Ever since I fell in love with Barolo after my first taste in Rome in 1999 I’ve wanted to visit the town of Barolo. I finally did it last week and reality surpassed my dream. The zone of Le Langhe has nearly 700 wineries, nearly all carrying the Nebbiolo grape that makes Barolo and its cousin to the north, Barbaresco. I did tastings at four wineries and drank Barolo inbetween.
10 worst foods of my life: From beetle larvae in the Amazon to insects in Cambodia, I’ve tried them all
Eating as a travel writer isn’t always chateaubriand in Chateaubriand, although I’ve had that. It’s also trying native foods that wouldn’t be shown in PG films. As a traveling food columnist for eight years, I dared myself to try foods that sound like a dare. From live beetle larvae in the Amazon to stir-fried dog in China to an Asian fruit so foul I couldn’t keep it down, I’ve seen the dark corners of the food world. I’ve collected the 10 worst for your displeasure.
Every country has a food culture and at the top of Malta’s food chain is rabbit. It’s tradition to eat it on Sundays and the country even has 14 restaurants specializing in rabbit and two cities specializing in rabbit restaurants. During my five-day trip to Malta two weeks ago, I went to one of them. Yes, rabbits are cute. But they’re also tasty. While 550,000 rabbits are killed in Malta every year, agencies and government ministries are out to help the rabbits’ benefits as much as possible. My last of a three-part blog on Malta.
If you’ve never heard of Molise, don’t worry. Few have. It’s by far the least-touristed of Italy’s 20 regions, getting only 482,000 visitors in pre-Covid 2018. It’s 55 percent mountains and the rest is mostly rural. It’s not set up for tourists. But for the adventurous — and the hungry — it’s a terrific place to discover another side of Italy. The countryside is beautiful and the food and wine are unique and excellent. It was a great birthday present to myself.
I wrote a couple weeks about the return of wine tastings in Rome. I went to Io Vino’s Sunday which concentrated solely on wines from Le Marche and Campania regions. A total of 80 winemakers gathered in one room. Ever tried them? Le Marche and Campania wines are very underrated. Their headliners are the Verdicchio in Le Marche and Aglianico in Campania.
Besides mass death, one of Covid’s biggest casualties are wine tastings in Italy. They were one of the pleasant surprises upon my move to Rome. So many wine tastings came to town, I never had to rent a car and go winery hopping. Covid sidelined wine tastings for two years and now they’re slowly coming back. I went to my first two weeks ago at Renato e Luisa, my favorite restaurant in Rome, which had a wine tasting/lesson for Cornell University students. More wine tastings are coming.
In the last 13 months I’ve been to 44 different restaurants in Rome. I have revised My Five Favorite Restaurants in Rome list from my last list from 2019. This one has a familiar name on top but all new places below it. Only Renato e Luisa can be found in Lonely Planet. Italy is open for business again. Start your appetites.
I didn’t travel much around Italy last year but in small places I uncovered some really unspoiled gems. Villages in Castelli Romani and Abruzzo dominated this year’s annual list of Underrated Italian Cities but I also dipped way down to Campania and up to Piedmont as well.
Asturian cuisine: Spanish comfort food hits sweet spot with beans and sausage but cider hits a sour note
When you think of Spanish cuisine, you think of tapas. It’s the fun, social way to eat., Go tapas bar hopping and fill up on little plates of local delicacies. In the Northern Spain region of Asturias, nothing is small. Asturian cuisine is hearty, big and flavorful. Sausage. Beans. Soups. Seafood. We spent four days gorging on Spain’s most underrated cuisine. But you can have its sidra.
(Director’s note: I’m a food writer but not a vegan. Still, I respect those who are. I respect anyone who eats healthy. In that spirit, I’m offering this space for freelance guest blogger Allen Brown.) The vegan diet is becoming more and more popular. Not only is it the only sustainable way of living in […]
Is pizza the most important dish in Italy? People in Italy’s rice country say it’s risotto. You can get good pizza lots of places in the world. The only place to get good risotto is in Italy. And the best in Italy is Vercelli where I went on assignment for a shooter and came away with the best risotto of my life.
I’ve traveled to 107 countries but none in the last 14 months. I miss it more than anyone can know. Here is why.