The spirit of the MEME has been reawakened by Melissa of The Traveler’s Lunchbox who has encouraged bloggers everywhere to compile a list of foods they’ve eaten and would tell others to eat before they head off to the great bakery in the sky.

The following unbelievably talented people tagged me for this one and I thank them profusely: Natalia of From Our Kitchen, Susan of Porcini Chronicles, Rebecca of Eat and JenJen of Milk and Cookies.

(Editorial Note:  In a moment of sheer forgetfulness I neglected to mention that the lovely Mae of the beautiful and elegant Rice and Noodles also tagged me for this MEME. Mae, my sincerest apologies! There’s a platter of Olive Ascolane, Crema Fritta, Prosciutto, Parmigiano, Ravioli di Castagne and Bread with Nutella waiting for you whenever you like!)

Compiling this list was incredibly difficult for me. How can I narrow down all the incredible foods out there to simply a list of five? I finally decided to stop fretting and listed five items that seemed impossible to do without. Of course my actual list probably numbers at least one hundred! But here goes:

  1. Olive Ascolane (Ascolane Olives):  Close to the Adriatic Coast, in the region of Le Marche is the province of Ascoli Piceno. Home to my father’s family, it is like a second home to me. Ascoli Piceno is famous for the large olives grown there known as Ascolane. These beautiful olives are used in a dish that easily qualifies as a family treasure:  Olive Ascolane. The olives are peeled from the pit and then filled with a meat stuffing. Battered and then fried, they are a delicacy beyond compare. Stay tuned. You’ll see them on Cream Puffs in Venice eventually.
  2. Ravioli di Castagne (Chestnut Ravioli):  Another famous dish from Le Marche, these sweet ravioli are prepared especially around Christmas time using local, fresh chestnuts. The finest pasta dough is stuffed with a chestnut puree. The ravioli are then fried and sprinkled with sugar. It is impossible to eat only one. Never fear … you’ll see these on Cream Puffs in Venice as well!
  3. Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano:  If you have never experienced the joy of tasting a silky slice of the world’s best cured ham accompanied by the best cheese ever, go and get some now!
  4. Crema Fritta (Fried Cream):  Another family favourite, this is basically a heart attack on a plate. But so worth it! Crema fritta is a rich, eggy custard that is left to cool (preferably on a marble board) until it’s thick and set. It’s then cut into squares, breaded, fried and sprinkled with sugar. Oh yeah!
  5. Nutella:  I am always amazed at how many people have never tried Nutella! But I can’t think of much that’s better than a fresh piece of bread slathered with this chocolate hazelnut spread.

Now that I’ve shared my list, I am tagging the following food lovers in the hopes that they will share their list with all of us: