Absolutely NOT ! Eat lentils in January, February and March …. and more , if you like!

Appreciated ‘private chef’, he has cooked for many Hollywood celebrities including Jane Fonda, Lisa Kudrow, Keanu Reeves. He loves discovering the Italian villages and studying their gastronomic traditions.Ha pubblicato il libro sulla storia della pasta italiana “Les Pâtes du Terroir Italien”
Philip published the book on the history of Italian pasta “Les Pâtes du Terroir Italien”


Il piatto di Philip Sinsheimer

4 to 6 servings
preparation time: 20 min, cooling time: 35 min
350 g of lamb stew meat cut into 2-inch cubes. 200 g of lentils 1 chopped onion 2 chopped garlic cloves. 250 g of potatoes, 1 large carrot, 2 celery sticks. 50 cl of vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger. 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of, turmeric / turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of tomato paste. Salt and pepper
Peel and dice the potatoes and carrots. Clean and slice the celery. Brown the lamb and onion for 5 minutes over high heat in a large pot with oil. Add salt and pepper, garlic, spices and tomato paste and continue to brown for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the lentils, vegetables, broth and enough water to cover the ingredients with 5 cm of liquid.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and leave to rest covered for 10 minutes before serving (as a first / soup or as a main course together with basmati rice).
For extra taste, add 1 tablespoon of butter or 2 tablespoons of coconut cream at the end of cooking. -Add a little freshness by sprinkling chopped coriander and mint once served on the plates. -Let everyone add a little spiciness to their taste by serving a little chilli on the side.

Philip Sinsheimer

MAY THE “FORTEZZA” BE WITH YOU ! Discovering the Campania Region, the wines and… the witches!


Campania Region, Italy.
is an enchanting medieval ‘borgo’, that offers a suggestive view of the Taburno and the Valle del Calore. Its origins date back to 216 BC, probably on the initiative of some Etruscan refugees from the Tuscan town of Chiusi who called it “TurrisClusii”.
Today is a small village characterized by narrow, winding streets, which surround the square on which stands the splendid Palazzo Cito, adapted into an ancient tower; the building was the residence of the feudal lords of Torrecuso and today is the town hall.

The soil is sunny and lends itself well to growing grapes; here is produced the Aglianico del Taburno, which makes this place an important station for food and wine tourism.
In the last decades the production of other typical vines such as Falanghina, Coda di Volpe and Greco has been increased, all included in the Taburno D.O.C..
I will take you to the best of the wineyards in Torrecuso, the great Cantina La Fortezza and invite you to taste its excellent wines, but allow me to start witha little history of this magical land…
Torrecuso is located close to Benevento, a town mythically traced to the arrival of a Greek hero back from the disastrous Trojan war. In this case it would have been Diomedes to found it and on the Beneventan soil the Greek prince would have met and almost met with death with Enea, a Trojan hero.
Historically, the first settlement dates back to the Osci, and then passed under the control of the Samnites. The first ‘bad’ name was Maleventum that means a ‘huge disaster’, then luckily changed to the positive name of  Beneventum  when the city became a Roman colony, in 268 BC.
Throughout the Roman period the city became one of the most prosperous since it represented a very important junction for the main commercial routes and roads. 
Although tortured by violent earthquakes and barbarians invasions, Benevento gained the reputation of a city difficult to conquer: even the Franks and Charlemagne himself had to stop at its borders. In 1077 Henry III ceded the city and the entire area to the Church, which held power until the unification of Italy.
For a few years, in 1798, it was occupied by Napoleon’s troops,then in the hands of the Bourbons, then again of the Church.
Here come the witches!
Benevento has always been in the popular belief the capital of witches, in that peasant and genuine territory where legends and traditions have a weight, the nightly Janare were the most ferocious species of those witches.
These were women who possessed the knowledge of the occult and magical rites, such as invoices and the evil eye, capable of ruining life. According to tradition, in fact, it was necessary to place an upside-down millet broom or a bag with grains of salt in front of the door, counting which the witch would have lingered until dawn, when the light, her bitter enemy, would have forced her to flee away, leaving the inhabitants of that house or that room in particular in peace.
here was a widespread belief that these witches gathered under a walnut tree on the banks of the Sabato river to worship the devil. Aggressive and acid, they use to go around naked and celebrate the Sabbath, or demonic rites: banquets, dances and orgies.
“Ointment ointment
take me to the Benevento nut
above the water and above the wind
and above Benevento ».There are still janaras around  today?
I asked several Benevento citizens, but apparently the malifigcent witches aren t no more. Perhaps some older women are preparing healing natural ointments or infusions, as regular herbalists. But hey, I’ ve been told that you can recognize them, because they are the last ones to leave the church after the mass…
Strange…Are the witch going to church?
The only surviving witch is the Strega Liqueur, a traditional drink obtained by the distillation of about 70 herbs and spices from all over the world. You can drink it neat, icy or mixed in long drinks or cocktails.Let’s move from the legends to a truly magic reality…
I am taking you to La Fortezza Vineyards, located in Torrecuso,
where their headquarters extend on the east slope of the Regional Park of the Taburno-Camposauro: the slopes are a succession of vineyards, woods and small clearings, which only in the last hours of the day the Monte Taburno profile subtracts light and heat.In the middle of the vineyards stands the beating heart of our business: the cellar.
Entirely coated in stone and well integrated into the surrounding landscape is made up of two bodies. In the upper part a Villa and wide open spaces primarily intended for lawn: a charming place by sweeping views looking towards the Apennines that separates the Campania from Apulia. The underlying body, which opens more than two gates in medieval style strictly processed hardwood, home to the productive activity itself: a perfect blend of tradition and modern technology.The barrel vaults, that dominate the area destined to accommodate the aging of wine, entirely coated in terracotta bricks and partially dug into the tuff, bring us closer to an idea of ​​the cellar to those who were the old “cellai” of rural farms, that is, those places that were intended to keep as much wine as food.
The local processing, where there are machines for wine making, bottling and labeling room, steel tanks and warehouses for goods destined to commercialization complement the wine cellar, with a production potential of about two million bottles.Here La Fortezza’s grape varieties:
Let’s start with the Aglianico del Taburno, a generous quantity that allows an accurate selection in the vineyard for the various sales lines and to guarantee the production of wines of the highest quality such as the Riserva, whose grapes come from a vineyard of about seventy years of age.  Falanghina del Taburno, whose exposure of the vineyards gives us the best results in terms of sugar content, perfumes and acidity of the wine without having to resort to cuts in working phase. By the time we select in outside the vineyards of Greek and Fiano to be allocated to our products by imposing a strict and meticulous discipline of crop for producers: once the land and its vineyards identified, these are followed in all the basic steps until the collection that takes place under our supervision.
Want to go bubbles?
I like to point the Sparkling Falanghina, the Aglianico Frizzante and the precious “Maleventum”  a brut obtained with the charmat method.
Last but not the least I like to mention the delicate rosèe Aglianico dl Taburno, perfectly pairing fish and the fragrant Olio La Fortezza, both excellent choice if you are having a local great dish with baccalà (salted codfish) a remarkable specialty of this territory, which I had the pleasure to taste at a typical restaurant Trattoria Nunzia, in Benevento.
Sweet finale? Do you love chocolate?
Well, while you are there, take a trip to to San Marco dei Cavoti to visit the Antonio Autore Artisanal  Factory that produces the one and only handmade ‘croccantino’.a delicious traditional recipe of a bar of sugar, almonds and hazelnuts. It will be a pleasure for your eyes and for your mouth!

La Fortezza
Torrecuso, Benevento

Antonio Autore
San Marco dei Cavoti

Cesare Zucca
Milanese di nascita, vive tra New York, Milano e il resto del mondo. Viaggia su e giù per l’America e si concede evasioni in Italia e in Europa.
Per WEEKEND PREMIUM fotografa e racconta città, culture, stili di vita e scopre delizie gastronomiche sia tradizionali che innovative.
Incontra e intervista top chefs di tutto il mondo, ‘ruba’ le loro ricette e vi racconta il tutto qui, in stile ‘turista non turista’.


You want more?
I really enjoyed the Friulano, pure expression of the territory, the Chardonnay, the fruit of an international vine that finds here a suitable habitat, thus becoming one of the most characteristic white wines of the region; Sauvignon, also in this case an international grape variety which, thanks to the frequent daily temperature changes and to the fresh and dry soil, enhances its characteristics.
Finally I lusciously indulged in a glass of Ribolla Gialla, which comes from a native grape known in the 1300s and since then present on the table of the Doge of Venice and which finds its optimal position in the hills.
The winery is an extraordinary example of architecture integrated into the landscape, a symbol of the Gori family’s love for their land. Developed on three levels, it has been designed with respect for tradition and, despite being equipped with all the modern equipment to limit the use of permitted chemical products as much as possible, its construction is inspired by the old principles for the correct vinification and aging of wines The stainless steel containers and on the lower floor, excavated inside the hill, the wooden barrels are optimal and help red wines in their ripening phase, respecting their typicality and taste. Furthermore the use of refrigeration allows to obtain long and not tumultuous fermentations: in this way the wine retains the aromas and the aromas that the grape has obtained during the maturation, making the use of chemical products superfluous.
The tasting area welcomes guests with its contemporary design and the large window overlooking the vineyards and allows natural light to illuminate the environment. A place to live a sensory journey that, through the wines and recipes that best interpret local raw materials, leads to the discovery of the stories of these lands between territory, history, culture, traditions, excellences.Let’s party!
Magnificat ,the newest Gori creation, boasts the Classic Method sparkling wine signed Cantine Goritells while its excellence and expresses at the same time the joy for the result achieved after years of study and work. It starts with the harvest, which takes place between the last days of August and the beginning of September and, as for still wines, is performed manually in boxes of only 20kg, we proceed with the selection made with soft destemming on the sorting table, yes continues with fermentation in steel tanks and with bottling until manual disgorgement, after a stay on yeasts of at least 24 months. Finally, no sugar or “liqueur d’expédition”: only sparkling wine from the same cuvée to obtain a Zero Dosage with minimal residual sugar, a dry, elegant and natural taste, now increasingly appreciated.
Magnificat becomes part of Cantine Gori only in the magnum version, with 1.5 liter champagnotta bottles that make its evolution more stable and protected and enhance its sensory characteristics. The cuvée of Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%), typical blends of the eastern Friuli hills, best expresses a terroir that has always been devoted to the production of wine and to which the Cantine Gori are deeply linked.

Happy 10th anniversary !
Gori s familily celebrated the first certified organic harvest and was able to celebrate it with its first Magnificat bubbles!
Did you know that the ‘Vermouth’…
The vermouth was officially invented in 1786 by Antonio Benedetto Carpano in Turin,
But they say that this aromatic liqueur has a millennial history. Apparently already the Greeks used to add spices, honey and sea water in wine amphorae, however the legend according to which Hippocrates would be the inventor of Hippocratic wines, precisely wines flavored with honey, herbs and spices, is just a myth, but above all the wines were flavored to mask their defects, given that they were crude and highly perishable products.
Gori, au contraire, decided to the best grapes and best wines to make its great vermouth, simply called THE VERMUT, a product that emphasizes the Friuly territory by selecting the best qualities of Friulian wine, adding creativity, ingenuity and innovation.Aromas of herbs, fruit and spices give strength to our vermouth enhancing typically artisan properties.
Thanks to the richness and quality of the native vines Gori created 3 different varieties:
From the lands of Ramandolo, with its fine and lovable taste and its ancient vineyards on the Friuli hills, blended with spices and aromas to give birth to the Red Vermouth.
IL VERMUT CANNABIS Vermouth Bianco e Aromi
A revolutionary yet simple recipe, born from the union of different cultures, but at the same time complementary, with antipodal flavors and which together create an exceptional drink Did I get stoned? not really …Did I get satisfied? A lot!
and finally…
IL VERMUT BIANCO Ribolla Gialla and Friulano
A blend of  Ribolla Gialla and Friulano, embellished it with spices and aromatic herbs, making it unique, classic, but at the same time innovative (and my favorite!) Ready ?
Let ‘s start a great ‘Gori-speed’ tasty journey!


Travel, food & lifestyle.
Born in Milan, Cesare lives in New York, Milan and the rest of the world, traveling up and down in the US, Italy and Europe. Cesare photographs, tells about cities, cultures, lifestyles and discovers both traditional and innovative gastronomic delights.He meets and interviews top chefs from all over the world, “stealing” their recipes and telling you everything here, in a perfect ‘non-touristy-tourist’ style.






PHOTOS BY CESARE ZUCCA Have you already been to Abruzzo? No? Well time is due to discover this Italian region, due East from Rome, encompassing part of the Apennine mountains down to the Adriatic Sea where sits its capital: Pescara. But that, you may know already if you’ve had the chance to visit this region that locals like to nickname “Tuscany without the marketing”!Personally, my first Abruzzian experience dates no further than last July, in spite of many trips to Italy, both for pleasure and for research on my book on the history of Italian pasta (Les Pâtes du Terroir Italien. I knew that one of the most typical shapes of pasta in the region was the long threads resembling square spaghetti obtained by pressing down with a rolling pin a sheet of pasta dough against the strings of an instruments called a Chitarra (as it resembles in some way a guitar)One would want to also associate the region with the famous penne pasta (meaning pens or feathers) since there is a town by that name sitting less than 20 miles from Pescara. This brings me directly to the occasion of my four-day trip invited, by one of the most respected pasta manufacturers of not only Abruzzo, but the whole of Italy: Rustichella, a family owned mid-size company which origins go back to the 19th century in the town of Penne.The occasion was the annual celebration nicknamed Primograno (literally “first grain”) by the company in honor of the beginning of the wheat harvest in the area. It is the occasion for the family to host a selected number of importers, chefs and some happy few journalists, and here I am! The generosity displayed was beyond this world… yet, absolutely rooted in Abruzzo! arrived the evening of the big celebration where all guests were united under a tent set in the middle of a field  name ? to experience a culinary experience not to be forgotten in the breeze of a warm summer night.
Despite the number of tables and the absence of a professional kitchen, dishes arrived one after the other perfectly plated and magically hot. Chefs not only showcased the quality of the company’s Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta, but had at heart to offer some other delicacies, such as this incredibly moist and tasty roasted guinea hen (called faraona in Italian). The magic continued after the dinner with a live band under the stars to shake off on the dancefloor those few extra calories of gastronomic indulgence, but also a firework display like no other. A man in costume at a rather close distance started to dance on a traditional music that was going to stick with our group for the rest of the stay covered with a hat shooting thousands of fiery spurs. Besides the food and the fun, I began to wonder how connected to reality was the celebration.
Was Primograno a mere nostalgic reference to a past when Italy was actually producing most of the hard durum wheat necessary to the making of dried pasta. Is this a question?My research had led me to discover that nowadays the great majority of durum wheat is imported from the US and Canada, fulfilling both quantity and quality necessary to fulfill the avid and well-advised Italian market for pasta, first consumer per capita in the world and by far.I was soon to discover that for Rustichella this celebration was “for real”, honoring the actual beginning of local wheat harvest that was going to end-up in form of semolina in their factory. With the development of local sourcing of ingredients and the “farm to table” craze, Rustichella, very smartly, developed indeed a line of pasta made only of local wheat. It is not only a marketing move, it’s an ecologically and socially responsible investment.A specific green packaging has been created for this 100% local pasta. Like a “cru” of wine, you could almost know which parcel of wheat was at the source of the handful of spaghetti you are holding in your hand. An approach very far from the industrial standardization at stake with the giant pasta manufacturers, for which uniqueness boils down to their single named brand not the actual pasta you’re about to drop in your pot!
Among the various shapes offered in this locally made and sourced line of pasta, I discovered two that I had never heard about. The first one, called “virtu” , is not a single shape, but a collection of little broken bits and pieces of seven shapes of pasta. It is to be used for a very special occasion, once a year, in celebration of spring. A hearty dish combining 7 shapes of pasta, 7 grains and legumes, 7 vegetables and 7 herbs. Now that is purely Abruzzian.The other discovery was the “traghetto” shape. This is a pure creation of the Rustichella R&D department, showing that innovation can work hand in hand with local and tradition. From a distance traghetti look like spaghetti, but they actually have a triangular section (thus the “tra” in their name), as if three capellini had been glued together on all their length. They are in fact extruded from a special bronze drawn that leads to this unique shape of long pasta, not to be seen anywhere else. The result? A different sensation in the mouth and a shape that will capture more sauce than a simple round or flat shaped pasta.The Rustichella team took Primograno as an occasion to have our happy group experience various highlights of Abruzzi from the inland the beauty of rolling hills where wild horses graze the grass to the coastline where one can breathe the salty breeze of the Adriatic while strolling on the beach or eating a fabulously fresh and piping hot fritto misto. Among Abruzzi’s specialties, I really loved those little grilled meat skewers, traditionally made with lamb.I was also really impressed with different local wines that I had never heard about before. For the whites, I loved the “passarina”  that we got to try, made from the grape of the same name yielding an incredible fresh acidity smoothed by a round fruitiness. In several occasions, we got to have fantastic rosés, notably. No doubt about it, Rustichella had it at heart to have us experience the best of their products, but also their region in general. And you should too. You will only regret to have to go back home…  But I have good news for you. First, if you fly back using the airport of Pescara, you will be able to purchase various gastronomic treats at the airport shop and stock up on Rustichella’s 100% Abruzzian green line of pasta. Unlike liquor, no limit there except the size of your luggage! Bring along a pack of traghetti, you will make your landing easier with a little piece of Abruzzi with you. Actually, chances are your trip may be prolonged in your home country, as Rustichella has decided to dedicate most of its production to export. In the following piece I’ll show why and how famous chefs around the world decide to use Rustichella as their primary source of pasta. In the meantime, look around because if you can’t make it to Abruzzi, Rustichella has perhaps already come to you!INFO
Rustichella D’Abruzzo



I met with Mauro Uliassi, the Chef who won 3 Michelin stars, 5 Cappelli Espresso, 3 Gambero Rosso Forks. Mauro opened the Uliassi Restaurant in Senigallia in 1990, creating a cuisine full of contamination, variations, sensations and memories.
What will I always find in your home fridge?
I turned 61 and changed my diet a bit, once there were cheeses and cold cuts, today you can find many ingredients to make a good herbal tea, pleasant both hot and cold so nails of
carnation, cinnamon, orange peel, lemon and ginger. Then you will find healthy food. like chickpeas, lentils, cabbage salads, broccoli,
A priority on your cooking?
The smell is absolutely the sense that guides me in my research and above all in my memory, My brain stores perfumes and aromas that unexpectedly come back to life and I love to bring to my kitchen. And then many memories: beaches, waves, sea …
An aphrodisiac dish?
The cunza, a mix of lard, garlic, parmesan and rosemary that often served on the gnocco fritto, fried dough parcels typical from The Emilia region in Italy. Taste it and you will feel sparks all over your body, but eat a maximum of a couple of times a year.
Aphrodisiac.. but dangerous. You have to pay attention to food, both occasional and what is part of the habit.

If you hadn’t been a cook?
Probably a musician, I love the classical guitar.
Do you play?
Pretty bad, I think I play better in my kitchen!

Want to tell me about your recipe?
I called it ‘Benvenuti al mare, Welcome to the sea .
it’s an intense dish, enclosed in a shell-shaped mother-of-pearl bowl that releases the colors and smells of the sea through cuttlefish liver, seaweed puree (kombu, wakame, lettuce, string bean), sea, sea urchins and dried seaweed powder.

Then It comes the water (the broth of clams that is poured warm), that modifies and concentrates the other ingredients.
I pour it from a shell-shaped bowl and 
with this gesture the sea appears with its waves, its reflections and its flavors.
It is an evocative dish, capable of affecting anyone who has been to the sea at least once
in his life. It would be like being hit by a sudden wave, with strength and vehemence, like the first wave that swept us when we were kids.

Ingredients for 4 people
8g Smoothie sea urchins
8g Smoothie anemones
88g Smoothie oysters
2g Powdered plankton
4g Dry powdered algae
16gFresh chopped seaweed (Green bean, doulce and codium)
200g Clam water
65g clam broth
1/2 dl
of oil
3 cloves of garlic
A ladle of water
A small tip of chili pepper.
Pour the oil with the garlic for 1 minute, add the clams and the ladle of water.
Cook until the clams have released all their water.
taste it. If it is too bland, you may add a pinch of salt,  if it is too salty you may lengthen it with a little water.
Place all the elements inside a shell-shaped bowl.
Pour the hot clam broth in front of the diner, mix well with a whisk and drink

Ristorante Uliassi
Banchina di Levante, 6, 60019 Senigallia (Ancona) Italy
+39 071 65463

From NY to Italy. Life is a marathon for Pier…and the others.

Easter Colomba and Italian wines classes by Diana

Colomba is a traditional Italian Easter yeast bread. It is shaped like a dove (colomba in Italian), the symbol of peace and resurrection.Soft and fragrant, colomba is a generous cake with butter and eggs, filled with raisins and candied orange peel.20160229_145836-1024x576The colomba could mean not only a peace message but also solidarity. Like in the case of the artisanal Colomba Arcobaleno (Rainbow Dove)  created by the Milanese sommelier Diana Zerilli  who supports gay rights and gay issues in Italy, such as marriage and child adoption. Her colomba is made with Sicilian Avola almonds, Calabria cedar, kneaded with Vernaccia Mormoraia, a traditional white wine from San Gimignano,d zerilli

Beside food, Diana passion  and expertise is (of course) wine. Twice a week, she gives classes and wine tasting at Hotel Rubens in Milan.

Each class will introduce an Italian region, with its local wines and food.

Here the current calendar
March 10th Wines from Valle d’Aosta
March 17th Wines from Veneto and Diana’s Chiantigno drink tasting
March 22th Wines fron Piemonte.
Classes will continue in April, after Easter Holidays.



Each class costs 35 Euros.
If you are interested, you can contact Diana at

1 hour : learn, experiment, cook… enjoy your dish!

Wednesday July 25th at 11.00 am Pacific time/2.00 pm Eastern time.
I will be hosting a 1 hour cooking online show SOCIALKITCHEN live from Milan, Italy!
CZ chef
You will learn how to make a tempting aperitivo drink made with Rabarbaro Zucca, a rhubarb-based digestive bitter liqueur  created, believe it or not, by my great great grand father and still one of the most traditional and popular drinks of Italy.
anonym-rabarbaro-zucca-2169697-1Then guided by super Chef Antonio, you will learn how to make an amazing hamburger, inspired to the legendary Serendipity’s Burger Extravagant, listed in the Guinness Records as the most expensive burger in the world.
295 US Dollars, no kidding!Serendipity 3 $295 Hamburger



Don’t  worry, our version
will be way cheaper but

                                                    sensational and gourmet!
Not only…few days before the show, SocialKitchen will email you the list of the right ingredients so you would be actually able to cook and interact live with Chef Antonio himself.
1 hour : learn, experiment, cook… enjoy your dish!

Go to
Register (it’s free)
Enjoy the show!



The application informs on the Institute, its history and its activities and presents the complete and updated calendar of events organized in New York and the calendar “Main Events in Italy”: a selection of the major events organized or sponsored by the Ministry of Culture in major Italian cities. A perfect tool both for the “Italophiles” of New York and for the American tourist who visits Italy.