Author: Arlene Ridolfi Valentine

Arlene Ridolfi Valentine is a freelance writer who has lived in Florence for the past four years. She is the di-rector of Casa Valentine, a villa rental business, and is currently working on a book about Italian culture and food.
October 2, 2008

A kiss to Italian cooking

I read cookbooks as if they were novels. Front to back, page by page. And because I love to cook, I'm always curious about new ones.   Being fortunate enough to have been born Italian, I learned my way around the kitchen by following my mother and grandmothers as
March 20, 2008

Pranzo di Pasqua

Easter in Italy is one of the most welcome holidays of the year. It's a hopeful holiday: Lent is over and spring is about to arrive, bringing with it many favorite fruits and vegetables that we haven't seen during the long winter season.   Traditionally, breakfast on Easter
March 6, 2008

Quaresima cuisine

La stagione di Quaresima, the Lenten season, has, like all Italian seasons, its very own food specialties.  In keeping with the season’s spirit of quiet reflection and contemplation, Lenten dishes tend to be simple and uncomplicated, which makes them easy to prepare but delicious nonetheless. Fish plays
February 7, 2008

Cavolo nero

Italian cuisine relies heavily on seasonal vegetables and one of the stars that brightens up winter menus is cavolo nero (black cabbage).   There are a couple of myths that should be cleared up right away. First, it’s not black.  It’s really a very deep
October 31, 2007

Chestnuts… roasting on an open fire?

Although I love the song that made them famous in the USA, there’s a lot more to chestnuts than just roasting. Just ask any Tuscan cook. In fact, the old Italian saying, ‘polenta saved the north, fish saved the south, and chestnuts saved the center’, refers