The Epiphany

dsc05091The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th.  That historical date is rooted as the three Magi presented its’ three gifts to the baby Jesus twelve days after his birth.  The Feast of the Epiphany or “little Christmas”  is an important holiday in

Italian culture.  Aside from the religious significance, the fabled “Befana” features prominently in Italian tradition.

If one is not familiar with La Befana, the translation is a witch.  She is more or less an old woman who flies on a broomstick on the eve of January 6th delivering gifts and sweets to all the good children in Italy.   The bad children receive lumps of coal in their stockings.  According to legend, the three Magi stopped at the old woman’s house asking for directions.  The Magi invited the old woman to join them on their journey however the old woman replied she was too busy.  The old woman has since regretted it and now visits all the children of Italy once a year.

As in large festivals across Italy, La Befana has regional celebrations. The Befana is also interpreted as a symbol of discarding negative experiences of the past year and bringing in the new. For example, Veneto holds a symbolic bonfire called the “panevin.” In other northern regions, bonfires are held and glasses of mulled wine and Panettone are served. Venice holds gondola races dressed in Befana costumes. Residents in Rome and Florence display a puppet in the window. Let’s not forget Christmas markets all over Italy partake in the celebration by selling toys (giocatolli), nuts, fruits, and cheeses. However way you celebrate La Befana…we leave you with a traditional poem.
La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col vestito alla “romana”
viva viva la Befana!!
Porta cenere e carboni
ai bambini cattivoni
ai bambini belli e buoni
porta chicchi e tanti doni!
[English]

The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all broken
With a dress in Roman style
Up, up with the Befana !!
She brings ashes and coal
To bad nasty children
To the nice good child
She brings candies and many gifts!

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5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Italy all February Long!

via 5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Italy

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5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Italy

Okay we can easily think of a 1,000. Outside of the obvious, we attempted to narrow down the not so obvious. We hope that you’ll love these as much as we do.

Bike Riding

Bike riding is a favorite past time for the young and young at heart.  The region of Liguria in the Italian Riviera has a new cycle way called the Cycling Riviera where cars are banned along cycle paths.   Cycling in Italy with views of the Alps and Dolomites will have you falling in love with Italy’s beauty over and over.

La Passaggiata

La Passaggiata or taking a walk is almost a daily routine for Italians that doesn’t require thought.  It is a way to take in daily exercise, clear your thoughts, and take in the scenery.  Italians believe that it is most important to take your daily walk after a full meal.  La Passaggiata has a dual effect where they know full well your meal is digested at the same time, taking a few minutes for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Art

To visit Italy is to view first hand the great artwork in the history of the world.  Florence itself is a physical embodiment of the Renaissance period and Rome has Bernini statues displayed publicly.  Public sculptures can draw in the visitor to tell the story of how Italians truly lived in earlier centuries and the lessons that were passed down to the present time.  To look up at one of the world’s greatest art works of all time,  Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel, is love at first sight.

Pasta

There is no Italy without pasta and vice versa.  What puts the “Italian” in Italy?  Pasta of course and why not? Eating a dish of pasta in Italy is to fall in love with the flavors of the most desirable food on earth. Italians for centuries have put time and effort in ensuring perfectly cooked noodles that is food for your tummy and the soul.  Many try to recreate it however eating a perfectly cooked dish of pasta from an Italian nonna is pure love.

Amore

Amore is love in Italian and Italy is love.  The #1 reason to fall in love with Italy is love itself.  How many times have you seen couples holding hands, exchanging a kiss in the piazza, and families walking with their children?  It is a place that you can bring your loved ones and understand what the most important feeling in the world is: Love.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to all of our followers and look for more at allitaliangoods.com and coming soon lovingeverythingitalian.com!

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Beauty Secrets that All of Us Can Copy!

 

 

 

 

Some of us wonder how icons in the entertainment and fashion world maintain their good looks. Okay we think they have an army of hair stylists and make up artists ready at their disposal. Although there may be some truth, icons such as Sofia Loren and influencers The Blond Salad, Chiara Ferragni and Gilda Ambrosio swear by these simple beauty secrets. All so simple and doesn’t take long to copy!

Make Olive Oil your Friend

Olive oil is so good on the outside for your salads and pasta dishes, use it for your skincare. That’s right, mix a dab of olive oil in your facial cleaners or moisturizer for a super glow and dewy skin.  Olive oil is known to help clear up blotchy skin so add in a little citrus and make yourself a home made moisturizer.

Eliminate Stress

Easy to say, hard to do. Italians do not sweat the small stuff. They know traffic will be bad, the supermarket lines will be long. Instead, they make it so where they take the opportunity to linger a little longer in conversation or a passeggiata.  Next time you find yourself feeling stressed and frustrated, take in the scenery, go for a walk or even pour yourself a glass of red wine.

Enhance your Natural Beauty- Not Cover It

European women , particularly Italian and French, consistently emphasize less is more than their American counterpart. Make up is meant to enhance your natural features- not slather foundation from neck to forehead. Choose your best facial feature, such as your eyes or lips, and play with color to enhance.  A tinted cream blush or highlight eyeshadow goes a very long way.  Try Kiko Milano or Collistar.

Moisturize Skin-

Clean skin is the considered the ultimate beauty secret.  First and foremost make sure your skin is clean and moisturize daily. Italian women tend to use heavier cream based moisturizers to make sure their skin remains soft including arms, legs, and elbows.  They know soft skin is a secret weapon because it makes them feel great in their clothes and let’s face it, makes their significant others want to hold them a little longer. Try Perlier Per Corpo.  This well known brand can now be found in convenience stores.

Hair Care

Italian women (and men) pay special attention to their manes. After all, it is their crowning glory. Again, less is more however good hair care means trimming your dry ends on a regular basis and letting wet hair air dry as long as possible before using the blow dryer. Italian women believe constant direct heat will cause more damage in the long run.  Lastly, they know hair is one of the things people notice second to your visage so be sure to moisturize your hair for shine and glow.  Again, natural beauty secrets such as olive oil and coffee grinds can help add that special sheen to stop people in their tracks!  Try Davine’s hair care with some products made of almond and tomatoes!

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Lentils- An Italian Tradition

cotechino-lentils

Italian food traditions are ripe with symbolism. Every holiday has a story either rooted in truth or legend. New Year’s Eve is no different and the main star dish is lentils with cotechino.

Lentils represent coins and said to bring good luck and prosperity. This symbol led to the curiosity of how that came to be. It is said the tradition dates back to the 16th century Modena when the Emilia-Romagna region was under siege. The townspeople so as not to waste any food, particularly live stock and notably pigs, cut all parts and put them to use where they could. One legend has that by boiling lentils, they plump larger and will “grow” prosperity.

So try bringing in some good luck. Below is a recipe from world famous Modena born Chef Massimo Bottura.   Here’s to a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year and full of good fortune.

 

Lenticche Con Cotechino (Lentils with Cotechino)

1 lb. of cotechino sausage (note if cotechino is difficult to find in your area, mild or hot Italian sausage will suffice)

16 ounces Lambrusco wine

½ lbs. lentils

2 garlic cloves

2 Tablespoons of olive oil (try rosemary oil to go a little gourmet)

 

Steam the cotechino for 3½ hours, using the Lambrusco instead of water. Remove the cotechino. Place the cooking liquid a freezer or blast chiller. The liquid will separate into 3 layers with different densities: liquid, gelatine and fat solids. Remove and reserve the gelatine, discarding the liquid and fat. Dice the cotechino and gelatine into 2-mm (⅛-inch) cubes.

Place all the lentils together in a pan of boiling water with the garlic and cook for about 1 hour. Since the lentils have different properties, they will have different textures. Drain, cool and add them to the diced gelatine and cotechino. Stir well and add the olive rosemary oil.

 

 

 

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BIG Italian Thanksgiving

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For many years, the joke in our family was what to cut out of our Thanksgiving dinner. The matrons of the family decided on the soup; the lightest dish on the menu. We never really did cut anything out of our big Italian Thanksgiving dinner. There were so many choices that it would have caused hurt feelings to eliminate a traditional dish.

Going to school, the teacher would go around the class and ask them for a run down of their Thanksgiving meal. The main responses were turkey and stuffing and perhaps a side of cranberry sauce. Our family Thanksgiving dinner was list much longer than that. As a matter of a fact, we were met with quizzical looks on how we can possibly eat so much food in one day.

What exactly is an Italian Thanksgiving?   Well it meant that Italian American families took the American traditions of a Thanksgiving meal like turkey, stuffing, and apple pie combined with Italian traditional dishes.  No meal no matter the holiday was complete without a pasta dish.   A pasta dish during Thanksgiving was a not a dish of spaghetti. That was when your mamma or nonna started cooking the week before. They were in the kitchen making and rolling out dough for the home made lasagna. They were hand rolling the tiny meatballs for the escarole soup.   They took out the big boiler pots to start on the homemade tomato sauce. A holiday was cause for a celebration. A food holiday, such as Thanksgiving, was really a cause to create the best meal of the year by combining traditional fall comfort foods with an appreciation of the bounty of the new land.

A Thanksgiving meal was really a reason to be surrounded by family. Thanksgiving dinner was a reason to tell stories of the old world and tell new stories of the new world. Thanksgiving dinner was a reason to put away the stress of every day life and laugh with each other and even at each other.   For many, an Italian Thanksgiving dinner may not be quite the same as in the old days but traditions never fully go away. We may not be doing the home made cooking with working parents and grandparents, but we’ll always set time aside to pass down old traditions to new generations

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10 Things Why We (and You) Will Love Italy in Autumn

Source: 10 Things Why We (and You) Will Love Italy in Autumn

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10 Things Why We (and You) Will Love Italy in Autumn

We may spend the rest of our lives composing a list of reasons to love Italy. As hard as it was, we managed to condense an autumnal list of why travel to Italy is an ideal time.   Here goes:

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10. Cooler Weather.

Traveling to Italy in late spring/summer can be great if heading to the beach but it also means heat. Vacationing during autumn, you can take in the sights during afternoon hours, stroll along the via, and eat al fresco all with a cool breeze gently whirling about.

9.   Shopping.

Italy boasts lots of sales at the end of summer but fall will have the latest fashions and trends right off the runway.  Everyday Italians love to be fashionable so we say be your own Influencer and post away  your Italian fashions on Instagram.

8.   Boots.

Following the shopping deals, a must on your list are Italian boots! Italian made shoes and boots are made with exceptional quality in the hottest styles of the fashion world.   Put on your Persols and kick up your brand new shoes.

7.   Better Deals.

The summer months are considered high season for travel in Italy.  Tourists from the around the world occupy hotels and guided tours usually to full capacity.  During fall, you can take advantage of the discounted rates across the board from air, hotel, and admissions.  Better weather, less crowds, and lower prices make for the better deal.

6.   The Countryside.

While hiking or driving, the Italian countryside is like no other. The trees and mountains morph into a rainbow of fall hues and ideal to put those photography courses to good use. Orange and yellow foliage turn views into real life art.

5.   The Opera.

Fall is opera and theatre season.   Imagine yourself in the town square watching enactments of Romeo and Juliet in Verona or sitting in La Scala listening to the powerful baritones of a soprano. Outdoor stage plays is a treat for the passerby where the town square is filled with the sounds of arias.

4.  Soccer.

Take in a soccer game. Italians are notoriously passionate and naturally over their biggest sport.  Delight in heated discussions over Serie A players of their favorite home town team.  Basketball may be following their tails but calcio can viewed in every bar in every town when there is a big partita happening.

3.  Fall Dishes

Two words: pumpkin ravioli.   Real Italian food is a sumptuous pleasure for any season. Italians will eat in season, which means butternut squash, chestnuts, figs, and cured meats during autumn. Dishes fill tables all across Italy with tortellone and ravioli in squash sauce. Grapes and figs paired with pizza and prosciutto are found on various menus.

2.   Harvest

Autumn is the best time of year to fully experience harvest.   Italians make way for the incoming year during harvest season including olive oil, truffles, chestnuts, and wine. Small towns to large cities host festivals in celebration of harvests. Fall in Italy is a perfect time to sample an abundance of food in its purity.

1. Wine

Oenophiles can delight in wine season. Who wouldn’t love to sample Brunellos, Sangiovese, and Chianti in the height of autumn harvest? Need we say more?

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