Aceto Balsamico di Reggio Emilia: How can we remain indifferent when presented with a drop of this dark, shiny, thick, uniquely and penetratingly perfumed elixir. A refined, exclusive product, it is obtained after a long maturing period and only produced in limited quantities.
Bresaola: a whole beef filet, cured in salt and air-dried, from the Valtellina region in the north of Lombardy.
Bottarga: a traditional product made from fish roe. Its flavor is strong and salty. It is air-dried, salted and pressed into a solid cake which can then be chopped, sliced, or shaved. The method is similar to the Prosciutto process.
Farro: an un-hybridized form of wheat, a cereal grain, with a hearty, nutty flavor. It has been grown throughout Europe for centuries. The faro husk differentiates it from wheat. Its husk adheres to the grain, just as with barley and oats. 90% of people allergic to hybridized wheat can tolerate farro products.
Extra virgin olive oil: the fundamental cooking oil in the center and south of Italy, in the islands and along both coasts. Unlike peanut oil or other vegetable oils, olive oil has a decided taste which should not be used indiscriminately. L’ Hostaria’s recipes use olive oil only when its presence is essential, reflecting the current trend in Italian cooking.
Parmigiano Reggiano: Good Parmigiano is expensive, but you can’t cook Italian food without it. For the freshest taste, grate the cheese just before eating. Look for the Parmigiano-Reggiano stamp in the rind of the cheese. Some people prefer Grana Padano as it is more moist and has less of a bite than Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Pancetta: un-smoked bacon cured with spices, salt and pepper, from the belly of the pig.
Pecorino Senese: in Tuscany, every village has its own version of the sheep’s milk cheese, pecorino. I buy our pecorino from Guido Pinzani, the best cheese man in Tuscany.
Polenta: for the past three centuries, polenta has been the staff of life in much of Piedmont, Lombardia and Venetia, particularly Friuli. Traditionally, it was made daily in an unlined copper kettle, the “paiolo”, which was always kept hanging ready on a hook in the center of the fireplace. To call polenta a cornmeal mush is a most indelicate use of language.
Rice Carnaroli: you may not realize that Italy is the largest producer of rice in all of Europe! Not just one kind of rice, but a wide variety. Popular types are Arborio, Vialone Nano and Carnaroli. All are well suited for the famous Italian rice dish of Risotto and each has different qualities to consider. Carnaroli is often referred to as the ¨caviar¨ of rice, it is the highest quality, superfine, and the lowest yield per plant. Carnaroli creates the creamiest risotto due to its high starch content.
Prosciutto: the most famous of the Italian cured meats, made from the fresh ham of the pig’s hindquarters.
Speck: a boneless Prosciutto that is spiced with garlic, salt, pepper, and aromatic herbs then pressed for a month and smoked at a low temperature. It is a favorite cold-weather snack in Alto Adige.
Sale alle erbe delle Merlunghe: this salt recalls the old popular tradition of blending sea salt with fresh herbs. The herbs used are typical of Italy’s Veneto region and include rosemary and sage, grown on Merlunghe estate. We also serve Sicilian natural sea salt as our table salt.
Truffle: there are hundreds varieties of truffles but only two renowned prized species: the white truffle of Alba and the black Norcia. Gourmets appreciate the latter, as its odor is less intense.
Molino di Ferro: is today a modern alimentary company that, using a high quality corn, produce polenta and ‘Gluten Free’ pasta well known as Molino di Ferro. Its history goes along the one the Marconato family who started to grind corn and wheat thanks to the water of the Brantelle.
Bionaturae: the pasta is made with organic rice flour, organic rice starch, organic potato starch and organic soy flour. It cooks like traditional pasta to an ‘al dente’ texture and there is no need to rinse it before adding your favorite condiment.