1. Magnum gelato
Whenever I want to feel like a little kid again, I eat a Magnum gelato. Yes, the one of Algida. I know it sounds really weird, but there’s a story. You see, I grew up in different countries around the world, meaning that I ate very different foods. When I was living in the states back in the early 2000s, you couldn’t find Algida ice-creams. The only time of the year I’d get to eat them was when we came to Italy over the summer. Magnum reminds me of Sabaudia, a seaside town near Rome that is known for its sandy beaches and beautiful lake. Every bite of magnum ice-cream (either the almond or chocolate one) takes me back to the stabilimento we’d alway go to: right after lunch when my mom and my best friend Ilaria’s mom would give us money for ice-cream. We’d stand in line at the bar eagerly waiting for our turn to taste that delicious gelato. Ilaria would always get the Maxibon and I would always go for a Magnum ice-cream. I remember the sound of the waves, us sitting and enjoying the ice-cream, playing Uno with the kids of the stabilimento. What an amazing sensation.
2. Colomba / Chocolate Easter egg
Every family has its own traditions. And spending Easter at our family home in Assisi has always been one of ours. Italians say “a Natale con i tuoi, a Pasqua con chi vuoi”, or “Christmas with the family, Easter with whoever you want”, but that has never been the case in my family. My grandparents, my aunt, my parents and siblings have always spent Easter together in Assisi. Easter breakfast was something incredibly important to my grandfather, we’d wake up on Easter morning and he would’ve already prepared the whole spread with everything. For lunch, we’d have the traditional Easter foods, and to finish off, the famous colomba or the chocolate eggs would never be missing. Even though my grandparents are not with us anymore, going to that family house always reminds me of them, and eating a Colomba or a Chocolate Egg on Easter always takes me back to our kitchen table during Easter. I was supposed to spend Easter with my family and my aunt this year, but due to the quarantine we’re all spending it on our own. I’ll make sure to get a Colomba or an Easter egg.
3. Gin Mare
Whenever someone thinks of summer they picture balmy summer nights, the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, sunsets and a chilled glass of wine while chatting with friends. So let me tell you this: there’s one place I went to last summer with BSO Group that was the epitome of what summer should be like: Hotel Miramare. This stunning hotel in Ischia has a restaurant called Ristorante a Mare and it’s just a dream. On our last night in Ischia, me, my boyfriend Luca, Nicole and Davide were ready before everyone else and the director of the hotel, Espedito, had told us that we couldn’t leave Hotel Miramare without tasting the gin and tonic prepared at the bar. So we took his advice. We ordered four gin tonics, sat in the lounge chairs on the terrace, the sun setting, a light breeze and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. We sipped that gin and tonic and everything stopped for a moment. The moment was literally perfect, Espedito knew what he was talking about. I will never forget that moment and if I’ll ever taste another gin and tonic like the one from Hotel Miramare, I know it will take me exactly to that moment.
Have you ever skied in Italy? I learned to ski when I was 6 years old and kept on going back to the slopes regularly till I was 14 years old. I remember the last time I went skiing with my family–we were living in Istanbul and we went on a 10-day settimana bianca to Corvara in Alta Badia. We had an amazing suite at this hotel super close to the skiing slopes. I remember there was this skylight in the bathroom and you could see the mountain from there. Waking up every morning to that sight was sensational. We’d go off to the skiing slopes, each of us in different groups, and in the afternoon we’d meet and skii together. Then we’d always stop at a rifugio and order a bombardino–Italian eggnog. There’s nothing like it, and the way they make it in northern Italy is not comparable to any other place. Last winter I went skiing in Austria and their Bombardino was nothing like it. Same thing this year when I went skiing near Rome in Abruzzo. But even though the taste wasn’t the same, the smell of that warm bombardino with whipped cream takes me back to Corvara every time. It’s absolutely fantastic.
5. Turkish delights
I lived in Istanbul for 4 years. So you can imagine how many Turkish delights I’ve had in my time there. “Plenty” would be an understatement. While our residence was being restored, my family rented out an apartment at the Swiss Hotel on the Bosphorus that had a stunning view of the Bosphorus. Each night, one of the Swiss Hotel’s maids would come and put a small box of Turkish delights under each of our pillows. A special treat right before we went to sleep. Of course, my brothers and I would eat them way before bedtime, but we loved having Turkish delights each night before going to bed. It was a little tradition for us. Now, whenever I eat a Turkish delight, I think of those three months living in that stunning hotel in Istanbul, with that jaw-dropping view of the Bosphorus paired with the sound of the Muezzin call to prayer. See, food can make you travel!