Postcards From Abroad

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Archive for the tag “Italy”

A Gourmande’s Traveling Bucket List

By Jessica Albert

Let’s face it. We all love food.

I love food so much that I have made my father drive me from my home in Northern Virginia into Washington, DC (about 30 minutes away) in Route 66 bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. All just so I can get my favorite bowl of soup from my favorite Chinese restaurant… even I will admit, this is a bit insane. But, there is a reason behind my madness. All people who like international food can agree that it’s best when it is as authentic as it can be.
There are people out there that would travel the globe for their favorite snacks, entrees and other dishes. So, this post is a compilation of the top international “must-eats” when traveling.–A gourmande’s traveling bucket list, if you will.

France: Croque-Monseuir
Bread is a staple in the French culture. Citizens purchase baguettes everyday and eat them with majority of their meals. Cheese or “formage” is another widely eaten French staple. There are also several types of French cheese that people eat. Brie and Camembert are two popular ones.Now, combine these two elements together and add in some ham, and we have our first food pit stop.
A croque-monsieur is a french sandwich resembling an American breakfast sandwich. Ham and cheese are melted in between two grilled slices of bread to make a very tasty treat.
Originally, the sandwich started off as an item served in bars and cafes. Now, croque-monseuirs are served widely and with other various ingredients. There is also a feminine version of the sandwich called a croque-madame. The croque-madame includes the same components as a croque-monsieur but with a poached egg on top of of it. Below is a video of how to make you’re own croque-madame. See if you can make it as authentic as possible.

Italy-any type of pasta
Most of us are used to our mom’s homemade spaghetti. Mmmm, I can taste my mom’s signature spaghetti recipe now. However, what comes from Prego and Ragu is certainly not the best out there. To really do spaghetti right you have to go to Italy, our second pit stop, where they cook many different types of pasta.
From ravioli to penne to ziti, there are several different types of pasta to gorge on. Spaghetti is just one type of pasta… some people forget there is a whole pasta world out there to explore.
Authentic pasta sauce recipes include real, non canned ingredients because most of them are made from scratch. That means, real garlic, onion and tomatoes are used in the production of these tasty sauces. Many of the products you can buy off the shelves today are loaded with preservatives and aren’t the best choice for our bodies.

United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada- Fish and Chips
We all have heard of fish and chips. However, I am not so sure anyone knows what the chips are in fish and chips. The chips aren’t like the UTZ we buy in a bag at the grocery store, they are actually what Americans call french fries. The “chips” play as a sidekick to the battered and deep-fried fish filets in the dish.
Fish and chips originated in Ireland, Scotland and the United Kingdom. Now it is a carry-out item at many restaurants in several countries. However, fish and chips is mostly associated with the United Kingdom.

Sushi is a Japanese food that usually includes raw seafood and rice. There seems to be a clear line between sushi opinions. People usually either hate or love sushi. For those of you who love it. You definitely want to eat the best of the best from its originating country, Japan. Those of you who hate sushi probably have issues with the fact that it is typically viewed as “sketchy” raw fish. This is a misconception. Think of it this way: If all of the sushi lovers in the world have sampled sushi from venues such as local restaurants, grocery stores and–EEEK–even campus dining halls, then there is nothing to worry about. They’ve all eaten a vast multitude of sushi and still live to tell about it. Sushi masters in Japan know what to serve and what not to serve. So there is virtually no reason to worry about eating it.
If you’re still not convinced, there are ways to ease yourself into the sushi world. There are types of sushi that only include vegetables or have cooked seafood instead of raw seafood in them.
If you were wondering how to make sushi from scratch in your own kitchen, take a look at this video below.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this post. I know I enjoyed writing it. Remember to pick up these foods when you’re abroad. You won’t regret it.


Traveling to Urbino, Italy

As a brand new study abroad option, the SMAD program opened up a documenting/magazine production course in Urbino, Italy. But when you think about studying abroad, don’t you normally think of London or some other really big, metropolitan city full of high rises and fast driving taxis? I know I do. So what is the appeal behind Italy? What makes Urbino a good place for students to practice film documentary and magazine production?

The city itself is known mainly for its position in the Marche region of Italy, which was a huge region involved in Renaissance culture and the medieval world. But again, we are media arts and design majors, why does studying here make sense for us? The program is called “A summer in Urbino, Italy; Documenting a Community.” In that sense, it pretty much says it all. Going to a small town like Urbino would make things a lot easier in documenting an entire community. The smallness allows for more intimate connections to the people you meet and really allows you to immerse yourself in their culture. Overall, I think the experience would be so much more different than that of any other study abroad option. Looking to travel somewhere like this would be very exciting, especially if you enjoy the Renaissance lust and medieval clashes.

To me, I think the uniqueness of studying abroad in such a  quaint little town would be a bonus for me. Yes, I love places like London; there is just something about the city that appeals to me,  but I think it offers a different perspective to the media world than a little town would offer. Looking through pictures, Urbino seems like a wonderful place; being the supposed birthplace of the Renaissance adds appeal for me as well. I loved learning about the Renaissance and the medieval times in high school and would open up a wide variety of things I would want to know. What would I write about if I was interviewing the Italians living in this town? I personally, would be interested in the history of Urbino. Maybe Raphael. Maybe even finding descendants of people who lived during the Renaissance time period. Being immersed in such a rich culture really opens you up in a way that you couldn’t imagine. Having had a father who traveled all over the world, I was personally introduced to many different cultures, which I think is incredibly important; being a well rounded individual in my mind menas being well traveled and well known and accepting of other cultures. What better way to learn about that than to study in such a culturally rich town? What better way to learn about the history and culture than from the people who live there?

Besides studying, for those of you not in school anymore, or just looking for places to go on the weekends while there, Urbino is obviously full of history. But besides that, Urbino is nestled comfortably between two beautiful mountain ranges and is full of quaint little plazas, pizza shops, alley ways and courtyards that make everyone stop and stare.

Whether looking to study media in a small town, learning about culture, history, and everything else, or simply traveling to a new town you’ve never been to before, Urbino, Italy is definitely a place worth looking into!!

When traveling, consider this:

  • Weather. According to sources, the best time to travel to Urbino, is from April to October, but preferably May, June, September, and October because August can have unbearable heats

Points of Interest:

  • Festival of Ancient Music- hosted in July- a celebration for Urbino’s famous duke (Federico da Montefelltro) with processions, street performers, and a jousting tournament

(video of Ancient Music Festival)

  • Ducal Palace– one of the first palaces in Italy and features the Dukes study, courtyard, stables, cellars, etc.
  • Marche National Gallery– located inside the ducal palace holds many Renaissance paintings
  • Duomo– a cathedral that houses many important pieces of art work from the Renaissance time period

  • Raphael’s house-Raphael, Renaissance painter, was born in Urbino, his family’s house is now a museum

  • Albornz Fortress-a small fortress at the top of Urbino is great for views of the town, was used as defense in the 14th century

  • Botanical Garden

Posted by: Megan Brothers

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