If it’s Mid-Summer, it’s Time for Pinzimonio!

Pinzimonio 2

I remember this dish every year — but around Thanksgiving, long after the gardens have withered and the farmers markets have closed for the season. Sure, you can make this dish anytime but it’s best when the vegetables are freshly picked. So, what is pinzimonio?

It’s a variety of fresh vegetables served raw with a side dressing of olive oil and vinegar that’s seasoned simply with salt and pepper. (Yes, that’s crudités but I hesitate to bring a third language into the discussion.)  It’s easy enough to prepare and a great way to take advantage of summer’s bounty.

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Pinzimonio 1

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When I was a boy, Mom would serve pinzimonio just about every Sunday starting in July, when the first of our garden’s crop ripened. As we gathered for dinner, there would be a platter of cut, raw vegetables in the center of the table waiting for us. You might find bell peppers, fennel, celery, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and scallions, along with whatever caught Dad’s eye when he took Sis & I to the grocery that morning. Rounding out the antipasti/insalati, she’d also serve a platter of freshly picked, sliced tomatoes (See Déjà Vu).  But wait! There’s more.

At each of our places at the table, Mom would have a ramekin with our own dipping sauce which she would cater to our age and preference. All contained oil and red wine vinegar but those for Sis and I, being the youngest, contained just a touch of salt & pepper. My brother, being so very much older (this is one way to see if my siblings read the blog), was allowed more salt and pepper in his dipping sauce. Mom, having a life-long aversion to pepper, gave herself barely a few pepper flakes with the salt in her ramekin. Dad had no such issues and you could see a thick layer of salt with another of pepper covering the bottom of his little dish. Each of us helped ourselves to whatever we wanted on the platter and dipped it into our own ramekins. No need to pass this or that and, best of all, we could double, triple, or even quadruple dip without so much as a raised eyebrow from Mom.

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Pinzimonio 3

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Now, as for a recipe, well, I’ve pretty much explained the dish already. Gather together any fresh vegetable that you would serve dressed with an oil and vinegar dressing. Clean and trim each in such a way to accommodate their serving and arrange them on a platter. Next, place oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in ramekins or small dishes, one per place setting. Although Mom always used red wine vinegar, I’ve used balsamic and loved it.

No matter the vinegar used, you’ll find that pinzimonio is a great way to take advantage of the bounty of summer, while adding more vegetables to your diet. Not only that but if, like me, you have meatless days, pinzimonio makes a great lunch or dinner, especially when summer’s heat renders the stove off-limits.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Tomato Antipasti - Deja Vu

I could hardly write about pinzimonio without offering you the link to Mom’s Tomato Antipasti. This time of year, both dishes were usually served side-by-side, much to the delight of all seated at that table. Best of all, it’s an easy dish to prepare and, like pinzimonio, no stove is required. Here’s the LINK to one of my family’s favorite summertime antipasti.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Squash with Seafood Preview

Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Seafood

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Our Italian Holiday

This being such a short post, I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity and share a bit of our holiday last spring.

Bologna

My trip began in Bologna, a wonderful town with an incredible history. It is home to the world’s oldest continuously operating university and the center of what many believe to be the heart of Italian cuisine. With my nephew arriving the next day, I had barely enough time to check into my room, take a walk, break my camera, have a great dinner, and get lost on my way back to the hotel. Yes, you read that correctly. My camera was out of commission for the entire trip. Let me apologize now for the quality of the pics to follow. Truth be told, I hadn’t planned on posting many because most would be very similar to those posted 2 years ago. Even so, it would have been nice to have had a good camera with me.

Many of Bologna’s walks are covered and the “pavement” is marble. The city is meant for the casual promenade. Besides several churches and the university, there are a number of sites to see: the Two Towers, the Piazza Maggiore (site of my camera’s untimely demise), the statue of Neptune, and of course, my prosciutto store, La Prosciutteria. How I love that place!!!  Here are a few photos. Click on any one to see a full description.

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That day ended with one of the best restaurant meals that I was served.

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The Republic of San Marino

My nephew’s plane arrived on time and soon we were on our way to San Marino, where Zia Pina greeted us with open arms, Waiting with her was her grand-daughter & husband, and the newest member of our the family, the soon to be one-year-old Viola. Zia is a wonderful cook and the highlight was when she served cappelletti for the entire family. This just so happens to by my nephew’s favorite dish and one he hasn’t enjoyed since his Grandma, my Mom, passed away 14 years ago. The following day, she took us both for a tour of the city of San Marino, and the seat of the republic’s government atop Mt. Titano. The next day, Sunday, we attended a mass that Zia had arranged to honor our family’s departed. Afterward, we re-assembled at a restaurant In Riccione, on the Adriatic shore, for a fantastic seafood feast. I would go back there in a heartbeat! Here are just a few of those photos.

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Venice

Before leaving San Marino, my nephew and I “kidnapped” a young cousin for a day trip to Venice and Murano Island. It was a chilly day with showers, so, we timed our lunch and a caffè for the worst spells — or so we tried. Although we knew it was the Italian Liberation Day holiday, we didn’t know that it was also St. Mark’s feast day, he being the Patron Saint of Venice. We learned of our oversight upon setting foot upon St. Mark’s Square. Even so, we had to keep moving and, after a water taxi ride to Murano Island for a bit of souvenir shopping, we ended our day with a fine supper. Then it was a dash across Venice for a train ride back to Rimini where a cousin would take us to Zia’s. (I won’t mention that our arrival was delayed because we missed our train and, consequently, were stowaways on the next.) Thankfully, our “chauffeur” was very kind and waited patiently for our eventual arrival. These next photos are by committee. Oddly enough, each of our phones, ran out of power as we traversed Venice. Mine was the first to go, only to miraculously revive — its vibrating giving me quite a start — on the train as we approached the station in Rimini.

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Don’t let the blue skies fool you. We were drenched by the time we reached the piazza and there wasn’t a soul seated in any of the cafés that encircle it.

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Rome

The next morning, my nephew and I boarded a train bound for Rome, with Zia and 2 cousins accompanying us. What fun! Our flat was about 100 yards from the Pantheon and once we settled in, we were off for a little sightseeing around the Piazza Navona. That night, we enjoyed a fine dinner in celebration of my nephew’s graduation and, as we soon learned, my cousin’s wedding anniversary. The next morning, we walked to the Vatican to meet another cousin and her husband. Unable to get into the Vatican because the Pope was awaiting a diplomat, we took taxis to the Colosseum, stopping along the way for lunch. Well, by the time we made it to the Colosseum, it was far too crowded with tourists to enter. We headed back to the flat, said our goodbyes, and our cousins headed to the train station for their ride back to San Marino. Alone now, with only 2 days left, we planned the rest of our stay. We would spend one morning revisiting the Colosseum, with the Vatican occupying the second. The afternoons would be spent seeing everything on his “must see” list, as well as a couple of sites that I tossed into the mix. Of course, a fantastic meal would end each day.

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Corinaldo

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, it was time for us to part company. My nephew returned home but a few weeks earlier I had decided to extend my holiday. I wanted to take a few days to visit Corinaldo, the Bartolini ancestral home. So, as my nephew boarded a plane, I caught a train to Ancona, where I rented a car for the drive to Corinaldo. It’s a quaint little village nestled in rolling hills. The very center of the town is totally encircled by walls that were built during the 1300s. Unlike similar towns in Italy, these walls have been maintained and are in excellent condition. There is but one entrance and one exit, the knowledge of which might have saved me the hour I spent circling the area, not to mention one ill-fated attempt of entering through the exit. (Ah! The joys of travel.) Once situated, my flat was quite nice with a terrace facing west and I was anxious to watch the sun set over the Italian countryside. Well, that was the plan but the clouds had made previous reservations, apparently, and I never did see a sunset. No worries. I still enjoyed my time there, walking from one end of the village to the other — make that “carefully walking”. It rained intermittently and the cobblestone streets are quite narrow. I rushed for a doorway or hugged a wall whenever I heard a car approach. Luckily, that didn’t happen very often. There is no rush hour in downtown Corinaldo. There is, however, a great little restaurant on The Stairs and they served me my final meal in my Grandparents’ hometown.

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Terrace view

The terrace view

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Fiumicino

I left the next morning taking a route to Ancona that would allow me to travel along the Adriatic coast for a spell. To get to the coast, I travelled along narrow roads that carried me over the hills, through the beautiful Marche countryside. I dropped off the car and made my way to the train station. With an early morning flight, my destination would be Fiumicino, a small town about 30 km outside of Rome and home to the city’s international airport. Lucky for me, there was a wonderful restaurant just down the street from my hotel. My holiday ended with one last fantastic meal, albeit a filling one.

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Along the way to Fiumincino during the last train ride.

Along the way to Fiumincino during the last train ride.

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One thing more

Unbeknownst to me, I spent my holiday walking with a stress fracture of my left ankle. It had bothered me before I left but I made a variety of excuses about it. In fact, even upon coming home, the excuses continued. Finally, about a week later, I decided to have it checked and I was given this fancy boot to wear for the next 4 weeks. WIth the boot now gone, I am happy to say that things are back to normal, whatever that means.

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Stress Fracture

You won’t find this at Ferragamo’s.

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Our holiday was memorable in so many ways, and during the course of which, my now-adult nephew and I became re-acquainted. We were treated royally, with our family members freeing up their schedules so that they could spend as much time with us as possible. I’ve read that when we put to paper an objective, the odds of accomplishing it increase by 40%. With that in mind, I do not know how or when but I will be returning to San Marino. I must. I’ve promised to kidnap another cousin for a day trip somewhere.

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121 thoughts on “If it’s Mid-Summer, it’s Time for Pinzimonio!

  1. Such great stories and photos, John, and all that food!!! I’ve been to most places you mention, so it brings back great memories.
    With pinzimonio, it is all about the quality of the ingredients, especially the olive oil. Do you emulsify the oil and vinegar? I guess pinzimonio just means “dip” in English, but pinzimonio sounds so much better 🙂 (It actually derives from pinzare, to pinch, because you hold a piece of veg between your fingers to dip it into the condiment).

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    • Thanks, Stefan. WIth the exception of Corinaldo, I’ve visited all of these cities before. I would have preferred to go elsewhere but I let my nephew decide the itinerary, If… er .. when I return, I’ll only see San Marino again. As much as I love Rome or Venice or Florence, I would like to see northern Italy next time. Cinque Terra, perhaps? 🙂
      It never occurred to me to emulsify the dipping sauce. I’ve such vivid memories of those ramekins at our places. In fact, as much as I enjoy occasionally using balsamic in place of the red wine vinegar, it just doesn’t “seem” right. 🙂

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  2. I love the idea of serving the dressing for pinzimonio in separate ramekins, allowing for triple dipping. Mine would have lots of pepper too. A great collection of travel photos, especially the meals enjoyed, from your last trip. Lucky nephew. To be fair, you must return.

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    • You’re right, Sandra, and my nephew was a wonderful traveling companion. Yes, I would always suggest that someone return to Italy only for you, being froM Down Under, it’s no easy trip. It’s probably equivalent to my going to SE Asia. That trip home was interminable.

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  3. Ahhh…wonderful childhood memories you’ve associated with today’s offering, John. Love the individual ramekins, allowing all to break the double-dipping rule.

    Looking at your wonderful photos, I would never guess your camera had broken on vacation. I continue to be in awe each time I view the incredible architecture and scenery of Italy. I am so overdue for a return trip and I thoroughly enjoyed walking through your recent itinerary. Thank you for the share!

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    • Thanks, Nancy. You’ll never hear me try to dissuade you from returning to Italy. I so enjoy time spent there, especially now that I’ve reconnected with that part of my family. As for the camera, well, every trip I’ve taken has had its mishap. No sense getting upset over it. Luckily, today’s smartphones have better photo-taking capabilities than many cameras of just a few years ago. In the end, it all worked out. It always does. A good pasta dinner fixes everything. 🙂

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  4. What a wonderful post, John. I am in love with your mama’s tomato antipasto. Wonderful not to have to cook in this heat. And, the idea of individual ramekins for dipping – brilliant. Visiting family in Italy sounds like best way to travel. Too bad I have no Italian connections! Getting excited by our own upcoming Italian holiday. Can’t wait!

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    • Thanks, Debi. I dream of her tomato antipasti as I plant my tomato pants each spring. It is such a great way to enjoy freshly picked tomatoes. You’re heading to Italy? I’m sure you’re going to enjoy your time there and cannot wait to hear all about it. 🙂

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    • I cannot believe, Teri, that I walked all over that peninsula with a fracture and that I apparently injured my ankle months before! I’ve heard of people doing something similar and always wondered how that could happen. Well, now I know first-hand … er … ankle. Unbelievable!
      I do hope you’ll enjoy the upcoming squash noodle recipe. I’ve got a few more to share, too. 🙂

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful trip! Thanks for all the info and pictures. Especially the pictures — I’m a reader by nature, but always like to see how things actually look. And pinzimonio? New name for me! Although I knew the concept already — just didn’t know what to call it. 🙂 Fun post — thanks so much.

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    • Thanks, John, it was a great trip on so many levels — even with a broken camera and fractured ankle! I wouldn’t feel bad about not knowing that this is pinzimonio. The truth is that none of us knew its name either. It had long been forgotten. Then, just before my first trip to San Marino 2 years ago, Mario Batali mentioned it, almost in passing, oh his TV show. I googled it and, sure enough, there was Mom’s veggie dish. My Sammarinese family corroborated both sources. If I had any kind of a memory,i would have shared this post back then but, as I mentioned, I always remembered it long after summer had past. 🙂

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    • Yes, the Big Three. They’re my favorites, too. As a child at the table, we felt all grown-up with our own dipping sauces and Mom kept the mess to a minimum. There would be no spilt dressing as the bowl was passed from one pair of little hands to another. 🙂

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    • With time to kill, I took the scenic route through the countryside on the way back to Ancona. I really did enjoy the drive and hope I can get back there to see more of Le Marche, Stefano. Maybe next time … 🙂

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  6. I love the look of your Mom’s tomato antipasti and have copied the recipe to use when my kitchen is finished. It will be the ideal starter for entertaining some of the kind folk who have invited us for meals during the renovations. Pinzimonio is such a lovely name that I have to try this too. Thanks for sharing your holiday. It sounds like you and the family had some great times and delicious meals together. Corinaldo looks like a beautiful place to visit, and not at all touristy. I think going up and down those stairs would be my gym for the day. The photo taken on the road to Fiumicino reminds me of the Cinque Terre pastel coloured houses and looks so peaceful. I’m so glad that your foot healed well. It must have been quite painful to walk on. A really enjoyable post, John. 🙂

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    • Thank you and I do hope you’ll enjoy Mom’s antipasti. They really are a great way to enjoy freshly picked tomatoes this time of year. And yes, I really did enjoy our holiday and my family could not have been more welcoming. I cannot wait to get back to them. Wasn’t that little village on the slope something? I wish the photo had been more clear but that probably would have meant stopping the train. I don’t think they would have done that for me. 🙂

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  7. What a great trip John! Thanks for sharing about your adventures across Italy with us! My Pinzimonio dipping sauce would be like your Dad’s full of pepper 🙂 I like red wine vinegar but LOVE balsamic. I’ll have to try your dipping sauce next time I do a few veggie platter instead of the typical Ranch Dressing. (I’m pretty sure Ranch will be the death of us all at the amounts people consume it… Oh wait do they practically drink Ranch dressing in Chicago like people do here in the South?) Anyways… Hope you foot is healed and all is well!

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    • Thanks, Mel. I don’t know whether Ranch is as popular here but I know that I’ve gone down that path quite a few times. For a few years now, however, I’ve returned to my oil and vinegar roots. It’s a lighter dressing and I do love my red wine vinegar. 🙂
      As for my foot, it’s all better now. I must admit, though, that no one was more surprised by the diagnosis of a fracture than I was. I still have a hard time accepting that I walked all over Italy with a fracture. Unbelievable!

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  8. John, I’ve been thinking about that pinzimonio for the last few weeks. I always wondered what was in it. I do remember the Sunday meals with it. Thank you for an excellent memory, bro.

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    • It was such an integral part of our Sunday meals, Paul, but I never knew its name. Zia Lea didn’t either. I heard a TV chef mention it and I verified the name with Google before asking our family in San Marino. Maurizio confirmed it. I do make it occasionally and not just for the nostalgia. What better way to enjoy fresh vegetables?
      Thanks, Paul, for ‘topping by”. 🙂

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  9. I so enjoyed reading every word of your recent Italian holiday with your nephew, John. It’s so interesting to read that part of your family is from Bologna, so very close to Modena just down the road. I have been to Bologna only twice for landing and departing, so I must get there to snoop around and enjoy the delicious food that hales from Bologna! When I was last in Venice, it also rained one day, and I found it very mystical and magical. I can’t wait to visit again for a 3rd time to simply walk the back canals and people watch in a local cafe. Rome is awesome, so many facets to admire and experience. Last time I was there, I became so ill, that I was wheeled to the Vatican hospital to receive care . . . sadly, the Pope didn’t visit me though. The last two villages are new to me and are simply beautiful in your photos! Hopefully, I’ll get there someday to experience them and their food and hospitality!

    Superb post, John! Grazie mille!

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    • Much like you, Roz, I do wish I could have spent more time in Bologna. I’ve been there twice now, both stays quite short, and feel there’s so much more to experience, particularly on the food front. I’ll never forget the lobster ravioli that I enjoyed during my last visit. It wasn’t until I was preparing this post that I realized that all of the photos have blue skies. How did that happen? We three were soaked by the time we got to the Piazza San Marco and that was after having taken shelter twice along the way. Corinaldo is a quaint little village although 3 days was a bit much for a visit by myself.I wanted to see it, though, since I remember Grandpa talking about it so frequently when I was a boy. In fact, the train to Ancona took me through a number of villages that are part of the Bartolini family folklore. It was quite a trip, on so many levels.
      I do wish to clear something up, though, Roz. Fiumicino is but a distant suburb of Rome. If you’ve flown into, or out of, Rome, you’ve been to Fiumicino because it’s where the international airport (Leonardo da Vinci) is located. I arrived there at dusk and left at dawn the next morning. I know little else about it other than I had a wonderful meal there on the last night of my holiday. I couldn’t ask for anything more from that place. 🙂

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  10. Oh John – it is hard to limit one’s words: what a great post! Like Francesca I applaud the individual sauce dishes for what I’ll now always call pinzimonio, but which I seem to have served always!! Double-dipping is hugely frowned upon here 🙂 !! A great summation of your time in Italy. Bologna: have just recently seen a fabulous Rick Stein episode from his most recent ‘Weekends away’ series on the city and I now know so much more of this oldest university in Europe: TS being an Oxford graduate himself, spent quite a bit of his hour talking about the uni and speaking with current students: why don’t any of you look up as an adjunct to John’s writing!!

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    • Thank you so much, Eha. Double dipping is a no-no here, too, but parents often look the other way when children are involved and the infraction takes place at home. Mom’s use of individual servings side-stepped the issue completely. That colorful graffiti mural in the Bologna photos above is adjacent to a piazza at the university. It is always filled with students and I walked through it a number of times as I went sight-seeing. Before I go back, I shall look up Rich Stein’s Bologna episode. First, though, I’ll have my legs checked and x-rayed. I’m not about to limp my way around that peninsula again! 🙂

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      • NO, am not ‘stalking’ you – checked on whether you were commenting on all our ‘bon mot’s awhile ago and seeing you busily composing thought I better come back and say ‘hello’ ere the Olympics I did not like turned into the Vuelta I know I shall 🙂 ! Just to say that methinks you brought back a very handsome smile from Italy to put onto your new avatar!! And, kind Sir, re your comment to Sandra re your ‘interminable’ flight back from SE Asia : if we thought thus we would not be able to leave our Antipodean paradise at all . . . and many do every few weeks! The flight is R&R time . . . .

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        • Oh, Eha. I would never think you’re stalking me. When I think of interminable return flights I remember my flight home from Bangkok. It took 8 hours to get to Tokyo, and then 13 to get to Minneapolis. After an hour wait, I boarded the last plane for the 60 minute flight home. WIth airport stays, that’s over a day to get home. I did get some sleep but it was hardly restful. I’ve thought traveling to Europe from Oz to be the same type of journey. I would do it, no doubt, but I wouldn’t be a pretty picture when I finally returned home. Pity the friend that would agree to pick me up at the airport. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Kathryn. The (not so) funny thing was that during my trip to Italy 2 years ago, my other food gave me problems. Next time, I’m not getting on that plane without a full x-ray to make sure everything’s all right. I would like to prove to my relatives over there that I really can walk without a limp. Honest! 🙂

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  11. Absolutely brilliant post John! Pinzimonio was also a Sunday ritual for us at home. Ours was Sunday evening after a big lunch but you just needed a few nibbles while watching TV…! Thanks for sharing the fantastic memories of your holiday and there were plenty of great photos despite the camera disaster. So glad your foot is on the mend, but take it easy….not too much Italian dancing 😀

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    • Oh, Tanya. I’m afraid I’ve had to give up the tarantella. It’s not such a sacrifice. I never did get the hang of it. I really do think our families are in some way related. There are so many similar experiences. As for the camera, every trip I’ve ever been on has its mishap(s). Once I got through that first day, all went extremely well — except for that dang limp. I’ve got a new camera now and the limp is gone. All’s right in the world 🙂

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    • Thanks, Mandy. I’m just lucky that I didn’t make things worse. All facts considered, it sounds worse than it was. I mean I was in Italy. I would have crawled to the restaurants if I had to. 🙂
      Enjoy your week!

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    • I’ve mentioned before, Roger, I envy you your fresh anchovies. This trip, I was served sardines a number of ways. What an unexpected delight! I may start experimenting with frozen sardines so that I’ll be ready when I finally find some fresh.

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  12. Individual dipping sounds great and I love more Balsamic and less oil and pepper! I have to say we just love dipping bread this way but with such great veggies it looks delicious! I love the pictures of your trip, especially as I have great memories of Venice and Rome. Your food dishes look very tempting. How lovely to have such great family traditions and nephews to kidnap too 🙂

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    • As children, we were so proud to have our own sauce, “just like Dad”. Of course, we didn’t realize till much later that it meant far less for Mom to clean-up after dinner. There simply was no spilt dressing as we tried to pass it to each other. Moms think of everything! Yes, it was a great trip and my nephew the perfect traveling companion. Hopefully, his sister will be able to join me next time. 🙂

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  13. I love this post/article, John! First, you took us to your Mom’s dining room, invited with pinzimonio, tomato antipasti, etc… then to your trip and times with family in Italy. Photos are great! Thank you!
    BTW, my husband and I decided to go to Rome. We will be in Rome for 3 days, before we take a cruise that will take us to Florance, Pisa, and there we will stops in Toulon, Barcelona, and Azores Islands, before we sail to Ft Lauderdale. I cannot wait to have 3 days of Italian food and music!

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    • Thank you, Fae, for your knd words. Your itinerary for the upcoming trip sounds wonderful! I’ve been to Florence and Barcelona but your other stops are all new to me. I’m so glad that you were able to arrange for a stay in Rome. There is no place quite like it on earth and you’re going to be so thankful that you made the arrangements. I cannot wait to read all about your travels when you return. 🙂

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  14. How have I never made pinzimonio before? This is amazing in it’s simplicity and flavour. The best stuff usually is. I would be heartbroken if I broke my camera. I almost did on our honeymoon to Italy. Thankfully we made it work again. Thank you for sharing your stories of your travels. 🙂

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    • You are very welcome. Believe me. I tried everything to get that camera to work again, following every “helpful” guide that I found on Google. I was not a happy camper when I had to give up but what else was there to be done? I wasn’t about to locate a repair shop over there and buying a camera while on vacation is not the brightest move to make. Luckily, our smartphones today are better than most point and shoot cameras of 5 years ago. I made do. After all if I had allowed myself to get too upset, I might have missed a meal. Perish the thought!

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  15. Such a fresh dish, and such wonderful story about your mother preparing each just the right dipping sauce. Heartwarming. 🙂

    So far I’ve only been in Rome, which I love, so your stories and photos from your trip definitely makes me want to go back to Italy and explore more. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Ronit, and yes, you really do have to go back to Italy. As much as I love Rome, there’s so much more to that peninsula than its capital city. The “real” Italy is in the small villages and towns that dot the countryside. I so enjoy my time spent there. 🙂

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  16. I have heard of pinzimonio, but never actually eaten it…which seems so ridiculous given how easy it is to make and how summer season veggies really only need something like this to enjoy them to their fullest and have fun while doing so! Speaking of fun, your trip looks amazing. I can’t decide what is more impressive…the scenery or the food. 🙂 And of course you will go back…many times, I think. 😉

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    • Thanks, betsy, and you’re right. pinzimonio is ridiculously easy to prepare and yet it’s the perfect way to showcase summer’s best. I’ve enjoyed it several times this season and have no intention of quitting until local veggies are no longer available. That will be a sad day at the produce market!

      The food is great, no doubt about it but I’d trade it all for the chance to spend more time with my family over there. They are all so very special. I do hope you’re right about my returning there “many times”. That is the stuff of which dreams are made. 🙂

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  17. You holiday looks awesome (except for the boot). Love the pictures and being taken through the cities/town. I don’t know much about Italy but I’m currently reading a book that takes place in Italy and know this post. I’m getting a real education. Thanks!

    Had no idea what pinzimonio was. I’m use to a raw food platter with a heavy Ranch dressing like dip. Love the idea of the olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper, and of course, having your own personalized dip would be a must here as well. 🙂 Enjoyed this post John!

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    • Thanks, MJ, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this post. You must go to Italy and, when you do, be sure to hit Calabria and Basillicata, the “toe” and “instep” respectively of the boot. There you’ll find the red peperoncini that the southern Italians love so much. You’ll love it! Since you’re in the neighborhood, go to the “heel” of the boot, Puglia, the home of burrata mozzarella. One taste and you’ll think you’ve gone to heaven. 🙂

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  18. Thanks for reminding me about pinzimonio- I have only had it once in an Italian restaurant more than 20 years ago! Now that fresh vegetables are abundant in the farmers market, this is a perfect way to begin any meal, and I love your mother’s use of individual ramekins so each person salt and pepper can be personalized.

    I also loved reading about your travels, and now want to add Corinaldo to my list of places to visit in Italy. Glad you had a wonderful trip, although was sorry to hear about your ankle and the fashion challenges of your boot! Hope it heals quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, David. Yes, this is definitely the time for pinzimonio and I’ve enjoyed it several times this season. It’s just so easy to prepare and ridiculously tasty! Corinaldo is such a quaint little town, far off the tourist track. It was a thrill for me to walk across the town, knowing that my grandparents had done the same 100 years before me. The real attraction is the rolling March countryside. It’s the Italy I envision when I think of the its rural areas. Driving around the countryside was a very special part of my holiday. If I go back, I fully intend to explore March far more. As for my ankle, all’s well, and I’ve the OK to go on with my life sans boot. I still cannot believe how much walking I did with a fracture. Truly unbelievable.

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  19. Excellent idea for everyone to have their own dip. Really, it makes the most sense, and allows for spice customization, as you pointed out.

    Sorry to hear that you had a fractured ankle and had to wear that giant boot, but hopefully all is mended now.

    As for the trip to Italy, Thank You for sharing your photos and experiences and (most of all) the food memories. I feel like I’ve had a mini virtual vacation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Individual dipping bowls was the only way to go, if Mom was going to keep her sanity. Imagine the problems that would erupt if we kids used a communal bowl of dressing. No, Mom once again knew best. 🙂
      I’m glad you enjoyed my holiday highlight, Ruth.. It was a wonderful trip, my ankle notwithstanding. It all worked out just fine. It’s better now and I’ve got one heckuva tale to tell. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. What a wonderful thing to have pinzimonio for dinner. So simple, so delicious, so healthy.
    I really loved your photos in Italy! I fell the first weekend of my month long stay in Mexico in March, with my camera crashing down with me; luckily it survived (me too). I’m glad you’re going back to Italy again!

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    • Pinzimonio is what I like most about traditional Italian cooking, Angeline. It’s best when it’s at its most simple form ith the freshest of ingredients. I enjoy it every summer.
      That was pretty much what happened to me on Day One. I fell, kicked the table upon which the camera sat, and watched it sail for a couple feet. All this in a crowded cafe in Bologna’s main piazza. Well, if one is going to go down, might as well do it before the largest audience possible. Mission accomplished!

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    • Thanks, Conor. Have been to Paris a few times but never anywhere else in France. I’ve heard nothing but good about the south and am sure you had a wonderful time. Bet you brought some delicious ideas for the blog, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Wonderful post John! Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures. Next week I’ll be in Italy for a wedding (although it’s in Como) and I’m really looking forward to great sceneries like you’ve shared… and the pinzimonio? Yum, I hope to get my hands on fresh produce served with the simplicity of such dipping sauce.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so far behind replying to everyone that you’ve probably returned by now. I truly hope that you had a wonderful time. I’ve not been north of Bologna and hope to visit Cinque Terra if and when I go back. Maybe I can make a little side trip to Lake Como, too. I cannot wait to hear of your time there.

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  22. What an awesome post, thank you, John for sharing with us. Years ago, we were having a party and my girl Stacey was predisposed so she recommended a friend to help (I like to have help so I, too, can enjoy our parties). I decided to interview her and when I listed the foods we would have, she said, “no one goes to a party for crudités!” That should have been a warning! She was a real disappointment! I adore a pinzimonio, makes you feel like your not being all bad at a party! Particularly if they are garden fresh veggies!
    Your pics are beautiful, as is your family; it always amazes me that no matter whether you are close or distant family, the Europeans simply adore you. Such kind and generous hearts. I can just imagine how sneaky you must have been to board that second train, such fun!
    It is wonderful that you were able to reacquaint yourself with your nephew, you gave him such an incredible experience (congratulations on his graduation!) The continuation of your trip looks incredible, you always find the best places. We’re heading to Spain in the fall, hoping to have better weather than our last time in Europe, I can certainly empathize with the weather you had in Venice. Sorry to hear about your ankle, glad you’re back to ‘normal’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Eva. Your comment about not being “all bad at a party” has a ring of truth to it. Dad struggled with his weight and Mom’s serving pinzimonio at the start of our family meals was a help to him. (He did lose the weight, too.) I serve it t myself now principally because I prefer oil and vinegar to dress my salad. WIth locally grown fresh vegetables in abundance, this si the way to go, for me.
      Yes, getting to know him as a man was a highlight of the holiday. Better still, while we were in San Marino, he interviewed for a position over the phone. They made him an offer while we were in Rome, an offer he accepted. i couldn’t be more happy for him nor more proud.
      As for the ankle, I’ve heard of others walking around with fractures and always wondered how that could happen. Well, I’m no longer wondering. I’m just lucky I didn’t make things worse. Very lucky.

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  23. Your summer veg and dip look delicious. I love all the fresh veggies of summer. We also give the kids individual dipping bowls, whether it be olive oil and balsamic fir bread or hummus or whatever. They love it! Your trip looks fantastic as always. Funny you mentioned renting a car in Ancona. Hubby and I spent time there when we lived in Germany. I tagged along on a couple business trips he had there, loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gretchen. You Moms know what’s best, every time without fail. Individual bowls rock and, as kids, we felt so grown-up, eating our veggies just like Dad. I really wish I had spent more time in Ancona and the surrounding area. The Adriatic shore is beautiful and I can only imagine the seafood available in the shops and restaurants. I guess I’ll have to go back there to see if my hunch is correct. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  24. What a lovely post! I love that each of the kids got his/her own dipping bowls! By the way, lovely to see you face on your blog finally!!! I love when blogs are more personal. And do go to Cinque Terra. Gorgeous, and basil country! I have seen more of northern Italy than southern, and I prefer to visit the villages than the cities. I’d love to see Sicily, where my father was born one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mimi. It was time to update my gravatar and a recent ballgame selfie came in handy.
      I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll go to Cinque Terra if you’ll go to Sicily. I’ve been there and it is wonderful. And the food! Oh my! There are no losers in this deal. Truly a win-win if ever there was one. So, deal?

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  25. John, so lovely to come across this post today from you and to immerse myself for a little while in your spring travels through Italy and to learn about Pinzimonio – fresh, simple and nourishing… for the heart as well as the body it seems! The memories and story behind this dish, as always are captivating. M

    Liked by 1 person

    • So good to hear from you, Margot, and I’m pleased that you enjoyed this post. Everything about it deals with family, either memories of Mom serving us dinner, or my Sammarinese family spoiling my nephew and me. It was a joy to write. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. What a lovely trip, John! Sounds like you both had a wonderful time. Of course, anytime there’s good food, there’s a good time.
    As much as family can be overwhelming some times, they can also be absolutely wonderful and you realise their importance.
    I’m glad you got to visit them and also take a trip to your grandparents’ home town. That must’ve been exciting.
    Oh, and your tray of vegetables looks great! What a wonderful idea, I think I will have to start doing that…I hate making salads…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Nazneen! Great to see you here. Hope all is well with you and yours.
      This was such a wonderful holiday on so many levels. Seeing my family again was fantastic. They really did go all out for us, helping me to ensure my nephew had a vacation he won’t soon forget. Heck! I won’t forget it either … nor the food! We sure did eat well. Then again, I think it’s against the law not to eat well while on Italian soil. Who am I to argue? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. What a lovely post, John! And what gorgeous photos of places you’ve visited! Great fun, great memories. I can’t blame you if you want to go back. I would too. It’s just beautiful. And, the pinzimonio looks refreshing and delicious. I always put my dressing to the side whenever I eat salad. I can save calories by not consuming all the dressing. What a way to eat veggies, especially summer time when vegetables of all kinds are abundant and widely available! I’m glad that your left ankle is all better now. Enjoy the rest of summer, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Anna. I think you’d really enjoy Italy an feel you must get there one day. The food alone is worth the trip. It got me to go back there a number of times. Now that I’ve reconnected with my family over there, I’ve even more impetus to go back. And I will!!!!
      Hope your summer ends well, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I somehow missed this post, although I’ve checked from time to time! I was really hoping that at some point you’d share about your wonderful trip to Italy, and you did not disappoint. I’m sure I would have been frustrated to be separated from my camera, but it also provided the possibility to simply take in the beauty and experience the sights as fully present as possible. I love the photos you did share, though, and in particular the ones that introduce your happy family. It’s always so clear that your family is joyfully connected even across continents and I enjoyed hearing about them. I’m also sure they very sorry to say goodbye to you and your nephew! And thank you, too, for the suggestion as to how to serve fresh vegetables! I serve platters of fresh vegetables very often, but it never occurred to me to serve with the individual ramekins, and I think that would be a hit with my family! Have a wonderful new week, John, and enjoy the last bits of summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Debra. Never worry about missing one of my posts. THere’ll be another in mail in 2 weeks or so. 🙂
      I had intended to publish something about our trip, if for no other reason than to highlight my family over there. Still, this trip started off in the worst possible way and it took me some time to get things into perspective. I feel that I have now. In fact, I spent a good part of this afternoon posting pics on Facebook. Later this week, I’ll post food pics on my blog’s Facebook page. All in due time …
      Yes, my family in S. Marino is a special lot. They are so welcoming and go all out to make sure we have a good time. They spoiled my nephew and I loved to sit back and watch them cater to him. I was in his shoes when I visited 2 years ago. I know he’ll return. They make it impossible not to want to return. I fully expect them to visit us, too,within the year. Won’t that be fun!
      My brother wrote a comment in which he states that he’d been remembering Mom serving us raw veggies on Sundays. I’m sure my Sis has thought about her, too. It happens every year in mid-Summer. Pinzimonio was a staple and it would not have been Sunday dinner without that platter set before us. These memories never fail to bring a smile to my face.
      Hope you have a great week, Debra.

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    • I forgot … I hope that you and all you know are well outside of the fire areas. How awful! Every year, fire season seems to get worse. I hope they can contain the fires before any more lives are lost. Do take care.

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    • Hello, Norma. Are you familiar with Cooks Illustrated? They’ve reviewed spiralizers and the KA spiralizer isn’t the top-rated piece of equipment. They recommend a hand-cranked model that is about 1/3 the price of the KA attachment. I do like my attachment but if you do not own the attachment and are serious about purchasing one, You can take a look at the hand-cranked HERE. Good luck! 🙂

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  29. what a beautifully written post. I can’t believe you covered so much terrain with a war wound! And what a shame that your camera left you in your hour of need. Nonetheless, it looks and sounds like a fabulous Italian pilgrimage. I feel 10kg heavier just looking at all this marvellous food. I wish I had Italian relatives – I would be there in a heartbeat. And I love the simple way of eating the fresh produce – I might try that individual ramekins here. A certain Miss8 is fond of a double deep…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I don’t know how I did it either! Truth be told, there were several nights near the holiday’s end, where I wore my slippers but I just thought that I had sore feet. We did walk ALL over. Sore feet aside, it did have its benefits. With all of that eating — I’ll be posting some photos later this week on my Facebook page — I didn’t gain so much as an ounce. Without the bad ankle, I may have actually lost weight! I should go back and test my hypothesis. That’s as good a reason as any to return. 🙂

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  30. It looks like your holiday was amazing John. Seeing those pictures of the people made me smile – everyone looks so happy in them. Because you had such a good time, I am sure you will fulfil your desire to go to San Marino again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Colline! Yes, it was a wonderful holiday. I so enjoy spending time with that side of my family and it was very special watching my nephew get to know them all. And, of course, the food is beyond words. I’m sure that I’ll be going back in a couple of years and I’m equally sure that a few of my relatives will be coming here. Won’t that be fun? 🙂

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  31. You are so cute! So maybe this is how relish trays in the Midwest got started? Always liked those but I sure prefer oil and vinegar over Ranch! And everyone having their own bowl makes it quite festive, does it not? Love it and your trip…drooling. It is always so fun to have trips where there is family. Best part about being part of one…imo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw … Gee thanks, Abbe. I’ve no idea if pinzimonio led to relish trays or not. I only know that it was a regular part of our Sunday suppers for much of summer and into fall. Giving us our own ramekins cut down on the bickering at the table among us kids, that’s for sure and I think we ate more veggies because we had a dipping sauce just like Dad. 🙂
      Speaking of trips, you’re going to have a great one soon enough. Good for you!

      Like

  32. What a fantastic trip! Having lived in Italy for many years, I’ve been to all those places except for Corinaldo, which from the pictures looks incredible. To be honest, I never did make it to the Le Marche region, maybe because my landlord lived there… lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Frank, and thank you. I really do wish I had more time to spend in Le Marche. The countryside is what I think of when Italian farm country is mentioned. I’m familiar with the food and thoroughly enjoyed everything ate. Best of all, I didn’t see a single tourist anywhere. Having just left Rome, this was a blessing! I know that I’ll be going back to visit my family in San Marino. Maybe I’ll be able to spend more time in Marche, too. I sure hope so!.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: Olio Santo – The Spicy Peperoncini Oil of Italy | from the Bartolini kitchens

  34. questo tuo post è così ricco e così bello che l’ho centellinato a poco a poco come un bicchiere di ottimo vino ( naturalmente Chianti toscano he he )
    Le bellezze storico-artistiche-paesaggistiche della nostra penisola sono compendiate nella sua civiltà gastronomica, che regione per regione, paesino per paesino trova strabilianti peculiarità e ricette, spesso tratte da alimenti poveri arricchiti dalla fantasia e dalla creatività popolare. Non ho parole sufficienti per ringraziarti e congratularmi con te per la diffusione che fai di tutto questo, ma sopratutto per il grande amore che ci metti dentro come ad insaporire e rendere più prelibata ogni tua ricetta!
    grazie, grazie grazieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    Annalisa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comments are always os thoughtful and kind, Annalisa, and I very much appreciate them. I really enjoy sharing these recipes because it gives me an opportunity to remember the good times we all shared when we lived together, as well as my travels in Italy.
      Thank you so much for your kind words and support.

      Liked by 1 person

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