Here at Limoncello we like to think of ourselves as being a fusion of Italian and British culture. Perfectly reasonable for an Italian deli located in the heart of Cambridge. Mostly this takes the form of introducing magnificent Italian cuisine to British sensibilities, and then sitting back to enjoy the results of this unlikely combination.
But what happens when we have to deal with something that Britain is known for far better than Italy? Like a long cold winter…
Now to most of us, the Italy of our imagination is a place of warmth and sunshine, where concepts such as cold and rain simply do not exist. And there is a fair amount of truth to this. October in Rome is as pleasant as Cambridge in July. On a good day – English weather being as unpredictable as it is.
But Italy south of the Po valley is a very hilly country. And due to centuries of instability following the fall of the Roman Empire, there are a lot of old towns and cities in Italy which started out as secure hilltop forts. Safe places the people could retreat to when armies and marauders came through the countryside.
And we all know that the tops of hills are much colder places to live than the floor of lush valleys. So it is no wonder that, despite its overall Mediterranean climate, Italian towns and cities also had to deal with a lot of cold nights. And so we should not be surprised that Italian cuisine adapted to reflect this.
Italian Winter Warmers
Good food is central to the concept of Italy. Since long before the modern nation existed. And so naturally this also includes a serious number of good, hearty dishes. True winter warmers which warm the soul as much as they feed the body. And which are particularly well suited for transplantation to a cold, wet and windy island off the edge of the known world.
For example there is the world renowned Aubergine Parmigiana. Also know as Melanzane alla Parmigiana. This is a classic oven baked dish consisting primarily of tomatoes, aubergine, mozzarella and breadcrumbs topped with a molten layer of parmesan which binds the other flavours together into a rich tapestry of tastiness.
Then there is the ubiquitous Lasagne. A dish so well known that many Englishmen grew up with it as a staple. Only much later in life discovering to their shock that it was an Italian dish all along. For both of you out there who don’t know, this is a classic layered then baked Italian dish. Consisting of layers of pasta sauce, flat lasagne pasta sheets, ricotta cheese and a meat sauce, finally topped with mozzarella and parmesan.
Here at Limoncello we change our menus with the seasons. So drop in soon for a lovely winter warmer to brighten your day.