Postcards from Moscow Farmers Market

Formaggi :: Творог :: Chit chat at the “Tvorog cheese” stall: Say Cheese! Photo ©OCKstyle

Le radici sono importanti, nella vita di un uomo, ma noi uomini abbiamo le gambe, non le radici, e le gambe sono fatte per andare altrove. (Pino Cacucci)

Carni :: Мясо :: Meat section | Photo ©OCKstyle

Carni :: Мясо :: Piglets stall | Photo ©OCKstyle

Arrotino :: Knife and scissor grinder | Photo ©OCKstyle

Frutta e verdura :: Овощи Фрукты :: Fruits and vegetables | Photo ©OCKstyle

Frutta secca :: Dried fruits | Photo ©OCKstyle

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Mimmo Arena :: Chef per caso, cuoco per passione

It’s impossible not to be at ease with Mimmo Arena, the owner and genius loci of “The Blue Fish Club” of San Vito Chietino, located in the beautiful coastline of Abruzzo Region.

After having exchanged a few words with the accidental Chef, you are immediately taken by his energy, his optimism, his very active sense of wander and creativity. Click HERE to read the interview, it’s in Italian…

Mimmo Arena :: Chef per caso, cuoco per passione

The “Pasticciotto” Ladies from Bomba (Abruzzo)

Some powdered sugar is all it takes... | photo: ©MateldaCodagnone

What happens in Bomba, a village of scarcely a thousand people in the Sangro area (Abruzzo), when a big wedding is on the way? Everybody is invited to the “ricevimento”, an informal party for friends and acquaintances to be held before the proper wedding party.

At the ricevimento, among the usual refreshments, a typical local pastry is served: the Pasticciotto. In order to prepare 800+ pieces of this tiny masterpiece, a team of hard-working ladies, busy from dawn to dusk, starts preparing the stuffing and the dough two days in advance.

The main ingredients for pasticciotto are short crust pastry and a filling of almonds, lemon peel and sugar syrup. Their making is a feast of its own, ladies gather around a long table and spend time telling stories, updating each other and, why not, gossipping a little. Activities are shared and scheduled as if on a (sweet and merry) assembly line.

Pasticciotto First Lady: Luciana D’Intino

The Pasticciotto “First Lady” (i.e. the groom’s mom) surveys each stage of the “production”: divide the dough, put it into the cake tin, fill it in with the stuffing, cover the tin with some dough, stock the tins on the trays, carry the trays to the local baker’s for cooking.

I took part into the process –  as an unskilled labourer, I was assigned menial work, but greatest fun nonetheless – and even though I met these ladies for the first time then, I immediately got involved in their community, I perceived the delightful sensation of being a minuscule part of something “good”. And I am sure that every guest at the ricevimento will enjoy all the love and the fun the Pasticciotto Ladies put into the cakes.

Because when you cook, the first ingredient you need for a great taste is something that you don’t weight with a scale.