italy-caprese-1224This is not a recipe but many things more than that. First of all, it’s a bit of me when I’m hungry and there is sun outside and even though this sun is shining over London and not over Napoli it still feels like summertime.

It’s another blinking summer here, one day you could go to the beach (if there was one) and the day after you wear a warm jumper under the rain. This mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves salad is a celebration of the glorious “ON” in this intermittent summer with too many OFFs so far.

italy-caprese-1229This is also my Italy and many memories associated with it. The dish represents the marriage between taste and simplicity; it is also what the Italian heat of July calls for: light food you don’t need to cook.

July in Italy. Remember, it’s the time of the year when you spend long afternoons indoor because outside it is scorching hot. You would get insane otherwise; a curfew applies, it’s what we call “controra”, a siesta that is, the moment of the day when you are allowed to sleep while mosquitoes are allowed to work on you (obviously they’re on duty when you’re on holidays).

My mum would come back from work tired and starving, she wouldn’t cook anything requiring stove and fire that could make her sweat even more. In some lucky days, she would bring “mozzarella di bufala”, the only cheese that deserves love and devotion usually accorded a deity. And there’s peace all around, in my feelings and in my mind.

italy-caprese-1237When we try to fight against the heat with fans and air conditioners we are defeated already. We use curtains to stop the rays of light that are burning the grass outside. We don’t hear a sound coming from the streets because no one dares to challenge the curfew. There’s no remedy to the heat. Life has to slow down. We let time pass by, we sleep and eat fresh foods. There’s lots of siesta for us that comes with lots of dreams. Oh Italy.

italy-caprese-1250Don’t ask me a recipe this time. I’d like to give you just two useful instructions.

Instruction number 1: buy the best ingredients you can. Fresh, high quality ingredients: mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil.

Instruction number 2: slow down and taste slowly. Like if you were getting ready for a shamelessly long siesta.

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  1. Have you tried Mozzarisella before? It’s a vegan Italian mozzarella brand and I saw it at the market today, but wasn’t sure if it was good. My boy and I prefer to make cheeseless meals here, they are lovely without the processed vegan cheese and all as long as there’s good pasta, wine and fresh produce. The tomatoes in Turino were very beautiful and last week was really uncomfortable. It was hot and humid indoors actually, but right now it’s pretty cool and rainy. 😉

    1. Yep Rika I’ve tried Mozzarisella once. I really appreciate what the “Mozzarisella guys” are doing but… well, no, that’s not mozzarella at all. Still tastier than tofu 🙂 🙂 This summer in Italy is crazy, I’ve heard. It’s raining a lot which is very very unusual. People there are used to three months of sunshine from June to August. Pretty strange. At least you can get a less humid, more breathable air!

  2. Your post reminded me of the time when I was a kid and during our summer vacations cousins would be visiting and there was this curfew time during noon coz it would like 45 degrees C or more outside. But we kids were unaffected and all we wanted to do was play, play and play!
    The salad looks ideal for this weather.

  3. how very lovely this salad…fresh flavors…and the taste….beyond comforting especially during summers….this salad is certain to blow one to beautiful Italy with its taste,thanks 🙂

  4. Daniela – I absolutely LOVE this post! Seriously girl, I do! I LOL’d at the mosquitos comment (not that they get to work on you), but your telling the story makes me feel like I’m there. And, I have to tell you – that top down shot of the Caprese Salad? Absolutely, phenomenally gorgeous. It looks as good as it tastes, I’m sure.

  5. So great-looking recipe, I love the original tomatoes. Every time I see western food, I always have the feeling that westerners are more inclined to keep the ingredients the natural and raw flavor which may the recipe more simple. Our easterners especially like to stir fry on a wok which make things complex.