From Libellula's Kitchen & Land

Julia Franchi Scarselli
The 2023 Harvest - Update from the Land - Libellula

The 2023 Harvest - Update from the Land

We all thought that the 2023 would also be a harvest of plenty. April started out fantastic; farmers all across Italy were delighted to see their groves full of olive flowers. But then the weather turned very strange. Rainstorms came every single morning, and the afternoon weather switched to unusually hot temperatures. Now this would be fine weather for a few days, but not for a full month. The hot sun in the afternoon combined with the damp rain of the morning began burning off our olive flowers. By the end of spring, more than half of our flowers were...

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The Milanese Worker’s Panino - Libellula

The Milanese Worker’s Panino

Life in Milan in the 1960s was booming. With World War II firmly behind them, a flood of farm workers were making their way to Milan, trying to make their fortunes in the big city!And what did all of these bright, eager young workers need?Food!Something quick, filling, and delicious (we’re talking about Italians after all!).A young, enterprising sandwich maker figured that if he came up with a solution, he could boost his business while filling the bellies of the city’s energetic new residents.After a bit of trial and error, he presented the panino to his customers!With lines soon stretching out...

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Olive Oil Brownies - Libellula

Olive Oil Brownies

In the early 1700s, Venetians fell in love with hot chocolate.Cafe tables lining the canals of Venice were dotted with beautiful little glasses of the velvety, rich drink.And the flavor combinations were spectacular!Some cafes specialized in citrus hot chocolate, while others swore by their addition of chili peppers and cloves..Even the Italian court’s botanist, Francesco, created his own unique recipe for jasmine hot chocolate that was so popular and so delicious that he kept the recipe a secret until his deathbed.And it’s not surprising how popular hot chocolate was, because this was the only type of chocolate they had ever...

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The Artichoke King - Libellula

The Artichoke King

In the early hours of December 21, 1935, New York City’s mayor strolled into the bronx market followed by a dozen policemen.Hopping up onto the back of a cabbage truck, mayor LaGuardia turned and addressed the assembled farmers and street vendors.Starting in one week, the mayor announced, New York City will be instituting a total ban on the sale, display, or possession of a “a serious & threatening” commodity.This substance, which had been funding a vast underground mafia network, was the humble artichoke.You see, two decades earlier, a couple of Italian farmers out in California had started growing a crop...

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