The authentic Focaccia di Recco with cheese

This authentic Ligurian recipe, the Focaccia with cheese, is a specialty of Recco that young and old love a lot.

Its history dates back to the third Crusade, when the farmers of Recco were obliged to seek refuge in the hinterland and had only available water, bran flour, oil and cheese. They created this delicious recipe and since then it became part of the local and gastronomic heritage. In the 1997, the brand “Authentic Focaccia with Cheese of Recco” was created and since 1955, in Recco, the “Festa della Focaccia” is celebrated every year during the last week of May.

Are you interested in its recipe? It’s so easy to make, so come on, read on and follow the instructions!

Focaccia di Recco with Cheese

Focaccia di Recco with Cheese

Ingredients for the dough :

  • 400g Manitoba Flour
  • 250ml Water
  • 10g Salt
  • 40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 30ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10g Salt
  • 500g Stracchino

Procedure:

A portion of Focaccia

A portion of Focaccia

  1. Mix water (at room temperature) and oil in a carafe and melt the salt.
  2. Start to knead the ingredients and add 1 spoon of flour at a time.
  3. Continue to knead until you obtain a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Move the dough on a work surface area slightly oiled and form a rectangular portion. Then wrap it and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  5. Grease with oil a 35x25cm baking tray.
  6. Take the dough and divide it in two parts. Stretch out one part with a rolling pin until you form a puff pastry of 2mm. Transfer it on the baking tray and stretch very well every corners and sides.
  7. Put some pieces of stracchino, slightly distant from each other, with the help of a spoon.
  8. Stretch the other piece of dough and  lay it down on the baking tray covering the cheese.
  9. Remove the extra dough and pinch the edges with the fingers.
  10. Distribute the oil and the salt on the surface.
  11. Cook your Focaccia in a static oven at 250° for 15 minutes or in a ventilated oven for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Serve the Focaccia hot and savour how delicious it is.

ATTENTION: It is not advisable to conserve the focaccia in the frizer.

Focaccia with Cheese

Focaccia with Cheese

Don’t miss the chance to taste the original one during our Milan Street Art and Food TourYou are gonna love it! Book now with us! We are waiting for you in Milan.

The half-moon pizza: Panzerotto

Characteristic of the central and southern regions of Italy, the Panzerotto is a circle of stuffed dough, closed on itself to form a half moon. The panzerotto was born from the poorest Apulian culinary tradition: people used what remained from bread’s dough and cooked it with pieces of cheese and tomatos. Prepared with the same dough of the pizza, the typical panzerotto is filled with tomatos and mozzarella. It can be cooked into oven or fried in extra virgin olive oil. To fully savour the product, the panzerotto should be eaten hot.

Panzerotto

Panzerotto

Did the panzerotto hit your curiosity? Read on to know how to make it!

Here’s the ingredients:

  • 500gr flour
  • 300ml lukewarm milk
  • 25gr butter
  • 12gr fresh beer yeast
  • 5gr salt
  • 1tsp sugar

For the filling:

  • 150gr tomato flesh
  • 250gr mozzarella
  • Oregano q.s.
  • Basil q.s.
  • Salt q.s.
  • Oil q.s.

Procedure:

  1. Mix well flour and butter. It’s possible to substitute butter with 2tbs of oil.

    Homemade Panzerotto

    Homemade Panzerotto

  2. Melt well the yeast with the lukewarm milk and add it a bit at a time into the flour’s mixture, add sugar and lastly the salt.
  3. Form a compact and elastic block. Set it aside and let it rise for about two hours in a hot place.
  4. While the mixture rises, prepare the filling: in a bowl mix tomato, basil, oregano, oil, salt and mozzarella cut in cubes.
  5. Once the dough has redoubled its volume, transfer on a wooden pastry board and stretch it well with the help of some flour. Try to obtain a puff pastry of about 6-7mm (not too much thin).
  6. Using a 10-12cm bowl form some circles. Stretch again the remaining dough and create other circles.
  7. In the centre of every pieces, put some filling. Pour the edges with some water and close it using the fingers and make the form of a half moon. Seal them well using the fingers or a fork.
  8. Heat up the oil in a pot or a pan and fry all of the panzerotto until they become gold on both sides. If you want to use the oven, cover the panzerotto with egg yolk and cook them in ventilated oven at 180° or static oven at 190° for 20-25minutes.

 

If you are coming to Italy, you can’t leave the country without trying the original panzerotto! Join the Afternoon Food Tour with Beer Tasting in Milan and prepare your palate for this delicacy!

Meet your local guide in Rome: Alessia

Come to Rome and choose now a food tour! Your Roman, local and knowledgeable guide Alessia is impatient to meet you and show you the Italian culinary traditions! After the tour with Alessia, you’ll love more the Eternal city!

Read on and start to know better your local guide, she has something to share with you!

Meet your local guide: Alessia

Meet your local guide: Alessia

Name:  Hi! My name’s Alessia

Nationality and Hometown? I’m Italian and I live in Rome

Name of tour you lead and where: I lead the Food Pizza & Colosseum Tour and the Easy Entrance Colosseum & Vittoriano tour  😉 )

If you are not from the city you are based in for tours, what originally brought you there? I’m from Rome

Your favorite part of the tour:  The end, when our travellers tell me how fun and interesting the tour was. This makes me very happy.

Selfie during the tour

Selfie during the tour

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: My neighbour’s, she is a great cooker! I also love the little trattorias in Trastevere district.

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss: The 360 degree view from the terrace of the VittorianoSomething that takes you breath away!

Favorite Travel Quote? The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

What’s next on your travel bucket list? I’ll take a flight and go oversea to see the beautiful Australia & New Zeland.

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to? Don’t have only one. I love Burano, Elba Island and Sicily… but one of my favourite places in Italy is Matera, magical and without time.

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Be careful when crossing the street!! 😀 And wear comfortable shoes for an amazing discovery of our beautiful cities through our bike, segway and walking tour! 🙂

Montanara pizza

Montanara pizza

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Gelato and the montanara pizza! Both of them are in our pizza tour 😉 )

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? Difficult question! Every tour is a very special experience for me but for sure I will never forget the face of the travellers when they taste the delicious food and drinks during the tour! It’s so satisfying to see that they are enjoying the Italian food as well as Italian do.

What do you like most about leading tours? Meeting people from all over the world and have the opportunity to share my knowledge and my passion for my beautiful country.

What makes your tour unique? The love that I have for my job… I always try to make them fun & educational at the same time.

Are you a food-lover? Then come to Rome and book now a Rome Food Pizza and Colosseum Tour with Italy city tours and ask for Alessia 😉

An Italian common street food: Porchetta

An Italian common street food: Porchetta

An Italian common street food: Porchetta

Porchetta is a savoury, fatty and moist boneless pork roast typical of central and northen Italy. It consists in a deboned, emptied and seasoned pig. Although its origin is still uncertain, the porchetta is commonly found as a street food. The realisation is not difficult! Do you want to cook it at home? Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 5kg pig loin: deboned and with pork rind
  • 1kg piggy shoulder
  • 2 tsp minced black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbs fennel seeds
  • salt
  • 8 bundles wild fennel plant
  • lard

Procedure:

  1. Debone and remove the pork rind from the piece of shoulder. Clean the pulp obtained from the clots and set it aside.
  2. Take the pig loin and regulate its shape by levelling off the sides. Separate the pulp of the pork rind from the short side, the one where the roll will be closed.
  3. Distribute the pulp (set aside earlier) over the whole pig loin to obtain a uniform layer. Season the inside part of the loin with fennel seeds, abundant salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then add also the bundles of wild fennel and in the end roll the loin very tight.
  4. Tie the loin with twine and protect the two extremities not covered by the rind with aluminuim foil.
  5. Transfer the porchetta on a baking tray and put into the oven at 160°C for 3 hours. Then, remove the aluminium foil and put the porchetta on a grill, in order to lift it from the tray. Distribute on the surface an abundant quantity of lard and oven it again at 200°C for 1 hour. During the last 10 minutes, raise the temperature to the maximum level.

    Porchetta Sandwich

    Porchetta Sandwich

How to eat the porchetta: The Porchetta can be served cut into slices or in a sandwich. The best when it’s just cooked.

Come to Italy and try the original porchetta during our Afternoon Food Tour with Beer Tasting in Rome you will surely love it!

 

Meet your local guide in Rome: Renato

During a pizza tour

During a pizza tour

Planning your vacation to Rome? Then you have to check which tour to book and who’s the best guide in town!
Renato is an energetic, passioned Italian guide who fell in love with Rome at a young age and his passion for the Eternal city is still burning greatly! If you’re a foodie and want to try something different that takes you our of the beaten paths, Renato and his food tours, are perfect for you: a great mix of culture, italian delicacies, humor and lots of smiles!

Name:  My name is Renato and it’s hard for people to get it right so don’t worry if you mispell it or misunderstand, at the end of the day, I’m just glad if you can remember me and our experience together 😉

Nationality and Hometown? Italian. Southern Italian to be exact. I’m originally from a small town of the Campania region. but i’ve been living in Rome since 1999.

Name of tour you lead and where: I’m leading Food Tours, Bike&food tours and segway tour too!

Hi, this is Renato!

If you are not from the city you are based in for tours, what originally brought you there? I moved to Rome to study, at least that’s what I told my parents to convice them, but I did graduate. Above all, I was eager for life and that you can really get in a big town such as Rome 🙂

Your favorite part of the tour: The orange trees park on the Aventine Hill. I could stay there for hours, looking at the city from that perspective.

Orange Garden at Aventino

Orange Garden at Aventino

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: Restaurant “Maccheroni”, near the Pantheon. The carbonara they make is to die for!!

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss: Trastevere area: it’s charming, intriguing and still medieval. A unique part of Rome.

Favorite Travel Quote? A Roma, non basta una vita (Silvio Negro) – For Rome, a lifetime is not enough.

What’s next on your travel bucket list?  New Orleans, Mississipi! I want to breath and leave the jazzy groove and try the cajun and creole specialty! Can’ wait!

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to?  Venice. It might sound a cliche but I can’t help it!

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Come prepared and bring a lot of patience too 🙂

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Jewish style artichoke

Carciofi alla Giudia

Carciofi alla Giudia

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? An elderly couple asked me to stop right in the spot where 30 years earlier they had taken a picture and they wanted to take the same picture.

What do you like most about leading tours? Good vibes from the people

Renato on tour!

Renato on tour!

What makes your tour unique? Enthusiasm. I get excited every time I tell people stories about Rome.

A most special Italian bread: Cecina

Cecina, Italian special bread

Cecina, Italian special bread

Have you ever heard about “La Cecìna”? If not, la Cecina is an easy-to-make savoury pie composed of chickpeas’flour, water, salt and extravergin olive oil.

Despite it is considered as a poor meal and used as an alternative to bread, its Genoese’s origin is quite interesting! The legend of the Cecìna narrates that it was born by chance in 1284, when Genoa defeated Pisa in the battle of Meloria. One day Genoa’s galleys were involved during a storm and the drums of oil and some sacks of chickpeas that they were transporting, spilled and mixed with salty water. The sailors recovered what they could but some of them refused to eat it and left them under the sun. The result? It became a kind of fritter. The next day, starving to death, they ate the mixture and discovered its deliciousness! Once came back to Genoa, the sailors tried to cook it into oven and the discover was incredible.

Nowadays, the Cecina is a typical dish of the Mediterranean coasts, especially in Ligurian and Tuscan kitchens.

If the curiosity hits you, try this simple recipe.

Ingredients for two pans of 22cm (diameters):

  • 180g chickpeas’ flour
  • 600ml water
  • 1tbs salt
  • 80ml olive oil
  • Black pepper
A slice of Cecina

A slice of Cecina

Procedure:

To prepare the Cecina, you will simply need a bowl and a whisk. Put the chickpeas’ flour into the bowl, add salt and gradually the water, and in the meanwhile mix well the compost with the whisk in order to avoid lumps. Add half of the olive oil and the remaining water. At this point you will obtain a very liquid mixture. Cover the bowl with wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes. What remained of the olive oil will be used to cover the two molds (it doesn’t matter if the oil isn’t equally distributed all over the surfaces). After this, distribute the mixture into the two pans. Preheat the oven at 200-220° and cook the Cecina for 15-20 minutes. If you cook the two pans at the same time, remember to alternate them on the ledges of the oven.

The Cecina is ready when the surface is gold and the peel seems to lift. To finalize the recipe, sprinkle the Cecina with black pepper and serve it hot. It can be served as appetizer or as a second course.

If you are food-lover and especially if you love Italian food, book an Afternoon Food Walking Tour in Florence with us! There’s a lot more to be discovered!

Home made Italian limoncello

 is always the right time for limoncello!

italian home made limoncello

If you’ve traveled to Italy already you know how important is to offer a limoncello at the end of the dinner. You’ll get to meet some of these traditions during our food tours ! Traditional liquor from the coast of Campania region, this drink has to be served cold and you will probably be served it in a frozen small glass. However, this is not a good reason to serve it only in the summertime! Limoncello is pretty much enjoyed an all-year round in Italy! Making it at home is easy and only requires time and good organic lemons. Have you ever tried? Here is a possible recipe! Consider that in Italy we can buy 95% alcohol for liquor making. Depending on where you live, you may use any grape-based strong spirit, like vodka.

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 (preferably organic) lemons
  • 500 ml 95% alcohol (vodka will also do)
  • 700 ml of water
  • 600 gr of sugar

home made italian limoncello

First stage: lemon essence

Wash and rinse the lemons first, being careful to clean properly the surface of the lemon skin. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemons in long strips and then chop them into small pieces. Place the lemon peels in a bottle or a hermetic closing jar. Pour the spirit over the peels and close the bottle or the jar. Leave to rest for 3 around weeks at room temperature and in a dark place.

Second stage: the sweet pinch

At the end of the 3 weeks, you are good to add the syrup! Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts. Cool completely before pouring It over the lemon-spirit mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 7 days. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer to discard the peels. At this point, you can transfer the almost-ready limoncello to bottles.

Last stage: the waiting

Now what? Only time will tell! Seal the bottles keep them in a dark place for around 40 days! At the end of this time, your limoncello will be finally ready!

Store it in the freezer and serve it ghiacciato! Easy, isn’t it? Don’t shy off and be your own limoncello maker!

Home made Italian limoncello

For more questions or to speak with an Italian expert, join our tours and discover everything you need to know about Italian culture!

 

Carnival: Frittele time in Italy!

Carnival desserts in Italy: frittelle di carnevale

 

Hola foodies out there!

It is Carnival time in Italy! Everyone is busy finding the right costume for a party or a special dinner with friends. The ones who are lucky enough to live in Venice are probably busy strolling around its canals admiring the typical masques and the beautiful dresses. If you come to Italy at this time of the year, you are likely to find a tradition wherever you go! Our guides will tell you more during one of your food tours in Italy!

But well well, Carnival is also about children, who usually love this time of the year: they can dress up as their favourite heroes, throw colourful confetti at each other and eat all the delicious typical Carnival desserts. Every region has different traditions but they are all really yummy traditions!

Frittelle Carnival Italy

If you want to bring a little bit of Carnival in your home, just throw some confetti here and there and then start cooking one of the easiest dessert: frittelle! Involve your kids in the process, they’ll love it! (If you don’t have kids just borrow them from relatives, friends, neighbours).

Ingredients

1 and ½ cup of flour

2 eggs

⅓ cup of butter

Lemon grated zest

1 tsb vanilla extract

½ tsb baking powder

Pinch of salt

Powdered sugar

Vegetable oil

Start with mixing the flour with the eggs and the sugar a large bowl,. Add the butter in soft, room temperature, small pieces. Add also the lemon zest, the vanilla extract, the baking powder and the pinch of salt. Mix the flour until you get a nice compact and smooth dough. You can use your hands, it is the easiest thing. Let the children do it! It is going to be a nightmare to clean but lots of fun!

Meanwhile heat some sunflower oil in a saucepan or deep fryer (don’t let the children do it!).

frittelle carnival italy

Now let’s make some small balls out of the dough. This is how you can do it: first, Divide it in chunks and then roll them into long sticks. At this point cut the sticks in small 1 inch pieces and roll them with your hands until you get small balls! At this point the oil will be at the right temperature to fry (to be sure about it, just try with a small piece of dough. It should start frying right away when you put it in the pan. Deep-fry until crispy and golden. Prepare a dish with some kitchen paper where you can put the frittelle once they are ready and let them dry a bit. When completely dried, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.

frittelle carnival italy

Serve them with tea or juices for children, sparkling or a sweet wine will do for audults. It is Carnival afterall ;).

If you are curious about Italian traditions and a food-lover, book a Food walking tour in Florence with us! You won’t be disappointed!

Pasta alla Gricia: Roman cuisine triumph

New year is on! Welcome 2018!

Do you already know how you want to start this new year? We suggest starting with new things! In terms of food, what about trying a recipe that it is popular in Italy but yet not regularly in Italian restaurants menus? There are some Italian dishes that are simply everywhere. Think about Carbonara or Arrabbiata or the famous Alfredo Pasta, completely unknown in Italy. Well, Gricia is that kind of pasta you will find in Roman trattorias, but quite rarely is to be found elsewhere in Italy. And yet is an easy and mouth-watering recipe! Sure that you’ll have a try along with our Roma Food Tour! Ingredients? Really few! Only thing you need is a good Italian Food shop where you can buy guanciale and percorino romano!

pasta alla gricia

 

Ingredients for two people

 – few thick-cut slices of guanciale

 – 4 tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano

 – 200 gr pasta

Directions

Pour around 3 liters of water in a pot, salt it, and bring it to boil. Take into the account that both pecorino romano and guanciale are quite salty so you don’t need much of salt. If you can, try to find exactly pecorino romano and not other types of pecorino.

While the water is heating, slice the guanciale thinly into strips or even dices, or whatever shape you like. Put it in a pan that is big enough to contain also the pasta  – that you’ll add later on –  and place over medium heat. You need to cook it until the fat is cooked but yet not too brown or crispy.

pasta alla gricia

Once ready, add a spoon of water from the pasta pot and let it on low heat. Add the pasta to the water when it starts to boil properly. Now, you can follow the instruction on the pasta box on how long it should cook or drain it just a minute before so that it is al dente. Keep a cup of the cooking water aside before draining the pasta. Add the pasta to the guanciale and use the cup of cooking water to mix well.

At this point, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, just as much as to create a white thin coat on the pasta.

Grind some black pepper oh the pasta and serve immediately!

pasta alla gricia

Pasta alla Gricia is one of my favorite ones – and don’t tell anyone  – I like to exaggerate with pecorino romano, so I suggest you feel free to do that. If you need to cook for more people just calculate proportionally! It is a great dish to share according to the Roman tradition! Curious about finding out more about Rome? Join us for our Rome Tour Food!

Italian Christmas traditions: from North to South

Christmas is coming… It’s time to enter this joyful moment of the year, during which everything is lightened and colorful.

And yet I really want all of you who are planning to visit Italy this time of the year to be ready, so let me just introduce the topic, would you? There is something very important to keep in mind when talking about Christmas Italian traditions: there is not such a thing as a single tradition! This is the very first thing to know when talking about Christmas in Italy! If you don’t trust me, you can ask about it to any of our tour guides along our Food Tours, they’ll surely confirm!

 Italian Christmas Traditions

As for many other things, food is a profound marker of Italy’s regional differences. In our country, every single region is proudly rich of its own local culture. One example? Panettone can be bought in any supermarket in Italy, but it is originally baked in the North! There will be no Southern nonna baking it at home!

 Italian Christmas Traditions

The same thing goes for tortellini, which are a tradition of Central Italy, usually homemade for big occasions. During Christmas time, tortellini are prepared in brodo, (in broth) and are served on Christmas day, and might be followed by bollito misto (a mix of boiled meat with special sauces and pickles).

 capitone_umido-986x400

Less famous are the Southern Italy Christmas traditions: in Rome and Neaples for example capitone is a must (even said anguilla in Italian, eel in English). This tradition most probably comes from Neaples, which lays by the sea and make therefore fish available quite easily. Some tried to associate it symbolically to a way of “eating” the devil, since the sneak-like shape of eel. Anyhow, the most traditional families buy the capitone on the 23rd, still alive, to cook it on the 24th. Indeed Capitone is eaten on Christmas eve, since it is a well-known rule widespread all around the country that it is better to eat fish on this day.

 Italian Christmas Traditions

Also typical of most of the Southern regions (Campania, Pulia, Calabria) are the zeppole (also called struffoli in some areas). This dessert is as simple as delicious: it is basically fried sweet bread dough. As easy it may sound, it represents a basic and yet strictly present part of the Christmas eve table. The Southern you go along the boot-shaped country, the wider the variety of sweets gets! Usually, a selection of fruits, both dried and fresh, are offered too (with a copious assortment of nuts). Better to keep it in mind if you ever happen to be invited to an Italian Christmas table, so that you can keep some appetite for the last course!

 

There are many other traditional Italian Christmas dishes! Don’t be shy, be curious and ask more during our Food Tours! Stay tuned for some luscious r