by Debbie Pappyn

Why go to an ordinary restaurant if you can taste the real Italian cuisine presented by a proper Mamma at her home? Thanks to the Home Food project every traveller to the land of la dolce vita can now experience a real, Italian evening in the company of a real, Italian famiglia. You can do just like us and pick any location in Italy, whether it is a town or even on the countryside and see if there is a mamma, a cesarina, willing to cook for you. Our Home Food experience is with Leda di Timoteo and her husband in the charming town of Sulmona in the hinterland of Abruzzo. When we booked our evening through the website of Home Food we got an e-mail. “At seven o’clock Leda di Timoteo is expecting you for a four-course dinner at her home.” The only thing we must bring is a big appetite to discover the real Italian cuisine. The fact that our Italian is poor and their English also, doesn’t matter. It’s all about the language of food now.
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The matriarch of the kitchen
The huge, heavy wooden door swings open and Leda, our Cesarina for tonight, is standing in the hallway with a bright smile. She’s a frail appearance with a sleek bobcat hairstyle and of course the obligatory white apron tied around her waist. Her dining room is already set: lace linen, fine crockery, silver cutlery, crystal glasses, ..  Next door there’s the kitchen where Leda is the Cesarina, the matriarch, the empress. Her husband stays wise fully away. Leda’s ricotta cheese ravioli appetizer has cheese from the nearby village of Campo di Giove. These handmade ravioli are lovely delicate squares bathing in a bright red sauce sprinkled with pecorino and finished with basil. Next is the secondi, a delicate lamb simmered for hours in a egg and lemon sauce. A local recipe, what else. Leda, just like all other Cesarine of the Home Food network, cooks only with local products. Just like their mothers and grandmothers did. Food exotism is banned in their kitchen. According to the founder of Home Food, Italian mothers often know more than chefs. The roots, the origins of the Italian cuisine can be found in the family, in the kitchen and in the pots of la mamma.

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The Verdict
A Home Food lunch or dinner, can be very easily booked via the website. First, you have to register for free and then you receive a confirmation of membership. You choose location, date and time and check whether your Cesarina is available or not. Payment is via PayPal. Easy. Home Food will immediately send you a confirmation with all details like address and telephone number of the Cesarina. There are Cesarine all over Italy, from the North to the South with a concentration in the cities. The cost for an evening Home Food is about 40 euros per person, wine included. A steal!


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  • Cuore Abruzzese

    I loved the idea! I’m kicking myself for not having learned about this sooner because I just came back from enchanting Sulmona, spent a lovely vacation there. Did you taste the Pellino confetti too? They’re good!

  • Classe Touriste

    yes the lovely couple gave us a box of Pellino confetti! Loved it! next time when you go back, try it for sure. Happy travels!

  • Sofie

    What a great concept! The pictures look so inviting and I’m sure it beats the hell out of having to search for a decent restaurant!

  • Rafael


    I haven’t been to Italy yet – it is on my future European plans – but I always wanted to try such experience as you described (and pictured). I had three relatives (great-grandmothers) who were italian and always wondered how it would be to eat, live (even though it would for a couple of days) and go around at their own way at their mediterranean-style village (Ravenna was home for one of them).

    I really want to try this kind of travel and your pictures are great to the mood – it adds so much. Congratulations!

    P.S.: is there any way of e-mail subscriptions (feeds), just so I can follow the site everyday? 🙂

    Au revoir,

  • David de Vleeschauwer

    dear Sofie, you definitely have to try it out when in Italy.

  • David de Vleeschauwer

    dear Rafael, Thanks for your positive feedback. About Feeds, I thought these days with facebook and twitter, that Feeds are a bit obsolete? It’s interesting for me to hear your ideas about this.

  • Rafael

    Hi, David,

    On feeds, it is mostly about personal preferences, I guess. I prefer feeds because I can organize them within my webmail folders (i.e: “travel plans”) for a later reading, or when planning a future trip. I do use facebook and twitter, but very sporadically (my last twitter login was about a week ago and facebook login two or three days ago) – and at several workplaces these sites are usually blocked by network admins.

    Facebook and Twitter contents are more suitable for instant news or such, that floats just a few hours before sinking, instead of a personal repository for information. On my “travel plans” webmail folder I store several e-mail feeds I receive from several blogs weekly, so I can do a search for the destination and go to the corresponding article.

    I’m taking in account that it is an usually easy and single step to setup a feed (such as feedburner or WordPress’), because the new posts are automatically sent by e-mail, requiring minimal admin interventions, but if my assumption is wrong, then I should not ask for feeds. 🙂

    Or maybe I’m being an old-school folk… hehe
    Thanks for reading.

    Best regards!

  • ashree

    This is amazing concept. Thanks to you. I really prefer home cook during travel. Anw I like your pictures arraignment, it tells story even with no words.

  • Emily Tankersley

    I will be trying this out the next time I am in Italy. Meraviglioso!

  • Ashlee Blunt

    Love the picts, the concept, and of course Italy. It’s really a good way to spend ur culinary passion. Love the article 🙂

  • Mary Rose Kesser

    Hi there! I’m so glad to have found this blog. I think that the Home Food concept is so unique and an amazing opportunity to meet locals and experience true cuisine of Italy. When dining, do you have the opportunity to help your hosts prepare the meal? Also, does Home Food operate in any other countries, or are there other companies that have similar concepts for other countries?

    A.B. Freeman School of Business

  • Anni

    I like it.Amazing pictures,I am so glad to have found this blog. please share where this is?

  • ddevleeschauwer

    dear Anni, this place is in Sulmona, Italy. We stayed for dinner at the Pelino Family.

  • AirClaim

    What a great way to experience real Italian food! The photographs look great!

  • Travel & Lust

    Brilliant find! What a fantastic family the Pelino must be! We will have to add this to our bucket list as we travel to Italy every year. Thank you for supporting this concept.

  • Travel & Lust

    Brilliant find! What a fantastic family the Pelino must be! We will have to add this to our bucket list as we travel to Italy every year. Thank you for supporting this concept.

  • Marie

    I sure hope that soon I can spend a time to dine with the Pelino Family as well. Every food looks delicious and they seem to be so accommodating as well. Got to include this on my bucket list as well. Thanks!



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