Remembering Romagna, and a Giveaway

Salfiore di Cervia -- "The Pope's Salt"

It's been well over a year since the inaugural Punk Domestics trip to Emilia-Romagna, Italy, but a day doesn't pass that I don't reflect fondly on it. I remember each day, each activity as clearly as if it were yesterday: 

We are going back for a return trip this October -- and you should join us! This time around we're letting the pigs live another day, and instead we're foraging for porcini mushrooms, and visiting a charming hill town for their festival of white truffles. It promises to be delicious indeed. Don't just take my word for it -- see what our travelers had to say about the first trip.  

But I simply couldn't wait another six months to relive some of the tastes of Romagna, so I reached out to my friend and tour organizer, Vanessa, begging for formaggio di fossa and the curiously flavorful salfiore di Cervia. So when she and her husband Mauri appeared on our doorstep the other night for dinner, she brought me the goods: A sizeable hunk of that deliciously astringent cheese, and two bags of salfiore. 

I know it may seem odd to be so passionate about something as mundane as salt, but this is truly special stuff. So instead of hoarding both bags for myself (and don't think I didn't consider it), I'm going to share it with you. Yes, you! 

This stuff will set you back nearly fourteen bucks on Amazon, but I'm giving one bag away for free. Free, I tells ya! (But yes, I am keeping the other one. I'm not that generous.) Here's how you can win it: In the comments on this post, tell us about an amazing ingredient or dish you had while traveling that haunts you to this day. Doesn't have to be Italy; it could anywhere, even be the next town over. But it should be delicious.

And here's a way to get more chances to win: Click here to tweet about this post, or pin this post on Pinterest (make sure the above image gets pinned so we can find it). All comments, tweets and pins must be logged by midnight PDT, Friday, April 5 to qualify for entry. US and Canada residents only. (Sorry, but I do have to ship the thing.)

So what are you waiting for? Get to it! And then be sure to check out our itinerary for the trip in October. We'd love to have you join us!

Congratulations to commenter Peggy on winning the bag of salt!

Gourmet Dingdongs

Had the bestest most chocolatey Ding Dongs at Black Fish Cafe in Lincoln City Or..double stack with homemade whippd cream rasberry sauce and dark choco flakes on top..well worth the 2am choco hangover!!

On a college concert band

On a college concert band trip through Hungary and Romania, we had our bus break down in the middle of the afternoon, and were late to our hosting stop. We arrived at midnight, but the church ladies still had our dinner hot and waiting for us - beef and rice stuffed cabbage rolls under a sweet tomato sauce, crusty bread spread with sour cream, and pálinka (plum brandy to wash it down. SOOO good.

Blood sausage

I worked as a farmer for a year near Gien in central France. A couple of times a year we would kill a pig behind the house. All of the neighbours would come by, and within half an hour of the poor pig's death, we'd be standing around drinking beer, laughing, with blood on our pants, eating the most amazing fresh blood sausage. I knew those pigs well; I fed them every day. But it felt very honest, eating the food I had raised myself. And I have never had sausage so good.

Tulum, Mexico

A little over 2 years ago my husband and I went to Tulum, Mexico. We ate at a little hole in the wall place that I can't remember the name of. I had a great chicken quesadilla, but what has haunted me was the side of black beans. Such a simple thing, but there was some special ingredient that I can't quite put my finger on. I've made probably 150 batches of black beans since then and I've *almost* got it...but not quite.

Was it Mateo's?

We were there last year.

Preserved rhubarb

I had a cheese plate at an art museum cafe in Chicago that had the most amazing little bit of preserved rhubarb on the side. It was over 6 years ago and I still think about it to this day.

Last year during our trip to

Last year during our trip to Bologna I took my daughter to Tamburini, the ultimate authority in matters of tortellini and salumi in Bologna ;-) We had one of their "taglieri" that included cold cuts from Romagna and in the center there was a cup of Squacquerone topped with caramelized figs. It is tipical from Romagna and it was the perfect combination with the salumi and piadina. I think we have talked about that meal more than any other meal ever and I have already secured a good source of figs for next summer and found a tested recipe and will soon be producing caramelized figs!!! But, I could use some help with the Squacquerone ;-)

little hot dogs

I will be forever haunted by the little hot dogs served at Teo's and the Hot Dog Ranch of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Uova Al Pomodoro

I had rented a room on a farm on the island of Lipari (off the coast of Sicily). Each morning the family left me a basket of eggs. And one day - at 3am - they invited me to watch them make and jar their tomato sauce for the year. When it was all finished, we simmered fresh eggs in their tomato sauce, sprinkled it with sea salt and some fresh basil. It was unforgettable.

Maybe a bit pedestrian....but

Maybe a bit pedestrian....but my first Bahn Mi at a shop in downtown San Jose. It was an incredible combination of flavors and I haven't found one that good since. Best thing about it? It cost one dollar!

best bites

Twenty years ago, maybe? A little place in Portland, Maine, where I tried lobster ravioli for the first time--can't remember what I thought of it. But what I'll always remember is the starter salad, topped with warm, roasted vegetables and a light, citrus-infused olive oil and slivers of crisp potato with melty goat cheese.

Venician Tramezzino

It was the simplest of sandwiches. A little triangle of white bread and in between mayonnaise and roasted red peppers. I had just arrive and was starving. Still the best thing I have ever eaten (realizing that extreme hunger was involved, yes...but ever so memorable.)

Flash fried spinach & Catfish nuggets

On a trip to St Louis many years ago we were treated to a lovely dinner at a very fancy Italian restaurant where one of the appetizers was flash fried spinach. Melt in your mouth earthy goodness. On that same trip we had the most amazing catfish nuggets served with cold beer and hush puppies in a dive bar in a questionable part of town. Culinary magic.

squash blossoms

The first time I was in Rome I could not get enough of the pizza - and I had my first ever squash blossom pizza - heaven!

Api - Purple corn deliciousness

The hot, sweet, thick and spiced Api, served in the early morning in Bolivia, often with fried dough, will always evoke dizziness and excitement for me...

The best salumi I ever had...

was the cacciatori salami by Knight Salumi in San Diego. Made with pork, chianti, garlic and black pepper, it was to die for. Sadly they ceased operations in 2011. It's enough to inspire me to try my own some day.

I also shared this on Twitter

I also shared this on Twitter (@ChrononautClub) and Pinterest

Tuna Melt

There's a small cafe up in the beautiful state of Washington where they serve the freshest loveliest tuna melt you ever had. Mmmm, I could go for one right now, with a glass of wine, of course!


Piedmonte hazelnuts are the best thing ever! Add in some chocolate and you're in heaven. I just ran out of my stash so it's high time I go back to Italy :)

Mushroom Soup

When I was in Germany for work I came across an amazing mushroom soup. I had it at least once a week while I was there. It would have been more but i did not want to burn myself out on it.

Wild Fennel Seeds

I went on a Food Forgaing Hike with some naturalists in the Santa Ana Mountains, in California, and they introduced us to wild fennel. While the black licorice taste of the fresh green fennel was a bit strong for me, the seeds perched atop the branches contained these little nuggets of delicious: wild fennel seeds. They are marvelous and have a sweet and slightly black licorice taste, not overwhelming and crunchy enough to substitute for sunflower seeds in salads or other dishes!


The amazing aji pepper I had in Peru will haunt me forever and I will probably never experience again... I seriously considered smuggling some back home but that is highly illegal! Every restaurant in Peru has their own house version of a hot sauce made with aji (the sauce is also called aji) some are blended some are are more pico De Gallo style and they are all unbelievably delicious!!


I'm growing aji amarillo this year only roof garden in Philly! I also enjoy its sweet complexity on a recent trip to Peru.
Might be too late to start depending on where you live, but if not, Seeds of Change had seeds as of 2 months ago.


I'm growing aji amarillo this year only roof garden in Philly! I also enjoy its sweet complexity on a recent trip to Peru.
Might be too late to start depending on where you live, but if not, Seeds of Change had seeds as of 2 months ago.


Grilled fresh sardines at the home of a French family in Lyon, France. Though an adult, my entire experience of sardines to that point had been canned sardines. Fresh sardines were a welcome revelation!

Tacos de Cesar from street

Tacos de Cesar from street vendors in La Cuidad de Mexico

Duck 3 ways

While in Paris we dined at a restaurant that served duck 3 ways. Each was more delicious than the next. At the end of the meal, I received a postcard detailing the number of the duck I had enjoyed.

The simple, fresh pizza I

The simple, fresh pizza I could get everywhere in Italy for a few bucks...and the gelato!


The face of the super-sweet grandmotherly-type lady selling curry at a market in HCMC will haunt me for the rest of my life. I don't know what was in it, but it was delicious; one of the greatest things I've ever shoveled down my gullet.

And then I spent the next 24 hours praying for death on the floor of my hotel bathroom.

Tidewater Clam Chowder

nearly 30 years ago when I was stationed at Fort Lee in Virginia, we often made a road trip to Virginia Beach - I had the most fantastic clam chowder at a pub called Abbey Road. it wasn't a New England creamy style, nor a tomato-based Manhattan Style. It was a clear broth, but loaded with flavor...I haven't been able to find a recipe or replicate it, and they no longer offer it. But I still dream of it.

On a trip to Amsterdam, I

On a trip to Amsterdam, I bought a sandwich from a vendor with a cart on the street. It was a very simple smoked fish sandwich with nothing but salt, pepper, and maybe a little oil. But oh! What a simple wonder it was! The bread was perfect; delicate but with a good toothless. The fish? Salty, smoky, moist, earthy. I think about that meal quite often.


While on vacation, I had Mahi Mahi while staying in the Big Island. It was beyond wonderful! I also had frozen mud pie, shaped like a dome, for the first time and I was immediately HOOKED on it. Thank you for the giveaway!

fresh sardines

Once upon a time, my view of sardines was that they only came in a can filled with some kind of ubiquitous oil. That all changed over dinner in a Venetian cafe where I had the most delicious fresh sardines. Now I can't get them out of my head! I've had them since Stateside but none compare.

Pizza in Spain

We had the most delicious pizza in Spain! We had been traveling by train over night and were starving. We found an outdoor cafe by a park and had pizza and rum and cokes for breakfast. The best pizza ever.

it was swimming an hour ago...

When I was a kid, my dad used to go camping in the Colorado mountains every August...and one year I got to tag along. We fished for trout in a crystal clear, ice cold stream. They went from the stringer, to the cutting board, to the frying pan... and they were absolutely the BEST fish I've ever eaten!!

Chicken Rice

When I was living abroad in Singapore as a teenager, I experienced a deceptively simple looking and ubiquitous dish known as chicken rice, or Hainanese chicken rice. It's rice, usually long grain, scented with garlic and ginger and pandan, with boiled chicken served, usually on top of the rice, at room temperature. Sometimes it comes with cabbage or cucumber, with a sweet/savory soy based sauce, and with a fresh chili sauce. I tried to recreate this dish at home a week ago while I was sick, and I got pretty close, but the street vendors in Singapore boil chicken after chicken in that broth and there's just no way to reproduce that richness at home.

Foie gras- stuffed fig

These incredible bites show up in farmers markets in the Bordeaux area of France.

The first goat milk from my

The first goat milk from my new goats.


While on a camping trip through the state of Maine, my family stopped for a treat of a nice dinner at a little restaurant near Bangor and I was served fiddleheads for the first and only time in my life. I've tried to forage them myself, but I either always have my timing wrong or they just don't grow as lush here in Asheville where I live. But damn, yum!

Fresher than fresh oysters in

Fresher than fresh oysters in a small town on the Oregon Coast...flavors soft and subtle.

Goat cheese from a goat farm

Goat cheese from a goat farm in France...SO good!!

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