The Cornicello and the Evil Eye (Malocchio)

If you walking along the narrow street of the Naples’ historical center, you found many shops that sell this little amulets.. .discover where they came from!

I’m talking about southern Italy’s not-so-well-kept-secret, malocchio, derived from the Italian words for bad (male) and eye (occhio), known colloquially as “The Evil Eye.” Anyone who is of Italian heritage, or who has ever known someone who is, probably knows about it, although the general beliefs behind this tradition run through various cultures and religions.

The Evil Eye is one of the most ancient superstitions in Italy. Every region seems to have their own version of the Evil Eye, but some take it more seriously than others. The cornicello is also used to ward off the malocchio.

The corno or cornicello is an amulet of ancient origin used in South Italy. Corno means “horn” and cornicello means “little horn” — these names refer to a long, gently twisted horn-shaped amulet worn in Italy to protect against the evil eye. Cornicelli are usually carved out of red coral or made of gold or silver. The type of horn they are intended to copy is not a curled-over sheep horn or goat horn but rather like the twisted horn of an African eland or something similar. Over the years they have become rather stylized and now look less like a natural animal horn than they once did.

These little horns (like the horns of all horned animals) are presumed to have once been sacred to the Old European moon goddess, before the rise of Christianity. The horned god Faunus was known for his wild nature and interest in fertility. The ancient Romans knew well Cernunnos, the horned Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. The horns of an African eland most resemble the original amulets.

Related to the Corno is the hand gesture (extending only the pinkie and index finger like a pair of horns) known as the mano cornuta, which can be used (pointing upwards or directly at the victim (cornuto)) to curse another or not so subtly send the message that a man’s wife or girlfriend is straying. This gesture can also be used to ward off the Evil Eye (pointing fingers down).

The most beautiful church in Italy is…

First in the ten most beautiful churches of Italy, there is the Church of SS. Annunziata di Vico Equense in Naples (Sorrento Coast). It is the unspeakable beauty of a church, in Gothic art, from the breathtaking landscape. It’s possible to admire, in fact, all the splendor of the Sorrento coast and the Gulf of Naples.
The most amazing place for your wedding in Italy!

Crocchè – Potato Croquettes

Ingredients

1 kg (2 lbs) russet or other mealy potato (boiled and mashed)

1small cup milk

5 eggs

100g (4 oz) grated parmesan cheese, or a mixture of parmesan and pecorino romano, or just pecorino

salt and pepper

a pinch of finely chopped parsley (optional)

breadcrumbs

200 g (8 oz) mozzarella, cut into small strips

frying oil

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PREP TIME: 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes

SERVES: 20 pieces

LEVEL: Medium
Equipment: 1 large bowl, 2 soup plates, 1 large frying pan, 1 small cap, 1 spatula

Method

 

1-      In a large bowl put the mashed potatoes, add 2 beaten egg and melt all using a spatula or hands

2-      Add 1 little cup of milk, cheese, salt, pepper, parsley (optional)

3-      Knead well with spatula as long as it become well mixed

4-      Take a piece of the dough, about the size of a tablespoon and more, in your hands, and flattened it into an oval shape in the palm of your hand. In the center press the mozzarella and cooke ham, close the dough around the filling and then roll it around with your hands to form a lozenge-shaped croquette.

5-      Put in a plate 3 beaten egg with salt, and in 1 plate the breadcrumbs

6-      Pass each croquette first in the egg then in the breadcrumbs

7-      Now put the oil to heat in a large frying pan, which should be very hot, as soon as the oil is hot, fry the croquettes, turning them frequently in the oil, until golden brown on both sides.

8-      Put them on paper towels to drain the excess oil

9-      Serve immediately and enjoy!

Artist’s Lights in Salerno (South Italy) – Public art installation

Luci d’Artista (Artist’s Lights), has become a very well acclaimed contemporary art exhibition both nationally and internationally, it takes place in Salerno (Campania . South Italy)  from November 2014 to January 2015 – it will surely attract a large number of visitors, as new and upcoming artists form all over the world will present their installation which will light up streets, squares and spaces.

The Artist’s Lights of Salerno are real artworks which can be admired walking along the streets, squares and boardwalk of Salerno. The theme of this editions is Aurora Borealis (polar lights) and Fairy Tales.

This year the city will accommodate many fairy tales heroes, like Peter Pan and Cinderella which will take forms of big illuminated statues, located in the middle of two main squares of Salerno. It’s a spectacular exhibition of artwork lights and colors along the streets and squares of the city, and it will enchant visitors.

Through storytelling, the visitor is taken in a dreamlike atmosphere; the stories are narrated from a Smartphone app, which guides the user through the installations thanks to the narrative voice of the key figures of the four themes. The visitor will live a memorable walk through cherry blossoms and colorful asters, the triumph of Spring and the charm of the deep sea. A fantastic journey that will make you discover or rediscover Salerno – a city rich in history, art, culinary excellence and thousands of opportunities for shopping.

Naples’ Nativity scene is the most famous in the world. Lights, colors, smells and traditions in San gregorio Armeno.

From December 8 to January 6, most Neapolitans have a nativity scene in their homes but, while it is being set up, family members usually argue over the best position for the various figurines. Via San Gregorio Armeno is the street of nativity scenes from which you cannot return home empty-handed. Here there is an endless succession of craftsmen’s workshops where figurines and features are made all year round. Those who prefer the DIY approach will find, wood, cork bark, moss, lights, electric motors and everything they need for their crib scene, while the lazier citizens can choose a ready-made scene in the size they prefer and need only worry about adding the figurines.

Since the 18th centuries, Neapolitan cribs scenes have been admired worldwide and the artisans of Naples love adding figures that have nothing to do with the birth of Christ but reflect characters from the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples: the innkeeper, the water-seller, the washerwomen, and all the professions under the sun as well as incredibly realistic miniature baskets of fruit, fish and bread. Some artisans make nativity figurines drawing inspiration from contemporary figures and celebrities, including the all time favourite Diego Maradona Once this year’s figurine has been purchased, it’s time to head back home and the inevitable debate on where to place the newcomer, after which the crib scene waits only for baby Jesus to be placed in the manger at midnight on Christmas Eve, a sign that the festivities can begin and everyone can wish each other a merry Christmas.

Zeppole fritte – Neapolitan fried donuts

Ingredients

600 grams (21 oz) flour

400 grams (14 oz) boiled and mashed dry potatoes

1small cup milk

3 eggs

40 grams (1,4 oz) baker’s yeast

40 grams (1,4 oz) Butter, softened at room temperature

1 tablespoon honey

grated zest of one small lemon

1 pinch of salt

2 cups of granulated Sugar, to coat the doughnuts

frying oil

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PREP TIME: 2 hours

COOK TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 2 hour and half

SERVES: 4

LEVEL: Easy
Equipement: 1 large bowl, 1 bowl, 1 large frying pan, 1 small cap, 1 cloth

Method

 

1-      In a large bowl pour the flour and create a large hole in the center where put the butter, add the hot mashed potatoes over the butter, so that it will melt, knead well with your hands

2-      Melt the yeast in lukewarm milk in a little cup and add to the dough

3-      Add eggs, honey to the dough and grated zest of  lemon  knead well with your hands  for 6-7 minutes as long as it become smooth and no longer sticky

4-      Cover the dough with the cloth and let rest until it grow in size, about 30 minutes (it must stay in ambient temperature, better slightly hot, never cold)

5-      Turn the dough onto a floured board and divide the dough into small cylinders, roll each piece and give it a circular form

6-      Let them raise for 1 hour

7-      Now put the oil to heat in a large frying pan, which should be very hot, as soon as the oil is hot, fry the graffette, turning them frequently in the oil, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through

8-      Put them on paper towels to drain the excess oil

9-      In a bowl pour the sugar and while graffette are still hot, roll them in the bowl of sugar to coat each one completely, and place on a platter

10-  Serve immediately and enjoy!

The food made in Campania conquers Paris. Gerard Depardieu eulogizes the Region and mozzarella: “Campania is unique and incomparable. For me Italy starts from Naples”

The food made in Campania to the conquest of the Eiffel Tower.

The first and the second of the december, 21 business Campania’s realities of the agri-food sector exhibited their excellent products at the “Salon Bermuda Onion” – Gallery Beaugrenelle Paris during the festival of flavors.

Wines, cheeses, mozzarella, tomatoes, coffee, desserts and pasta were the protagonists of the exhibit. Moreover, there were B2B meetings to develop international business and relationship.

Also Gerard Depardieu eulogizes the Region and mozzarella: “Campania is unique and incomparable. For me Italy starts from Naples”

Thanks Gerard! Made in South wins!

Spaghetti with mussels – Original Neapolitan Recipe

Ingredients

- 400 grams (14 oz) spaghetti or linguine -

- 1,5 kg (53 oz) mussels -

- 400 grams (14 oz) cherry tomatoes -

- 3 cloves of garlic -

- 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil -

- half hot pepper -

- chopped fresh parsley 2-3 tablespoons -

- ¼ glass of dry white wine -

- 1 handful of salt -

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PREP TIME – 10 mins

COOK TIME – 20 mins

TOTAL TIME – 30 mins

SERVES – 4

LEVEL – easy
EQUIPMENT – 1 large lidded saucepans – 1 large pan – 1 large pot – 3 bowls – 1 fine-mesh sieve – 1 colander

Method

1-      Clean the mussels by scrubbing them in cold water, and removing the beards. If any remain open after tapping them against the side of the work surface, discard them.

2-      Heat oil (4 tablespoons) in a large lidded saucepan, add 2 cloves of garlic and hot pepper (as you prefer). After 1-2 minutes add the mussels and the wine (¼ glass of dry white wine). Cover with the lid and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, or until the mussels open. If any mussels remain closed at the end of cooking, discard them. Transfer the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Strain the mussel broth through a fine-mesh sieve and put it in another bowl.  Remove the mussels from their shells and add to broth, except 10-12 for topping, put them in a bowl and use at the end.

3-      Cut all cherry tomatoes in 4 pieces.

4-      Heat oil (4 tablespoons) in a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 clove of garlic and cook until it just begins to color, 2 minutes. Carefully add cutted cherry tomatoes, cook medium heat for 5 minutes and add mussels and the mussel broth, cook medium heat mashing up sometimes. (Bring off garlic during the cooking of sauce and don’t add salt to sauce because the mussel broth is salty).

5-      Meanwhile the sauce is cooking, in a large pot heat the water (circa one liter – 0,3 gal – of water each 100 grams – 3,5 oz of pasta) until it boils, add a handful of salt, then add spaghetti (only when the water boils add pasta).  Cook spaghetti (see the cooking time recommended on the package), at the end drain the pasta with the colander (pasta must be al dente).

6-      Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce, mix together well low heat for 1 minute (mantecare) and serve immediately, topping the plate with mussels with their shells and chopped fresh parsley.

 

Enjoy your meal!

Do you know “caffè sospeso”?

A “caffè sospeso” or pending coffee is a cup of coffee paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity. The tradition was over 100 years old, it began in the working-class cafés of Naples, where someone who had experienced good luck would order a sospeso, paying the price of two coffees but receiving and consuming only one. A poor person enquiring later whether there was a “sospeso” available would then be served a coffee for free.

The generosity of the Neapolitans is contagious, the idea has been reported in cafés in many other countries.

Good cafés to everyone!

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22267613

Ranking of Italian cities on their dangerousness, according “Il Sole 24 Ore” the major economical Italian newspaper.

First Milano, 2° Rimini, 3° Bologna, 4° Rome, 7° Florence and 17° Venice,  Naples just 36° in the chart.

Other cities in Campania are among the safest in Italy, 69° Salerno, 82° Caserta, 101° Avellino and 103° Benevento. This chart is based on 106 cities in Italy.

So, the South Italy becomes obvious that is more secure than North Italy.

We already know this!

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