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 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.
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.