Twitter #italychat Transcript: Eating in Italy with Judy Witts Francini aka Divina Cucina

|image1| Our guest for this session of #italychat is our friend Judy Witts Francini ( href=”http://www.twitter.com/divinacucina” target=”_blank”>@divinacucina)
of www.divinacucina.com
She’s an American expat who has been living, cooking and exploring in
Tuscany for 25 years! Enjoy as she answers questions about Italian food
and where to have the best culinary experiences in Italy.

Q1 What is the difference between Italian food and Italian-American
food?

target=”_blank”>@divinacucina often
meat was cooked in tomato sauce, then the meat removed to be served as
main dish- sauce on pasta
target=”_blank”>@artnbarb
There really is NO “Italian”, just regional
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly
Italian American food seems much heavier than what you
might eat in Italy
href=”http://www.twitter.com/truthfultourist” target=”_blank”>@truthfultourist
Difference? Italian food (eaten
in Italy or not)
evokes different taste memories, culture… Another
difference, simply put, the ingredients. Abastanza bene. Non e vero!?

Q2 Since you say Italian food is all regional, what are some of your
favorite dishes from different regions and where to eat them?

href=”http://www.twitter.com/wanderingitaly” target=”_blank”>@wanderingitaly
My neighbors keep telling me the local variations on
regional food. So, it’s not just regional, but town by town.
target=”_blank”>@divinacucina When
they tried to recreate their recipes with american
ingredients, recipes changed– and those recipes where passed
on… In florence even neighborhood to neighborhood recipes
change! love the variations… pasta con le sarde, cannoli and
arancini in Sicily… and of course serious artisan gelato
anywhere. I also have tons of regional olive oils to cook the regional
dishes– like wine they pair with the cooking styles and food.
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly I’m
in love with Pugliese cuisine. The bread in href=”http://www.dreamofitaly.com/public/183print.cfm”
target=”_blank”>Altamura.
The burrata cheese anywhere. orecchiette pasta… when in Rome
Carbonara, amatriciana and pizza bianca or pizza al taglio- sometimes I
folllow food- sometimes chef’s
href=”http://www.twitter.com/truthfultourist” target=”_blank”>@truthfultourist pesto
in href=”http://www.dreamofitaly.com/public/department70.cfm”
target=”_blank”>Liguria.
Makes me weep… Olive oil
from the back-roads of Lazio.

Q3 I know you’re working on a Chianti app. Share your tips for eating
in Chianti!

target=”_blank”>@divinacucina I
have been hanging around in chianti for a long time and
chianti is huge– see my list at href=”http://www.divinacucina.com/” target=”_blank”>www.divinacucina.com…
Just
had a fabulous meal at the Osteria di Fonterutoli in Chianti— more
elegant, incredible food… we are lucky in chianti to have a
lot of variation in places to eat and wine taste- in Greve I like
Nerbone in the piazza.
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly 7
years ago (didn’t realize it was that long)  href=”http://www.twitter.com/divinacucina” target=”_blank”>@divinacucina intro’ed
me to the famous href=”http://www.dariocecchini.com/” target=”_blank”>Dario
Cecchini –
butcher in Panzano.
target=”_blank”>@divinacucina Now
Dario has three dining options, Dario+ which was
MacDario, for a 10- euro burger or 20 euro tasting lunch
target=”_blank”>@massimosmom
Can you recommend an authentic olive oil from Italia, that
is sold here in the U.S. question. Thank you very much 🙂

Q4 I know you’re a chocolate expert. Where should we eat chocolate in
Italy? Specific stores, restaurants?

target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly Torino has incredible chocolates! gianduja of course
(hazelnut + choc) the bicerin drink –
at  target=”_blank”>www.bicerin.it..
Perugia has
a great href=”http://dreamofitaly2.blogspot.com/search?q=perugia+chocolate”
target=”_blank”>chocolate festival
and school 
target=”_blank”>@divinacucina Amalfi
has a great artisan chocolate maker in the main
square– Naples has Guy Odin shops all over… Torino has now got their
own festival too CioccolaTO… I am taking my clients to have
the torta di sette veli in Palermo— a 7 layered chocolate cake!!!
href=”http://www.twitter.com/FlavirifItaly” target=”_blank”>@FlavirifItaly
Dessert-wise millefoglie from href=”http://www.pasticceriacavalletti.it/” target=”_blank”>Cavalletti,
Via Nemorense
Rome. Pizza bianca fm Castelnuovo di Porto, North Rome

Side Question
target=”_blank”>@massimosmom I
live in Virginia and usually buy Bertolli or Collavita.
I can buy online if you have a suggestion.
target=”_blank”>@divinacucina there
is a GREAT online shop- href=”http://www.gustiamo.com/” target=”_blank”>Gustiamo
with REAL Italian
products

Q5 What are the most unusual dishes or foods you have eaten in Italy?

target=”_blank”>@eminchilli
The most unusual foods in italy are usually cuts of meat
you would never have in the USA. Tripe, lung, nerves for example.
href=”http://www.twitter.com/WorkMomTravels” target=”_blank”>@WorkMomTravels
I know it’s common in parts of Italy, but cinghiale was
very unusual for me when I first tried it. Now I can’t get enough of it!
target=”_blank”>@LacusCurtius
Coratella! Pajata!
target=”_blank”>@foodieintl
Spaghetti with sea urchin, home-raised 10 day cured
sausage, testa (pig’s head sausage), tripe…
target=”_blank”>@divinacucina we
ate raw sea urchin in Sicily twice, once at the market
in Catania–fabulous— and then again in Marsala on the roadside
Q5a
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly I
ate horse before I realized what it was. Is horse that
common in Italy?
target=”_blank”>@eminchilli Horse
used to be much more common, with butchers
specializing in it. Less so now.
href=”http://www.twitter.com/cucinadigitale” target=”_blank”>@cucinadigitale
I have eaten horse too here. There is a typical product
called Coppiette di Cavalo – it’s like horse jerky.

Q6 Fun one! Your last meal. You can have it in Italy. What would you
eat and where?

target=”_blank”>@divinacucina I
have not eaten everywhere– but would love to eat at
href=”http://www.morenocedroni.it/madonnina/main.php”
target=”_blank”>Madonnina
del Pescatore again in
Senigallia – or Cibreo
target=”_blank”>@foodieintl
Latte di Luna in Pienza (SI) Toscana – homemade tagliateli
al tartufo then crisp roast suckling pig with rosemary potatoes.
target=”_blank”>@eminchilli
That’s a hard one. For me carbonara at Perilli in Rome is
at top of list.
target=”_blank”>@divinacucina yes
maybe what to eat not where to eat– suckling pig is
a good one!!!
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly Most
memorable meals in Italy – on the high-end
href=”http://www.thi-hotels.com/hotels/ristorante-del-cambio/restaurant.html”
target=”_blank”>Ristorante del Cambio
in Torino, La Pergola in Rome
target=”_blank”>@ilpalazzone
Silene is always my choice.
target=”_blank”>@davidfarley
it would be at Da Enzo in
Rome href=”http://aol.it/kZT0gHhttp://aol.it/kZT0gH” target=”_blank”>