Ciao amici,
è primavera! It's Spring!

Here the Spotify link to the song I'm humming.
cherry flowers
In Rome, Spring begins with the Festa Delle Donne on March 8, as I told you last week, and follows with the Festa del Papà, Father's Day, on March 19th.

The first brings flowers, not only the mimosas gifted to women but the compelling desire to complement everything with flowers.

You buy them for the house.
You bring one to your niece celebrating her birthday.
And you prepare your tiny balcony to welcome the new plants you'll get once you finally reach the mindset for a visit to the nursery.

Father's Day brings food instead: Zeppole di San Giuseppe, Saint Joseph's fried dough pastries filled with cream and surmounted by Amarene, syrupy cherries.
And, of course, family lunches to celebrate all the fathers in the extended family.
But there's so much more to come...
We are slowly tiptoeing toward Easter. Timidly wishing for good weather, especially for Pasquetta, Easter Monday: a picnic would be sublime.

The guys at our neighborhood pasta lab handed us a flyer with their Easter menu:
  • Corallina is the salami omnipresent on the Easter breakfast table.
  • Casatiello is a Neapolitan leavened savory bread stuffed with cured meats and cheese - delicious. I'll probably get one!
  • Carciofi Alla Giudia are the deep-fried artichokes traditional to Roman-Jewish cuisine.
  • Pastiera is the Neapolitan tart filled with wheat and ricotta.
easter menu
On my last city walk, I stopped at Marinari, a glorious pasticceria, patisserie, and bought our first, probably not last, chocolate egg. It is artisanal and so lovely decorated I couldn't resist. Plus, their windows were a triumph of flowers and ceramics lovely displayed. Great palette! A mermaid chant calling me in.
chocolate egg
I can't complain about the gastronomic shops in my neighborhood. Really can't. Every now and then, for one reason or the other, I rediscover one.
Last week, my niece celebrated her birthday with her little - very loud and very frantic - friends at a cooking-lesson party: they made Supplì (the Roman fried rice balls) and decorated cupcakes, or at least that's the news that arrived at my ears. After handing her and my other niece a beautiful iris, I sat on the other side of the street, alfresco, chatting with my brother, a few friends, and my sister and brother-in-law, devouring this:
It's a secret recipe exclusive to this place. The owner told me the story: his father had let some fruit defrost, so he had tried to do something with it. Still trying to figure out the result, he froze it again and, if I understood correctly, again. The final result was this sort of strawberry granita, more of a sorbet, that they now serve - practically mandatory - with whipped cream. When you stir and blend, you get something unforgettable. Refreshing, fulfilling, stimulating: a Cremolato. It evolved, and now their offer includes basically any seasonal fruit flavor. Plus, infinite combos like chocolate and pistachio, Amarena and pistachio, almonds and pistachio... our family loves pistachio.
"See you this summer," the owner said, anticipating unimaginable experiences with the endless varieties the season will bring. Deal was made. You'll find me there!

Since the weather has dramatically changed, I also dared to hang the heaviest Cappotti (coats) and Piumini (quilted jackets) on the upper level of my closet. I kept hats and scarves because…
"Aprile non ti scoprire, maggio vai adagio, giugno allarga il pugno”. April don't uncover, May go slowly, June release the fist.
My aunt, zia Enza, continuously chanted this saying to my brothers and me, and since it's only March...
Despite seasonal caution, Villa Ada has become my new office. I spend there all the time I can. If I have to research, read or edit, I go there for a walk, find a good spot, sit on the ground, and constantly get distracted by Nature's beauty, sounds, and transformational charm.
I put flowers in my hair or embed them to ornate my rings. I pin them to my bag and take a few home.
- the Tolfetana is a traditional bag from Tolfa, a town near Rome -
The upper part of the villa, the one confining with the Parioli neighborhood, is a perfect Hanami (the Japanese tradition of admiring flowers) meditative walk: the cherry trees are finally in full bloom.
cherry flower
cherry trees
the sky
If you happen to be in Rome these days, it is worth a stop. Even just a quick, recharging, passing by.

The other day, I brought home a basket of strawberries from Sicily, where full Spring is probably already happening. Although beautiful, red, and juicy, no, it was too soon. We'll have to wait. I nevertheless made my wish. In Italy, you are supposed to make a wish each time you get the first bite of the first fruit of the season.
Grass-green or golden kiwis are my latest obsession.
Just like Renaissance Italians, I make myself refreshing soft drinks. The base is almost always lemonade, but then I add the kiwis mentioned above, honey, of course, and Matcha tea (remember, I'm the only Italian who doesn't drink coffee and needs other caffeine sources).
matche lemonade
lemon seller
- Italian Street Seller of Lemons found in Tom Nealon's Food Fights & Culture Wars - Annibale Caracci (1646) -
That's it for today, amici miei. Have a flowery, perfumed, colorful Spring Sunday!



The Ligurian Torta Pasqualina recipe from Genoa

The Ligurian Torta Pasqualina recipe from Genoa
Torta Pasqualina: the recipe of the Ligurian Easter savory tart with greens, ricotta, and eggs.

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Cinque Terre Easter table setting

Cinque Terre Easter table setting
When I put together this Easter table setting, I was planning my trip to Cinque Terre. But before leaving, I wanted to have a seasonal brunch or lunch at home.

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