Seven facts you did not know about garlic

Seven facts you did not know about garlic

Garlic: you either hate it, or you simply love it.

We are sure that you ate it more than once in your life, but did you know this fantastic vegetable can do more than add taste to your dishes? The main reason it spread worldwide is for its medicinal properties.
Let’s take a journey through time and around the world together to discover more!

From where does garlic come?

Garlic is originally from Central Asia, where it is still growing wild.
It is easy to cultivate in most of the climates, and easy to carry around once dried. It is no surprise that every ancient population started to grow garlic as soon as they were introduced to it.

According to Jethro Kloss’s book Back to Eden, “for nearly as long as there has been a written record of history, garlic has been mentioned as a food.” However,  men were likely using the “magic bulb” way before he could write about it.

Ancient Egyptians were already aware of its properties. They used it to prevent any disease and to gain strength.

In ancient India, the text of Charaka-Samhita recommends garlic to treat heart disease and arthritis. Some later books suggest its use for infections, infestations and worms, weakness and fatigue, and a variety of digestive disturbances.

Chinese were using it as a food preservative, as well as for treating sadness and depression or aiding respiration and digestion.

Ancient Greeks used it to increase energy and work capacity; therefore, athletes and warriors were avid consumers. However, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, advised using it to cure asthma, treat dog bites and wounds, and repel scorpions.

In ancient Rome, just like in Greece, athletes, warriors, and sailors ate it to improve their toughness. Moreover, Pliny the Elder wrote five volumes of Historica Naturalis, where he listed 23 different garlic uses.
Thanks to the Romans, the use of the “magic vegetable” spread throughout Europe. Monks used to grow it in Monasteries and teach about its therapeutic properties, adding it to the other plants already in use.

Its medicinal use became more extensive from the Middle Ages: digestive disorders, kidney stones, constipation relief, toothache, cold, and flu. It was considered of great aid during the Plague and to repel evil spirits too.

It reached the New Word with the European sailors, who extensively used it to ward off disease and increase their toughness.

So here are some fun facts about this wonderful vegetable!

  1. Archeologists found perfectly preserved garlic in Tutankhamun’s tomb, who ruled from 1334 BC to 1325 BC.
  2. Garlic is a blood purifier. As often used to get rid of parasites, “necklaces” of garlic were commonly found from ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages. This custom might be the origin of the legend about how to ward off vampires, as they were considered vile as parasites.
  3. In 2016, worldwide garlic production reached over 21 million tons with China as an absolute leader, followed by India and Bangladesh.
  4. One clove of garlic contains Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Selenium. No wonder it can help with hair loss and keeping your skin young.
  5. How to get rid of garlic breath? Drink milk before a meal or chew fresh parsley or mint. Eating a raw apple or drinking lemon juice may also help.
  6. In the Middle Ages during the Plague, doctors used to wear a face mask that was soaked in garlic juice to protect themselves from catching any disease.
  7. The fear of garlic is called alliumphobia.

Contemporary researchers confirm the majority of what common beliefs used to be, in the past generations all over the world, and add new benefits to the list.

Did you know that a little clove of garlic could be so powerful for you, on top of being extremely tasty?

Although it can be tremendously beneficial to add to your diet, we strongly recommend you checking with your doctor before doing so. Never underestimate the power of plants!

Can you guess which dishes on our menu have garlic?

Easter time in Italy

Easter time in Italy

In Italy, Easter (Pasqua) is the second biggest holiday after Christmas.
It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon following Spring Equinox. It is also linked to the Carnevale celebration, at the end of which the period of Lent (Quaresima) starts. This period symbolizes the 40 days that Christ spent in the desert before His Death on the Cross. Consequently, it terminates on Easter Sunday.
The week leading to Easter is called Holy Week (Settimana Santa), and has a calendar rich in events. They focus on the Passion (meant as suffering) and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The end of this period is marked with a massive feast on Pasqua and Pasquetta (Easter Monday).

Holy Week: La Settimana Santa

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday (La Domenica delle Palme) when olive branches are blessed during Mass and then distributed to the people. This is a reminder of the day when the Messahia arrived in Jerusalem.
Although every day of the week is marked with the commemoration of the last days of Jesus’ life, the most significant celebrations will take place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Holy Thursday is about the symbolic reenactment of the Last Supper with the Apostles. During Mass, the Priest washes the feet of twelve members of the community to remind them about humility and sacrifice.

On Holy Friday, the Procession of the Via Crucis takes place. Every region and every town has a different way of bringing back to life the last day of Jesus, carrying his cross.

Holy Saturday is dedicated to reflection and silence to contemplate the death of the Lord. At around 10 pm, Easter Vigil starts with the most important Mass of the year that carries on until early Sunday morning. A Candle is kindled, reminding all that Christ is light and life.

Let the celebration and the feast begin on Easter Sunday (Pasqua)! Solemn Mass is held in all churches, and right after, all families sit together and eat one of the most generous meals of the year.
On Easter Monday (Pasquetta), friends usually gather together to carry on eating and celebrating with a joyful picnic or barbecue, weather permitting.

Easter on the Italian’s tables

Sunday Easter feast changes from Region to Region, however roast lambs (symbol of birth) and eggs (symbols of fertility and renewal) are inevitably on all tables. Eggs can be dyed and painted as a decoration, used in soups or quiches (Torta Pasqualina). Still, no house is left without a Chocolate Egg.

They do come in every size, from commercial to handcrafted, and they all have gifts inside. For those who are not keen on chocolate, they can finish their meal with a slice of Colomba: a Dove shaped cake with candied fruits.

Traditional food in Naples starts on a Thursday night with a mussel soup. The origin of this meal traces back to King Ferdinand at the beginning of 1800. The soup is very simple and affordable for everyone: cooked with tomatoes, chili peppers, and some toasted bread on the side.

The unmissable on the table, however, are the Casatiello, the Lamb with potatoes, and finally the Pastiera Napoletana.
Casatiello is a round bread dough, stuffed with traditional cold meats, cheese, and decorated with nested boiled eggs. It’s prepared on Friday and then eaten on Saturday and on Easter day as well.

Lamb is probably the most common main dish in all traditions at this time of the year. However, in Naples, it can be replaced as well with a baby goat: il Capretto alla Napoletana. The meat will be marinated in red wine and herbs for a whole night and then cooked a couple of hours before the feast begins.

The real Queen of the table, however, will always be the Pastiera Napoletana.

This delicacy probably traces back to Pagan times to celebrate Spring, and it was then adopted by the Christians. The main ingredients are sheep’s ricotta, cooked whole grain wheat, eggs, fruit candies, honey, and orange blossoms water.
This heavenly mixture fills a delicate shortbread pastry. The perfect balance is assured to conquer your palate at first bite.

If you are planning to visit Italy during this exceptional time, we highly recommend you to book plenty in advance. Hotels get overbooked really fast.

You also want to check bus and train timetables, as often transports only run a few times a day during Easter and Easter Monday.

BUONA PASQUA!!

Coronavirus Response

Coronavirus Response

The well-being of our Guests, Staff and the Community we serve will always be our primary concern.
In addition to our perpetual and unyielding attention to cleanliness, we have implemented the following measures at both Campania locations in response to the Coronavirus issue:

  • We will utilize single-use, pre-wrapped utensils as opposed to our normal silverware.
  • We will utilize only single-use menus
  • We will utilize single-use Parmesan and Red Pepper packets
  • There will be hand sanitizer at server stations and hostess stands for both Employees as well as Guests.
  • There will be a formal check-in process for all employees to ensure they are not experiencing any illness of ANY kind.


We will always error on the side of caution in evaluating an employee’s state of health.
We ask that you extend us some graceful patience during this time should we become short-staffed as a result.
We will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and The National Restaurant Association.
Finally, our staff is very efficient in handling To-Go orders and encourage you to take advantage of this should you like to enjoy Campania in the comforts of your home!

Tiramisù: the world-wide famous Italian dessert

Tiramisù: the world-wide famous Italian dessert

The word Tiramisù means “pick me up,” and it comes from the Treviso dialect, “Tireme su.”
The main ingredients are Mascarpone cheese, Zabaglione cream, Espresso coffee, Savoiardi cookies (also known as Ladyfingers), and a topping of chocolate.
According to a few historical records, this amazing dessert was created in 1800 as an aphrodisiac pudding. However, it is not until 1980 that we can find its recipe, described in one of the most prestigious cooking books.

Tiramisu cake on a plate

History and fun facts!

As the Tiramisù grew in popularity, several Italian regions tried to claim its origins.
In Piedmont, they alleged it was created to support Camillo Benso Count of Cavour while performing his work of Italy ‘s reunification.

In Tuscany, they said that the dessert was invented to homage the visit of Cosimo III de ‘Medici in Siena in 1600, therefore named “la Zuppa del Duca.”

In Friuli Venezia Giulia, they sustained the Tiramisù was created in 1950 in the Restaurant of the Hotel Roma (in the town of Tolmezzo) and served with the name of “Dolce Torino.”

Though the first-ever written recipe was only in 1981, on the Vin Veneto Magazine, where the prestigious food critic Giuseppe Mafioli presented the “The Legitimate Tiramisù of the Beccherie.”
Hence the creation was attributed to the Region of Veneto.

Since then, it became one of the internationally recognized “gastronomic Italianism” in 23 different languages, together with pasta, pizza, espresso, cappuccino, and spaghetti.

It is also one of the most researched words on Google, with almost 75.000.000 results!

It won the Guinness World Record twice. In 2019, the confectionery school “Teatro 7 Lab” in Milan prepared the longest Tiramisù in the world. Two hundred and seventy-five meters (900ft), for a total of fifteen thousand portions. A group of confectioneries achieved the previous record near Gorizia in 2018, with a two hundred sixty-six meters of goodness.

Do try this at home! 

Making a Tiramisù at home is easier than you think. You only need to grab the right ingredients.
There are several recipes you might be able to find on the internet.
Still, we believe that to have a taste of the “real thing,” you should follow the original one from the Restaurant Le Beccherie.

Be careful: this is meant to serve 6 to 8 people!

Ingredients:

  • 450 g mascarpone
  • Four egg yolks
  • 100 g sugar 
  • 30 ladyfinger cookies (savoiardi)
  • 1,5 cup espresso coffee (lightly sugared)
  • Two tablespoons bitter cocoa powder

Directions:

  • Prepare the espresso coffee, add sugar, and let it cool. 
  • Beat the yolks and sugar together until they become fluffy.
    Important: be aware of the source of the eggs, as using them raw, could expose you to Salmonella. 
  • Mix in the mascarpone to form a soft cream.
  • Dip the ladyfingers into the coffee and place them side by side in a baking pan.
  • Cover them with the mascarpone mix and proceed to layer the ingredients, with a generous layer of the mascarpone cream over the top.
  • Sprinkle with the cocoa powder. 
  • Place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours and serve chilled.

In case you only want to savor this simple but irresistible dessert, then stop by our Restaurant: it’s always available on our Menu.
You can enjoy it while sipping an authentic cup of Italian espresso, or at the end of a fabulous meal.

Carnevale in Italy

Carnevale in Italy

You are probably familiar with Carnival celebration in New Orleans (called Mardi Gras) and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, but Carnevale is also one of the most famous festivals all around Italy.

Celebrations usually are held from the second weekend of February until mid-March, depending on the region.

Carnevale was originally a Catholic holiday that takes place 40 days before Easter, just before the start of Lent, where people traditionally gave up all sorts of things, starting with meat. The world Carnevale, in fact, has its roots in the Latin word “carnem-levamen”, which means “giving up meat”.

The oldest records of celebrations for this festival are tracing back to the medieval era, but similar ceremonies were likely taking place in pre-Christian times, and then got adapted to fit into the Catholic rituals.

In every town of Italy people celebrate Carnevale, so no matter where you are, you are likely to see masks, Carnival floats, confetti and streamers, and eat some special food.

Italian food for Carnevale

Carnevale period is a feast of delicious food that will terminate on Martedì Grasso, the very last day that you would be allowed to spend binging on rich fatty dishes and mainly fried sweets.

Each region has its own version, but you will find deep-fried pastries called frappe, chiacchere, bugie, cenci, guanti, galani, crostole and more, all over the Italian territory.
They are made from a thin sheet of dough, with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs finely stretched and then fried in hot oil, and finally covered with a generous layer of icing sugar or a drizzle of chocolate.

Another typical sweet is Castagnole, made pretty much with the same ingredients but shaped in little balls, deep-fried, covered in casting sugar, and sometimes filled up with jam or custard.

In Naples, you will find a semolina cake called Migliaccio. Originally made with millet, now it is made with wheat middling, ricotta cheese, milk, vanilla, butter, cream, oranges, and lemon. This delicious cake is probably one of the few desserts of Carnevale that is not deep-fried!

But Italian food is not only about desserts! As we all know, Lasagna is the most commonly known pasta dish around the world – though, in Naples there is a particular version of it served during Carnevale. It’s made with pasta, meat sauce, ricotta cheese, boiled eggs, meatballs, sausages, mozzarella, and provolone.
We bet you’ll be the first one to want to start Lent after eating this.

Famous Carnivals in Italy

As we mentioned before, you can find Carnevale celebration all over Italy; however, there are some very particular ones you do not want to miss out on.

CARNEVALE DI VENEZIA is one of the most famous Carnival in the world, dating back as early as 1094 a.C.

Even if you do not attend any of the fancy masquerade balls or private party, walking around will be still a one in a lifetime experience.
And if you want to live a full Carnival experience, you can check all the activities on their official website. (https://www.carnevale.venezia.it/en/)

CARNEVALE DI IVREA and its Battaglia delle Arance is the re-enactment of a historical event that took place in the Middle Age. Violetta (the young daughter of the miller) refused to follow the Medieval law stating that, after the marriage of any couple living on his lands, the lord had the right to spend the first night with the bride. She got into the castle, and she killed her abuser with a knife she had hidden in her hair. The killing of the tyrant started a rebellion between the lord’s army and the people of Ivrea, where oranges are replacing original weapons.

CARNEVALE DI CENTO, in the Emilia-Romagna region, is linked to the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their floats are inspired by traditional fables, public figures, and famous personalities such as politicians. During the parade, they will throw gadgets and candies to the crowd. The winning float in the Cento parade is then taken to Brazil for their Carnival festivities.
https://www.carnevalecento.com/

CARNEVALE DI VIAREGGIO dates back to 1873, and it lasts for about a month. The charming seaside town is transformed by parades of giant paper-maichè floats (mainly satirical, reflecting current events and politics), night parties, fireworks, and food events.
However, if you want to see the fantastic parade, you have to buy a ticket in advance.
http://viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/biglietteria-contatti

Therefore, if you love fancy dressing and you are in a party mood, this is probably one of the best months to visit Italy for a once in a lifetime experience!

La Befana

La Befana

If you have been to Italy during the Christmas holidays, good chances are that just past the New Year Celebration, you might have seen in shops colorful stocking full of sweets, or dolls of an old lady with a broomstick.
Both the socks and the “old lady” are related to the Epiphany day, celebrated almost worldwide on the 6th of January, and called “La Befana ” in Italy.

La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col cappello alla romana:
Viva viva la Befana!

(The Befana comes by night, with her shoes all tattered and torn, she comes dressed in the Roman way, long live the Befana!)

The legend

There are many versions of the story about how the Befana became a folkloristic tradition in Italy. However, these are most likely the most popular legends.

The oldest one goes back to Pagan times when the population followed the rhythms of nature. Legend says some women would fly over and bless the fields for the following 12 nights after the winter solstice, hoping for a generous crop to grow during the upcoming year.

Another legend, this time with a Christian twist, tells that the Befana was approached by the Three Kings (or so-called “Re Magi” in Italian) who were asking for directions to find the Son of God. The old lady offered them shelter for the night, but she could not help them find the way. On the following morning, she was asked if she wanted to join them on the journey, but she turned them down, being too busy with her housework. She then changed her mind, and she started looking for the same way the Three Kings went, but she could not find either them or baby Jesus. However, on the way, every time she founded a child in the house, she would leave candies or fruits to the kids who had behaved well, and a piece of coal to the naughty ones.

Today the tradition continues, so on the night of the 5th of January children leave out a sock, which will get filled in the morning with candies or coal (then replaced by sugar coal).

Have you been good this year?

So why don’t you keep out your Christmas stocking a little longer next Christmas, and leave a glass of wine and some cookies for the Befana?
Look out from your window and see if you can spot her flying on her broom while she is leaving gifts to the children.

In case the Befana did not pay you a visit leaving some candies, you can always pay us a visit and have a dessert from our menu. It’s guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth!