What’s not to love about those “petrol-powered centaurs”?
Nick Foulkes takes a ride in the Southern Alps
As much a part of the Italian cityscape as overpriced ice cream and historic architecture, the Vespa is one of the great visual (and aural) signs that you have arrived in Italy. Gathering in swarms like their namesake insect, these petrol-powered centaurs bring a new dimension to motoring south of the Alps. A few years ago I was on assignment for the Sunday Times, driving a Bentley down from Portofino to the Amalfi Coast. It is the kind of fearless reporting that I go in for and I needed to screw my courage to the sticking-place when confronting one of the great features of Italy’s minor roads: the Piaggio Ape.
‘The Ape is a Vespa over which someone has placed a large bread tin with a windscreen and door’
Continue reading “In Praise of the Vespa”
Phoenix kitchen from Varenna
In Mexico, taco culture is a way of life. A unifying factor and daily staple for people of all social and economic levels. Mexicans eat them so much and so often that the expression echarse un taco (to grab a taco) is synonymous with the very act of eating. Case in point: the average Mexican consumes 135 pounds of tortillas a year. If and when you find yourself in Mexico (and many regions of the USA), you’ll find taco stands of all description gracing practically every street corner, town square and roadside rabble. These are gathering places: young and old, rich or poor, day or night—it doesn’t matter. Because tacos, chico.
At its most basic level, a taco is some kind of cooked filling lovingly ensconced by a tortilla made of nixtamal (masa dough—another subject for another time). The variety of fillings is dizzying: tacos al pastor (marinated and roasted pork with chunks of charred pineapple), barbacoa (lamb, slow-roasted in a pit or oven), carnitas (pork leg and ribs, braised and later seared), tacos de pescado (beer battered and deep fried white fish) and carne asada (grilled beef) barely scratches the surface of what’s out there. And that doesn’t even begin to include the scope of taco’s cousins enchiladas, gorditas, huaraches, sopes, tostadas, chilaquiles, tamales, et al. Not to mention the innumerable regional varieties, specialties, tweaks and twists. What is an aspiring taco aficionado to do? You could truly spend a lifetime exploring this one simple dish. And what a lifetime it would be.
Continue reading “Inform Cooks | ¿Que Paso, Taco? by Drew Dunford”