Program 345: Italy's Decadent Desserts; Respecting the Pasta; Food Markets of Paris

Release Date: 11-16-2013

On Air Description

On the next Travel with Rick Steves, we'll hear more reasons why Italy and France are home to some of the best food on earth.  Italian food expert Fred Plotkin delves into the local dessert specialties of Italy, and tells us where you can find the best gelato in the entire country.  A guide from Sicily advises us how not to upset the "food police" when eating your pasta.  And we'll get an overview of the dozens of neighborhood food markets you can shop at in Paris.

You get to eat dessert first, on this week's Travel with Rick Steves. 


  • Fred Plotkin, author of "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler"   (Kyle Cathie Ltd. Publishers)
  • Tour guide Alfio Di Mauro, based in Sicily
  • Marjorie R. Williams. co-author of "Markets of Paris (second edition)" (The Little Bookroom)

Related Links

  • Fred Plotkin's guide to regional food specialties in Italy is called "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler" and covers the food you can encounter in 504 towns in Italy. The sixth edition of the book is scheduled to be released by March 2014, and will include an e-book version with video entries from Fred. 
  • Fred says his favorite city in all of Italy for eating is Siracusa, on Sicily.  He recommends the gelato in nearby Noto as the best in the world.   For baked goods, he recommends Trieste, in the northeast corner of Italy.
  • Fred recommends "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field for making authentic Italian recipes at home.   
  • There’s an interview with Alfio Di Mauro in the tour section of our website.
  • The guide "Markets of Paris" is co-authored by Dixon Long and Marjorie R. Williams, and published by The Little Bookroom.
  • Marjorie R Williams has regularly-updated blog entries about markets in Paris.
  • Wikipedia has an interactive map of the arrondissements of Paris
  • The rue Mouffetard open air food market in Paris is discussed on Trip Advisor. 

Incidental Music

  • Soul 'n Soda, "Mokkascience," Nikki Beach vol. 1 (collection) / Loungism Recordings
  • Cincinnati Pops, Paul Patterson, mandolin, Erich Kunzel, cond., "'Allegro' from 'Mandolin Concerto' (Vivaldi)," Bella Tuscany (collection) / Telarc
  • Felix Slatkin, "I Get a Kick Out of You," Cocktail Mix vol. 1:  A Bachelor's Guide to the Galaxy (collection) / Rhino
  • * Xavier Cugat, "La Dolce Vita," Most Popular Movie Hits as Styled by Cugat / Mercury 
  • Angelo Petisi, "Santa Lucia," Sunny Mandolins Italia  / Caravage
  • I Solisti Veneti, "'Andante' from 'Concerto for Two Mandolins and Viola' (Giuliani)," Relax with the Classics vol. 4 (collection)  / LIND Institute
  • Angel Romero, "'Siciliana' from 'Ancient Airs and Dances , Suite No. 3'  (Respighi)," Bella Tuscany (collection) / Telarc
  • Unspecified musicians from a Sicilian folk festival, "Zumba Bimba," World Music:  Sicilian Folk Festival / Valmark
  • John Zorn, "The Sicilian Clan," Naked City / Nonesuch
  • Massimo Faraó Trio, "Viva la mamma," Viva La Mamma (vari artisti) / Blue music  (Italy)
  • * George Winston, "Joy," December / Windham Hill
  • Ralph Rousseau, Matangi String Quartet, and Hein Van de Geyn, "Sur le ciel de Paris," Chansons d’amour / Challenge Classics
  • Tony Murena, "Indifference," Paris Musette (collection) / Soldore (France)
  • Jacques Tati (F Barcellini), "'Super Market' from the film 'Play Time,'" The Films of Jacques Tati / PolyGram (France)
  • Duran Y Garcia,  "Round Midnight," The Finest Electro-Jazz Compilation (collection) / Wagram (France)
  • Master Musicians of Jajouka, featuring Bachir Attar, "Jajouka Between the Mountain," Apocalypse Across the Sky / Axiom
  • Hector Zazou, "First Evening," Sahara Blue / Tristar Music
  • Henry Mancini, "Something For Cat," Cocktail Mix, vol. 3 (collection) / Rhino

Dated References

  • The food theme of this week's show makes it appropriate for airing just prior to the American Thanksgiving holiday.
  • At 13:12, Fred discusses a dessert that used to be "an Easter cake" in Naples, called pastiera. 
  • Around 23:40 Fred describes frustingolo (aka "frustingo") as another example of a dessert that used to only be served at Christmas, but it now available year-round. 

Haiku Awards

Stuck in Marrakesh

Open the unknown tangine

Eat uncertainty.

Diana Turner, New Orleans  


Red volcanic rocks

Heat ham and cheese sandwiches,

Snowy crater shines

Matt Harmon, Charleston, West Virginia


A jumble of arms

At a circular table.

Grandma wants the head!


Beyond the surface,

See what we long to see - our

Own moveable feast.

Jenny Bright, Greenville, Wisconsin