Lemons – like olives and grapes – are an iconic Italian crop. Travel through the Amalfi coast and you’ll see lemons everywhere. From lemons at fruit stands to painted lemons hidden in beautiful ceramic pottery, they seem to be everywhere you turn. Italy is the world’s largest lemon producer and this fragrant, sour fruit plays a big role in the countries cuisine. From limoncello – a lemon liqueur mainly produced in the South of Italy – to salad dressings, marinades, seafood dishes and even desserts, this do-it-all fruit can be found in much of Italy’s famous cuisine.
I once read that the main ingredient in an Italian dish is enjoying it with family and friends. In Italy, la famiglia is everything. And family gatherings are at the center of it all. You may have visions of what an Italian family dinner looks like from friendly stories or perhaps something you’ve seen in a movie, but you cannot truly grasp the bond between family members until you join them for a meal.
While in Italy, we were able to spend some quality time with Alexis’ Italian family at Ranise, their family’s olive orchard in Liguria, Italy. The 400-year-old olive trees are tended to by members of their extended family and have been passed down through generations. It was amazing to walk through the historical orchard and learn about the process of harvesting olives (and taste the finished product!). We learned that it takes many steps to get an olive from the tree to your table. Follow along as we share what we’ve learned…
On our trip to Italy, our Editorial Art Director Alexis and her family enjoyed a meal together to celebrate reuniting with their extended family. One of the dishes they fell in love with was a grilled vegetable antipasto. The word antipasto means “before the meal” in Italian. The tradition of an antipasto stretches back to medieval times in Italy, when diners used to mingle over finger foods, both sweet and savory, before sitting down to eat. Early recipes include everything from sugared nuts to clotted cream to spiced ham. Now, antipasti platters can have anything from olives, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes and mushrooms and pepperoncini, chunks of Parmesan, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, sauteed zucchini, broccoli rabe, nuts, salami, fresh ricotta and bread on the side. We think there is no better way to start a meal, than with an abundant antipasto platter, artfully arranged with layers of meat, cheeses, vegetables and more. Get our recipe for the antipasto we enjoyed in Savona!
Our graphic tees have long been customer favorites – Not only for their original designs and bright colors, but also because of the direct tie in to the destination. From monkeys to tigers, cars to airplanes — our graphics tell a story. One thing you might not know is that the majority of our graphics begin as hand drawn sketches or paintings. Our newest graphics are inspired by Italian architecture and molto veloce (very fast) vehicles. Here we share our designer’s sketches that turned into the new bold, colorful and easy designs you see on today’s tees!
Every family has at least one recipe that has been passed down and perfected through generations. It’s the whole family’s favorite meal…just the smell of it brings back memories, and the first bite always feels like home. For Stella, that dish is Nonna’s pasta sauce. Stella, her mom (Alexis), dad (Rob) and brother (Marcel) traveled to Italy to learn more about their heritage and meet their extended family. While they were there, Nonna made her famous sauce with Stella, and shared the secret recipe with us.