Nonna Italia’s Marmalade

My sweet grandmother, who currently lives near Venice with a large portion of my Italian family, is probably the best cook in the world.

Nonna outside working on a batch of red sauce.

Nonna outside working on a batch of red sauce.

Nonna Italia (yes, Italia is her name) is legendary. She barely went to school and never drove a car, but she is as sharp as a tack, and can cook a meaner lasagna than any Michelin-star chef could. Her, and my insanely energetic Nonno, love my brother and me to death, so it is unfortunate I do not get to see them while in America.

Last time I was with them, I did get to snag a peak out how Nonna Italia works the art of the marmmellata. When my Nonni are not in Venice, they are at our house on the Italian Riviera, close to Cinque Terre, in a small mountain village filled with old Italian folk. That is where my Nonna works her magic, cooking in her small, 2-room house using the freshest local ingredients from the mountains. Her marmmellata (jam) is always made with the in-season fruits she has available. I got there during the albicocche (apricots) season in late summer, so I saw Nonna make a yellow plum and apricot marmalade.

The hills of the Italian Riviera

The hills of the Italian Riviera

Nonna makes so much marmmellata that our houses in Italy, and in America, are overflowing with an array of different marmalades. We have them shipped overseas so we can enjoy the Italian preserved fruits over homemade bread, but we really have too much to eat! Cherry, apple-peach, prune, plum, apricot, orange, mountain berries; you name it and she’ll make it.

Nonna at the stove.

Nonna at the stove.

Vibrant colors from the yellow plums and orange apricots in the marmalade.

Vibrant colors from the yellow plums and orange apricots in the marmalade.

Yellow plums

Yellow plums

PB & J anyone? It's an american classic with an italian twist!

PB & J anyone? It’s an American classic with an Italian twist!

Our house in Virginia is filled with many different jams.

Our house in Virginia is filled with many different jams.

Jams 22Jams 23

My Nonno Carlo, Nonna Italia, and me in front of the Juventus Stadium (my favorite soccer team).

My Nonno Carlo, Nonna Italia, and me in front of the Juventus Stadium (my favorite soccer team).

14 responses on “Nonna Italia’s Marmalade

  1. Love the pictures of your nonni! Some of our Italian relatives live in the Veneto (near Venice) in Portogruaro. Love the regional food. Great to know you’re preserving the cultural and culinary traditions of the region.

    • No way! My relatives live in Portoguaro as well! My father grew up in Portoguaro, and I have aunts, uncles, cousins living there currently. My nonni go back and forth between the Riviera and Portoguaro. How exciting!
      -Ben

      • that’s nice to hear that Portogruaro is known from other!! There is a good chance that we know your relatives Pamela!

  2. My Irish/German grand mother Alice Zabel Leary would visit our small village once a year in the fall and she and my mother would shred cabbages for sauerkraut..then boil it and place in jars with some God-awful smelling vinegar mixture..oh, the house stunk for days! But,Oh,how good the sauerkraut was in January!! Braut and kraut…Heaven!

    • Great memories! Thanks for sharing the story!
      Fortunately, marmalade does not produce a strong and smelly odor. It’s fantastic to watch Grandmas at work in the kitchen, canning good for the winter as in the old days!

  3. Super Nonna Italia….you’re right…we are full all over of her famous Marmellata!!!…so good…now she’s planning to make tangerine’s Marmellata…a new taste!!!…Nonni are here reading this with me and of course they are both so excited…tears on my computer

  4. I love this story my Nana only lived 700 miles from is but she canned everything she grew as well and always sent us home with her creations you brought back many memories thank you boy I wish I had taken so many more photos of family back then as we are not here forever are we.

    Love your photos too I felt as if I was in the kitchen watching her too :)

    Eunice

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