Nonna, Italy’s Pride and Joy

Nicola's nonna makes a mean tiella!

Photo credit Nicola Tarallo ~ http://bit.ly/21Sr2M2

A Nonna (Italian grandma) attracts attention wherever she is. People love to flock around her like bees to a hive. The reason? They can cook the most delicious meals like no one else. Not only that, but a nonna is cute, with her stylish hair, sensible shoes and knowing smile. Clad in an apron most of the time, you can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up ample meals at all hours of the day. Her family is her number one priority and everything is done with unconditional love. Feeling down and need a confidant? Nonna will keep your secrets and she won’t even judge you. A nonna is her family’s pride and joy.

Just recently I was delighted to discover a product on the market called Nonna Box. This piqued my interest immediately because of my great respect for these little Italian grandmas typically armed with wooden spoons.Nonna Box

 

A Nonna Box was shipped to my address from the founder, Guido Pedrelli. A native of Cesena, an eastern Italian coastal village, Guido included a personal welcome and introduction card to the Piemonte region inside the neatly packed interior. Insulated in paper shavings, I found ingredients from Piemonte in northern Italy. Included was: a bag of Lucedio Carnaroli rice grown on the flood plains surrounding an 800 year old farm, large slices of Dried Porchini Mushrooms, Dandelion Honey from Parco del Po, Elderflower fizzy soda from Torino, Moscato Wine Cream from La Morra, and thin crispy corn cookies. Each item is featured on an enclosed card that describes the culinary tradition, what it is, and how the Italians use it today in their cuisine.

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Guido’s┬ánonna ran a trattoria in San Carlo di Cesena, in the Romagna Region of Italy. He recalls her strong hands as she prepared each meal in the kitchen. A favorite was her home-made tagliatelle with always-ready traditional Ragu alla Bolognese bubbling away in a big pot. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

These memorable meals from his childhood inspired Guido to create Nonna Box, a monthly box of traditional regional Italian food complete with a featured nonna’s recipes. It is a compilation of shared stories, recipes and cooking secrets known only by the nonna. Each month features a different region in Italy. Guido’s mission is to bring people closer to the culinary history and traditions of each chosen region. As a result, the Nonna Box offers an exciting and delicious selection of authentic, hard to find Italian products that highlight one of Italy’s 20 regions.

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Wouldn’t we all love to have our own personal nonnas teach us the secrets of delicious Italian meals? I know I would. However, this may be impossible for most of us. The next best thing for me is to enjoy a box from nonna delivered right to my door once a month. Not only do I enjoy the educational aspects of learning about each featured region of Italy, but I especially love the six regional food items enclosed.

What better way to travel Italy via your kitchen and taste one region at a time inspired by those timeless recipe’s of the nonna.

( This is not a paid advertisement and simply my own opinion)

My Latest Italian Adventure ~ A Sneak Peak of Upcoming Articles

4 bella donne....my travel companions in Venice where we began our exciting adventures. With me are Margie Miklas, Ishita Shood and Victoria DiMaio, all fellow Italy bloggers.
4 Bella Donne….my travel companions in Venice where we began our exciting adventures. With me are Margie Miklas, Ishita Sood and Victoria DiMaio, all fellow Italy bloggers.

My Italian adventure was so much more than I ever imagined. After being home four days, I am still reeling from 3 1/2 weeks of experiences with new friends that will remain with me for a lifetime. What began as acquaintances that developed over a period of time on twitter, became solid friendships as we took the plunge and decided to meet in person and have an Italian adventure together. I couldn’t have had a more satisfying, bonding time. I love these ladies, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.

Through them I had the opportunity to meet many of the local people. I found each one to be warm and welcoming, willing to pull me right into their own daily lives without hesitation. We laughed, learned and enjoyed many delicious meals together.

I am so excited to share the many adventures I’ve had, but it would take a book. So I have included a few photos to give you an idea of some upcoming articles I am preparing for you.

You’ve heard of the Venice Carnevale? Well, wait until you read about our own little celebration while making masks.

Mask-making in Venice. Incredibly cool!
Mask-making in Venice. Incredibly cool!

Next we travel down to the heel of the boot. Warm, lovely and surprising. You will walk under those arches and see …..well, I won’t spoil it for you.

Masseria Provenzani in Puglia where I spent 10 days

Masseria Provenzani in Puglia where I spent 10 days

This is us in the mild. At our cooking class we found dough and pepper chunks in the most unusual places, but we always turned out a mean dish.

Cooking Classes! Never knew I could do it and have so much fun!
Cooking Classes! Never knew I could do it and have so much fun!

I could walk this town of Lecce forever. So much to see but easily miss. Don’t let that happen to you….

The baroque town of Lecce ~ incredibly moving architecture
The baroque town of Lecce ~ incredibly moving architecture

As a wine lover, I was head over heels for the local Negroamaro and Primitivo wines of Puglia. Read about a couple of local wineries that are as uniquely different from each other as possible, yet produce equally delicious wines.

Enjoying local wines at the Puglia Wine School.
Enjoying local wines at the Puglia Wine School.
Italian Cuisine that will leave you craving more
Italian Cuisine that will leave you craving more…

Yes, I’m afraid it will. And the key ingredient is the aromatic and tasty olive oil produced in Puglia. We enjoyed our visit to one of the best and had a deliciously prepared picnic in the orchard.

Exotic Polignano a Mare on the Adriatic Coast
Exotic Polignano a Mare on the Adriatic Coast

Exotic is the word. These transparent waters, tall white cliffs and hidden beaches are just the beginning.

If you have seen “The Passion of the Christ” produced by Mel Gibson, you have seen a part of Matera in the Basilicata region. We stayed in a cistern converted into a living space that was, well, unique to say the least. Cave churches, ancient frescos and winding alleys with a very old past.

Moving Matera, city of stones and caves
Moving Matera, city of stones and caves

Of course, there is always more food. This is one of the greatest joys in life and we had the pleasure to enjoy plenty of Italian cuisine.

More food......
More food……

Positano on the Amalfi Coast. My friends and I lived for 5 days in Italian heaven. Sailboats, a visit to the isle of Capri, shopping and breathtaking Mediterranean views while lunching on terraces. It’s all here….

Positano ~ Paradise Italian Style!
Positano ~ Paradise Italian Style!

As the old saying goes, “life is more fun when you share it with a friend.” Not only was the entire experience much more meaningful with my new friends, but I can’t wait to share it all with you. So stay tuned….there is so much more to come.