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Italian, the language of love... -Tasty Tidbits E-zine, Issue #005

March 08, 2010

In this Issue...

  1. Italian, the language of Love...
  2. Latest site recipes
  3. Italy in the news
  4. What exactly is Buffalo Mozzarella?

a fresh pepper Ciao! Hope you had a productive and satisfying week (both in and out of the kitchen)! This past week I have been doing a lot of "quick" cooking myself, including *two* nights of freshly prepared pizza from scratch. Check out the link to the recipe below.

This issue is also the first in a series of mini Italian language lessons. Just so you can sound a little more like the natives whether you're visiting Firenze or just serving up some Italian in your very own kitchen!

Until next time...

the word arrivederci, stylized

street sign Italian, the language of Love...

Ah! La lingua dell'amore! The language of Love!

Italian is a very romantic language (both literally as it is ONE of the romantic languages and figuratively as it is very romantic sounding). I've met many who have wanted to learn this beautiful language but never had the time, opportunity or ability to. I am fortunate enough to have been raised in an environment where Italian was spoken around me on a daily basis. My first spoken words were in Italian, and although I took to speaking English after I began school, I was still surrounded by it at home.

It wasn't until college though that I really cemented my ability to speak it fluently (and correctly). I began taking Italian classes and then studied abroad in Rome for the spring semester of my junior year. There is nothing like being submerged in a country to learn a language. If it's possible for you to ever do something like that, I STRONGLY urge you to do it! It's the best experience you will ever have.

But, for those of us who can't freely travel or just want a little snippet of knowledge to add to our repertoire - here is a brief lesson for you!

Hard and soft "c" in the Italian language

When meeting an Italian for the first time it is polite to shake and hands and say:

"Piacere, mi chiamo Maria" (Pee-ah-che-reh, me key-ah-moe Mah-ree-ah)

This translates to "It's a pleasure, my name is Maria"

In Italian the letter "c" can have two different types of sounds. They are both evident in the phrase above. If the letter c is followed by an "i" or an "e" it makes a "ch" sound.

If it is followed by any other vowel, "a", "o" or "u" it makes a "k" sound. This is apparent in words such as "cannoli" and "cappuccino". Actually "cappuccino" has both types of "c" sounds - See! You probably already knew how to pronounce them correctly!

cup of espresso

Lastly, the letter "c" can sometimes be followed by an "h". The Italian language throws the "h" in whenever the "c" needs to sound hard, but it is being followed by an "i" or "e". That is shown above in the word "chiamo". "Chiamare" means "to call, or be called"

A word that you may recognize using this sound is the popular coffee drink a "macchiato". Here you can hear the hard "k" sound.

Consequently, in Italian the word "macchiato" means "stained". In Italy if you wanted to order a coffee with a splash of milk you would say "Un caffè macchiato", or "A stained coffee". Kind of neat, huh?

This week practice the hard and soft "c". Try and think of other words you may already know in Italian that incorporate these sounds. Until next time...Arrivederci! ;-)


Are you looking for a good book to help you along in your learning adventure? Try the book Easy Italian Step-by-Step by Paola Nanni-Tate. It's an inexpensive buy and it comes recommended by those that have some background with Italian and those just starting out!

Or just see more Italian language pronounciation tips here!

a dough press Latest site recipes

This week I have added a few new recipes to the site, including (a long awaited) quick pizza dough recipe! No longer do you have to wait hours for dough to rise! This recipe is fool-proof and won't take half the day to prepare. In face it is the perfect last minute throw together base for a great meal.

I've also added a delicious meaty lasagna recipe, which is perfect for a chilly March night (that is if you live where it's still chilly in March, I do!)

Have a recipe that you want to see appear on the site? Contact me and let me know.

I will always try my best to add whatever you request!

Or, have a recipe of your own you'd like to share? Why not let the world see it? Show off your culinary taste and style! It's fun and free, so why not?

Italy In The News

In keeping up with late-breaking news and happenings on the Italian peninsula here are a couple of interesting stories I'd like to pass along to you this week.


(ANSA) - Arezzo, March 4 - The mayor of Arezzo on Thursday urged the government to make a bid for the archives of Renaissance art chronicler Giorgio Vasari, which go on sale next week at a highly-anticipated auction in Tuscany....


Another interesting story I found:


(ANSA) - Rome, March 4 - Italy began experimenting with its first airport body scanner on Thursday kicking off a trial period for the new security devices adopted after the failed Christmas Day bomb attack on a transatlantic flight to Detroit....

a buffalo What is Buffalo Mozzarella?

If you're like many Americans you will typically recognize mozzarella in it's pre-packaged "shredded" or "block" varieties. Generally here in the USA mozzarella is slightly yellowish with a medium to soft-ish, chewy texture. However, I dare you to present this cheese to a native Italian and convince them that it is, in fact, mozzarella. They will undoubtedly be perplexed.

That is because in Italy mozzarella is SO different than what we see here.

First of all it is soft. Very soft. Pretty much impossible to "grate" (although slightly harder varieties make it possible to do so) Therefor it is usually sliced or cubed when using in Italian dishes. Because of this softness, it is extremely moist. The moisture is retained by the usual milky white water that it is often stored in to preserve freshness and taste. If your mozzarella is not wet, you should seriously doubt it's quality and origins.

Mozzarella also usually presents itself in ball form. Whatever the size, the shape is most definitely always round. This has to do with the process of making the cheese and is also another good indicator of authenticity.

So what is Buffalo mozzarella? It's exactly what it sounds like. Cheese made from Buffalo's milk. Now hey - don't get critical here. Unless you've tried this variety of cheese in the heart of where it originates (mainly around Naples and the surrounding areas), do not judge! It is by far the sweetest, most tantalizing experience your mouth will ever have! There is just nothing like it in the world.

To get a taste of something similar, check out the imported cheese section of your deli. There should be at least *some* varieties of soft, fresh mozzarella to choose from. Use in a caprese salad recipe or to top a pizza.

And if you want to be adventurous, you may want to buy some imported Buffalo Mozzarella online. Short of flying there yourself, it's the best way to get a good quality cheese. Trust me. You won't be disappointed!

Check out more at!

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