As part our Grazie series we’re taking a closer look at the most exciting artists, designers, chefs and creatives inspired by Italian style. Roberta Castrichella – better known to her followers as Roby Sushi – is a food blogger with an inspiring passion for incredible Italian cuisine. Whether she’s creating delicious desserts, adding her own flavour to traditional recipes or putting together the perfect Pasquetta picnic, Roberta understands that love and creativity are just as important as any ingredient in the kitchen. We caught up with Roberta to talk about Italian elegance, her favourite picnic spots and how to give any recipe a gourmet twist.
Hi Roberta. Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?
Hi there! I’m an Italian food blogger known as Roby Sushi. This may sound hard to believe, but I am an engineer too! Three years ago I decided to follow my passion for cooking and I created my food blog. It was tough at the beginning but my passion for food brought me here today and I’m glad I made that choice.
The secret ingredient to being a good food blogger is a boundless love for food along with a strong desire to discover and get involved in anything that is food related. It’s hard work but it’s worth it! From the basics of cooking to knowing how to use kitchen tools, from selecting ingredients to preparing food and creating detailed table settings - style, innovation and passion combined can make any recipe gourmet. An extensive knowledge of the best restaurants along with the ability to share what I see and experience on social networks complete the profile.
When did you first get into cooking? What do you enjoy about it and what inspires you to continue?
My love and passion for food started when I was still a little girl. I used to spend entire weeks in my grandmother's kitchen watching her cook; that’s how I learned to cook. I learned by observing and mirroring her along with my Mom and my Aunts. At that time, cooking was just second nature for me. I had never thought one day it could have become a full-time activity.
Creativity is what I like and enjoy the most about cooking. When I am in the kitchen I feel like I can create anything. What inspires me to continue is certainly my curiosity about gourmet food. There are so many opportunities and possible routes to explore that anyone can feel inspired, each and every day.
You create and write about beautiful Italian food. What do you think makes Italian food and dining so special?
Italian food is great because of its variety; great raw ingredients and a solid and consolidated process improved over generations. This is what the Italian food culture is all about. Food can say a lot about people and their culture. It defines what they think. It defines what they are! Food is a form of art and Italy has developed it better than anybody else.
You recently helped us celebrate Pasqua with a traditional Pasquetta (Easter Monday) picnic – one of Italy’s most loved celebrations. What makes this celebration so special for you?
I love to celebrate Pasquetta because it is a carefree day to spend with my friends, in the open air, under the sun, chatting, drinking and eating good Italian food.
Tell us about some of your favourite Italian picnic locations.
Italy has a great collection of beautiful and breathtaking spots; to choose one over the other is very hard. Every town, every hill, every spot has unique features, no matter if they are close to the sea, up in the mountains or in the heart of a big city. If I had to choose one then Rome, my home city, is definitely my favourite. I love to have picnics in the beautiful parks of Rome, like Villa Celimontana, Villa Borghese and Villa Ada. Rome is wonderful at sunrise, gorgeous during the day, romantic and sentimental at night and perfect for picnics too.
What food would you include for the perfect Pasquetta picnic?
A perfect Italian Pasquetta picnic must have cold pasta salads, bread, torta pasqualina with artichokes, chocolate eggs, fruit salads and cold beer. Any beverage is welcome but beer is the most common and loved one.
What do you think sets Italian style apart from the rest of the world?
That’s a great question! I believe there are many reasons why Italians are well known around the world. My best guess is that creativity, elegance and style have always characterised the Italian style in food as well as other industries, like fashion or design.