Arlene Ridolfi Valentine is a freelance writer who has lived in Florence for the past three years. She is the director of Casa Valentine, a villa rental business (www.casavalentine.com), and is currently working on a book about Italian culture and food.
Few things evoke the advent of spring as clearly as bunches of fresh asparagus standing in formation in greengrocer's stalls, their brilliant green just the antidote for winter-weary cooks looking for fresh inspiration. Asparagus is a vegetable with a long history: the ancient cookbook by Apicius, which dates
Few things are as uniquely American as the feast of Thanksgiving. Regardless of where Americans are that day, most cannot help but remember past meals. With memories comes the attempt to try and recreate Thanksgiving, despite the difficulty of finding the distinctive ingredients. Creating a Thanksgiving celebration in Florence requires
For cooks, one of the true pleasures of life in Italy is the bounty of beautiful fruits and vegetables that are so readily available throughout the year. I am always fascinated by the artfully arranged displays set up by vendors, particularly those on street corners. My local ambulante di frutta
Blustery winter Sundays are the perfect occasion for long and leisurely family dinners. Gabriele Vaccaro, who spends his days keep-ing things running smoothly at a local hotel, relishes his weekends when he indulges in his passion for cooking. When Gabriele is in the kitchen, his wife, three children, parents,