Shop Like an Italian
If there is one word that is important to Italians when we shop, it is:
Fresh, Fresh, Fresh!
Fresco, Fresco, Fresco!
So many of my friends that travel to Italy ask me the same question upon their return, why does the food taste so different?
I truly believe it is because most Italians shop on a daily basis for what they will prepare that day.
If you don’t have time to make your own fresh pasta, look for an Italian store, such as Eataly, where they have an abundant selection of fresh pastas. Made with only three ingredients: durum wheat flour, eggs and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it is healthy and delicious!
There is nothing like fresh pasta with homemade sauce to make your Sunday Dinner special.
Cheese is an artform in Italy!
We have so many varieties of cheese in Italy and each one complements the dish with which it is served. Cheese is regarded as a garnish or accent on Italian food, so it is never poured on lavishly. Most Italian cheeses have very intense flavors, so you only need a little bit to appreciate the uniqueness of that cheese.
Much like cuts of pasta in Italy – each one is designed or cut with a particular sauce in mind – so, too, are cheeses made in Italy to be eaten with certain foods. Pecorino Romano, for example, should be grated on Pasta with Pesto, due to the sharpness of the Pecorino.
Parmigiano Reggiano, however, has a smoother, more buttery taste and is perfect on a classic tomato sauce.
Again, look for an excellent Italian cheese shop in your area where you can pair a cheese with what you are preparing for dinner! And taste, taste, taste! You have to be passionate about the flavors of your food to shop and cook like a real Italian!
Fruits, Veggies, Legumes
The backbone of the Mediterranean Diet is vegetables. Although most people think of pasta when you mention the Mediterranean Diet, we actually eat it in small quantities, while we eat an abundance of vegetables! Vegetables can be found in every course except dessert! Freshness and variety are the key to delicious dishes – look at my cookbook “Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner” for 52 vegetable dishes!
Legumes are also very prominent in the Mediterranean Diet – lentils, cannellini beans, ceci beans. They are delicious, very high in protein and healthy!
And we end every meal with fruit. Eat seasonal fruit for peak freshness – strawberries in the summer, apples in the fall – and pair fruit with cheese for an extra treat!
We end every shopping experience in Italy – food shopping or other – with a stop at our local Bar for an Espresso. (Sometimes we stop in between our shopping as well, for a pick me up!!!)
A true Italian Espresso is a cure for any ill – as a pick me up after a day of shopping, as a “digestivo” after a satisfying meal, or as something to enjoy together with family or friends over conversation and some delicious biscotti!