Where sea and wild nature meet – it often happens in Sicily – the result is always something spectacular. If we add a sunset of those you never forget, the scents of the Mediterranean, crystal clear water ranging from emerald green to cobalt blue, then you understand that you are in a truly unique place.
The Zingaro Reserve is one of the most admired natural gems in Sicily. There, you can experience the sea as it was centuries ago, if not millennia; the work of man lacks almost entirely, except for some rural houses. There is not one coastal road, there are no cars, no noise except the one coming from wind and waves. The preserve was established because of the document signed by thousands of citizens that have prevented the construction of a street connecting directly Scopello to San Vito Lo Capo. Thanks to them, there is only a “face to face” between man and the genista, the olive, holm oak, between the walker and the curious eyes of a fox or a seagull that met by chance on their path.
Walking along the coastal path, from Scopello to San Vito Lo Capo, seven kilometers of wonders of great variety will unfold before us. Our eye will wander among the many enchanting blue bays – Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo, Cala dell’Uzzo, Cala Marinella, Cala Berretta, Cala della Disa, Cala del Varo, Cala Capreria – where the delicate colors of the smooth white pebbles alternate to the harshness of the rock. The itineraries are many and all rich of surprises.
Visiting the Zingaro Reserve year after year means discovering new views and details that the other times were not noticed. Do not miss the views from the halfway path, views that simply cannot be found anywhere else in the world. And then you feel the timeless atmosphere in Bosco di Scardina or Borgo Cusenza, where you would expect to see at any moment a shepherd or a farmer bent by the weight of years. Summarizing, there is the upper trail, among the Aleppo pines and the Mediterranean steppe… The Zingaro Preserve is a small earthly paradise loved by the most obstinate hiker and by those who simply do not want to miss the unique experience of bathing in perfect temperature clear water; it is also loved by those who would like to use a mask to explore the seabed, or even enjoy the warm sun on the tiny beaches, in a wild coast, where man seems almost superfluous.
Yet, among the rich flora and fauna of these places, among the dust of the paths and the foam of the sea, it really seems to feel at home …
Our Italian Pressed Sandwich is a simple sandwich recipe that makes a delicious dinner any night of the week. Sandwiched between hearty ciabatta bread and loaded with delicious Italian deli meats and cheese, this pressed sandwich also travels well, making it the perfect on-the-go lunch option for back to school, work, or even a fun picnic basket essential to enjoy outdoors.
The Pressed Sandwich
Pressed sandwiches make a wonderful dinner option in the summer when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. They are hearty enough to feed a hungry family, and you can customize the flavors easily to make even the pickiest eaters happy. Our Italian Pressed Sandwich recipe is full of Italian deli meats easily found at your grocery store like pepperoni, capicola, & salami. Additionally, there is mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto, and fresh basil leaves to add to the Italian flavor and also makes this sandwich the same colors as the Italian flag. Pressing the sandwich for at least 20-30 minutes in the fridge melds all of the flavors together magically for an exciting taste experience, however, if you decide not to press it, you are still sure to love this simple sandwich recipe! For more sandwich inspiration check out our collection of Simple Sandwich Recipes that will make you love lunch again!
Italian Pressed Sandwich Recipe Tips
- Use a sturdy bread like ciabatta bread. Additionally, we recommend purchasing a loaf and cutting it to 6×6″. In doing so, you’ll have 4 sandwiches once pressed and cut.
- When making a pressed sandwich, you don’t want it to get soggy, therefore be sure the pesto you use isn’t too wet. Look for a sun-dried tomato spread if purchasing, and if you make your own pesto, just be sure to omit some of the oil so it’s a little on the dry side.
- For maximum flavor, we recommend using the best quality deli meats and cheese available to you, and always use fresh basil or arugula for the green if you aren’t a fan of basil.
- For pressing, be sure to wrap the sandwich tightly and use a heavy pot or skillet on top. A cast-iron skillet works well.
- Refer to the How-To Photo Tutorial below the recipe for a visual reference when preparing this simple sandwich recipe.
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread at least 6×6″
- ½ cup tomato pesto
- Sandwich pepperoni, 2-4 ounces
- Capicola ham, 2-4 ounces
- Fresh mozzarella, 4 ounces
- bunch fresh basil
- 3-4 tomato slices
- 4 ounces calabrese salami
- Slice the ciabatta loaf in half longways through the middle so you have a top and a bottom half for making sandwiches.
- Spread ¼ cup of tomato pesto on each half of the ciabatta bread.
- Place 4 ounces of sandwich pepperoni on the bottom half of the bread
- Top wil 4 ounces of capicola ham and 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese.
- Layer the basil leaves and tomato slices on top of the mozzarella and top with 4 ounces of salami.
- Place the top half of the bread loaf on top and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
- Place a heavy pot or skillet on top to gently press the sandwich and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 8 hours.
- When ready to serve, carefully unwrap the sandwich and slice off the edges if you want a nice square cut.
- Carefully cut the loaf in half and then cut each half in half again. This will yield 4 sandwiches. Enjoy!
How-To Photo Tutorial
Slice the ciabatta loaf in half longways through the middle so you have a top and a bottom half for making sandwiches. Spread 1/4 cup of tomato pesto on each half of the ciabatta bread. Place 4 ounces of sandwich pepperoni on the bottom half of the bread. Top with 4 ounces of capicola ham…
Top with 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese, and layer the basil leaves and tomato slices on top of the mozzarella. Top with 4 ounces of salami, and place the top half of the bread loaf on top…
Wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap, and place a heavy pot or skillet on top to gently press the sandwich. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 8 hours.
When ready to serve, carefully unwrap the sandwich and slice off the edges if you want a nice square cut.
Then cut the loaf in half and cut each half in half again. This will yield 4 sandwiches. Enjoy!
#TalkingLocation With… author Linn B Halton.
Discovering Calabria as the perfect setting for The Secrets of Villa Rosso.
I’m fortunate enough to have visited Italy many times, including during an extensive road trip in 2012. My husband and I drove down through France, into Switzerland and on through Italy. Below is a photo taken on a trip across Lake Garda, a truly beautiful area to visit. But when it comes to choosing a setting for a story it’s rarely as simple as choosing a memorable holiday destination. And that was exactly the situation with the setting for The Secrets of Villa Rosso.
It’s a love story centred around a mystery attached to the Villa and the family who own it, who also run an olive oil refinery. Key to the telling of this story is the worst olive harvest in Italian history, in 2014. Bad weather and pests meant that many old trees were lost and the effects on producers large, and small, was devastating. Max is the manager, although he isn’t a family member, but the plight of the local farmers is something he has taken to heart. His mission is to find other ways for them to supplement their income by producing artisan goods (pottery, wooden furniture, decorative metalwork items etc) and help give them a more secure future, not totally reliant upon the results of each year’s harvest. The event had to be big enough to give Max a selfless passion – and Castrovillari was one such area affected in 2014.
Calabria is the southern-most region of Italy, the toe of the Italian boot, whereas Puglia, on the east coast is the country’s heel.
While the people, their individual stories and the villa itself are fictitious, the setting and descriptions are very real. I hope I did justice to the setting and inspire readers to want that less touristy adventure.
To the north of Calabria are the Pollino mountains which are rugged and heavily wooded, with vast wind-swept plateaus. Central Calabria is dominated by La Sila, a mountainous plateau covered with forests and dotted with lakes, interspersed with villages.
Green even on the hottest days of summer, it’s contrasted by its equally beautiful, rocky coastline. In between the jagged cliffs dotted with grottos, you will find pure white beaches. Mountains, plains and beaches – warm, Mediterranean summers and mountainous winters snows …
And you will be discovering the charm of an area that is not a mass tourist destination, so you won’t see those huge tour buses. The Calabrian experience is off-the-beaten-track; a slower pace of life, with the afternoon siesta still observed – for which you will be grateful. This is the authentic Italian experience.
Visit Pentedattilo, an ancient town built into a rocky mountainside; the ancient Greek city of Locria Epizephyrii; the Medieval town of Gerace; and its Greco-Roman theater; Palmi, a former French-ruled city; the ancient Greek city of Hippomian; Stromboli and Lipari; the resort town of Tropea; the Byzantine town of Stilo; the picturesque village of Bivongi; and the 11th century Carthusian Monastery. While the dialects can be challenging, the people are genuinely welcoming and friendly.
And if you come away with only one smell that will instantly transport you back to the area, it’s the sweet oleanders. But for me the mix of that earthy smell of the forest and the sharper fragrance of the olive groves are something I can still conjure up at will.
There is so much to see and do, on this Italian adventure, so why not make Calabria your next holiday destination!
When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.
It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?
What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever…..
Thank you so much to Linn for bringing the wonders of Calabria to life! You can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook and of course we off you the opportunity to buy The Secrets of Villa Rosso through TripFiction.
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Pani ca’ Meusa, AKA Pane con Milza, is full of unspeakable bits that are improbably tasty
Lard bubbles in shallow vats. Outside, the sun is punishingly hot. In a narrow shop facing the port, the Favata family scrambles to keep up with the lunch crowd. Domenico and Gieuseppe slice offal to order. Gaetano pulls meat off drying hooks. Rosario shouts the orders as they come in. Everyone’s here for what’s in those gurgling vats, for the only thing served here: pani ca’ meusa, the glorious grease bomb, classic street snack of this city, consisting of a soft sesame roll hollowed out and piled with a bounty of meusa (spleen) and lung, sometimes trachea. The sandwich, whose fame has not spread to mainland Italy, traces its origins to the 15th century, when the city’s butchers were paid for their services in scraps by Kosher-keeping customers.
Read More: Sicily’s Essential Street Food »
“Un otro maritatu!” cries Rosario. Maritatu(married), meaning the meat is topped with shredded caciocavallo cheese. A sandwich with no cheese is called schettu (single), for which a squeeze of lemon may be allowed. There are no other versions.
“Nothing is thrown away by the poor of Palermo,” Rosario says, heaping a tangle of hot entrails onto a bun, wrapping it all in butcher paper.
Pani Ca’ Meusa Porta Carbone has been run by his family since 1943. (A young PT boat captain named John F. Kennedy, stationed here briefly, is said to have been an early fan.) There are plenty of other vendors of pani ca’ meusa in the city, but the Favatas are known for their curing technique, and the juiciness of their meat, which is never left to congeal in cool oil.
The sandwich is an indelicate affair, a literal hot mess. The flavor: overwhelmingly gutsy, like foie gras with an attitude problem, possibly even a criminal record, the molten cheese a willing accessory. Bite into it and any squeamishness over unlovely animal organs is washed away in the torrent of that flavor. You’re sweating lard now—and thinking about getting back in line for seconds. It’s that good.
By Carol King
Carol King selects some of the best Italian gelato flavours.
Everyone has a favourite ice cream flavour. Chocolate is the undisputed king of ice creams, while classics like hazelnut, lemon, strawberry, coffee, vanilla and pistachio are also popular. Go to any Italian gelateria (ice-cream parlour) and you will be spoilt for choice, feeling like you are in “gelato heaven!”
But how can you choose when standing in front of dozens of interesting flavours?
Most gelaterie divide their counter in two parts, one area for “frutta”, fruit flavoured gelato like lemon, melon or peach, and the other part for “creme”, creamy gelato like chocolate, pistachio or hazelnut.
You can buy ice cream in Italy to eat in a cono (cone). However, homemade Italian gelato is soft in texture and, when it is hot, you may regret doing so when it starts running. To be on the safe side, ask for a coppetta (small cup). They come in various sizes with a small plastic spoon. If you want to take some gelato home, you can also order it by weight and the ice-cream seller will put it in a vaschetta (tub). Remember that you don’t have to order just one flavour at a time: many Italians order two at once and vendors are happy to advise on what makes for a good combination.
Many gelato flavours in the “creme” area of the shop counter, have “mysterious names” like Bacio or Sette Veli that do not reveal much about the ingredients. If you do not have time to do the research, then the following guide will help you the next time you are faced with what ice cream to choose. You can always ask the ice-cream seller if you can taste an ice cream before choosing and the vendor will put a small amount on a spoon to try some.
Bacio means ‘kiss’ and is the perfect way to describe the combination of chocolate and hazelnut that goes into making this gelato. Pale brown in colour, it has a rich chocolate flavour tempered by the nutty taste of hazelnut praline – and in some cases – real hazelnuts.
Sette veli, or seven veils, gelato is a chocolate lover’s dream. Its name refers to the Biblical story of the seductive dance of the seven veils performed by Salome for Herod. Sette veli cake is most associated with Palermo in Sicily, although it is found throughout Italy. Sette veli gelato is a combination of different kinds of chocolate from dark to light, hazelnut praline and crunchy biscuits. Like the cake, the ice cream is made in alternating chocolate and nut layers, topped by tiny biscuits. Incredibly rich in flavours, sette veli gelato is a taste sensation as the crispy texture of tiny biscuits gives way to soft, thick creamy chocolate.
In Italian, stracciatella can refer to a type of soup with egg or cheese, as well as chocolate-chip ice cream. However, homemade stracciatella does not taste like mass-produced chocolate-chip ice cream; rather, it is a light vanilla ice cream packed with slivers or chunks of chocolate. A combination of both tastes and textures, stracciatella helps you cool down on a hot summer’s day and satisfy a desire for chocolate.
Tartufo is Italian for “truffle”. However, in the world of desserts, it usually refers to a small ball of gelato made from two flavours covered with a chocolate shell. There are numerous combinations, often using chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, covered with nuts like pistachio or almond and even chocolate shavings, and sometimes the centre contains a liqueur, fruit or fruit syrup. According to tradition, the idea of a tartufo originated in France after the French Revolution and the chocolate confections were made to resemble savoury truffles. In Italy, the tartufo came to prominence after 1943 when ice-cream makers in Pizzo, Calabria, created a tartufo gelato to impress a noble visiting from Piedmont, the future king, Prince Umberto of Savoy. Piedmont is famous for its truffles and the tartufo gelato was an attempt to combine the northern love of truffles and southern skill in making desserts in his honour. However, tartufo gelato does not just come as bomba
The English translation of zuppa inglese is “English soup”. The origin of the phrase is uncertain, but it is thought to stem from the 16th century, when the rulers of Ferrara, the Dukes of Este, asked their cooks to recreate the English trifle that the nobles had sampled at the English royal court. Zuppa inglese is a dessert based on sponge cake, egg custard and a scarlet-coloured aromatic liqueur, Alchermes. It’s also a popular ice-cream flavour that is yellow in colour, with a rich taste and creamy texture. Recipes vary but the main ingredients are milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, a dash of Alchermes and bits of sponge cake.
Want to learn more about gelato? Check out Italy Magazine’s feature, Gelato: Pleasure and Businesshttp://www.italymagazine.com/italy-featured/italian-ice-cream/gelato-ple…
Want to practice your Italian language skills while learning about gelato? Read our Dual Language article,Dual Language – Gelato Italiano – Italian Ice Cream here: http://www.italymagazine.com/learn-italian-language/dual-language/gelato…
The Reverse Immigrant
The Reverse Immigrant: Return to My Sicilian Roots by Alfred M. Zappalà This book is a love story. The object of the author’s love, however, is not a person. He loves an island, Sicily, or perhaps better his idea of the island: He was not born there. His connections to the island come by way of both grandparents who hailed from Trecastagni, a village on the slopes of Mt. Etna, as well as by an affinity for everything Sicilian. Yet his love for the island is such that in his maturity he has decided to leave his native Lawrence, MA and become a reverse immigrant by moving to Sicily on the slopes of majestic Mt. Etna
Alfred M. Zappalà is a father of three and a grandfather of four. His view on life is that everything else after that is pretty much gravy. He holds a law degree and teaches at prominent law schools in Boston. Considered an expert on the bar examination, he has trained thousands of aspiring lawyers to successfully become lawyers. He has authored several books on the bar examination and a screenplay. He also is a dual American-Italian citizen. He introduced thousands to the wonders of Sicily by importing various products from Sicily, including one that was deemed the best in its category at the nation’s premier food event, The Fancy Food Show. He has posted thousands of times on his popular blog and continues to write of his adventures in Sicily. ISBN 1881901750
PLEASE NOTE: Available ONLY as a Download Only on AMAZON – KINDLE
A Foodie I’m Not But…
Although I don’t consider myself a foodie (and certainly wouldn’t call myself a cook!), there’s no question that I love food and love to eat. If you’ve followed along with me on my travels, you know that I also love to share photos of local markets and fare, and the people who grow, harvest, catch and/or prepare it.
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Going to local farmers’ markets is absolutely one of my favorite things to do in any town – large or small – be it a small neighborhood vegetable stand, artisan cheese, seafood or pastry shop or a large market offering pretty much a to z, I find that it is a perfect way to really learn about the authentic local cuisine and culture. Knowing that what I see will probably be on my plate later that day, I have a deeper appreciation for every morsel.
Learning about local specialties; what is seasonal, regional and traditional is a wonderful, experiential way to gain insights into the local lifestyle.
Since I usually stay in or near historical centers or small towns, I haven’t had the opportunity (or need) to go to an Italian super market (super mercati). Passing by as we travel from town to town, I see them on the outskirts in the more modern neighborhoods. My closest encounter has probably been an AutoGrill which is more like a super deluxe convenience store/gas station along the autostrade.
Well, that all changed during my last visit to Puglia. While visiting friends who now live in Ostuni, we had the occasion to go to a local Supermercati together. While visiting super markets isn’t usually my thing, this was a new experience and a peek into another aspect of local life. And, after all, since it involved food, I was definitely interested!
Also, I thought it would be a fun way to improve and practice my Italian vocabulary and, indeed it was. So…
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Grab Your Shopping List and Let’s Go!
The Familia Supermercati is a chain of stores in southern Italy. Flipping through their weekly ads you’ll quickly notice that you’ll find everything you need and more. From fresh and local to packaged goods, pasta to pet food and patio furniture, they have it here. It’s virtually a one stop shopping destination. (You’ll notice a few familiar American brands sprinkled here and there, too.)
- If you need a shopping basket, you can pick one up on your way in but you have to pay one euro which is refunded when you return it after you’ve checked out and put everything in your car. (I love this concept as all too often shopping baskets never find their way back to the store here in the States.)
- If you only need a few items, smaller baskets (trolleys) with wheels are available as well.
- You have to bring all of your own shopping bags to tote your purchases home.
- The rule when picking out your purchases in Italian farmers’ markets is generally“non tocare” (don’t touch). After all, what good would that peach be after dozens of people gave it a squeeze?
- However, at the super mercati, where you have to pick and choose, you are politely reminded that you must wear a glove which is provided as you enter the market.
- Wearing your glove, you get a plastic bag and then pick out your fresh produce as well as make and put your other selections in your cart.
- Once you select your produce, you then weigh it. The automated scale prints out a sticker with the description, weight and your cost to affix to the bag. Very efficient and obviously time saving during check out!
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The array of choices is positively mind boggling! Just the assortment of fresh produce, cheeses, meats, seafood, dairy, wine and beer, baked goods…on and on… is outstanding! The challenge is to stick to your shopping list…
And everything is so neatly organized and arranged, and attractively displayed.
♦ And, by the way, if you’ve traveled in Italy it will come as no surprise that there is a very “green” conscientiousness and emphasis on ecological and biological alternatives.
♦ It also became obvious that, for practical purposes, knowing basic metric measurements was very important. (Also, note that they use a comma instead of a period to indicate “cents”.)
♦ A few of the more useful conversions are:
- Kg (kilo) = 2.2 pounds)
- L’etto = 100 grams or approximately 4 ounces (used for freshly sliced cheese and cured meats)
- L (liter) = 33.8 ounces
- 500 g (500 grams) = 17.6 ounces
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♦ Not only the assortment of choices but the prices and values were very impressive. For example, some fresh Pecorino romano Dop at 0,79 L’etto (about 6.5 euros/kilo) would equate to only about $4.00 a pound and fresh ciliegie (cherries) at 1,99 for 500 gramsequates to a little over $2.00 a pound!
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As my friend checked items off her list and filled her cart to the brim, I was interested to see what her total would be. When it was only 77 euros, I couldn’t believe the value!There were enough delicious eats to keep me happy and satisfied for weeks!
I have to say that I loved this outing and learning more about the daily local life. Eating well is an uncompromised priority for Italians and its easy to see how one can eat and live well in Italy!
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Join me on some of my other forays into local markets in Italy!Better yet, join me in 2018 and we’ll explore together!
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28-07-201706:54by Claudia Astarita
Italian architect Gae Aulenti (Credits: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)
The name of Gae Aulenti has been the distinguishing characteristic of several important projects, not only in Italy but in the broader international scenario. She has been a protagonist in renovation processes involving the Gare d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, but also Palazzo Grassi (Venice), Rome Quirinale and the Estense Castle in Ferrara. Her talent is well known not only in Europe Gae, but everywhere in the world, from Tokyo to San Francisco.
Aulenti has launched a great wave of revolution in the architecture. After World War II, something new had to be created by “searching in depth in order to reconnect what the War had de-connected”, she declared. When she started her career in 1948, it was her strong personality and her perseverance that drove her to remarkable achievements in the architecture world, which was mainly made up of men. Gae was well aware of that and, with great irony, she commented: “Architecture is a job for men, but I have always acted as it wasn’t.” Even her parents were against her career in the field, not knowing the great contributions their daughter would have made.
Her innovations have marked the memory of many all over the world. Some of her most popular inventions in interior design were the bat-lamp and the glass table with wheels. Mrs. Aulenti has also created some outstanding scenic designs in collaboration with the director Luca Ronconi. Moreover, Aulenti was one of the big names involved in projecting the metro in Naples and the entry station of the metro stop Santa Maria Novella in Florence.
Aulenti was awarded several prizes until her death in 2012, at the age of 84. Her style in architecture will always be unique since it blends in with the urban environment and tries redefine it with a greater harmony characterizing the new element in a renewed environment.
An advocacy group pushed back against Scaramucci’s performance a week after President Donald Trump chose him to lead his communications team and a day after he unleashed a profane tirade against his White House colleagues, reported the New York Post.
“Let’s be clear,” said Andre DiMino, executive board member for the Italian-American One Voice Coalition. “Anthony Scaramucci in no way represents the 25 million Italian Americans who are hard working, law abiding and respectful.”
Scaramucci joins the White House after a career as a Wall Street financier, and he quickly drew attention for his flamboyant praise of Trump and ferocious criticism of opponents.
“The concern for us is that as an Italian American Scaramucci’s persona will generate skits and other comedy on broadcast TV and elsewhere in which mob themes will be used,” DiMino said.
“We have seen this movie before,” he added. “The fallback for lazy comedy writers is if he’s Italian he needs to be portrayed as mobbed up. The fact that the news media has begun calling him ‘The Mooch,’ I believe, is a prelude to this.”