Pounding the pavement in Moscow can work up an appetite. I called up Artur, a friend of a friend, in town from St. Petersburg. He agreed to meet me at Old Arbat, Moscow’s most famous pedestrian street, once a cultural center of the city. Historically, the street was once home to Pushkin, the father of Russian literature, and dotted with cafes brimming with aristocrats and artists. I wanted to take a stroll, admire the sights and grab a great local lunch. I have to admit I was disappointed to find the street lined with aggressive souvenir vendors hawking cheap fur hats and made-in-China nesting dolls instead of the artists I had imagined. Here I was, looking for a “real” Russia somewhere between my disillusionment, a Starbucks and a Hard Rock Cafe. Read more
When the wheels of my plane touched down in Moscow, I was overcome by a sensation of wonder bordering on disbelief. I was actually here in Russia, a country forever topping my list of dream destinations. Like many others coming of age during the Cold War, my concept of Russia was based on myth, limited to Boris and Natasha, Baba Yaga, and “The Hunt for Red October.” My mother’s family is Ukrainian, so I was raised with black bread, pickled herring and borscht. My love for Eastern European cuisine only fed my fantasies of gilded towers, fur “ushanka” hats, lipstick pistols and candy-colored cathedrals. Read more
A Small Restaurant in Pienza Makes Suckling Pig a Religious Experience
Located in the stunning hills of Val d’Orcia, between Montepulciano and Montalcino, Pienza is a charming Renaissance village that produces some of the best pecorino cheese in the country. Pienza also serves up Southern Tuscany’s best crispy-skinned suckling pig at family-run trattoria, Latte di Luna. The restaurant specializes in regional country cuisine, from honey-soaked pecorino cheese to house-made pasta with hearty wild boar sauce. Specials are seasonal, like succulent wild rabbit or roast duck with black olives. And during truffle season? No culinary holds barred.
In one of the greatest moments (perhaps THE greatest moment) of my Foodie International life, I won a salami while playing a festival game I like to call: “wheel of prosciutto”.
Florence has become a city close to my heart (and stomach) after spending a year abroad there in the mid-90s. It’s one of world’s magical cities, brimming with Renaissance masterpieces and stunning architecture. This is a place where old and new come together, charm meets style, and nothing on earth can compare to a view of the Ponte Vecchio at sunset. Read more