Virginia Simoni: Love at First Taste
Virginia Simoni is a very curious food blogger, always seeking out the latest restaurant that has opened to discover the trends related to good cuisine.
After graduating in communication she lived for a few months in New York and then in Hong Kong working at an international art gallery. In these new countries she experienced for the first time cuisines from all over the world: it’s love at first taste! Then in 2012 she decided to launch her own food blog to share her passion for food, thus creating a sort of mini guide to good cuisine. She decided to call it Ragoût Food, because ragout (or ragù) is one of her favourite dishes, and because in French the verb ‘ragoûter’ means to savour, to awaken the appetite. Having worked in the world of fashion, her life nowadays is entirely devoted to her blog and to the editorial content of online cooking magazines such as salepepe.it. She also collaborates with grazia.it for whom she writes about hotels and restaurants.
‘Each region in italy has ist own local specialities.’ Virginia Simoni is happy to help and give us a brief course in Italian cooking.
Shopping at the market
When shopping at the market, it is always better to buy fruit and vegetables that are in season to ensure their freshness and quality. Always look at the price per kg of goods displayed and above all always ask about the origin of products. The closer they are to home the fresher they will be.
At the market also identify which are the most popular stalls (especially with the elderly) as these will undoubtedly have the most affordable prices…well, that’s how it works in Italy!
You can’t expect a good plate of ragout (or ragù) lasagne everywhere in Italy. The reason for this is because it is a traditional dish of Emilia Romagna and in Italy each region has its own specialty, due to the ingredients available in the particular area. As such, don’t ask for a risotto in Tuscany or a Florentine steak in Milan! Always ask which are the local dishes before ordering in a restaurant.
Rules for a truly Italian dish
Then there are rules which are unwritten but which are essential for Italians to recognise if a dish is authentic. For example: pasta must always be ‘al dente’, chicken must only be used for second courses, never with pasta, pizza or risotto. Pasta and risotto are not vegetable, meat or fish side dishes but must be served already cooked and flavoured. Remember that in Italy cappuccino must only be drunk at breakfast, never during or after a meal. Instead ask for an espresso after lunch and you’ll be sure to make a good impression!