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Style and good taste are synonymous with Italy. And it doesn’t get any tastier than Italian cooking. Benedict Vanheems reckons it’s time we all nurtured a corner of Italy in our gardens
Courgette ‘Zephyr F1’ has a distinctive look and a slightly nutty taste
Grow chunky beefsteak tomatoes for true Italian flavor
Picture: Jean Weber

We Brits have had a love affair with Italian food for decades. It’s not really any surprise. Italian food relies on ingredients of exceptional provenance. There’s no mucking around here – you don’t need to when you’ve got some of the best ingredients in the world. Italian food is all about simple, honest dishes prepared with patience and love. It’s an attitude more of us could do with adopting if we’re to be happier, healthier folk.

My own love affair with Italian food began on a trip to Rome, where I ate my way around the city, savouring every flavoursome bite. Al dente spaghetti with a rich, almost creamy tomato sauce. Courgette flowers stuffed with cheese and anchovies. Or a satisfying stew loaded with fresh vegetables such as borlotti beans and kale. The Colosseum could wait – mealtimes became the main event!

It’s hard to put a finger on why genuine Italian grub tastes so good, but pure ingredients grown for flavour, above anything else, clearly has a lot to do with it. Fortunately, kitchen gardeners are perfectly placed to do the same. We aren’t limited to what’s merely sold in the supermarket.


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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden ... - Rhubarb for rookies plus A-class asparagus - Win great prizes worth over £2704 - Sow peas for early pickings - 7 slug controls on test - A taste of italy fresh from your garden - Meet the hairy bikers Si & Dave talk veg - Get the most from oriental salads - Grow your own cuppa - Reduce garden plastic