p

pamvoice's Profile

Title Last Reply

Smoked Salmon in Greece

I'm not sure about cold smoked but the major supermarket chains like Carrefour, Alpha Bita and LIDL sell smoked salmon and at quite reasonable prices. Sometimes a little salty. But really thin sliced no, but you can make a facsimile with it if you add the cream cheese and a soft roll and pretend you're eating a bagel!

Aug 18, 2010
pamvoice in Europe

Flour in Greece

when it says αλευρι on the packet, that means plain unbleached flour. when it says φαρινα it means self-raising flour, and it's usually in a red packet. You'll also see μαλακο which means soft and σκλιρο which means hard. Most of the major supermarkets carry their own brands of flour which are fine. Robin Hood is a great brand of flour for pastry. Other yellow packets are used for making bread but in particular egg type breads like the Easter Tsoureki. Hope this helps

Aug 18, 2010
pamvoice in Europe

Cake flour in Greece?

Anything marked Farina is self raising flour.
As the other member said the red packets, malako are soft flour , more like a cake flour with out additional raising agents.

Jun 20, 2010
pamvoice in Europe

Bologna: the best food in the world?

Hi Don't know if you've already made the trip, but please refer to my Eating in Bologna Italy part one post. I think it is a brilliant place to eat in Italy and book Gianni down the alley way in central old Bologna for a real treat, and if you can splurge Meloncello. I'd be happy to go and eat there again any time.

Jun 22, 2009
pamvoice in Italy

Easter in Bologna

On a monday we ate at Biagli della Grada on Via della Grada, a litttle difficult to find and a huge restaurant. There were only seven of us eating in total, but the waitress was a sweetheart. We ordered a bottle of Chianti Classico Peppoli (Antiniori 2006) which was a reasonable 21.00 euros, soft and delicious. To start we had a platter of mixed meats, super smoked ham and a delicious salami. The very thin flat bread tatyed very floury to us so we stuck with the rolls. (BBy the way, the bread in restaurants always seemed superior to that which we purchased in bakeries). For our primi we chose a rissotto with zuma (pumpkin) and tiny pieces of smoked cheese. it was cooked to perfection with the cheese just put on top at the last moment. A great mix of flavors. We also ordered taglietelle ragu with a very strong meaty taste. We shared cotoletta a thin piece of breaded veal covered in ham and melted mozzarella and manzo, thin slices of beef cooked medium rare and very tender. Both dishes were served with tiny oven baked potatoes and we also ordered a grilled gratined vegetabels. The tomato was not as sweet as it could have been but the griller eggplant and the zucchini were lovely and smoky. Only a sorbet for dessert and the total bill was 99.00 euros. It was worth it just for the rissotto alone.

Mar 10, 2009
pamvoice in Italy

Modern taverna in Plaka or Kolonaki

I live in Greece and generally feel that Plaka is largely for tourists. While I agree about Mamacas, I think that you are better off going next door to Sardellas or to Psirri Taverna or any taverna in Psirri.
Another alternative, but we are not talking fine dining here is TELIS at the very end of Evripidou Street near the market. Its formica tables, just pork chops on the grill and is totally delicious. Bit f a seedy area, but its really fine. Otherwise avoid anywhere that has colour photos outside and look at Matt Barretts Greek web site

Nov 19, 2008
pamvoice in Europe

Buying truffles and hams in Norcia

Yes, I felt it was really worth the effort and although it's out of the food line I recommend vespers in St. Benedict's church there. See my post on eating atCantina Nursia which I write about in detail in another post about Umbria I think. Great pizza with arugula, wonderful lentil soup with wild boar sausage and a warm atmosphere and delicious small wild boar chops.

Nov 13, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Perugia Chocolate Festival

Just came back from Perugia in October 2008 from the chocolate festival. It's held in the old historical center which is stunningly beautiful. I had trouble before leaving getting any English information from the official website so just showed up for the first day.
There were tens of covered stalls selling mainly Italian chocolate of very high quality, in bars, truffles flavored with chilli, coffee,, tequilla, cardamon. There were churros and hot chocolate, dipped chocolate bananas, sachertorte with hot chocolate sauce and cream and chocolate liquers.
There were crepes and flat breads filled with hazlenut spread, white chocolate with saffron, all at over 2 - 3 euros a bar and vry few free samples. There was a huge black and white chocolate chess set by Nuovi and Perugina had several chocolate block sculptures going where the chips flew off and you ate them. It was packed during the day and totally jammed on Sunday. At one point, we ducked down a side street to avoid going back through the crowds. There were huge blocks of nougat for 65 euros a kilo, cremino blocks for 38 a kilo and it all looked high quality, but for a chocoholic like me ( or at least I thought I was) it all felt rather sanitary and seemed a little expensive. Would I go again? No once was enough, but if you happen to be in Perugia to eat or for other reasons, at the time of the festival, yes, it's definitely worth seeing.

Nov 10, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Buying truffles and hams in Norcia

Fred Plotkin's suggestions for buying meats in this area of Norcia seem to be spot on. The black truffles of this area are different for spring and autumn. The spring one is though to be superior and is slightly more expensive.
In the main street near the square of St. Benedict you'll find a store specialising in truffle products, and I purchased truffles, and truffle paste here, but I found the oil to be cheaper in Bologna or even Peck Milan!
Make sure if you are there for a very short time that you work out where you want to buy goods and find out there opening hours as every shop has a closing day and it can be very frustrating.
The man from the Braccione shop in the same street was very forceful, but his products are excellent. You can buy the Costiglione de Mulo ( the mule's balls) anywhere though. One thing we looked for was if stuff was kept out of the refrigerator so that it would keep for the duration of our journey. We were totally fine bringing it back to Europe from Italy, but in the US you'd be a bit stuck. Apparently if you put it in your carry on bag as food you are going to eat on your journey you can get away with some of it. Warning the truffle sausages and the wild boar sausages are very strong as is the truffle cheese. But again that can be purchased vacumn packed and that's a great help.

Nov 10, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Fall Trip Planning: Umbria and Le Marche

Just came back from Norcia in October 2008 and loved it and agree the ride to it is wonderful. We were disappointed with the Grotto Azzuro restaurant. Stunning place, spaghetti with truffles sublime, wild boar sausages salty and they got the order wrong so my husband ended up with a small solitary pork chop on his plate, but it's a beautiful hotel.
Da Francese was hailed as the place to eat, but it was empty when we got there and I had food poisoning and couldn't face much.
However we found a great unexpected gem- CANTINA NURSINA. A tiny restaurant although it has a basement, with a small outside place with chunky wooden tables and a charming Romanian Waitress. We ordered a plate of three tiny bruschetta, one with olive oil, one with black truffle and one with tomato. Very tasty. I had a bowl of the famous local lentil soup with a wild boar sausage in it. Very tasty. The lentils harvested nearby reminded me of Greek Fakes, but much smaller. We also had three small pieces of wild boar perfectly grilled and a jug of red one - all for 17 euros. We went back that night where the place was buzzing and although we had to wait for ages as my husband ordered pizza, it was great. I ordered sphagetti with truffle sauce (again) delicious, but ask them to bring everything together if you've ordered a pizza. For starters they brought pile of what they called focaccia but were thin crispy breads and served with a silky thin mound of delicious smoky prosciutto sliced and served beautifully on a wooden tranch. The pizza was on this thin crispy base like the focaccia and was quatre formaggio and laden with cheese. It was unbelievably good. You could order it with a mountain of arugula on top, which is surprisingly refreshing. It was 28 euros and totally tasty together with a nice atmosphere.
Try to go to St. Benedict's church nearby for Vespers in the evening in the crypt, and get there half an hour before it begins. It's a very spiritual experience indeed.

Nov 10, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Perugia chocolate festival

Just came back from Perugia in October 2008 from the chocolate festival. It's held in the old historical center which is stunningly beautiful. I had trouble before leaving getting any English information from the official website so just showed up for the first day.
There were tens of covered stalls selling mainly Italian chocolate of very high quality, in bars, truffles flavored with chilli, coffee,, tequilla, cardamon. There were churros and hot chocolate, dipped chocolate bananas, sachertorte with hot chocolate sauce and cream and chocolate liquers.
There were crepes and flat breads filled with hazlenut spread, white chocolate with saffron, all at over 2 - 3 euros a bar and vry few free samples. There was a huge black and white chocolate chess set by Nuovi and Perugina had several chocolate block sculptures going where the chips flew off and you ate them. It was packed during the day and totally jammed on Sunday. At one point, we ducked down a side street to avoid going back through the crowds. There were huge blocks of nougat for 65 euros a kilo, cremino blocks for 38 a kilo and it all looked high quality, but for a chocoholic like me ( or at least I thought I was) it all felt rather sanitary and seemed a little expensive. Would I go again? No once was enough, but if you happen to be in Perugia to eat or for other reasons, at the time of the festival, yes, it's definitely worth seeing.

Nov 10, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Restaurants in Tuscany/Umbria

Granaro del Monte is a beautiful restaurant and well worth it if you stay half board for one night of your stay. The restaurant is stunning beautiful with its flag stone floors and huge wood burning grill but we were disappointed with our secondi. The primi of sphagetti with shaved truffles was sublime but the grilled wild boar sausage was so salty it was almost inedible, and my husband ordered a mixed grill and got a pork chop, as the waiter put in the wrong order. Often happens, but disappointing when it's your only night there and the

Nov 09, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Eating in Bologna Italy part one

Your welcome. Do go to Zanarini cafe in San Stefano Square to people watch if nothing else. Especially ritzy on a Sunday, when you may have to wait for a table after about 10.am. Inside is a buzzing coffee bar too. I wasn't as bowled over with the cakes as everyone else seems to be ( I thought there were better in Bologna, but the chocolate cakes was very dense I must say and topped with strawberries and cream . We paid 16 euros for a very large Campari Spritz, an OK cappuccino, a cake and all the olives and stuff you get when you order a drink, but it's a wonderful atmosphere. Apparently the brioche are wonderful.
I preferred the cakes at Gamberini on Ugo Bassi Street just after Via San Felice.
Also we tended to eat gelato over cakes as other threads have suggested the flavours and the quality are the best in this city.
One of the best things about this city as well is the snacks or cichetti type snacks you get at drinks time. This seems to start after work when the bars compete for your evening drink. It's starts about 6pm and seems to end about 7.30pm. The bars lay out mainly tiny slices of thin type baguette bread with prosciutto, smoked meats, salami, olives, nuts etc, mozzarella topped snacks, shrimp and mayo, all very tasty with a nice glass of red. Expect to pay anything from 5 euros to 7 euros for a glass of wine. This includes the snacks. Also I tend to go for the snacks at the beginning of the evening when they haven't been sitting out too long. One place I think it's called Montenero on a very noisy part of Via Ugo Bassi, opposite Gamberini Bakery did particularly nice snacks indeed but there is the street noise to contend with.

Nov 09, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Indoor Voices, Please!

i was delighted in Italy this year (2008) when with out fail every person who received a phone call on their cell phone in the restaurants we frequented, left to speak outside. it was a delight and we found Italians so animated it was delight for us, without being overbearing. You should live in Greece, where it's so loud, everyone is talking on their cell phones at once, the kids are running amoke, they stub their cigarettes out in their food and leave half the food on the table.

Nov 09, 2008
pamvoice in Features

Eating in Bologna Italy part one

Spent six days in October 2008 in Bologna and thought to hare some eating experiences

1) Book Melonocello well in advance. It's impossible to get into if you don't.

2) If you go anywhere in italy at this time of year be aware that some of the 'best' restaurants maybe empty and while we all agree the food is important it's pretty uncomfortable to be the only ones eating in a place
3) Eating on a Monday in Bologna is difficult. Make sure you research what's open before you go
4) We found trattorias some of the best places t eat. We booked GIANNI'S the day before. It's down an alley off Via Clavature by Bistro Rosa Rose. It was packed when we arrived at 8.30pm and a great atmosphere. O ur delightful waiter spoke English and we ordered the mixed antipasti as suggested which included two types of prosciuto, salami, a delicious creamy mortadella puree, mozzarella in carozza , a dab of butter (very unusual to find) and brushcetta, served with tiny brown and white rolls.
Our primi were a pasta I think called stringi( they wouldn't give me a menu as they said they only had a few but suggested photographing the menu outside the restaurant). They were thin string like threads with a thick rich ragu sauce. Dry as everywhere we had eaten by which I mean not very saucy as we are used to outside of Italy, but very tasty. The tortelli stuffed with pork and beef sausage, ricotta and radicchio were sublime and covered in melted butter. Very silk. We drank a bottle of Sangiovese di Romanga 05 by Perdiccha. It tasted a bit harsh to start with ( maybe because it was young) but improved in the glass. 18.00 euros . I hink the wine prices in the restaurants are much fairer than in the States and UK int terms of mark up. We shared a plate of chicory with a dash of peppericino flakes which was perfect but was too oily. For our secondi we shared a plate of tender medium rare pork sliced and covered in a creamy porcini sauce. Strong mushroom flavor, tender and totally delicious. It was served with the best mashed potato, made with milk, butter Parmesan and a a dash of nutmeg.
The desserts sounded great, a cream gelato with hot berry sauce, ciocolato cakes and pannacotta and zuppe inglese, but i couldn only manage a lemon sorbet. Total bill 75 euros plus I left another six as the waiter said service was not included. See a separate posting for this subject as it's very confusing.
5) On a Saturday we just managed to get a booking at TONY'S TRATTORIA on Via Rhigli off Via Independenzia by agreeing to coming at 9.45. He had nothing available for the rest of that week. Again packed when we arrived at 9.30 pm with a wonderful atmosphere going on.
We had the homemade tortellini in capon broth - no words to describe this simple dish, I could have eaten if forever. We had a tortelli with ragu, very nice. Again we shared a dish of pork sliced and covered with a truffle and porcini gravy, very nice but not as good as at GIANNIS . Their mixed salad had a dressing of 'old' balsamic vinegar on it,which was the best I'd tasted but I didn't feel inclined to spend 27 euros on a bottle or 88 euros for the 100 year old stuff, as I'd already purchased far too much elsewhere. We drank a Lambrusco Cardinale Pighini - L. Grasparosso Seco which was dry and tasty.Cost about 55 euros total for the meal.
6) The only pizza we managed to eat was at NICOLA's PIZZA known to everyone , with miserable staff but in a lovely square and with absolutely delicious wood oven pizza. My husband chose one with tomato, mozzarella, pork sausage, onion and mozzarella and although it was a bit burned around the edges, was the best we'd eaten so far in Italy.The crust may well have had some semolinea flour in it. Bear in mind the count was up to twelve by now and we didn't; travel to 'good' pizza areas.
I made the mistake of ordering Sphagetti Vongole, which was a bit mean with the clams and lacking in taste, but not texture. In the end I asked for some garlic on oil to add some flavour.
the wine was a half litre of the frizzante Pinot and it was light tasting. Together with a bottle of water the bill came to 29 euros.

7) On a monday we ate at Biagli della Grada on Via della Grada, a litttle difficult to find and a huge restaurant. There were only seven of us eating in total, but the waitress was a sweetheart. We ordered a bottle of Chianti Classico Peppoli (Antiniori 2006) which was a reasonable 21.00 euros, soft and delicious. To start we had a platter of mixed meats, super smoked ham and a delicious salami. The very thin flat bread tatyed very floury to us so we stuck with the rolls. (BBy the way, the bread in restaurants always seemed superior to that which we purchased in bakeries). For our primi we chose a rissotto with zuma (pumpkin) and tiny pieces of smoked cheese. it was cooked to perfection with the cheese just put on top at the last moment. A great mix of flavors. We also ordered taglietelle ragu with a very strong meaty taste. We shared cotoletta a thin piece of breaded veal covered in ham and melted mozzarella and manzo, thin slices of beef cooked medium rare and very tender. Both dishes were served with tiny oven baked potatoes and we also ordered a grilled gratined vegetabels. The tomato was not as sweet as it could have been but the griller eggplant and the zucchini were lovely and smoky. Only a sorbet for dessert and the total bill was 99.00 euros. It was worth it just for the rissotto alone.

8) On Wednesday we ate locally on Via San Felice at a local trattoria, Trattoria DANIO that had been packed on Sunday lunchtime. No reservation was needed and they had a huge back room. A little handwirtten sign in the front window said that homemade handmade pasta had been made in the restaurant for 37 years, and next to it was a pile of flour with an egg dropped in the center. It was packed with locals in for a quick dinner, students, foreigners, and very down hom and simple. Wait staff helpful and friendly. We ordered tortellin with pasticcio and cream sauce ( the bst yet) and I had tortelli verde stuffed with ricotta and with a truffle sauce. It was a dream. Tortelli was a little tougher than some but probably because it was made with spinach. We followed it with a light risotto with shrimp, which was excellent. I made the mistake of ordering two side dishes. The fried artichokes were covered in a thick batter and so were the olives stuffed with beef. Would have been tasty to have one of them as an appetizer but it was all too much. My husband said that the artichokes would have been great with a spring roll sauce! I had some strawberries (underripe and out of season so it serves me right) but still good with lemon juice and sugar. We drank a liter of the cold house red, very acceptable and the total bill was euros 47.

Nov 08, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Are my favorite Bologna gelaterie still open?

We went to Gianni in October 2008 and it was the best. Booked for 8.30 pm and it was jammed with 90 percent Italians. The waiter was helpful and the food a dream. You have to book even in the winter. We ordered the mixed antipasti which was great - a puree of mortadella, bruschetta with tomato, parmesn with a dribble of sweet balsamico , moazzarella in carozza and various cold meats and salamis. Sublime.
We followed this with a primi of very thing stringelli?) pasta with a rich but dry ragu. We realise this is the way it's done but I do prefer more of a sloppy sauce. We also shared a tortellini stuffed with sausage, radicchio and ricotta - the best meal we had. It was covered in butter and it was very silk and the pasta was so soft. We drank a bottle of Sangiovese di Romagna 2005 from Perdiccha. It was a soft drink after it's initial harshness but improved in the glass. Nothing special but went with the meal. We shared a plate of chicory with olive oil and a touch of pepperoni. Our shared main course was heaven- a plate of tender sliced pork with a porcini sauce cooked medium rare . It was slightly too salty but served with mashed potatoes made with milk, parmesan, butter and a dash of nutmeg. The combination was great.
I could only managed a glass of lemon sorbet after that, which was a shame as the dessert list looked great, especially the berries with pannacotta and warm berry sauce.
Total cost 75.00.
I have to say I'm still confused about tipping. Everything indicates that service is included in Italy but when I ask the wait staff they all say it isn't, so I always leave more.

Nov 06, 2008
pamvoice in Italy

Favorite restaurants in Assisi

Hi, just came back from Assisi and had a great meal at La Fortezza. It's right off the Piazza Communale and very quiet at the is time of year, and I suspect in February too. I booked but I didn't need to - there were just eight of us in the restaurant, including two American's who made a dreadful fuss.
Anyway the food was just delicious. My husband and I shared a first course of the silkiest fresh canneloni stuffed with pork and beef and covered in cheese and bechamel. I chose a hlaf bottle of Montefalco Rosso 2005, which was young but delicious and got better as it sati n the glass.For mains we had soft tender peices of grilled lamb, and I had supreme breast of duck in the freshest orange sauce I've ever had. We also ordered gratined vegetables, small but sublime - a zucchini, a yellow pepper and a tomato. It doesn't sound a lot, but I'd been ill and my apetite had shrunk, so no dessert. Total cost euros 45 and worth every penny. I'll attach a photo when I've sorted them out.

Nov 05, 2008
pamvoice in Italy