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Le pain au chocolat, the perfect french breakfast

3 November 2017

The white & pink checkered tablecloth, a cup of hot, intense americano, and a little basket full of croissant or pain au chocolat.

I don’t ask for anything else, while I think that I’d like nothing more, on Saturday morning while I go downstairs on my way to the kitchen. I open the shutters and press the button of my beautiful white kettle, with its sinuous profile, and I sit on the stool of the large oak table waiting for the gurgle of the boiling water.

To me this image represents absolute peace, a place where to each simple, individual action I can allocate its natural time, without the turmoil and rushed gestures typical of the weekdays.

However the reality is that on the table there is almost everything, with the exception of the freshly baked pain au chocolat.

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Torta Barozzi of Vignola : the orginal recipe is just one.

1 October 2017

Along narrow, bendy roads, among gentle, green hills of vineyards, nectarines, pears, plums, apricots, Morette cherries and cottages where the renowned Parmigiano Reggiano is made, Vignola appears, a small town set along the Panaro river.

I arrived there on a bright morning at the beginning of April: the mild weather, the fruit trees in blossom, the clear blue sky and…it was easy to feel even luckier than Cristopher Columbus. So much beauty, only a few hours away from home. A walk along the lanes of the town centre to the majestic medieval Castle, remnant of a past of defensive fortifications, and then turning back to reach the door of the historical Pasticceria Gollini.

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Breton shortbread and lemon cream tartlets

19 June 2017

I am in love with these lemon cream tartlets, a kind of love which is pure and almost childish, a love that catches you unprepared and gives you heart-shaped eyes, butterflies in your belly and a significant appetite, I should add. The truth is, behind all this there is a love for elegance and simplicity, a mixture of attraction and admiration for the perfection of simple things, round, voluptuous and once again…very French.

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Cookies

Baci di dama or Piedmont lady’s kisses, the perfect recipe

25 May 2017

Sometimes I get fixated, especially when it comes to food. A few years ago I entered the lady’s kisses tunnel; I used to eat plenty of them when I was a student, working part-time in a seriously elegant restaurant in my city. The chef (who had studied in Lenôtre in Paris…), at coffee time, used to prepare, on beautiful silver cake stands, the so-called Friandises, minute pastries capable of overshadowing even the deer’s antlers of St. Hubertus. There were the “bruti ma buoni” (literally, “ugly but good”), the cantucci and, of course, the little Baci di dama or Piedmont Lady’s kisses. So much minute perfection.

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Coconut cake recipe: a perfect gluten free semifreddo

22 April 2017

A Coconut cake recipe …in my opinion, the one that better brings out the qualities of this fruit and its creamy notes: a perfect gluten free semifreddo.

April is almost over, flip flops are still in their storage cabinet and people get out wearing their coat and then come back home with a sweating forehead…but the desire to smell the scent of sunscreen, of iodine, of lime and barbecue is strong. So, what should I do? Wait for the first dinner in the garden to experience all this? Maybe not, considering I haven’t a clue when the garden will be ready: at the moment it’s nothing short of a lunar landscape.

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Cookies

Dark chocolate and sea salt tender cookies

13 April 2017

I discovered the dark chocolate and sea salt tender cookies (flower of salt) the first time I entered in Pierre Hermé boutique in rue Bonaparte in Paris.

I was soaking wet due to torrential rain.

It may have been because of the soft, stylish colours of the shop window, which displayed pyramids of pastel-coloured macarons, or because of the elegant environment, or due to the gracefulness of the young women, wrapping goods as if they were precious jewels…that I did not hesitate to queue along the golden barriers (something not stylish at all, but essential not to lose patience) and I expectantly waited my turn, while my fellow travellers were looking at me over the queue with commiseration. Continue Reading…

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Dark chocolate tart with raspberries and fleur de sel

26 March 2017

The dark chocolate tart originated from a mistake and in the baking world, on average, mistakes are expensive.

No, it’s not a failed attempt to replicate the dark chocolate tart of Martha Stewart and it’s even less the personal interpretation of Knamm’s chocolate tart.
I had decided to attempt a cake with a Madeleine biscuit base and passion fruit cream, covered with chocolate Chantilly. I was going to look after the 3D pink bunnies and the golden decorative mushrooms at a later stage, duly observing the classic “business before pleasure”.
Ok, I know, maybe you’re pulling a face because at first it may look like something thrown together and not living up to expectations…but honestly, it’s not the case.

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Tarte infiniment café by Pierre Hermé

25 February 2017

What is the infinity? Please, don’t ask me, I get a headache every time I allow myself to entertain this type of thoughts. And afterwards, I get really anxious and end up weeping quietly.
I am only human – after all –  very human, and I am not worthy, I am not very profound and I am not wise.
Yes, I Think, but Descartes would say that this only means that I exist, not that I know what I am talking about.

I am pragmatic, fast and careful, which isn’t much; therefore, to shake off the discontent, I add frequent doses of obsession and precision, often unnerving for the next person. The sum is gratifying and makes me feel at peace with my conscience and…let’s say that for me this is plenty. Continue Reading…

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Red Velvet cake, the apology of everyday love

30 January 2017

How to dress up a cake for a party…and not any party: the festival of people in love, also known as the occasion to buy, like there’s no tomorrow, inflatable hearts, mugs littered with cupids, underpants burdened by uncomfortable and improbable laces. Oh, and apparently it’s also the opportunity to celebrate Love.

During the years in which I had filed away “The NeverEnding Story”, substituted by “The Party” as favourite movie, these types of gifts were abundant in my bedroom shelves. They weren’t necessarily gifts from the “Philippe” of the moment, but rather little somethings carefully sought just for you – only for you and only for today – from the best friend, the sister, the classmate. Continue Reading…

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Redcurrants mini pies, remembering NYC

15 January 2017

They say that Christmas brings, on top of tonnes of food, a pacifying power, and this year in particular I couldn’t agree more with it. It may be that, with age, one has less energies to spend living in conflict, or perhaps there is a stronger awareness that free time should only be spent in what we find salvific, positive and satisfactory.

2016 has demanded a lot of effort and commitment, for the most part channelled into what is represented by Duty. Pleasure, limited to small cut-outs, daily or seasonal, has been sought with difficulty and great pathos, and sometimes I could not enjoy it at all. It is difficult to clarify this concept but let’s say, if I dare to compare…what use can a really expensive leather armchair be for someone who doesn’t have food or a roof over his head?

Don’t worry, I still have a few panettoni in the cupboard, and not just those. I did say I was daring to compare.
I’ll explain better.
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