Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Food Glorious Food!

Let's face it. Why do I grow veggies? To eat it, of course. So here is an edited version of my historical / culinary experience in Rome. Italians just love their fresh fruit and veggies. Not only that, but their fresh bread, meat, salami, fish and cheese too. In 5 days I didn't see a single large supermarket, instead there were daily fresh markets all over town. These tomatoes were sitting in the Campo di Fiori market yesterday morning!!
Emperor Claudius is here just to get you in the mood of ancient Rome!
Orchards of olive trees were laden with olives. Matron managed to purchase a couple of litres of locally produced, freshly squeezed, extra virgin olive oil from Tivoli!
These globe artichokes were everywhere! I adore artichokes. Did you know that they are supposed to have cholesterol reducing, blood pressure lowering properties?
And who could resist home cured, fresh Parma ham or prosciuto sliced off the joint right in front of your eyes? I couldn't!
Apparently fresh olives are much too bitter to eat straight from the tree so they have to be salted in brine for about 3 weeks before they are edible. Matron has purchased a couple of pounds of fresh, large black olives and will be putting this to the test!
The sights and sounds of a vibrant local market are out of this world! This market was only 5 minutes walk from my hotel. Each morning before breakfast I would purchase provisions for my daily picnic and evening meal..... beefsteak tomato, buffalo mozzarella, ciabatta bread, fresh oranges... to sit in the Roman forum at mid day and break open such a feast!!
Courgettes are sold with their flowers still attached. One of the local delilcacies is deep fried courgette flowers. The male flowers are sold fresh in bunches to eat! I must try this next year with my curcurbit flowers!
This time of year the fresh porcini mushrooms (known in France as cepes) are in season. Freshly picked each day and brought to market. This is the king of all edible mushrooms in my opinion. If not sold fresh, they are sliced and dried and sold as dried mushrooms. The scent is incredible. Eat them fresh on a pizza? Make mushroom rizotto? Chop them and grill them with garlic on some ciabatta?.. Matron was in heaven for sure!

25 Comments:

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Donna said...

Oh how I envy your trip. Hope next years tomatoes look as great as these!

 
At 7:40 PM, Blogger Maureen said...

Ooohhhh I am envying you matron. It all looks amazing and I am going to grow Globe artichokes next year (I have the seeds already) so thats great to know they are good for us. It will be my turn next August to be in Rome, my niece is getting married in Italy (not Rome) and we shall make the wedding into an excuse to see a bit of Italy, we have only been to Venice. I will probably be asking you lot's of questions about your trip. Hopefully you will do a big post when you get back.
Have a lovely time.
M x

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Craig Rockfield said...

I love local markets, they always offer great value. Must have been a nice experience for you abroad. The selection of toms they have is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

 
At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Damo said...

Amazing produce Matron, the Romans have got it spot on!

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger Kalena Michele said...

Lovely lovely LOVELY!! I can't wait to get back in the garden. I ended my season early this year because I'm working a lot more lately. One day, I have to take a trip to Italy and London. I'll look you up when I do :)!

 
At 8:58 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Everything looks very nice Matron, no wonder there aren't so many supermarkets.

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger Phoebe said...

Oh How wonderful to be so close to such an amazing place and that one can take a quick holiday in a totally different country!! the markets sound very inspiring!

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger fer said...

What a great trip! it all looks amazing and tasty

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger vrtlarica said...

It is difficult to resist to all these wonderful produce! Beautiful artichokes!

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Midmarsh John said...

The food there looks so much more appetising than in my village Londis where everything is pre packed in plastic bags sweating under hot lighting.

 
At 10:05 AM, Blogger Jo said...

Such wonderful fresh food. Your picnic sounds delicious and how lovely to bring some things back with you to use at home.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

We used to have local markets like these - there are still a few left.
Where did we go wrong with the supermarket stranglehold thing? Sounds like a wonderful trip.

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger Mr. H. said...

That's it, I'm moving to Rome.:) All of the food looks amazing...wow. Wish we had markets like that around here.

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger mangocheeks said...

I so want to go there too and feast my eyes on such vibrant fresh vegetables.

 
At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Janet/Plantaliscious said...

That all looks lip-smackingly gorgeous! Makes me long for summer...

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Dim Sum Gardener said...

Am absolutely GREEN with envy! The veggies are so beautiful, I could become a vegetarian, if I lived there. Keep posting Matron and thanks for sharing.

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

I luv ALL the veggies - they are smashing and sooo fresh. A great feel of the markets.

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

What a grand adventure and what better way to really get to know a culture and location - then to partake of their daily food choices and recipes?! The markets look intoxicating. I would be in heaven.

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger islandgal246 said...

Matron I can read that you are having a grand time. Those outdoor markets are to die for. Take care.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Fantastic!
Rob

 
At 7:39 PM, Anonymous betonyjoy said...

Hi Matron, fascinating post (as always!) Seeds of italy sell seeds of a courgette that is grown solely for the flowers, I think they might be all-male plants. It would make sure you have pristine flowers without losing courgettes!

 
At 7:39 AM, Blogger TYRA said...

WOW, what an absolutely wonderful post. I would very much like to share it with my friends in my blog Kitchen Garden (KÖKSTRÄDGÅRDEN in my native tongue)that is if you don't mind, I'll link of course.
I have just started to try to get the kitchen garden bloggers of the world to unit in K.G.B ;-)

Tyra

Tyra in KÖKTRÄDGÅRDEN

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Green thumb said...

Heaven, for sure! We in India too had a culture of eating fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, procured from local vegetable markets, where they came directly from producers.
With globalisation have come the supermarkets, and any fruit or vegetable can be had, irrespective of the season - God knows how these things are available out of season!

 
At 9:11 AM, Blogger Peggy said...

Hi Matron, another gastro tour! You do have an eye for the local produce where ever you travel.I did not know globe artichokes were so good as we have this purple one too and this year I have eaten quite a lot of it,just because I like it!
Our mushrooms are of the button white variety and don't look anything as colouful or inviting as the ones in the photograph. I have tto imagine you explaining to the customs men you had litres of Olive oil and not wine!

 
At 1:07 AM, Blogger Dan said...

I want some of those porcini mushrooms! I been looking for some here, have not even found dried yet.

 

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