The yurt is a portable round tent used by the nomads of the Central Asian steppes, nowadays notably in Mongolia where it is called a ger. It consists of an assembly of wooden or bamboo structures with elaborately carved and painted doors, which are covered with felt or skin, leaving a round opening in the... Continue Reading →
A medieval dinner featuring Apulian ingredients: A meat and mushroom pie, crepes with chicken cooked in spiced wine with apples, vegetables, fire roasted onions with verjuice and olive oil, cheese, pears poached in red wine, and bread baked from home grown wheat. Not to forget the wine, of course.
Already in ancient Rome a kind of Halloween - Mundus Patet - was celebrated. Three times a year, end of August, beginning of October and beginning of November, the festival of the dead took place. The name Mundus Patet can be translated as "the earth is open", meaning that the the boundaries between the world of... Continue Reading →
Who actually made the first wine? And where? Several Middle Eastern and Caucasus countries have been competing for the oldest traces of winemaking, even China is among the top five. But let's start from the beginning: Answering the question of the cradle of winemaking depends on how you define wine. A 9,000 year old residue... Continue Reading →
The domes of many trulli are painted with different symbols of mostly apotropaic (= defense against evil) nature. Some of these symbols go back to antiquity but most used today are of Christian religious nature. According to Notarnicola (G. Notarnicola, I Trulli di Alberobello dalla Preistoria al Presente, Roma 1940.), the symbols can be divided... Continue Reading →
The origin of the trullo is unclear. It is often claimed that the shape of the trullo goes back to a 17th century tax evading scheme by the Counts of Acquaviva, ruling the County of Conversano – which included Alberobello – since 1481. According to this narrative, drystone architecture was imposed upon settlers so that... Continue Reading →
Last year, my husband and I published an article about the history of Islam in Southern Italy in the Italian edition of the National Geographic Magazine, which was published unter the title Quando Eravamo Arabi ("When we were Arabs"). Below is the English original text. Doing research for this article inspired me to write the... Continue Reading →
Verjuice (French „verjus“, Italian „agresto“, Persian „ab-ghureh“) is the juice of green, unripe grapes, hence its name „vert jus“ = green juice. It is acidic and astringent and is a perfect substitute for vinegar and lemon juice. Actually, I totally prefer it to vinegar. We even make ceviche with it, instead of lemon juice. Verjuice... Continue Reading →
As an archaeologist and food historian, I offer workshops about historic cuisine, featuring the history of Mediterranean and European cuisines. Ancient recipes surprise with their - for us - unusual combination of tastes and aromas, blending the salty, the sweet, the sour and the spicy into astounding combinations.