Zabaglione is an Italian custard made from only eggs, not eggs and milk.* It comes from the Piedmont area of Italy, but I’m claiming it for the Piedmont of North Carolina. Why, you may ask? Well, it is a staple dessert of the Waldensian people from Northwestern Italy who settled the town of Valdese, North Carolina, 125 years ago. In Valdese, it is known as zabaione. I have made it even more North Carolina by using Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Oak City Amaretto, instead of the traditional wine.
North Carolina Zabaglione
1 dozen egg yolks from pasteurized eggs
1/3 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons (1 shot) Oak City Amaretto
In the top of a double boiler (off the heat) whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Add the amaretto and continue whisking until frothy. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring to a simmer or slight boil. Put the top pot in the double boiler and whisk vigorously for 3-4 minutes until the mixture looks like a smooth custard. There is a risk that you could get scrambled eggs, so you want to whisk continuously and with a strong arm. Serve immediately or slightly warm in sherbet glasses. Serve with amaretti cookies.
*I have seen some recipes that use milk as well, but most of the traditional and older recipes do not.
–Dina M. Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com
Posted in America, Dessert, History, Italian, Local, North Carolina
Tagged amaretti, amaretto, custard, eggs, Italian, Italy, North Carolina, Oak City Amaretto, pasteurized eggs, Piedmont, Raleigh, sabayon, Valdese, zabaglione, zabaione
Here is a list of some of my favorite local food products and food trucks in North Carolina and South Carolina owned by Italian Americans.
Nellino’s Sauce Co.–A pasta sauce company started in Raleigh, North Carolina, by Italian-American Neal McTighe based on his mother’s and great-grandmother’s recipes for classic sauces like marinara or tomato and basil made with good ingredients.
Melina’s Fresh Pasta–Italian-American owner Carmella makes classic fresh pastas like spaghetti and linguine as well as many creative ravioli like roasted red pepper & feta or goat cheese & honey. There’s even the pimento cheese ravioli. She also teaches pasta making classes in Durham, North Carolina.
Barone Meatball Company–Serving up classic Italian meatballs as well as fun creations like buffalo chicken meatballs and vegetarian ricotta balls. Owned by Italian-American Stephen Dewey, based in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.
Oak City Amaretto–An Italian-American amaretto made by Italian-American Anthony Scalabrino from a recipe inspired by his grandmother’s homemade amaretto, made in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Benny T’s Vesta–The first dry hot sauce available in five grades of heat made from a variety of fresh chile peppers grown in North Carolina, created by Italian-American chile enthusiast Ben Tuorto.
Charleston Bloody Mary Mix–A bloody Mary mix made by Italian-American Ryan Eleuteri that has all good ingredients and no horseradish–its distinctive flavor comes from a habanero mash, made in Charleston, South Carolina, found throughout the East Coast and Midwest.
Mr. A’s Beignets–A food truck serving delicious beignets and coffee with chicory New Orleans style in Apex, North Carolina, owned by Italian-American Arlton Cangelosi.
All photos in this article were used with permission of their respective owners.
–Dina Di Maio
Posted in America, Italian, Local, North Carolina
Tagged amaretto, Anthony Scalabrino, Apex, Arlton Cangelosi, Barone Meatball Truck, Ben Tuorto, Benny T's Vesta, Bloody Mary, Charleston Bloody Mary Mix, Charleston Mix, Durham, food truck, hot dry sauce, Italian American, meatball, meatballs, Melina's Fresh Pasta, Mr. A's Beignets, Neal McTighe, Nellino's Sauce Co., North Carolina, Oak City Amaretto, pasta sauce, Raleigh, Raleigh/Durham, ravioli, Ryan Eleuteri, South Carolina, Stephen Dewey
Valdese, North Carolina, is a town in the western part of North Carolina with green valley pastures and rolling hills. In 1893, 125 years ago, it was settled by a group of Italians from the Alps in the region of Italy known as the Piedmont.
They were called Waldensians because they practiced the Waldensian faith. Persecuted for their religion for centuries, in the late 19th century, they saw a population boom and branched out to live elsewhere. A group founded Valdese and created a lasting legacy. Valdese is a good day trip from most of North Carolina’s major cities. On August 10-11, 2018, the city celebrates its 125th anniversary with the Waldensian Festival. Here are some sights to see in Valdese:
- Village Park Mural–A beautifully painted mural in an outdoor park on Main Street detailing the history of the Waldensians from their start to their founding of Valdese.
- Waldensian Heritage Museum on Rodoret Street–The museum is a must-stop to learn more of the day-to-day life of the Waldensian people with examples of their traditional dress as well as a replica of a Waldensian home. The museum also has a really nice gift shop with books and gifts from and about Italy and the Waldensians.
- Waldensian Presbyterian Church–In 1895, the Waldensian Church became part of the Presbyterian Church. During the festival, the church sponsors a traditional Waldensian meal.
- Waldensian Trail of Faith–Here, you can tour the replica of a Waldensian village in the Alps.
- From This Day Forward–an outdoor drama from the Old Colony Players about the Waldensians of Valdese. It celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
- Waldensian Heritage Winery–The winery was founded in 1930 by Waldensians where they use traditional methods to make wine.
me at a wedding at the winery
- Bocce courts–Bocce is a favorite pastime of the locals, as is evidenced by the bocce courts off Main Street.
- Le Phare des Alpes–The Valdese Men’s Club started as a mutual aid society created by the Waldensians. Today, it hosts the North Carolina Bocce Tournament. During the festival, you can check out the bocce tournament and also sample some handmade soutisso, the local Waldensian sausage that I wrote about for Primo magazine. (Scroll down the page for the recipe.)
- 100 Main–A restaurant on Main Street that serves soutisso a few different ways, but also the traditional way with green beans and potatoes.
- Local street signs, architecture and cemetery–Waldensian culture is evident in the names of local streets, in architecture of older buildings and houses, and in the names of those buried in the local cemetery.
–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com, first wrote about Valdese, North Carolina, in 2003 for the Italian magazine Primo.
Posted in America, History, Italian, North Carolina
Tagged 100 Main, 125, bocce, From This Day Forward, Le Phare des Alpes, North Carolina, soutisso, Trail of Faith, Valdese, Waldensian, Waldensian Festival, Waldensian Heritage Museum, Waldensian Heritage Winery, Waldensian Presbyterian Church, Waldensians
I love dark chocolate and one of my favorites is sea salt dark chocolate. In Raleigh, NC, there are two chocolate makers, Escazu Artisan Chocolates in Mordecai on Blount Street and Videri Chocolate Factory on West Davie Street in the Warehouse District. Escazu’s sea salt dark chocolate bar is 65% cocoa; Videri’s, 60%.
I decided to do a taste test involving three other people. We tasted both of these (they blind, me knowing) and it was 50/50 split of which is best. Two tasters thought Videri was too bitter and preferred the flavor of Escazu’s chocolate. (Escazu’s chocolate also has vanilla in it.) Two tasters thought Escazu’s was too salty while the other two thought Videri’s was too salty. Go figure. The taste and texture of both chocolate bars is different. For a taste test yourself, visit both shops. For $5, you can tour Videri’s factory.
Breadmen’s is a diner that’s a local favorite in Chapel Hill, NC, serving classic American food. It’s also a family favorite in my family. While I’m not an onion ring fan, my family says Breadmen’s makes the best.
At a recent visit, I opted for an egg-white omelet. It came with Southern breakfast classics–a biscuit and grits.
We also got French toast
a mushroom and cheddar omelet
and a cheesesteak sandwich
My love affair with empanadas doesn’t go back very far, but when I first had them, it was forever. My preference is for corn flour empanadas, and I opt for the more traditional ones rather than concoctions like pizza empanada. I was excited to see that Raleigh, NC, got an empanada bar, so I had to try it. Calavela Empanada is in a trendy neighborhood near City Market in downtown Raleigh, and it also has a bar for the night crowd. Downtown Raleigh tends to have a young professional crowd, and that’s who patronized this restaurant when I visited.
I wound up getting the Piggly Wiggly since I was in North Carolina–it’s a pulled pork empanada and the holy frijoles with black beans, sweet potato and Oaxacan cheese.
Both of these lacked flavor, and the dough was more of a pie pastry than what I’m used to for empanada dough.
My friend got the champ, which is a mushroom empanada and poblano loco with poblano peppers. She felt the same way about hers as I did. On the flip side, these are only $3 a pop, so this is the cheapest option for a night out in downtown Raleigh.
Guasaca in West Raleigh is a fast food restaurant serving arepas. Arepas are Venezuelan breads made from corn flour. I’ve had them in the city, but I must admit I was not a huge fan. What’s cool here is that you can order a signature arepa or build your own. I got an avocado chicken arepa and a tilapia one with baked plantains and caramelized onions. I also got red sauce and cilantro sauce on the side. These were pretty yummy, although messy because the bread is not a pocket so it doesn’t hold the ingredients.
If you’re visiting Raleigh, North Carolina, and you want some authentic country cooking, then the North Carolina State Farmers’ Market Restaurant is the place to go. The menu is very varied and the atmosphere is really cute. The service is super friendly as well. Plus, it’s right at the NC Farmers’ Market, so you can peruse the fresh produce and goods there before or after your meal and make a day outing.
No Southern breakfast is complete without biscuits.
I got an omelet with home fries.
My companions got
omelet with grits
and fried chicken with rice and gravy and crowder peas
Everything was really good, especially the biscuits!