food in the arts



sardinian food festival 


The Italians are especially fond of pasta asciutta (an unending variety of dried noodles), the huge assortment of hot and cold appetizers known as antipasti; sausage and salami; gelati e granite, ice creams and ices; and caffè espresso, coffee made by forcing steam through the coffee grounds.

Italy, like France or China, has many culinary regions, but basically the north’s staple is rice and butter and the south lives on pasta and cooks with olive oil. Cooking techniques are less important than the quality of the raw ingredients.

Bologna’s rich cooking is perhaps the best of the northern cuisine with its famed tagliatelle, tortellini, and other freshly made noodle preparations, egg pastas, sausages, and complex main courses. Piedmont supplies many of the finest chefs to the luxury restaurants around the world. Its local white truffles and Fontina cheese are the base for their fonduta, the famous hot melted cheese casserole eaten with bread bits.

Lombardy cooks exclusively with butter, replacing the pasta with rice and cornmeal polenta, and blends successfully the cooking style of several of the northern provinces. Genoese cooking’s most characteristic flavour comes from the use of basil leaves pounded into a sauce called pesto together with cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. Florence is famous for its Chianina beef cattle that provide the meat for its bistecca alla Fiorentina.

Alla Romana-type cooking produces the best gnocchi, calamaretti (baby squid), abbacchio (young lamb, usually roasted with rosemary), and vegetable preparations. The cooking of Naples represents the best gastronomy of southern Italy with the use of pasta, crusty white bread, robust tomato sauces, mozzarella, and other types of cheese. Generally speaking, the availability of some of the finest vegetables and fruits of Europe and of fine seafood, and the array and liberal use of fresh herbs, create the best moments of the Italian gastronomy.


Silent Consent – a short film from a recent Italian food film festival



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Italian influence on French cuisine


Saveurs d’aujourd’hui en Italie –


A Film Clip on Coffee

The link above takes you to a beautifully acted scene from a sixties film in which Sophia Loren prepares coffee for Vitorio Gassman. The scene combines the insinuating dialogue in a simple but suggestive space with the sensual photography of Loren talking about how to prepare coffee as she handles the coffee maker in the actual preparation of a perfect cup. The pervading sepia tone of the whole scene is suggestive of the warmth of the drink and its brown hue.