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November 28, 2011

To Celebrate the Holidays:




Will be given away to commenters selected in a RANDOM DRAWING

It’s NOT a CONTEST, anyone who comments can win!

TO PLAY: Complete This Sentence In The Comment Section Below:

One Golden Taste of Italy for me was ________________________

Write the first thing that comes to your mind, for example…

That cannoli stuffed with the freshest ricotta I savored in Sicily


The taralli (flavored with anise) I made for Thanksgiving apertivo, that always reminds me of my nana


One of These Can Be Yours…

100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go, by Susan Van Allen

by Carol Coviello-Malzone,(Golden Day 7: Rome)

Secrets from My Tuscan Kitchen,
A Cookbook by Judy Witts-Francini, (Golden Day 16: Florence)

Dream of Italy, Online Newsletter Subscription for 2012, with two Bonus Travel DVDs,

edited by Kathy McCabe, (Golden Day 31: Umbria)

 Cucina Povera
 a cookbook by Pamela Sheldon Johns, award-winning author and leader of cooking classes in Italy
Simple and Genuine, Mamma Agata’s Cookbook,
by Chiara Lima, from The Mamma Agata Amalfi Coast Cooking School, (Golden Day 62, Ravello)

They all make lovely gifts


Winner Announcements: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4

You may win a book  to give to an  Italophile in your life
Or it may be your first present of the season!

We look forward to reading your Golden Tastes of Italy— Grazie for playing!
Open to commenters worldwide, One comment per person, per favore
To Add Your Golden Taste for the Random Drawing, Look Below to the Left and Click on Comments OR write in the REPLY box…
Buone Feste!
93 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2011 1:54 pm

    … the family run restaurant in Ravenna who thankfully just TOLD us what they were serving and brought out pan after pan of beautiful antipasta and pasta dishes. Honestly I didn’t even think about what I was eating, or try to analyze it, I just let the senses take over for pure enjoyment…

  2. Lucill cordovano permalink
    December 4, 2011 2:38 am

    Before my son & I entered Pompei we were hungry and saw a litlle elderly man pushing a cart with Pizza inside, warm cheesy Pizza. How bad can this be we thought. While we ate we sat in the train station, sitting on warn brown benches rich in history, savoring the best pizza we ever ate, thinking when we exit Pompei we will get some more for the train ride back to Sorrento. Unfortunately the man was not there upon our exit. We have been back 5 times looking for this little man. A great surprise from a street vendor.

  3. December 3, 2011 11:46 pm

    last month I was in Italy, in Bologna.
    I was having lunch with the tour guide who showed me around the city. Yes sometimes you can rent a friend.
    She took me to her favorite restaurant and had the chef make me 3 typical foods from Bologna.
    I took the first bite, and wow,
    the second and oh wow.
    by the 3rd bite i was in heaven.
    she told me that it takes 3 bites to savor and appreciate the burst of flavor. cant wait to return

  4. Virginia Sanseau permalink
    December 3, 2011 7:41 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy was eating lunch, alone, on a rainy November day in Bologna. The meal was “tortollini con brodo.” The tortollini was stuffed with pumpkin squash. The broth was clear and delicious. Simplicity and elegance guided the meal. Bravo!

  5. December 3, 2011 7:08 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was enjoying Panzerotti cooked in an out door forno while waiting for the fireworks to start in Locorotondo Puglia during ferragosto last summer! Squisiti!

  6. December 3, 2011 6:39 pm

    Those bright green round olives they have on the Amalfi coast. I couldn’t get enough of them.

  7. Pat permalink
    December 3, 2011 3:30 pm

    …the incredible fried zucchini flowers in Rome and any gelato anywhere in Italy!

  8. December 3, 2011 5:30 am

    A Golden Taste for me was eating Chef Paolo Monti’s pesto at the Grand Hotel Portovenere after his cooking lesson in Portovenere years ago. The best, most full of flavour, freshest linguine with pesto, green beans and boiled potatoes I’ve ever had!

    Another Golden Taste is slowing drinking the divine Passito from Pantelleria, in any place in Italy.

  9. Neida Mora-Maus permalink
    December 2, 2011 9:11 pm

    My very first Golden taste of Italy was in 2007 in VENICE (yeay) at la Taverna San Trovaso.
    It was the most unbelievable Zuppa de Pesce I had ever had!!

    • Sue permalink
      December 3, 2011 6:35 pm

      Thats where I had my amazing seafood risotto that I still dream about-Great restaurant and nice to tourists

  10. December 2, 2011 7:57 pm

    definitely gelato!! I am addicted to it!!

  11. susanvanallen permalink*
    December 2, 2011 7:21 pm

    Loving all these delicious comments! Good luck to you all! Susan

  12. December 2, 2011 6:08 pm

    One golden taste of Italy for me was a visit to a lemon plantation on the slopes of Mt Etna for a surpurb Pasta dinner with wine and lemoncello…

  13. Greg Robson permalink
    December 2, 2011 5:58 pm

    Greg Robson

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was coniglio con olive e pinoli, at Ristorante Da Delfina, in Artimino,

    • Susan Van Allen permalink
      December 5, 2011 6:25 am

      Congrats Greg! You’ve been selected in the Random Drawing to win Flavors of Rome. Please e-mail with your address.

  14. Margaretha Oberg permalink
    December 2, 2011 5:30 pm

    My golden taste of Italy is sitting on the Spanish steps, ignoring all tourists and just enjoying life

  15. December 2, 2011 5:28 pm

    Ohhh Prosecco! Love the stuff. Will be sad if I can’t find it back in the states!

  16. December 2, 2011 7:45 am

    What a delicious list of memories! Good luck to all of you, and hurry back for more Golden Tastes!

  17. Louise Fiore permalink
    December 2, 2011 6:10 am

    A golden taste of Italy for me took place on my first trip to Rome, sitting on the wall behind the Pantheon eating my first porchetta panino!

    • Susan Van Allen permalink
      December 5, 2011 6:27 am

      Congratulations Louise! You’ve been selected in the Random Drawing to win a copy of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go. Please e-mail with your address. Grazie!

  18. December 2, 2011 2:39 am

    One golden taste for me was Amaro Montenegro.

  19. December 1, 2011 10:38 pm

    even today was a golden day…lunch on the terrace ..what, its already December ?!
    a simple fettucini with funghi porcini and sausage, hearty but ok with a glass or two of white, local wine…now where are those cuneesi al rhum I bought at the supermercato?…what about a sip of that limoncello our neighbors made ….

  20. December 1, 2011 9:37 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was risotto ai mare at Peruca, in San Gimignano.Risotto, Peruca restaurant and San Gimigniano are pure GOLD! Mi manca tanto, bellissima Italia!!!!!

  21. December 1, 2011 9:33 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was sitting on the steps of the fountain outside the Pantheon with my Nutella gelato from Giolitti.

  22. Nancy Caronia permalink
    December 1, 2011 8:33 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was the homemade fettucine mimoso at Le Cinghiale Bianco on the Otrarno in Fierenze. I can still taste the subtle hints of orange blossoms almost fifteen years later.

    • Susan Van Allen permalink
      December 5, 2011 6:28 am

      Congratulations Nancy! You’ve been selected in the random drawing to receive a copy of Cucina Povera. Please e-mail with your address. Grazie!

  23. December 1, 2011 6:46 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was the first fat warm sweet fig lovingly picked by my husband fresh from our tree in Positano, for my breakfast . And also the one after that and after that… I polished off a platter full.

  24. December 1, 2011 4:10 am

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was after an amazing osteria meal, so full and content, being blown away by a simple cookie and an amazing vin santo.

  25. November 30, 2011 11:14 pm

    The freshest Limoncello we ever had, offered to us from a shop owner who didn’t speak English but was obviously excited to share his product. We took him up on his glasses and sat, sipping this refreshing drink overlooking the Amalfi coast from the island of Capri. It was all we could do to tear ourselves out of our chairs to catch the ferry back to Sorrento!

  26. Annette Banks permalink
    November 30, 2011 10:55 pm

    the delicious ice-cream my husband used to buy me for dinner when I was expecting my first child !

  27. November 30, 2011 7:34 pm

    I just returned from Apuglia and can’t stop thinking about Burrata, a stuffed mozzarella specialty of the area along with the “white” (as in no red sauce, it was white) eggplant parmesan. Both beyond YUMMY!!

  28. November 30, 2011 6:11 pm

    …..pumpkin ravioli with pear and walnuts in a cosy trattoria in Florence.

  29. November 30, 2011 6:09 pm

    …..Salty sea in your mouth tasting Baccala next to a small canal in Venice.

  30. Anne Landrum permalink
    November 30, 2011 5:43 pm

    At the same meal, at a restaurant near the Pantheon, we had Rome’s fried artichokes and tiny wild strawberries with vanilla gelato. It cannot get more golden than that!

  31. November 30, 2011 3:25 pm

    My golden taste of Italy was the “uovo raviolo” at San Domenico in Imola, Emilia-Romagna. The golden yolk and shaved truffles were pure heaven.

    • Susan Van Allen permalink
      December 5, 2011 7:10 am

      Congratulations Mariann! You’ve been selected in a Random Drawing to receive a copy of Secrets of My Tuscan Kitchen. Please e-mail with your address. Grazie!

  32. November 30, 2011 3:08 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was freshly caught calamari and prawns served fritto misto style in a tiny house/restaurant on a little island off Trapani – with a perfectly chilled glass of Grecanico – heaven on a plate and in a glass!!

  33. Susan Glover permalink
    November 30, 2011 12:34 pm

    My golden taste is pistachio pesto at the restaurant on the step in Caltigirone, Sicily.

  34. November 30, 2011 12:00 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was a “tagliata alle fragole” in Milan, exquisite combination of tender meat with a beautiful strawberry/aceto balsamico sauce……a great joy for the taste buds

  35. Heather Griffin permalink
    November 30, 2011 8:45 am

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me is there are so many… I can only say one?? well one of the simplest things there is… their “au gratin” vegetables. Zucchinis, Eggplants, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and others stuffed with bread crumbs, parsley, garlic and a pinch of salt and baked in the oven until tender! YUMMY!

  36. permalink
    November 30, 2011 8:14 am

    my golden taste of Italy was the 8 month we lived in Tuscany and the food we cooked in our 200 year old stone oven.

  37. Carol Angiono Jones permalink
    November 30, 2011 4:57 am

    My Golden Taste of Italy was, is and always will be Stresa, the HOtel la Palma, Isola Pescatore and the cozy wine bar Al Buscion run by Massimo. The Food, wine and people make you feel like you are home, it is an indulgence I cannot get enough of. Can’t wait to return end of April 2012.

  38. Sharon Isselhardt permalink
    November 30, 2011 2:48 am

    My golden taste of Italy was shaved truffles over a bowl of simple pasta at an outdoor cafe in Montefalco during the wine festival. My first and only taste of truffles. Unforgettable !

  39. November 29, 2011 3:37 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was the most delicate, melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin ravioli I savoured on a beautiful summer evening at a secret family restaurant in the hills outside of Reggio-Emilia.

  40. November 29, 2011 3:28 pm

    Our golden taste of Italy was frosty limoncello served after pasta carbonara late at night at an outdoor table in the shadows of Porta Octavia in Rome.

  41. maryann terillo permalink
    November 29, 2011 5:12 am

    deep fried soft shell spider crabs in a fritto misto di mare served to me on the island of burrano

  42. susanvanallen permalink*
    November 29, 2011 2:08 am

    Grazie mille to you wonderful commenters! You have made me so hungry, sharing these delicious flavors and memories!

  43. Mary Repasky permalink
    November 29, 2011 1:48 am

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was GELATO ! I became an instant addict. Still trying to find a reasonable facsimile in the States.

  44. Liz Wilberg permalink
    November 29, 2011 12:25 am

    the daily hazelnut gelato that I had on the way back to my hotel after a day of doing mosaic art in Ravenna.

  45. November 28, 2011 10:38 pm

    lifechanging! The people, the food and wine, and the country are magnificient.

  46. November 28, 2011 9:36 pm

    The ‘Involtini di Agnello’ sounded great a parcel of lamb – perhaps not a golden taste after all all that glitters is not gold! My parcels arrived wrapped in paper and inside Lambs liver wrapped with intestine!! The golden taste – the adventure of eating in a foreign land – I could have asked what it was but it sounded harmless enough – I managed to eat it all but I won’t be ordering it again in a hurry!!

  47. November 28, 2011 8:34 pm

    The arugula and truffle cheese sandwich at I Fratellini in Florence. It’s near the Piazza Signoria, on a little side street. It’s basically a window on the street. You go up and order your sandwich and a little glass of wine, and eat on the curb with the locals. It’s a lot of fun, and the sandwiches are amazing!

  48. Ellon St. Croix permalink
    November 28, 2011 8:22 pm

    the taste of 90 year old balsamic vinegar that i had in rome!

  49. November 28, 2011 8:14 pm

    … the first time I had Pasta alla Norma on the Amalfi Coast!

  50. November 28, 2011 8:03 pm

    the delicious lasagna that I ate along the shores of beautiful Lake Como – we dined al fresco, with the wonderful view in front of us.

  51. Emanuela Toma permalink
    November 28, 2011 8:00 pm

    My golden taste of Italy occurred 59 years ago when I lived in Messina for a year. I will never forget the Cremolata di Fragole from Bar Irrera. It has lingered with me all these many years.

  52. Paula Reynolds permalink
    November 28, 2011 7:39 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was when I spent a week “living” in Castellina in Chianti. My most favorite meals were those I prepared from simple ingredients from the local market….a simple tomato sauce over torellini with fresh basil, a glass of Chianti, and the company of the resident cat made for a magical memory! Oh, and the freshly picked cherries rounded out my meal as a wonderful dessert. 🙂

  53. Tina Smith permalink
    November 28, 2011 7:32 pm

    One Golden taste of Italy for me was
    In a wonderful Cafe in Rome, THE best
    Lemon custard cake I have ever had in
    My life!!

  54. Lisa Pillmore permalink
    November 28, 2011 7:11 pm

    …my first taste of Panforte di Siena. I bought it at Zabar’s in New York in a fit of dreamy nostalgia for my junior year abroad, then ate it, savoring bit by bit, like Charlie Bucket with his birthday chocolate bar in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I still have the wrapper in a binder, filled with special images from that time, my first year working after college graduation.

  55. janice colby permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:36 pm

    one golden taste of italy for me is the dream i keep having with me at a cooking class in tuscany with a great glass of wine in my hand………..

  56. Jack Plaxe permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:32 pm

    On my honeymoon, wild boar braised in red wine with polenta at the restaurant in Hotel La Cisterna in San Gimignano, Tuscany.

  57. November 28, 2011 6:28 pm

    It is difficult to sort out one golden taste for you, Susan, as there are hundreds. One of my favorites is the porcetta truck at the many local italian markets. They will slice off tantalizing slivers of pork from a roast pig. It is moist and delicious, and goes well in a baguette for pranzo on the go, while you browse the mercado.

  58. November 28, 2011 6:25 pm

    …hearing the organ playing in San Petronio, Bologna. The ethereal sounds of one of the world’s oldest instruments (built in 1470) brought a stream of people in from the square and we all stood in hushed silence as the gentle notes filled the wonderful space.

  59. November 28, 2011 5:50 pm

    Apricots, albicocce. bought on the roadside high in the Italian Alps near Switzerland, one July. We ate an entire basket of them and washed them down with a bottle of apricot nector. I’ve never tasted apricots like those before or since.

  60. Mary Connolly permalink
    November 28, 2011 5:46 pm

    Prosecco…. simply the best!

  61. Carolyn Rovere Westwick permalink
    November 28, 2011 5:22 pm

    the taste of chicken and polenta, the dish my Italian grandmother prepared. Hens stuffed with ground salami, ham, rosemary, parmesan and baked with rosemary and bacon on top. Served with a good helping of polenta and red wine! Ahhh, heaven! and I am the only one in my family who learned how to prepare it so guess who gets to do all the work???

  62. November 28, 2011 5:21 pm

    My golden taste was a simple grilled radiccio at a small hotel in the Dolomites!

  63. Annette Baesel permalink
    November 28, 2011 5:15 pm

    One golden taste for me was the tiny fresh tortellini in delicious broth at Pietro’s in Bologna.

  64. November 28, 2011 5:05 pm

    Bistecca alla Fiorentina in Cortona!!

  65. November 28, 2011 4:46 pm

    One golden taste for me is the first cup of coffee in Italy after disembarking from the airplane. So very good. And the joy of being in Italy again.

  66. November 28, 2011 4:30 pm

    My most golden taste moment was in my ancestral village deep in Basilicata, where the flavors on the table were so close to those of my grandmother’s kitchen that it brought my heritage to life. I realized her cooking wasn’t generic “Italian” but was specifically Lucanian.

  67. Petralia Nancy permalink
    November 28, 2011 4:14 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was meeting Anna, the sixty-something owner of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese farm factory outside Parma, for a tour and tasting of her family’s loving production.

  68. November 28, 2011 3:31 pm

    Discovering Barolo wine! The wine of kings, the king of wine. Love it.

  69. leslie heuer permalink
    November 28, 2011 3:30 pm

    I’ll never forget the “special” my husband was nudged into ordering at a small restaurant in venice. The large bowl of freshly cooked seafood was overwhelmingly gorgeous and he still talks about how amazing it tasted 10 years later.

  70. November 28, 2011 3:28 pm

    The entire meal at Osteria dei Sapori Perduti in Modica!

    • Susan Van Allen permalink
      December 5, 2011 6:35 am

      Congratulations Sally! You’ve been selected in a Random Drawing to win a subscription to Dream of Italy Newsletter and 2 Bonus DVDs!

  71. November 28, 2011 2:46 pm

    One golden taste in Italy for me was the tiramisu served at Dardano’s in Cortona, and yes I had seconds

  72. Sharon permalink
    November 28, 2011 2:43 pm

    …the chocolate ricotta crostata I learned to make at a cooking class led by Letizia Mattiacci of Alla Madonna del Piatto. Loved it so much I made it at my friend’s Thanksgiving dinner!

  73. Paula Reynolds permalink
    November 28, 2011 2:30 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was the first time I had Panzanella in Firenze last May. It was magnificent! I’ve since made it several times here in Texas, and of course made authentic Tuscan bread to use so it could be as close as possible to the “real deal”!

  74. Denise permalink
    November 28, 2011 2:22 pm

    …A Parmesan Crisp with whipped ricotta & pancetta, drizzled with balsamic vinegar at Cipolla Rossa

  75. November 28, 2011 1:55 pm

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was the home made pasta and sauce that my Nona made every Sunday for dinner.

  76. Mindy Smith permalink
    November 28, 2011 1:35 pm

    My golden taste of Italy was enjoying a delicious pranzo made with the beyond amazing truffles “we” (the dogs) discovered in Aqualagna, Le Marche. One of the most mouth watering meals I’ve EVER eaten!!!

  77. Sue permalink
    November 28, 2011 12:57 pm

    One golden taste in Italy for me was the seafood risotto I had on my first trip to Venice,it was as amazing as the city itself and I still dream of having it again

  78. November 28, 2011 11:42 am

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was walking along the winding streets of Ortigia with my husband. We had decided to visit on a whim, and drove down to Siracusa that very afternoon. Best date ever 🙂

  79. karen permalink
    November 28, 2011 10:41 am

    One golden taste of Italy for me has been incorporating Cucina Povera recipes different bloggers have shared into our weekly menu. Grazie, we have been eating very well…

    • Susan Van Allen permalink
      December 5, 2011 6:31 am

      Congratulations Karen! You’ve been selected in a Random Drawing to receive Simple and Genuine, by Chiara Lima. Please e-mail with your address. Grazie!

  80. November 28, 2011 9:39 am

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was discovering the panini with cereali that the local baker bakes every second day. I gravitate to the bakers now to buy them.

  81. November 28, 2011 8:59 am

    …The risotto with strawberries served at a top restaurant of Cremona

    But, truly, there have been far too many to list here! Including those of my great-aunt’s own kitchen…

  82. November 28, 2011 7:22 am

    Another One Golden Taste of Italy for me was when my Chef Mentor Biagio Longo taught me the Philosophy “TUTI-TUTI, WASTE NOTHING” Sounds better in a deep Italian accent. Everything is usable! I have that engrained into my work ethic when I prep & create cuisine!

  83. Cindy Ruth permalink
    November 28, 2011 7:21 am

    Pumpkin gnocchi. Heavenly!

  84. November 28, 2011 7:13 am

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was my random trip to Sicily, when I was living and studying Italian in Sorrento, 2007! Where I had one of the most amazing steak dishes, Pepper Verde Creamed Filet! Perfection in the combined balance, flavor & texture to go with my wonderful wine! I will never forget that steak!!!!!!!!!!!

  85. J. Corby Prall permalink
    November 28, 2011 7:09 am

    One Golden Taste of Italy for me was roaming the streets of Firenze with a big cup of Buontalenti gelato in hand, a flavour that makes all the cares in the world melt away.

  86. Alice Martin permalink
    November 28, 2011 7:00 am

    the incredibly luscious Limoncello gelato, imported from Italy, that we used to sell in our store. I remember a customer used to drive 20 miles to buy several individual servings and then race home 20 miles to get them into the freezer so he could relish them until he would have time to come back and get more! I will never forget that wonderful flavor OR that loyal customer!

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