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Good Italian vibes

We’ve expanded the scope of Good Vibes to include Italy, America and anywhere else in world that Italians are sharing their passion and talents. This month, we’re featuring all the food websites spotlighted in the Online feature in our magazine. Next month, we’ll showcase language-learning websites. For good vibes between times, follow us on Facebook.

Getting it right

When Rosemary Molloy clicked on a website promising authentic Italian recipes, she said to herself, “No, that’s not right.” That moment back in 2013 inspired her to create her own site, “An Italian in My Kitchen.” Her first teacher was her Italian mother in Toronto. When Molloy moved to Italy in 1989, her education continued. “My mother-in-law and sister-in-law sure know how to cook,” she said. “I learned so much and tasted some of the best food I ever had in my life.” She took baking classes along the way to expand her expertise. Her blog is geared toward cooks of all skill levels, and her website is easy to navigate in search of cooking tips or appealing classic recipes. Molloy is also the author of a cookbook, “Authentic Italian Desserts,” plus an e-book, “It’s All About Pasta.”  For details, click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Nonna rules!

The website “Cooking with Nonna” was launched in 2009 in a Brooklyn basement kitchen, with Rossella Rago and her Nonna Romana creating traditional dishes from Romana’s native Puglia. The Washington Post described it as “a sweet Old World-paced online series dedicated to homestyle Italian cooking.” The website garnered national attention in 2010 when Rossella; her mother, Angela; and Nonna Romana notched a victory in the premier season of the Food Network’s “24-Hour Restaurant Battle.” In time, Rosella began inviting nonne from other Italian regions to showcase typical foods from their own kitchens. The award-winning series has led to two cookbooks that celebrate food, family and traditional holiday specialties. You can partake on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, and at cookingwithnonna.com.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Foodie down under

Actor and comic Vincenzo Prosperi lives in Australia but entertains food lovers around the world with his YouTube channel, “Vincenzo’s Plate.” A natural cook, Prosperi has a backstory in common with many Italian epicures: He learned his skills in his nonna’s kitchen. Repeatedly pestered by friends for recipes, he met the demand by launching a blog, a website, and, most recently, his YouTube channel. In addition to basic Italian cooking techniques, Prosperi teaches us to share food and laughter with those around us. His congenial parents and grandmother often join him in preparing dishes, adding a few twists to the recipes. Prosperi has used multiple media platforms to build a community of foodies that has made him “the happiest person is the world.” For details, click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

From the UK to you

The team behind a UK website called Great British Chefs has launched a sister site dubbed Great Italian Chefs. Their goal is to “bring you unparalleled access to some of the greatest chefs in the world as well as the latest food stories and trends.” In addition to profiling professionals who work in some of Italy’s finest restaurants, the website shares recipes that challenge home cooks to attain greater heights. Visitors are invited to comment on recipes or sign up for an electronic newsletter. You can also create an online recipe binder to organize and store your favorite dishes. Other features include well-photographed commentaries on each region of Italy and a browser that lets you search by recipe, ingredient, course or special diet. For details, click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Deeply in love

Although millions of people enthusiastically proclaim their love for Italian food, few are likely aware of lloveitalianfood.it. I Love Italian Food is a nonprofit cultural association that promotes products made in Italy and works to protect the country’s agri-food industry. Although it’s an association of professionals, their digital platform provides everyday content for all Italian food lovers. If you follow them on Instagram or Facebook, they will feed you links to authentic recipes, often with the backstory on the dish. Their website, which can be read in Italian or English, also serves up interviews with chefs, information about Italian food products and news stories of interest. You can catch them on YouTube or peruse their recipe archive if you click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Lidia’s online world

Social media jargon often refers to “food influencers,” individuals who can steer culinary tastes and trends. When it comes to Italian food, one of the nation’s powerhouse influencers is certainly Lidia Bastianich, thriving restaurateur, prolific cookbook author, and a PBS staple. More than just a beloved celebrity chef, Bastianich has created a flourishing food and entertainment business that exemplifies the immigrant dream. You can follow all things Lidia by visiting lidiasitaly.com to link to Lidia’s Blog, Lidia’s YouTube channel and Lidia’s Journal. You will find a modest archive of recipes indexed by course as well as tips of the day. Visitors can read about her restaurants throughout the country, and her partnership in the Eataly marketplace empire, with U.S. locations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Las Vegas.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Beyond biscotti

One might think that a food blog called “She Loves Biscotti” would be dedicated primarily to baking, but Maria Vannelli offers readers “simple and tasty family recipes with an Italian twist.” Her dishes include traditional Italian staples from her mother’s table, but she also incorporates information on balance and nutrition she has learned as a professional dietician. In addition to searching her past recipes by keyword or ingredient, visitors to her blog can click on “how to” for tutorials such as blanching almonds or making homemade ricotta. She confesses that, like many of us, “when I’m not talking about food, I’m either making it, eating it, sharing it or thinking about it.” And while she loves to look back at favorite recipes she is always innovating, including a recent blog post about air-fryer Italian cookies. Learn more at shelovesbiscotti.com.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Seeking pizza perfection

Author, educator and all-around baking guru Peter Reinhart has written a half dozen acclaimed books about the art of baking bread. Several have won the James Beard Foundation Award and other honors. Reinhart has also gone on a years-long quest to make the perfect pizza, and to teach us how as well. Since 2010, he has hosted a website called Pizza Quest with Peter Reinhart, “a journey of self-discovery through pizza.” While his name is at the top, he advises us that there is “a whole team of serious pizza freaks involved in this website.” It features videos, blog entries, webinars, recipes, guest columnists and links to “Sites We Like.” Reinhart’s most recent pizza cookbook is “Perfect Pan Pizza: Square Pies to Make at Home.” Look for Reinhart on YouTube or join the pizza quest at fornobravo.com/pizzaquest.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Grandma’s hands

Vicky Bennison searches the length of Italy for grandmothers who still make pasta by hand, and she films them in their own kitchens. You can meet them on Vicky’s YouTube channel, “Pasta Grannies.” They come from every region, and each reveals her own secrets, but most start with not much more than flour and water, which they work before your eyes until it becomes springy and velvety. In Trapani, Sicily, Angela prepares busiate served with a local pesto that includes tomatoes. The flour is made from durum wheat from their family farm. Last spring, viewers met 100-year-old Letizia, the oldest nonna yet, preparing taglierini with a puree of fava beans and wild fennel. Find more enchanting nonne on YouTube, or look for Bennison’s just-released companion cookbook, “Pasta Grannies: The Secrets of Italy’s Best Home Cooks.” For more, click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Multimedia menu

Silvia Colloca is an Italian-born actress and opera singer who moved to Australia eight years ago to pursue her many creative passions. One of them is writing about and preparing food the way she learned beside her mother and grandmother. Her cookbook, “Silvia’s Cucina,” and her food blog of the same name have been recognized here and in Australia as authentic guides to fresh, healthy ways to partake of a diet that many describe as rich. Colloca conveys to her readers that this is a misapprehension and also wants them to know that not every plate is redolent of garlic or buried under a mountain of cheese. Her handsome blog links to present and past entries, each accompanied by an inviting photo. She has also created a YouTube channel with professionally shot video recipes. She invites you to join her at silviascucina.net.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Infinite pasta-bilities

Jacqui Dibono invites you to join her on an online journey that began when she decided to hone her pasta cooking skills. “The Pasta Project,” she writes, “is a personal undertaking to try every single type of pasta available the length and breadth of Italy; be it by cooking it myself, getting my husband or friends to cook it, or eating in a restaurant here in the Veneto region where we live or during our travels around Italy.” It has been estimated there are 360 to 400 shapes and sizes of pasta. If you also calculate the combinations of pasta shapes and unique sauces employed from region to region, you’ll see that Dibono’s endeavor, begun in 2016, is in its infancy. Her blog indexes all of her recipes by type of pasta and by region, as well as taking you on tours of some of the restaurants and pasta companies she has visited. For more, click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Mangia bene!

More than 45 years ago, Deborah Mele married into an Italian family and became “Italian by heart.”  When she and her husband moved to Milan for eight years, she spent hours browsing the markets and learning to cook using only the ingredients that were fresh that day. Her popular food blog, Italian Food Forever, honors that freshness and simplicity and encourages the joy of savoring leisurely meals.  She recently listed her readers’ favorite recipes from 2018, and they are as diverse as vegetarian meatballs, pasta with peas and pancetta, and black olive and sun-dried tomato focaccia. More than sixteen years of recipes are tagged by ingredients and indexed for easy access.  Also check out Deborah’s cookbook reviews, kitchen tips and links to Italian products. For more, click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

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Divine inspiration

Whether you’re planning an Italian dinner or an Italian vacation, look to guidance from Judy Witts Francini. Once a pastry chef in San Francisco, she has lived in Tuscany for more than 30 years, exploring all of her passions: food, wine, art, teaching and travel. She shares them on her award-winning blog, Divina Cucina. In addition to providing access to her catalog of recipes, Judy offers one-day or full-week programs that explore “culture through cooking,” both in Florence and in Sicily. Participants visit local markets and have opportunities to cook with chefs in town and on farms. You can also look for her cooking classes on Youtube or download her “Taste Chianti” app. Get started at divinacucina.com.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Culinary pride

For Italian food lovers, one the internet’s great gifts is the explosion of food bloggers that honor our heritage. The beloved ones invite us into their kitchens to pull up a chair and reminisce about the way that Nonna cooked. Prouditaliancook.com often takes it one step further by looking for ways to tweak recipes if there’s a better way. Since 2007, Marie Renallo has cooked, photographed and written all of the blog’s content in her suburban Chicago kitchen and has garnered recognition both locally and nationally. She has catalogued hundreds of recipes that are indexed by category and sometimes include a short video presentation. You can also follow Marie on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. For more, click here.

— Dolores Sennebogen

Who needs words when you have Italy’s vast language of expressive hand gestures? Just ask these Italian toddlers.

Even when Italian kids learn to “use their words,” their bodies are a big part of the conversation.

You’d think that ALL Italian adults would hate ALL American junk food. Some of their reactions may surprise you.

And now, for a kid’s perspective.

ARRANGIARSI — What would you do if you were under quarantine in Sicily and you and your twin brother both played the violin?

VA PENSIERO — Italy’s legendary Frecce Tricolori send spirits soaring during a stirring aerial display.

LUNGA DISTANZA — Talk about social distancing! A pair of Italian tennis players rewrite the rules of engagement.

CENT’ANNI! — Nothing can keep Italians from their wine or their toasts.

VISTA CELESTE — Longing for a glimpse of Italy? You can still gaze down from above thanks to these breathtaking videos taken via drone by Parker and Clayton Calvert.

ALL’INTERNO DI POMPEII — While you’re traveling Italy via computer, take this captivating tour of Pompeii, courtesy of Corriere della Sera. To view, click here.

 

MANGIA BENE! — Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura prepares gourmet meals with whatever’s in the fridge while sheltering at home.

BELLI RICORDI — Photographer Steve McCurry helps us remember Italy before the crisis.

BUONA PASQUA, PRIMA PARTE — Andrea Bocelli’s live-stream Easter concert was a global blockbuster.

BUONA PASQUA, SECONDA PARTE — Cancelled for the first time in hundreds of years, Florence’s spectacular Easter festivities lives on thanks to filmmaker David Battistella.

VIVA LA MUSICA! — Hats off to Italymagazine.com for compiling a list of online concerts posted by opera houses across Italy. Click here for their article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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