Culinary Concierge

culinary concierge, blog

ViaMedina is a culinary concierge service providing private chefs, cooking lessons, exclusive events, and interactive food and wine tours.

Posts tagged Italian Food
Fire it Up! Guanciale Fresca

Summer is here, and especially in Italy that means finding new and creative ways to not have to use your oven so that you stand a chance of surviving the searing heat of the season. Plus, while Italy might not have the same tradition of grilling and barbecuing as the United States, there are still plenty of ways to get your cook on outside and make it a pretty spectacular event. 

It's still fairly commonplace for homes in Italy to have an outdoor cooking area, and many include a wood fired oven. That's right, it is really just that idyllic around here that people have pizza ovens in their backyards that they can just fire up and do some incredible cooking with. Yes friends, everything you've heard is true and yes, you are entitled to the jealousy raging in your belly. 

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Gorgonzola, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok I know, there are a lot of gimmicks out there these days, and every one is serving the next weird combination in a mason jar or on a shovel or something so I would understand if you'd dismiss this recipe as another bit of hipster whimsy. Lord knows that when i first dreamt up the idea i thought of them as gimmicky, and it took me years to actually give it a real chance. But the more I made them and the more I've developed the recipe I think they're not only delicious but a really interesting bit of culinary logic.

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Traditional dishes of Tuscania

Our adopted home of Tuscania is about 80km north of Rome and 30km south of Tuscany, in an area known alternatively as Tuscia, Maremma, or that stuff you pass as you leave Rome to go to Florence.  As such the culinary roots of the area are an extensive tangle of Roman specialities like pasta (cacio e pepe, amatriciana and our favourite mystery, carbonara) combined with some of the canonical Tuscan dishes like cacciatore, acquacotta and porchetta. There are also some pretty incredible offal and organ dishes within this library that, while not for everyone, are still a really worthwhile thing to try out. 

For a little town there's a lot to choose from, and recipes will very according from one family to another. And trust us, this is in no way a definitive list; we'll keep adding as we go and if anyone has a dish that is a must, we'd love to hear from you. 

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Pasta Party- Cauliflower Leaf Pasta dough/ Cauliflower Ravioli in Brodo

Any good myth of origin is always a kind of underdog tale-a rough and tumble fighter who rose up from nothing to become a champion despite the odds being stacked against them. You know, the kid from the wrong side of the tracks with a heart of gold but has been written probably because of that one time he got into a fight at the roller rink with the football captain. Well, cauliflower leaves are a lot like this: delicious, full of potential and yet often tossed aside and written off like a bad metaphor. Well, consider this recipe that come from behind movie with Coolio, and consider us Michelle Pfeiffer. 

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Tell Me, O Muse: The Immortal Technique of Pecorino Marras
Each man delights in the work that suits him best. 
-Homer, The Odyssey

Some legends have it that the fearsome Cyclops of Homer's Odyssey was in fact a humble cheesemaker that was just misunderstood by his neighbours. Indeed it is thought that the passage in which his craft is described is among the first mentions of cheese productions; perhaps the poor Cyclops got a raw deal on the whole telling of the tale and has been forgotten for his trade. But you know, it isn't such a leap: cheese is a powerful food and those who know how to tame that beast into the form we know are in some way a bit fearsome. As the author Clifton Fadiman once said, cheese is milk's leap toward immortality, and few people know this better than Francesco Marras. 

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Veal Heart

I know, I know, it's another post about something that you'll probably think is gross. The heart. Because you're all lovers, not fighters and you think that eating a heart is just about as close as you can get to your favourite scene in Hannibal (I hear series 3 gets awesome, by the way). But like many other things, I think that once I've explained how I prepare it and how great it can be, you'll be convinced to try it yourself. It really is a fantastic cut of meat and I very much encourage you to try it out. 

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Sego Ciambellone

I was really delighted and frankly surprised by all of the feedback that our post about preparing and using tallow (or Sego in Italian) received since we published it. It's great to think that people are perhaps warming to the idea of learning about different fats again and that some of the stigma attached to using animal fats is perhaps starting to be lifted. That, and they did look cute wrapped up in their hipster brown paper. 

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