Pistachio is the benchmark of every pastry shop, gelateria and similaria. When I find myself in a new place, for the weekend for example, and walk randomly down the street looking for an appealing and apparently decent ice-cream spot, I always do the pistachio test: if the pistachio flavor in the basin looks not too green, not too artificial, creamy and with little brown dots on a pale, light green-beige background, it means that the rest of the flavors should be O.K.
It happens that pistachio is also my favorite flavor, and my favorite nut in general. I love it in all forms, from spreadable cream to gelato, from salted snack to sweet treat. I had some unsalted pistachios in my counter since a while, forgotten (how? how is it possible?) under a pile of other nuts and things of that kind. I had to make a cake.
I have a serious addiction to bananas. Especially the very ripe ones. Every time I go to the supermarket or to the fruit&veg shop, I find myself constantly glancing at the box with bananas, trying to spot the slightly brown and spotted ones. Often times, those are considered "bad and old" and are sold on special for ridiculous prices. For some reason, no one buy them, or maybe they do but not to the point to get rid of them. So, well, in the end I am always able to bring home 5 or 6 very mature and sweet bananas (often times fair trade from Ecuador) for less then 1 euro. It's pretty clear and evident that in Italy very few people have discovered the magic world of banana muffins and breads.
It surely not a typical Italian sweet, not at all. Reading the book "I dolci di Osterie d'Italia", where the most traditional sweets and desserts from all over Italy are listed, there is no trace of bananas. It's a proof, isn't it?
When I went to France last fall, I knew it was going to be dangerous. Reading all those food blogs where raspberry vinegar and lavander sugar is mentioned, I had a far too long list of things I wanted to buy. Even if I don't really like them, it didn't matter. I wanted them for my experiments in the kitchen, I wanted them because I am a bit nuts, and well...Because everything French sounds so good in a recipe.
I don't know what took me when I decided to buy everything cassis (blackcurrant): crème de cassis, cassis syrup, cassis jam, cassis mustard, cassis nonettes. OK, it's the symbol of Burgundy, but geez, I even don't like Kirsch royale that much...
So well, I had to get rid of some cassis stuff, and the occasion came when I had to make something sweet for an after dinner dessert+tea chat. What to make with cassis jam? The same old tart or crostata? A pie with fresh berries and jam? Some kind of chocolate cake? Wait, what about a mix of those?
I have been far and busy for a while. I have a new, almost-job that I like and absorb most of my time. The best part about this story is that is a food job that enables me to see places, meet producers and taste new amazing products. The worst part? I haven't found it, yet.