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Support our pig farmers. Make porchetta.

Travel almost anywhere in central Italy and it probably won’t be long before you encounter a white truck parked in a square or at a roadside, usually with a picture of a pig on the side. It will most likely have attracted a small crowd, smoke will be rising lazily from the chimney on its roof, and on the air will drift the irresistible aroma of roasting pork. This is the porchetta van, and if you ever come across one, stop, order a porchetta panino and savour the salty, herby, succulent pork inside.

Porchetta’s culinary status in Italy is recognised by no less an authority than the Italian Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali as a traditional agricultural-alimentary product, and one of a long list of time-honoured Italian foods determined to have cultural relevance. Traditionally a suckling pig is used, boned, stuffed with wild herbs and spit-roasted to deliciousness over a wood fire. Continue reading

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When in Puglia. . . eat orecchiette!

orecchiette con cime di rapa

Think of Puglia – the deep southern ‘heel’ of Italy – and you expect blue skies, warm sunshine, sunbleached beaches and shimmering olive groves. So it came as a bit of a surprise, when we were there recently, to be greeted by strong winds and a rain-lashed landscape. The usual white beaches and blue seas were decidedly grey and empty. But there’s always a silver lining (well, usually there is), and on this occasion it was the opportunity to try one of the region’s classic dishes – orecchiette con cime di rapa. Orecchiette is a dried pasta commonly served in Puglia, shaped like little ears, hence the name. Cime di rapa are turnip tops…doesn’t sound very inspiring, does it, but believe us this simple pasta dish is truly delicious. Continue reading

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