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How Giulia Baldini, an Italian Fashion Journalist, Eats in America

Giulia Baldini

Giulia Baldini is an Italian-Brazilian journalist who was born and raised in Florence, Italy. She is now based in New York City after attending Hofstra University on Long Island, where she studied fashion and journalism. She is currently completing a Master's degree in Africana and African American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx while maintaining the legacy of her first book, Fashion On The Beat: The Melodies and Rhythms in Fashion Journalism (2020), through her brand's online magazine, Fashion On The Beat by The Curly Flower. The site is dedicated to emerging creatives and young journalists interested in covering fashion. We sat down with Giulia to talk about how she, as an Italian, eats in America.

What was your first impression of the food when you moved to America?

At first, I was delighted with American food. This enjoyment only lasted a few months, though. The very first thing that I still enjoy about food in the USA is the variety of cuisines I can be exposed to, something that in Italy you can’t find that much. I’ve been exploring quality Asian, Mexican and Caribbean foods, along with great American Southern cuisine, such as soul food. However, as years passed by, I understood that the NYC culinary scene differs a lot from other cities and towns within the country. There's always something new to find out while traveling within the States.

What's your overall favorite non-Italian food in America?

That’s a hard one. I’d go with pumpkin pie, the ones you get to eat at Thanksgiving. 

Were you surprised by any of the foods, Italian or not, you discovered in America?

Yes! “Pepperoni” pizza. I am still amazed by this name, especially when you have meat as a topping and no “pepperoni” in sight.

On a scale of one to 10, how do you rate Italian food in America?

Seven. I give this grade because when it’s good it’s overpriced, most of the time. There is also not enough variety of Italian recipes in the US because most of the traditional dishes come from the South. Italian cuisine in America doesn’t do enough justice to the plethora of tastes you can experience in Italy.

Are there any Italian products that you wish you could readily get here that you can't?

Schiacciata. I'm from Tuscany, so our bread is made without salt, which I think is so good and healthy. However, schiacciata is oily and salty, and the one from Florence is the best one I could ever ask for. I wish I could have that from time to time instead of the occasional bacon, egg and cheese.

What is your favorite Italian dish to make at home? 

I don’t necessarily love to cook or spend hours in the kitchen. I like to make quick dishes, but only with fresh produce and products, trying to stay as plant-based as possible. However, I enjoy baking. I recently started making some torta della nonna. 

Are there any Italian places where you live that you like to go out to eat?

I currently live in Jersey City. I do love Prato Bakery, which has three spots here in Hudson County. I go there whenever I want to grab something small. In Manhattan, I loved Il Quartino, but unfortunately, they closed their Bleecker St. location and relocated back to Italy. Right now, I'm a fan of Ribalta and San Matteo Pizzeria. 

Any place you haven’t tried yet but want to go?

La Pecora Bianca and I Sodi intrigue me. 

Is there a kind of cuisine, other than Italian, that you might go out for?

Brazilian, which reflects half of my heritage and roots. It's like having my mom and her side of the family close by. I also love Thai and Indian food.

Let’s get back to Italian food. The next time you go back to Italy, where's the first place you're going to go eat?

Da mio babbo! Seriously, my dad's conchiglioni ripieniare are the best ones you could ever have!

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