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Matthew Fort: Venice's Arabian Wine

There must have been times during the last few months when we’ve all wished we were somewhere else. Somehow Venice has kept popping up among the tides of my own nostalgia. I’ve visited that divine and improbable city several times, most notably ending an epic, 6-month exploration of the Italian islands there in October 2015. Memories were brought into sharp focus by a wonderful newsletter written by two good friends Lisa Hilton and Anna Gilchrist, both authorities on Venice and its many cultural and culinary delights. Together they run the Venetian Supper Club and write a bewitching and more easily accessible Newsletter about Venice’s life and times. I strongly recommend subscribing to it. There’s no more captivating magic carpet on...

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Matthew Fort: Understanding the Italian tradition of 'campanilismo'

One day I was wondering through the pretty but not very distinguished Calabrian town of Cittanova when I fell into conversation with a chap who turned to be a professor of political history at the university in Rome. What was he doing here? I asked. Cittanova was a long way from Rome. Ah, he said, he was a native of Cittanova. He was born here. Rome was an admirable city, he said, but it wasn’t Cittanova, and so he liked to return to see his family and to ‘refresh my roots’, as he put it. He needed to taste his mother’s food, he added. How often did he come back? I asked. As often as he could, he said; about...

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Matthew Fort: Caffé Con Anima

There I was, standing in the sun outside a café in Naples - it might have been Scaturchio, but I can’t be sure - when a young, white-jacketed waiter came and joined me and began vigorously beating a jug of cream with a spoon.

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Matthew Fort: For the Love of Coffee - Espresso Man

Ah, the intoxication of coffee first thing in the morning - the glossy beans, some dark as night, some the colour of milk chocolate; the rumble of the grinder; the perfume rising up to fill the kitchen, earthy, primal, infinitely seductive; the hiss of the superheated water; the sharp, intense, tantalising aroma; the cascade of black magic into the cup; and then - it’s worth getting up and facing the world for just that moment.

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