I will never forget the moment when I first truly understood the passion that Italians have for food.
Shortly after I first moved to Italy from the UK, I was out dining with locals – the dish was tortellini alla panna (tortellini with cream). An amazingly good, melt in your mouth experience but I was struggling with the generous portions and I decided to leave the plate unfinished.
Within seconds my dining companion exploded with the fiery outrage Italians are famous for, ‘but that dish has taken 3 years of love and tenderness to make – you can’t leave it!!!” He was serious. I was speechless.
Nowadays of course I wouldn’t dream of such a thing, after all to quote the original Italian goddess Sofia Loren ‘everything you see I owe to spaghetti’ …..and tortelli, pizza, risotto, the list is endless!!
Anyway, back then I was still very much a ‘rookie’ when it came to understanding where my food came from and crucially the importance of tradition in the Italian kitchen.