Episode from the podcastThe Big Travel Podcast

79. In Tuscany with Paola Maggiulli, The Tiny Italian; Talking Italian... Food, Wine, Colombia, Cuban Salsa Bars and London Pop Ups

Released Tuesday, 22nd October 2019
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In a villa in the Tuscany hills in Italy Lisa and Anglo-Italian food writer, cook and presenter Paola Maggiulli, aka The Tiny Italian have spent the day exploring Siena. Paola was brought up in London with a South American mother and Italian father and spent most of her childhood in the family delicatessen in London’s Battersea. She’s diced with danger in Colombia, travelled the length of Italy to find the best regional dishes and has a burgeoning TV career including appearances on ITV’s The Big Audition and Channel 4’s Cooking up a Fortune.
Lisa and Paola travelled to the Mansalto Estate in Tuscany Italy courtesy of Bookings For You, specialists in luxury villas and apartments across Italy and France.
On this episode we cover:  
The Mansalto estate in the hills of Tuscany
Monte San Savino
Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves in a luxury old farmhouse
Having a Paula Yates moment
The first Big Travel Podcast in pyjamas
Paola Maggiulli the Tiny Italian
Being from Italy, Colombia, Battersea and Essex
Paola’s recent appearance on Chanel 4’s Cooking Up a Fortune
The deli in Battersea the family had for 20 years
An old school ‘salumeria’; salamis hanging off the wall
Every single cheese you can imagine, wines, olive oils, fresh pasta
Feeding the community for over 20 years
Seeing the community kids grow up
Her dad coming from Puglia
Putting his love into the deli and people around him
Gentrification, business rates and rents pushing local businesses out
Paola feeling that something huge was going to be missing out of their lives
Starting with selling things out of a fridge on North Cote Road
Being ‘a curvy girl’ and looking very Italian
Lisa and Paola doing nothing but talking about food and eating for two days
The cooking class experience (Cooking in Florence) that even Lisa managed
Spreading passion about food
Great chefs that can make things look pretty
Encouraging the less confident people to cook
Food and cooking can be as easy as you want it to be
Paola leaving a career in fashion to cook
Cooking being a great way for people to de-stress
Good home-cooking being able health, nutrition and family values
Her Columbian mother and Italian father meeting in the White Hart Pub in Enfield
Her dad taking three girls out but picking her mum
Slow dancing to Spandau Ballet
Regular trips to Colombia as a child
Being chaperoned around Colombia due to the risk of kidnap
Narcos on Netflix making everything make sense
Colombians working to live so they can party on the weekend
Being a shy child brought out by salsa parties with cousins
Since the day she was born going to Italy every summer
Her parents working three jobs to afford trips home
The long trip by train every summer to Italy – due to her Dad’s fear of flying
Her Nonna’s funeral being the catalyst for her father to finally fly
Quitting her career in fashion after 15 years
Spending four months travelling all the Italian regions to eat
Being a London girl and wanting to travel to Italian cities
Learning the dishes in Naples, Rome, Perugia, Florence, Genoa, Milan and Torino
Every single region having vastly different cooking and food
“Italian food does not exist"
Italy only unified in the late 19th century
Being invaded by everyone who left their own traditions
Her most stand-out meal in the old Jewish quarter in Rome
‘Cuccina povra’ poor man’s food using every part of an animal
Tonnerelli a la gricca – pork cheek carbonara
Rome’s four pastas
Lisa’s long lost artichoke restaurant in Rome – can you find it?
‘Slumming it’ in Cuba in Casa Particulares
Loving nothing more than hanging out with the locals
The strong-faced, bleach-haired AirBnB owner who gives the best parties
Neapolitan women being strong and ‘owning the streets’
Lisa and Paola both having a stand out story involving a salsa guy in Trinidad in Cuba
Do Cuba chop people’s hands off?!
How a salsa dancing man is so sexy
Salsa lessons on the rooftop amongst billowing sheets at sunset
Poverty and happiness in Havana
Coming across the aftermath of guerrilla shooting outside Bogota age 14
Having to hide out in a local house
Not being allowed to talk in taxis, wear jewellery or attract attention due to fear of kidnapping
Colombia having dramatically changed
The country being very popular with instragrammers
Colombia being about emeralds, coffee, orchids and the best parties in the world
Working in fashion in New York
The brilliance of Philadelphia – the food scene, the music scene and more
American Italian food being very different to actual Italian food
Italian Americans being extremely proud of their heritage
Fascinated how immigrants choose to embrace or otherwise their home culture
The brilliant press trip with Bookings for You in Mansalto
Paola’s top tips for Italian food in New York
‘Eataly’ Italian food supermarket
Brooklyn’s being more youthful and creative than Manhattan
Eating the most incredible Chinese food in Queens
Lisa going to Harlem for the first time
Paola recommending soul food in Sylvia’s in Harlem
Paola’s Sopranos moment in a mob-style joint in Little Italy
Old school 70s and 80s salsa

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