What amazed us was the quality of the products we could purchase at the local farmers' market. Not that we can not purchase high-quality produces in the US but there, it seems that any stand at the daily farmers' market has the freshest produces to sell! Directly shipped from Southern Italy! And at half the price you could purchase them in Philadelphia! Talk about quality of life!
The other thing we realized is that there is hardly any food marketing targeted at children : there might be a box or two of American brand cereals with American cartoon caracters (or rather soccer players considering the upcoming World Cup in South Africa) but nothing in comparison with what you can have in the US, or France even. Italian children don't decide what they want to eat : parents do! Or so it seems!
There is one big exception to this observation though! And that's Nutella! In the center of Florence, you have windows where huge (I am talking 5 kilos) jars of Nutella are displayed, indicating that you can have whatever you want ( a crêpe, a gelato) with Nutella in it! My husband was in heaven, even though the jars were for commercial use only (i.e., we could not bring one home, which was better for everybody's waist line (yeah,yeah, French and Italian might have a great diet but we do put on weight while we vacation there!))
Because we do eat quite a bit of Nutella at home (out of the small jars, on bread, on crêpes or in cupcakes) and because I am trying to limit the purchase of industrialized cookies (read : no more butter and sugar but vegetable oils and high fructose corn syrup), I decided to make Nutella Biscotti a few weeks ago. I love biscotti but I refuse to pay $$$ for cookies I can actually make myself. It might take you a few batches to perfect your recipe but it's really worth it! This particular one with Nutella is delicious : not too sweet but yet full of Nutella flavor! Biscotti and Nutella at the same time! Who would complain? Not my children! Bon Appétit!
- 100 gr (3.5oz) flour
- 100 gr (3.50z ) hazelnut flour (see note)
- 50gr ( 1.75 oz) light brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 60 gr (2.1oz) Nutella
- 2 eggs
- 60 gr (2.1) hazelnuts chopped
My Personal Comments:
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (175C)
- In a large bowl, mix in flour, hazelnut flour, sugar and salt together
- Add Nutella and stir
- Add one egg and stir well
- Add hazelnuts and last egg. Stirr well.
- Divide the dough in two and dump them onto parchment paper
- Work first half into a log about 20 cm (8") long, 5 cm (2") large and 2cm (4/5") thick; then second one.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes
- Take the logs out and place them onto a cutting board
- With a bread knife, cut the logs into 1.5cm (2/3") thick slices (in diagonal)
- Spread the slices onto the parchment paper again
- Bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown
- Cool on a rack before eating. They will harden a little bit while they cool.
- To make hazelnut flour, I just grind whole hazelnuts
- The biscotti are not very sweet, which I tend to like that way.