Beer Goggles

I didn’t drink beer; I never liked the stuff. I believe I used to refer to it as “liquid bread.”  It all tasted the same and had lacked the sophistication I required as a Wine Business Student in California’s most well known wine growing region. I had Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Sonoma Chardonnay on demand. I could drive ten minutes to meet the producers who were making it and see the vines where it came from. After my wine studies in Sonoma, I worked in the wine industry for a  year before coming to our beloved UNISG. My first thought before coming to Piedmont was how well placed both my universities were. Now, the varietals would change a bit, but I could just repeat the process of having amazing wine within my reach. The collection would just include more Barolo … Continued

…continua

Wine Tasting in the New World

About three quarters into the masters program, after having wine tasting, technology, and viticulture classes (which mostly focused on European wines, techniques, and practices), I went on a trip to the east coast of the USA. There I went for a long weekend to Long Island, NY. Instead of just admiring mansions of the rich and famous, we picked out a couple of small wineries to visit. Being European, and having been to wineries in Europe, I was surprised more than once at how differently things can be done. The first stop was at a place called Shinn Estate Farm and Vineyards, a small winery in the middle of harvesting and crushing the 2013 grapes. It was the first winery and inn on the east coast solely powered by alternative energy—solar and wind. The wine tasting itself was interesting too: … Continued

…continua

Raspberry, Blackberry, Huckleberry. Fin.

A sticky scarlet sauce oozed over the crystal cup of sweet cream that my waiter placed before me at Fiorio, a gilded café in downtown Torino. Blood-red sherry, its color all the more vibrant against the backdrop of pure white panna, matched the color of the velveteen walls of the café. This was my first time in Torino, my first time exploring a European city. I sat in front of the same window that lit up the notebooks of Mark Twain one hundred and forty years ago. My favorite piece by Twain is not Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Life on the Mississippi, but a simple list of American foods that he missed while he was traveling abroad: baked apples, with cream. Boston bacon and beans. Saratoga potatoes. Black bass from the Mississippi. The list features dozens and dozens of … Continued

…continua

Moments In Time … Filled With Food Stories

While studying at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, one gains many experiences, all worthy of being written about. It is hard to choose just one moment out of so many to share with an audience that is so diverse, and with many different experiences of their own. And I find it amusing that although my time is coming to an end in this amazing country, it seems to surprise me that I am still learning new things about the world, my classmates, and myself. Recently we had a class with a visiting professor from London who asked us to share a food story with the class. Everyone stood up in front of the class and shared a moment in time that mattered to them. Each story was moving in its own way, while some were funny and others … Continued

…continua

The Silent Omelette

Our class recently had a professor from Bristol who teaches on the topic of food education. Prof. Haughton’s class was all about what it takes to teach a group of people who don’t know anything about cooking. It had been a long day with continuous commotion, talking, and cooking. At the end, Prof. Haughton requested that we remain silent for the last bit of the cooking lesson. He made an omelette. I left the class thinking about what everyone took away from that particular bit. For me, it served as a profound moment. You see, life gets chaotic most of the time. As a 26 year old, wondering what life has next in store for her, I wonder, am I going to be a food revolutionist? Am I going to the less-developed countries to help with food security? Do I wish to get into the world … Continued

…continua

Looking out from the food bubble

Being a student at UNISG, one can easily forget that not all people spend as much time talking about food, preparing food and eating food as we do here.   During the Slow Food cheese festival, I had the pleasure of having my siblings visit. We had planned several activities during their visit, including a trip to the university and the Wine Bank, tastings at Cheese and nights out with my friends and colleagues from the university. I wanted to show them my life here in Bra with all the food and fun that it includes. We visited several producers at Cheese, tasted their products, enjoyed cannelloni, beers and delicious street food, all this combined with a lot of food talks. One night we went to a local bar to share some wine with friends and the conversations quickly centered … Continued

…continua

On Families and Food

This is it, my blog post is due and I have to write about something that occurred in the university, or some food experience related to the university. I cannot tell you how many times we are asked to write about our food experiences, and after eight months of being here, you have so many that it is hard to choose between them. I could write about the amazing travels we do as a class, I could tell about my personal ones or about our class meals, talks around a table, bread making, pasta making experiments, riding a bike to school— I feel I could write a book really— but I am not going to tell you about any of these. I’m going to talk about something much more important. (More important than food? Yes, although still very much related … Continued

…continua

FOOD SNOBERY

        The only thing I am sure about myself is that I still don’t know exactly what I truly am, and this constant doubt has given me a life-long journey through cooking. From there, I found that I have a strong karma in food, nature, and a happiness for life, and then realized that I do enjoy cooking and am happy when doing so for others. I have much appreciated all the invaluable experiences I have gone through in the name of food, and because of that, I have a desire to share everything that I’ve learned and that I have with other people. However there is always something missing inside.         I came here, to the University of Gastronomic Sciences, to do some self-reflection on the time I have spent in the past … Continued

…continua

Making Sense of the Senses

Only once in my life have I read a description of a taste experience that nearly made me cry, filled my mouth with saliva, and made me hungry. A few beautifully written sentences that brought me instantly back to my childhood.  The lines were by Mikael Niemi, an author from northern Sweden, in his book Mannen som dog som en lax (‘A man who died like a salmon,’ 2006). The main character describes the wonderful sensation and delicate taste of something so simple as boiling-hot new potatoes with butter melting on the top. With my sensory memory I naturally added some dill, onion and herring to make it a real treat – and was back home in northern Finland, nature bursting with light at the end of June, enjoying my humble dinner.   Taste – one of the senses – … Continued

…continua

A Graceful Revolution: Farming, Fishing, and Herding across Europe

Currently, I am in the middle of graduate school at the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) in Pollenzo, Italy. It is affiliated with the Slow Food movement and Carlo Petrini is the president of the UNISG Board. As a student in the Food Culture and Identity program, I study food in a social context. There is a strong emphasis on food systems at the university. Our program has a foundation in experiential learning. As we move through Europe and Italy on our study trips, our adventures take the form of an odyssey. Many Europeans are redefining their relationship to the land, sea, and kitchen table. They are involved in a graceful revolution. My interests are in the revolutions around the kitchen  table. The revolutions are instigated by small farmers and fishermen and their courage to leave the economy as it exists. … Continued

…continua