I spent the day on Friday visiting La Dolce Vita, a show with an aim of bringing a taste of Italian lifestyle to London. I had a great time meeting Italian producers and sampling a mouth-watering array of cured meats, cheeses, olive oil and other regional specialities.
The Italians really do know how to present their products, I think it’s down to them being so passionate, and so proud of what they do. A stall selling a variety goods, but mostly pasta, piled flour and filled it with fresh eggs to demonstrate the simplicity of the ingredients and encourage engagement too – the stand was certainly one of the busiest in the show.
A giant salami stole my attention, firstly by its size, and then by the colourful pieces of green pistachios and white fat that were studded through it. I had a sample of this monstrous 80KG Mortadella and combined with the romantic scene that was created in my mind by the charming Italian producer (a slice of this, some of that and a glass of red wine) and I was sold. Unfortunately, although tasty, I couldn’t help but liken it to Spam – which ruined the romance somewhat!
I could smell the truffles before I could see them, and although a bargain at just £5 for a small white truffle I still resisted – if I had the money I could have spent a fortune! The bowl below reminded me of the walnuts we used to collect from my Gran’s garden when I was little.
One stall specialised in Italian chilli products, like the novelty chilli sauce pictured below, chilli jams and N’duja. This was what really drew me in, I tried a little smeared on a piece of bread which was really hot but delicious. It is a Calabrian speciality and the variety here was made with organic Calabrian hand reared black pig meat, 30% peperoncino chilli and salt – it looks like a salami but is soft like a spreadable paste inside. The brand was Nero de Calabria, and Bread Tree sell it over here in the UK.
After the all the meat and chilli I needed some refreshment and was pleased to see that Oddono’s was there selling their ice creams and sorbet. I love pistachio ice cream but really needed something more fruity so decided on Alphonso Mango and Strawberry sorbet.
I didn’t get a chance to ask what this was, but loved the pig shaped meat product below!
I even managed a little celeb chef spotting and watched a demonstration from Theo Randall…
The day did leave me wanting to taste more of ‘La Dolce Vita’, so I think I may start researching holidays in Italy for next year! Please do let me know if you have any recommendations.