This is about grief. This is not an homage – not, at least, in the way of clever references to back catalogues and B-sides, or to gender and fashion influences or greatest hits lists.

This about the glaring space left when something you cherish, something that has sung its way into your bones leaves you forever. This is about the awkwardness of mourning someone you’ve never met. That this somehow makes you an intellectual weakling; a self-indulgent fool…

These words are because I don’t know how else to fill the silence, because today there can only be silence. Continue reading

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The Great Italian cake-off

Can’t wait until British Bake-off? Then warm up with my top three Italian sweet treats… and find out where in Italy to eat them.

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  1. Tiramisù: the ultimate pick me up pud’

A Holy Trinity of ingredients go into tiramisù whose name derives from the Italian words “tira” (pull/lift) “mi” (me) su (up): Savoiardi biscuits, espresso and mascarpone. And for the original recipe, make for the pretty, canal-lined city of Treviso where this dessert is said to have been born, at the hands of a pregnant woman in need of an energy boost; now served at Le Beccherie restaurant.

Where: lebeccherie.it

  1. Torta alle nocciole: a real nutcase

A classic bake from the north, torta alle nocciole is packed full of top-notch hazelnuts from the hilly Langhe region of Piemonte, and a cream of premium gianduja chocolates creating a soft cake with an almost mousse-like texture. And for a recipe that has an extra crunch, with an almost biscuit-like finish, visit Stratta, one of the jewel-like 19th century pasticceria that line Turin’s Parisian-style boulevards.

Where: stratta1836.it

  1. Panettone: The Queen of Bakes

This distinctive cupola-shaped cake may look regal but has modest origins, a way for families to sweeten-up dough with candied fruits. Made popular in 20th century Milan, still today each December Milanese newspapers publish top tens featuring the best spots to buy the panettone that will crown the Christmas table. My pick? A tough one but it’s probably Pasticceria Marchesi, a sugary landmark since 1824, lately acquired by Prada.

Where: pasticceriamarchesi.it

For more recipes that define Italian regions, and the stories behind the people who make them, get new food/travel book From The Source: shop.lonelyplanet.com/italy/from-the-source-italy-1/#ixzz3dUnawKh2

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