Inspired to imagine

Italy was one of those dreams that keeps disappearing in the morning, leaving only longing and feeling of melancholy. It was planned many times, tickets bought then cancelled, trips planned and postponed, and then I was gone from that part of the world. It happened by accident, strained for a day in Milan on my way from Tunisia. Not bad to be strained in Milan out of all places, ah? I spent all my free hours on my feet, soaking as much as I could, strolling through the streets like Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, located near to the Piazza del Duomo city square, with the most famous designer brands from Prada and Gucci to Armani and Valentino. Tons of photos taken, blended into tons of other tourists doing the same. I sat to rest, drinking one of the most expensive double espressos I had ever had. Despite this blitz visit, Italy remained a country I want to dedicate my time to, from Florence to Sicily. One day, who knows…

I couldn’t imagine this day without baking something special. That was a way to dream longer. I searched for a treat I have never made before, and my attention kept returning to sfogliatelle. They seemed like one of those desserts that you can make only with love. Their origin, having been created in the monastery of Santa Rosa in Salerno, Italy, in the 17th century, reminded me of Portuguese Pastel de Nata which were also invented in the monastery in BelĂ©m. As it happens in life with serendipity, a week or so before my “Italian day”, I saw them made on one of the TV cooking shows, so I had the first row view. I made sfogliatelle over two days, enjoying every step of the way. I photo-documented the process, for those who are really curious.

Homemade crackers were the beginning of the dinner with Limoncello I bought at the Italian Cultural Centre. We moved to mushroom risotto with ossobuco and red wine, finishing with delicious sfogliatelle.