homesubscribe to newsletterpinterestfacebooktwitterrssinstagram
Parisian livingrestaurant reviewstravelartseventsshoppingour Paris apartmentsfood
link to HiP blog home page
link to HiP blog home page
search
Paris apartments
About HiP
contactcontact
vacation rentals
special offers
ParisLondon
ProvenceTuscany
Paris vacation rentals
pinterestfacebooktwitterrssinstagram

The Big Mamma Group’s Newest (and Biggest) Venture La Felicità

HiP Paris Blog covers the opening of the Big Mamma Group's La Felicita

The Big Mamma Group has done it again. And how their latest venture, La Felicità – their 7th, newest, and biggest restaurant in Paris – can be trumped is anyone’s guess. La Felicità (which means happiness in Italian) comes in at 4500m(including 1000m2 of terrace) with 1000 seats, also claiming the title as the biggest restaurant in Europe.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | No Comments »

Bryan’s Italian Love Affair With Napoli

Paris might be our one true love, but there is always room for summer flings. As the season of summer getaways winds down and our very own Erica Berman soaks up the pasta and capuccino in Genoa, Bryan Pirolli tells us about his (short-lived) love affair with another irresistible Italian city: Napoli. – Geneviève

Shades of Italian architecture

I did a very bad thing.  I left Paris to spend some time in Naples.  There are some jealousy issues there.

Since I moved to Paris, I have never spent as much time in another European city as I have in this Italian port town. After just a week of feeling and acting like a local, I knew I was in love with Neapolitan culture. People actually stop you in the street to help you, to recommend which souvenirs to buy, or which beach to visit. Literally, pull up a chair and join the street sitters – it is Mediterranean culture at its best.

Everyday life – Italy

On my last day, I feared returning home to my first love.  The piazzas, the sun that turns your skin a leisurely brown, the gesticulating yet welcoming Italians – how could I leave this? Paris all of a sudden seemed lacking in so many Italian essentials – and not just the perfectly ricotta-filled cannoli. What’s worse, I knew Paris would be able to smell my new Italian love affair all over my clothes.

A Genovese stoop

Thankfully, as I started walking through the City of Lights again after my week of Italian bliss, the familiarity of it all made me feel at home. All of the things I usually take for granted stood out a little more –the things that, as a visitor, I didn’t have with my Italian fling. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 7 Comments »

Italian Food Tastes Better in Italy: How to Cook Like an Italian Mamma

Steve Brenner and his wife Linda Martinez moved to Rome with the dream of opening an eco-friendly hotel and indulging in delicious Italian food. Here, Steve shares his tips for getting our attempts at Italian cuisine to taste a little more like what comes out of an Italian mamma’s kitchen…-Geneviève

Pasta Carbonara (no cream!) and garlic: two Italian staples (Ghirson; Sivandsivand)

Everyone agrees – Italian food tastes better in Italy. Part of this is due to the superiority of the ingredients when bought locally.  When you buy mozzarella in Naples or Gaeta olives in Gaeta or pecorino in Pienza, you are partaking in an experience that will not be the same even just an hour or two away.  In Australia or the US, or any other really big country where things are produced to last long distribution distances, even people who live near the source are eating something made to withstand days of transport.  A tomato in California or an orange in Florida tastes the same as they would in Montana.

Spaghetti Vongole; A typical Italian doorway (Erica Berman)

Yet there’s another reason Italian food tastes better in Italy  – it’s the cooking techniques that are not easy to adopt elsewhere. It’s not about precision and elaboration.  Instead, it’s about knowing what to leave out and how to combine a few simple, but seriously tasty, things for maximum flavor.

If you read non-Italian language cookbooks in an attempt to find these secrets, look out – you are being deceived.  Perhaps it’s a conspiracy by Italian grandmothers to keep the uniqueness of the Italian kitchen from being too accurately reproduced outside the boot, but the truth is (and I may be at risk with the food police for spilling this information) Italian recipes are not reproduced faithfully by English speaking writers.  Italians would almost never use 1 whole onion in a pasta sauce (and Italian onions are about 1/4 the size of an American one).  Two tablespoons of oil?  Ha!  I guffaw when I see a recipe that asks for 2 tablespoons of oil.   I go through about a liter of oil a week.

Orecchiete con Broccoli and Parmiggiano (Sarah Maternini; [email protected])

An example of this can be found in a quick search for the Pugliese dish – orecchiette with broccoli.  A Google search of “orecchiette with broccoli recipe”  in English and a search of “ricetta orecchiette con broccoli” in Italian turn up two very different recipes – the English one calls for 2 tablespoons of oil and 4 cloves of garlic, while the Italian recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of oil and one glove of garlic.

I learned to cook in my early 20’s because I was living in Italy with no money. If I wanted to eat cheaply, I was going to have to fend for myself.  So I asked lots of questions and kept my eyes open and found that Italian cooks are very willing to share their “secrets”, because there aren’t many actual secrets. They make things the way they’ve always made them, true to tradition with subtle varieties based on location and availability.  When Italians ask their Mamma, who learned to make orecchiette from her Mamma, how much garlic or oil needed to make the dish, she would say, “poco e tanto”.  If I asked my mother, she’d email me the recipe. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 14 Comments »