Pocapaglia, Poca Poca, or Pocapulco is a small town in between Bra and Pollenzo. Although secluded from the busy Città di Bra, many students from the University of Gastronomic Sciences live there for foraging opportunities, more green than grey, and maybe for its (open to the public) wood fire oven. If there is something you must know, I am someone committed to have her own wood fire oven, even if that means settling on a city to live in 😂.
My Food World
Its crazy how we don't realize how much we will miss something, until we can't have it. This is what happened to me the first time I moved out of parent's house. I was 16 years old, and decided to do an exchange year with a French family in the south of France. I was young, yes, but I was so ready to feel some sort of independence. I still remember the morning after I arrived, I had to wake up in this unfamiliar house, and try to find my place in their routine and lifestyle. The goal was for me to master the French language, and with the little I understood and spoke, it felt extremely intimidating. Breakfast was the only meal of the day we would enjoy on our own, so we could decide at what time, or what to eat. That first day, the only thing I wanted was my Arepa with butter, salt, cheese, and a fried egg on top, my staple breakfast back home. Now that I could have it as easily, I realized how much it comforted me.
After being in Italy for a couple months, and studying about Gastronationalism (or culinary nationalism), I couldn't stop thinking of ways to Colombianize Italian food, or Italianize Colombian food. In order to make it possible and avoid any controversies (or deportation), I needed to do it with a group of Italian Gastronomes. And so we did, and honestly it was the night Italy and Colombia came together and made magic!
My friends from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland wanted to bring us over to the alps for a night to enjoy some of their staples. I lived in Switzerland for two years and something that I truly miss is their impecable bread selection. Even in gas stations you will find some of the freshest, softest, and delicious bread. I was so happy to realize we were going to enjoy some Zopf throughout the dinner, it is this breaded breakfast bread, slightly sweet but crunchy in the crust.
10 months ago, I packed my bags in Colombia after moving from Switzerland, the country that became my home during the hardest times this generations has been though, the Covid pandemic. Even though I hadn't been able to see my family for close to two years, I knew my future was in Italy. I had decided to embark into a more specified career, one related to food culture, communication, and marketing, and so I applied and got accepted into a program offering that
Cooking with Lis
Have you ever had something for the first time that turns your world upside down? Si, it happened to me last year when Lis and her magical hands showed me the delicate yet incomparable taste of zucchini flowers. Was I the only one that did not know zucchinis have flowers, and they are edible? Probably 😂
I truly believe Lisa, my big sister, mamma otter, and cuasi-flatmate, and I met in a past life. She was the first person I met when I moved to Italy, and as I have mentioned, she is one of my little miracles. Not only has she taught me so much about cooking (she is a stellar Chef and gastro-mastermind), she has also taught me so much about myself. She is so gentle, comforting, assertive in everything she says, and such an amazing listener.
The day before I flew back to Colombia this past summer, Lisa invited me over for a good-bye dinner surprise. The good thing about Lisa and her surprises, is that she knows me all too well, and she will create something so simple for her to make, but that will completely blow my mind. This time it was no exception.
Life with Seven Me Love
Winter of 2020, mid pandemic, was a tough period for me. I was under immense pressure during the last trimester of the MBA, and the winter and greys skies of Switzerland didn't help. The only little light of hope I had was reuniting with the ultimate little miracle in my life, my little brother, Daniel. As my family couldn't leave Colombia, and Christmas is the holiday to be in family, we planned on him coming to see me in Europe.
Cooking with Follini
A week before our classes in the University of Gastronomic Science ended, the brilliant Rae Bae, conducted a two-day Yearbook interview and photoshoot with the 2022 Master's in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. Not to brag, but we are the most diverse program the university has had, with 15 different nationalities.
Once in a blue moon, the king of Grissini and another of my little miracles. finds the time in his very busy agenda to magic happen in the kitchen. I say so, because this was the first time I saw him in action, and the way he transformed into this gastronomic mastermind was a delight to see. If there is something you must know about Follini is that he is an extremely strategic and factual man, while still being the most empathetic and warm soul in the planet. I know I can trust him with basically anything, his reliability is impecable, so once I knew he would be having his culinary debut with us. I knew it was going to be good. And damn, it was.
Cooking with Sari
Did you know that by skipping meat just one day a week you can reduce your annual carbon footprint by as much as not driving your car for a whole month? Whenever I gather with my most plant-forward friends, I realize the endless options I could indulge on, using only plants. And maybe a little of cheese (jeje),On Saturdays, Sari, Ri Ri, and I go on full gather mode to source the best ingredient for lunch. This time was no exception. As we walked to the farmers market, we brainstormed what we could do. Thanks to them, cabbage is always in my mind now, so to take advantage of their seasonality, we decided to prepare them in two different ways:
Last year Chef Sari, Ri Ri, and Baby J catered to us one of the most iconic Veggiegiving.
If their is something Chef Sari has taught me since the first day we shared a meal together, is the importance of cooking with the best quality ingredients. The essence of ingredients growing in healthy soil from happy farmers, is the key to taste pure food. Back in Israel, where she is from, she worked in various restaurants before deciding to do her own small catering business. Her goal was to connect with people and share with them the importance of healthy and sustainable food.
Creating with Jacks
If there is something Jacks and I share in common, is our love for happy hour. Is it our frustration for the lack of cocktail offering in Bra? Probably. Is it our desire to create smokey, spicy, and aromatic cocktails? YES! Even though we met less than a year ago, our friendship flourished, probably from how well we got nourished (jaja). But I have many theories, it might have been how we broken the ice, or the glass, on our first one-on-one dinner. I guess she was trying to show-off her bartender skills, but I made her nervous, and completely shattered a thick cocktails shaker. Yes, the liquid gold ended on the floor too. Since then, we have become experts in the kitchen, and less fearful when creating. Thanks to her, the SophieEaaaaats looks the way it does, she has challenged me to align myself to what I want to become, making her one of my little miracles. Thanks to her, I have learned to embrace my sassy, spicy and smokey self.
I have been amateurly photographing the food I cook and eat for years, and although I do think I have an eye for certain things, my perspective in design and photography completely shifted after meeting Miss J. Stofsick. She is the queen of contagious laughs, the record of continuous sneezes, and the best capturer of candid moments. Even though she seems like just a sweet southern gal, her strength and power carrying massive cameras is incomparable.
Cooking with Ri Ri
One of the sweetest people I encountered this past year was Rianne aka Ri Ri. There is a part of me that thinks her unique sweetness comes from her country and city of origin, Vienna, Austria.
OH MY CABBAGE! 🥬 It had been over one week since fire roasting and letting ferment one big and glorious green cabbage — and so we had to build a feast around it. The best thing about sharing a kitchen with Sari and Rianne is their love for vegetables, so much so, they will find ways to not waste a single part of them. They are artists when it comes to building plates with seasonal ingredients, they have inspired me to play with ingredients and their flavors in unexpectable ways. Lets begin with the cabbage. If you haven't gotten the background story, read it here.
Ri Ri is a retro walking rainbow eager to listen to you and irradiate the best and positive energy. There are many things I admire about her, but one thing she has successfully influenced in me, is to become a vegetable expert. She is a genius when it comes to play with the rainbow, and being as wasteless as possible. One of the firsts one on one dinner we had, where we chatted about everything, she told me about her summer in Vietnam. She fell in love with the versatility and freshness of their cuisine. One of her favorites dishes is called Bùn Chay, a cold noodle salad that is a veggie lover’s vision of happiness.