Monthly Archives: December 2016

Coppiette Food

Every year, spread over the first ten days in May, the Festival of the Coppiette is held in the town of Marcellina, some thirty kilometres north east of Rome in the province of Lazio. Organized by the Committee of the Butteri (mountain herders), it mirrors simultaneous celebrations dedicated to the Madonna del Ginestre. However, the committee is concerned less with hunger of the soul and more with that of the stomach.

Coppiette are strips of meat that have been dried, cured with salt and pepper and then seasoned with fennel and pepperoncino (hot Italian chilli peppers). South East of Rome, in the province of Frosinone, the locals include garlic and white wine to make coppiette ciociare. This is simple fare and was part of the staple diet enjoyed in times past by both farmer and humble peasant. It has some close relatives. Coppiette would have been understood as jerky to the pioneers opening up the American West in the nineteenth century, and to the native Indians the settlers encountered. The Dutch voortrekkers (meaning literally fore-pullers) who made the great trek across South Africa to escape the British in the 1830’s and 1840’s, were sustained by something strikingly similar – they called it biltong.

It’s not hard to understand its appeal. These dried meats are rich in protein and residual fat. They also have high levels of salt added during the drying process to inhibit any bacterial activity. The tired and hydrated Lazian farmworker, after a day in the field, chewed on coppiette and was quickly revived by a concentrated shot of energy and nutrients. These ‘sticks’ of meat packed away to almost nothing in his pocket; they were also inherently stable because all the excess fat and moisture had been removed. Nestling in the dark recesses of a pack or pocket, they could last for days or even months.

Then and now, the raw material used to make the cured meat depends on the location. The cowboys and native Americans cut strips from beef and game species including buffalo, deer and moose. In South Africa biltong made from beef remains the most common variety available, but today the Afrikaaner also uses ostrich and game species including kudu, wildebeest and springbok. In the Lazio region of Italy, horse and donkey were the common options available. Today most coppiette are made from pork.

However, with their aversion to pork, the Jewish community makes its own version using beef. A good butcher might be able to sell you some coppiette using meat sourced from the prestigious Maremmana, a breed of cattle reared in Maremma, former marshland straddling southern Tuscany and northern Lazio. If you visit the small town of Genzano, residents might offer you their own rare speciality using meat from the donkey.

In times past, no part of the animal was wasted; today butchers, and those still making it in the home, concentrate on the sinewy muscle tissue surrounding the ham, shoulder or abdomen. Strips 10-15 centimetres long and 2 centimetres thick are cut from the carcass and seasoned in wooden vats, before being gently cooked for half an hour in a refractory brick oven fired by brushwood. Any excess water is drained off and the meat is baked for a further half hour before being left to dry for up to 48 hours in wire cages.

Coppiette, like their South African relative biltong, differ from jerky in this respect. While the latter is dried in the sun or over fires, biltong and the most traditional coppiette are air-dried in the cold months of winter. Lazio makes its speciality year-round and in other months it follows the jerky method and employs a special drying room. In both instances, the dried meat is tied together with string in pairs, or coppiette (meaning ‘little couples’) and matured for two months. After a final, very light smoking the finished product is bagged up or packaged in trays ready for sale in taverns, butchers’ and wine shops.

You Need To Know Not All Bee Pollen Is the Same

It is easy to make common mistakes when you buy bee pollen if you don’t know what to look for. When you have a quality product, it can help you with boosting the immune system. It can also be used for natural weight loss without harsh side effects. It helps with weight loss by reducing cravings for sugar.

Just because the product is sold at a health food store or advertised as being good for you isn’t enough. You need to read labels before you buy bee pollen and make comparisons. Take the time to learn about what should be in the product and what you need to avoid. There are too many poorly made products out there and you need to make sure you have something amazing.

Look at more than Price

You should look beyond just the price of the product to find out what a good item. The highest prices don’t always translate into the best products either. Of course, if you pay very little for it compared to the going rate of other products, you shouldn’t expect very much. You need the value to be there overall in regards to the pricing and the quality of the product.

Find out what other consumers are using and why they recommend it. This can give you some inside information you didn’t think about before. It can also share with you the results people are getting once they started using bee pollen on a regular basis. Such details can encourage you to buy a particular product and to begin using it in your daily routine to see your own results.

Pollutant Free

Before you buy bee pollen, find out where the hives are that the product is derived from. That will help you to determine if the product is pollutant free or not. Avoid buying any product that could contain heavy metals. They are the result of a process where factory chimneys are releasing those products into the area where the hives are located.

The metals, toxins, and pollutants can end up landing on items that bees will pollinate. This includes flowers, trees, and bushes. This is how it can cause problems when you buy bee pollen that has been affected by such negative environmental conditions. Make sure any farms where the hives are located aren’t using pesticides.

They can be a serious problem and increase the risk of various health problems for humans. This includes certain types of cancer. The last thing you want is to use a product for better health and then to discover down the road it was actually compromising your health from the start. Being a well-informed customer about what you buy does make a profound difference.

Provider Knowledge

You should only buy bee pollen from a provider you are very familiar with. Learn about the business and what they are passionate about. Find out about how they go the extra mile to assist their customers. Do they have a history of integrity with what they offer and how they deliver it? Do they strive to be an advocate for the environment and for your overall health?

Find out about the process they use for the products they distribute. They should be well informed about the hives, the environment, and other details of any products they wish to stand behind. You may pay a bit more to buy bee pollen free from pollutants but it is well worth the investment. It is a wise way for you to get results you can count on for your health!

About Coconut Yogurt

So Delicious Coconut Yogurt is a relatively new dairy-free yogurt alternative. It has several flavors, but today I am going to review the unsweetened variety.

Being someone who is both health conscious and intolerant to dairy, I have been searching for a healthy, dairy-free yogurt for a long time. I believe that So Delicious’ Coconut yogurt is a game-changer for the dairy-free yogurt market. I love how they have included an unsweetened variety because it is extremely hard to find products in the U.S. without added sugar. The flavored varieties, however, do contain sugar. I like to buy the unsweetened version and add my own sweetener and flavors to it. My favorite combination is the yogurt, vanilla and stevia.

The Good:

• No Sugar

• 50% of your daily calcium needs

• Organic

• Vegan, Gluten-free and Non-GMO

The not-so Good:

• Fairly new, the company is still perfecting and changing the recipe

• Lacks flavor, tastes a bit watery

• Not as creamy as yogurt

• Texture can be lumpy without stirring

This yogurt contains the following ingredients:

Organic Coconut milk, rice starch, calcium phosphate, pectin, dipotassium phosphate, locust bean gum, live cultures, vitamin D2 and Vitamin B12.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:

120 calories, 7g of Fat, 45mg of Sodium, 10g of Carbohydrates, 3g of Fiber, 50% Calcium, 45% Vitamin D, 2% Iron and 50% Vitamin B12.

I love that this yogurt alternative contains live cultures, similar to its dairy competitor. This yogurt also contain 50% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. It is also relatively low in calories and high in fiber.

I believe that this product is just the beginning for healthy, dairy-free yogurt alternatives. This yogurt is even better when you add fruit, cinnamon and other flavors to it. You can also use it as you would yogurt in recipes and smoothies. Over time I know that more companies will pick up the dairy-free trend and develop their own versions of dairy-free yogurt, much the same as the dairy-free milk industry has exploded in recent years. So Delicious’ creation has a lot of potential and with their continuous improvements it will only get better.

Overall, this is an excellent start for the market of dairy-free milk alternatives. Although there are also soy milk based options available, this coconut milk alternative is my favorite, because it has no sugar, is low in calories, contains the good fats and vitamins and minerals from the coconut milk.

Here A Brief Guide to Peruvian Cuisine

When my mother immigrated to the United States, she didn’t entirely leave her Peruvian heritage behind. Sure she learned the language and adjusted to the customs, but my sister and I were well aware growing up that there was a bit of Incan flare in our home: From unorthodox Christmas time traditions, to decorative plates of the Nazca lines in our dining room.

But if there are two things Peruvians (as well as any people of hispanic background) love, it’s music and food. Today we will be talking about the latter.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a recipe guide, but rather just a brief overview of some dishes I particularly enjoy.


At some point in your life or another, you’ve probably eaten a variety of different cow parts; brisket from the upper body, sirloin from the back, ribs from the… well, ribs. You get the idea. We like to use most parts of any animal we eat.

Yet if you were to tell someone in the states that you had eaten a cow’s Heart at some point in your life, they would probably raise an eyebrow or two in your direction… unless that person happens to be a Peruvian, in which case you’d be in good company.

Anticuchos are pretty straight forward: cuts of meat served on a stick like a kebab. What makes an anticucho an anticucho however is the specific piece of the cow used, which you might have already guessed is the heart.

While the idea of cooking an animals heart might seem grotesque to some, it is actually a very tender piece of meat, with a soft chewy texture and mild yet satisfying flavor (not counting the plethora of spices that would be applied, of course).


Perceptions of certain animals vary from country to country.

To Americans, Cockatoos seem like rare exotic birds, but to Australians they’re practically pigeons.

Cows are seen as mere livestock to Westerners, yet they are revered as holy beings in the streets of India.

And while someone in the states would think “Animal Companion” when they think of a guinea pig, a Peruvian would think “Dinner”

Much like how we use the word Chicken, Cui is a word used to describe both the guinea pig animal and the guinea pig’s meat. It’s a very common dish in Peru, and can be found served in a majority of restaurants across the country.

It’s a very gamey meat, comparable to rabbit, but unlike rabbit, Cui is traditionally served whole… yes, even the head. The head of the Guinea Pig is served still attached, gaping toothed maw spread open, as it is served on your plate. The rest of the animal’s body is served flattened with limbs extended.

Overall, it’s a hilariously grotesque display, but the average Peruvian citizen isn’t bothered by it. And hey, it’s some pretty good meat.

Tallarines Verdes

Green Noodles. The name Tallarines Verdes literally translates to green noodles. Green tends not to be a very appetizing color to a lot of people, and seeing a pile of green stringy stuff may not sound mouth-watering at first, but I assure you one taste is enough to make the sight of it plenty stimulating.

Pasta preparations tend to be the same anywhere you go in the world, but as they say, the secret is in the sauce, which just so happens to get its distinct green coloration from a mixture of basil and spinach. Other ingredients include condensed milk, pecans, and Queso Fresco, which literally translates to “Fresh Cheese”. While the naming conventions of this dish leave a little to be desired, the creamy, rich, yet not overpowering flavor are sure to satisfy, especially if served with some fried milanesa.

Chicha Morada

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives you oranges, you make orange juice. And when life gives you corn, you make Chicha. And if there’s one thing South America has in abundance, it’s corn.

Chicha is found in a variety of South American countries, with different variations based on the local maize available.

They’re all prepared by boiling corn in water and adding a sweetener (and in some cases alcohol, but not always) but there is one kind of chicha that is unique to only Peru: Chicha Morada

Chicha Morada has a sweet, nutty flavor, and generally served without alcohol. For those without any knowledge of Spanish, the name basically translates to “Purple Corn Drink” and yes, where most Chicha is a yellow color, Chicha Morada’s claim to fame is its distinct purple color, produced from boiling purple corn.

It’s widely considered one of THE signature beverages of Peru and has a history of consumption even predating the Incas of old.