Category: Articles

Italian Basics

Dolce Vita USA®; Italian Pantry

Listed below are some basic ingredients you should have on hand at all times. These are the ingredients that you will find in many Italian dishes and recipes.

Mangia Mangia

Aborio Rice: Short grain rice used to make risotto.
Olive Oil: I prefer extra virgin it comes from the firs press. Store in a cool and dark place.
Vinegars: Used in salads and over cheese. Keep on hand balsamic, white and red wine.
Yeast: Yeast should be stored in refrigerator, you might want to make pizza!
Garlic: Fresh is best to use all the time. Keep in cool and dark place.
Capers: These are the unopened flower buds, they taste salty and a zesty flavor to any dish.
Anchovies: Buy the ones packed in oil.
Beans: For soups, salads and pasta keep on hand cannellini, fava and chickpea.
Pasta: Keep different kinds on hand such as spaghetti, penne and orzo.
Tomatoes: For making sauce use San Marzano tomatoes. For salads use Roma tomatoes.
Onions: Three kinds to keep on hand: yellow, red and cippoline.
Herbs: Fresh is best for cooking. Keep on hand: basil, thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano.
Tomato Paste: Use in sauces and soups.
Mushrooms: Three kinds to have: fresh, wild and dried porcini.

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Cheese Facts

Dolce Vita USA® Cheese Descriptions and Wine Pairings

Chevre (Goat Cheese)
Appearance: Creamy white
Flavor: Clean, tangy
Texture: Smooth, creamy
Salads
Spreads
Sauvignon Blanc,
Gewürztraminer

Cream Cheese
Appearance: Creamy white
Flavor: Rich, nutty, slightly sweet
Texture: Smooth, creamy
Spreads / Dips
Soups / Sauces
Casseroles
Baked goods
Fruity wines

Feta
Appearance: Chalk white
Flavor: Tart, salty
Texture: Firm, crumbly
Salads
Casseroles
Stuffing
Sauvignon Blanc,
Rosés

Fresh Mozzarella
Appearance: Creamy white
Flavor: Rich, buttery, slightly sweet
Texture: Smooth, thick, soft, creamy
Italian Dishes
Salads
Pizzas
Appetizers
Light red wines
White wines

Mascarpone
Appearance: Creamy white
Flavor: Rich, buttery, slightly sweet
Texture: Smooth, thick, soft, creamy
Sparkling and fruity

Ricotta
Appearance: Creamy white
Flavor: Mild flavor, hint of sweetness
Texture: Creamy yet slightly grainy curd
White wines –
Sauvignon Blanc,
Chenin BlancName Federal Standard of Identity Popular Uses Wine Pairing

Brie & Camembert
Appearance: Pale ivory
Flavor: Mild to pungent, depending upon age
Texture: Rich, creamy, unctuous
Sparkling wines, Pinot Noir
me Federal Standard of Identity Popular Uses Wine Pairing
Blue

Gorgonzola
Appearance: Creamy ivory with blue/green
Flavor: Full earthy flavor as a result
of the blue mold in the cheese
Texture: Firm, crumbly
Red wines
Port, e Name Federal Standard of Identity Popular Uses Wine Pairing-soft

Edam
Appearance: Pale yellow
Flavor: Smooth, firm
Texture: Rich, buttery, slightly sweet
Syrah, Shiraz

Fontina
Appearance: Pale ivory
Flavor: Slightly tart, tangy, nutty, light earthy flavor
Texture: Smooth, supple with tiny holes, semi-soft
Light red wines –
Germany Beaujolais

Havarti
Appearance: Pale yellow, tiny holes
Flavor: Buttery, creamy, slightly acidic
Texture: Smooth, supple
Fruity wines – Riesling
or Beaujolais Nouveau

Jarlsberg
Appearance: Pale yellow
Flavor: Rich, buttery, nutty, mild, slightly sweet
Texture: Firm, large irregular holes
Red wines – Burgundy,
Merlot

Monterey Jack
Appearance: Natural, creamy white
Flavor: Delicate, buttery, slight tartness
Texture: Semi-soft, creamy
Soups
Sauces
Sandwiches
Pizzas
Fruity wines – Riesling,
Colombard or Rhine

Mozzarella
Appearance: Creamy white, smooth
Flavor: Mild, delicate, milky
Texture: Smooth, supple
Light red wines –
Chianti e Name Federal Standard of Identity Popular Uses Wine Pairing / Hard
Asiago
Appearance: Pale yellow
Flavor: Fresh – Clean, mild; Medium – More intense;
Aged – Buttery, nutty – similar to Parmesan
Texture: Fresh – Firm but soft; Medium – Firm,
Gewürztraminer;
Cabernet Franc, Pinot

Cheddar
Appearance: Golden
Flavor: Rich, nutty, creamy, sharpens with age
Texture: Smooth, firm, granular with age
Red wines – Zinfandel

Gruyere
Appearance: Pale, ivory-yellow, natural brown
washed rind
Flavor: Nutty, rich, sweet, full-bodied
Texture: Firm; a few small eyes
Sauvignon Blanc,
Gewürztraminer

Manchego
Appearance: Creamy white to pale yellow
Flavor: Rich and mellow, salty
Texture: Hard rind with firm interior
Table Cheese
Cooking Cheese
Snacks
Desserts
Red wines – Cabernet
Sauvignons, Chianti,
Sangiovese

Parmesan
Appearance: straw yellow interior
Flavor: full and fruity with a salty tang
Texture: grainy, flaky
Chianti
Barolo
Cabernet Sauvignonese Name Federal Standard of Identity Popular Uses Wine Pairing

Romano
Appearance: Creamy white
Flavor: Salty, nutty
Texture: Hard granular
Pasta Dishes
Top Vegetables
Sangiovese

Dolce Vita USA® cookbook has many recipes that use the ingredient cheese. It is always fun to host a wine and cheese pairing party for a group of friends. Hope this guide wine and cheese pairing list helps you out.

Mangia Mangia

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2013 Trends at Fancy Food Show

Dolce Vita USA® attended this show. This was my first time attending the Fancy Food show in San Francisco, CA. It was an amazing 3 days of snacking on gourmet and unusual new foodie items. There were 34 countries represented and over 80,000 products on display. I was amazed and delighted by the entire experience. I was pleased to see what the new trends were in food. I will incorporate new ingredients and trends in new recipes I will create this year. Please see article below from USA Today.

The Winter Fancy Food show presents the hottest of food trends for 2013.

Elizabeth Wise, USA TODAY

Story Highlights

• Buyers for upscale delis and groceries shop the trends at the Winter Fancy Food Show
• More than 1,300 companies entice buyers with tastes of seaweed, pickles and more
• One product grew out of a son’s longing for a taste of Christmas

SAN FRANCISCO — The hottest food trends this year: all things coconut, exotic oils, beer-laced products, regional heritage foods, herby drinks and spicy sweets.

That’s what 18,000-plus buyers found this week at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Each year, buyers for upscale delicatessens, groceries and shops scope out the newest thing in the cavernous Moscone Center, which for three days turns into the biggest, most over-the-top snack party imaginable.

More than 1,300 companies display and offer tastings of their wares, vying to entice buyers with Italian cheeses and California jelly beans, and making forays into Korean seaweed snacks and artisanal pickles from New Jersey.

Buyers come from around the country to see what’s hot. Some are from farther afield. Rajeev Lee and Allen Smith were scouting out new products for Maybury deli-supermarket in Dubai.
“We cater to a lot of ex-pats, and these are the foods they want,” Lee said.

This year’s big trends:

Coconut. In canned juice or as an ingredient or simply a dried, unsweetened snack, coconut was legion at the show. Pouring tastes as fast as he could, Benny San Andres of Sun Tropics of San Ramon, Calif., talked up the clear liquid’s healthful properties. “One can has the potassium of five-and-a-half bananas,” he said of the juice his company imported from Thailand.

Vegetable and fruit oils. You use olive oil, once bought walnut oil and tasted truffle oil. But how about Austrian pumpkin seed oil? Or tomato seed oil? Or cherry pit oil or chili seed oil? Marietta De Angelo spent a year as an exchange student on a farm in Neuruppersdorf, Austria.

There she learned to love pumpkin seed oil, which is drizzled on anything from salad to vanilla ice cream (really). She and her husband now run Culinary Imports in Rowley, Mass., and import the oil. They also sell cherry seed oil — “good on fish and ham” — and tomato oil — “great in salad dressing,” she says.

Beer as an ingredient. The past several decades have seen a resurgence in the art of brewing. Now beer is making its way into foods, such as the Beer Flats crackers from Daelia’s Food in Cincinnati. The crackers come in porter and pilsner flavors. For serious beer lovers, there’s Beer Candy from Santa Clara, Calif. Computer programmer and longtime brewer Steve Casselman started making beer candy a few years ago and has branched out into beer jelly. It is strong stuff — no slight beer taste here. A spoonful of jelly tastes like a serious swig of strong stout. “It’s really good on pancakes,” Casselman said. “You take the first bite and you think, ‘This isn’t right.’ Then with the second bite, ‘That’s OK.’ And by the third bite you’re thinking, ‘That’s pretty good!’ ”

Heritage foods. America’s growing love affair with its sometimes forgotten foods and animal breeds was on full view at the show. One such food was black walnuts, the robust-tasting American walnut species that grows mostly in the Southeast. Shelling the walnuts stains the hands, and anything they touch, black. Well-known to bakers in the Southeast, the nut is making inroads elsewhere. David Hammons is the fourth generation of his family to run Hammons Black Walnuts in Stockton, Mo. Each year his company sells 2 million to 3 million pounds of black walnuts, depending on the crop. They aren’t grown commercially. They’re wild and handpicked. Sixty-five percent come from Missouri, where harvesting black walnuts is a nice income addition for locals, Hammons said. “We buy a lot of people’s Christmas when we buy walnuts from them.”

Herbs in drinks. Herbal drinks are big this year but far from the common mint and chamomile tea. New taste combos came from Numi Organics of Oakland, which had Broccoli Cilantro Tea; Wild Poppy Juice in Los Angeles, whose booth featured Blood Orange Chili Juice; and Victoria’s Kitchen, which had Licorice Mint Almond Water.

Spicy sweet. Salt has been showing up in sweets for several years; sea salt caramels and chocolates are available seemingly everywhere. Now hot is migrating into the candy world. Gourmet Thyme in St. Paul featured cayenne shortbread. Nuttyness in Oakland, had orange cayenne marzipan. Poco Dolce Confections in San Francisco had peanut brittle infused with chilies. And from Burlington, Vt., came Lake Champlain Chocolates’ Spicy Aztec with cayenne, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon.

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