Louisa Loring is the girl behind Il Magazzino – laboratorio di arti varie. Located at Camporsevoli, a medieval castle on the border between Umbria and Lazio, Il Magazzino (meaning “the warehouse”) offers seminars and workshops designed to provide tools on topics such as creative writing, screenwriting, editing and photography. Louisa runs it with her husband, novelist Pietro Grossi.
Louisa, who grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, first came to Florence for her junior year abroad at Smith College. After graduating with a degree in Italian, she moved back to Tuscany and never looked back. She now lives in the Tuscan countryside and visits Florence weekly.
When we asked Louisa about her favorite places to eat in Florence, she mentioned Fuori Porta (in the San Niccolò area), Trattoria del Carmine (San Frediano) and Trattoria Quattro Leoni (located in the Piazza della Passera), well-established restaurants offering the perfect combination of innovative and classic Florentine cuisine.
Louisa’s passion for art and her husband’s expertise as a successful author (Pietro won several awards, including the Premio Campiello Europa, and is a contributor to Vanity Fair) prompted them to open Il Magazzino in 2014. Photographer Lorenzo Bringheli, writer Alessandro Piperno and screenplayer Filippo Bologna are only a few of the artists who collaborated with Il Magazzino.
Although busy with her seven-month-old son, Louisa somehow finds the time to also host events. Living in Italy, in fact, has nourished her interest in food and she occasionally organizes wine tastings for those staying at Camporsevoli. Louisa also makes sure the meals served at the tenuta are made with local ingredients. Her approach to food is simple and traditional. She shared with Foods of Florence her recipe for insalata di carciofi, a salad of artichokes and pecorino that is both fresh and delicious.
Artichoke Salad (Insalata di Carciofi)
Serves 3 – 4
By Louisa Loring
- 4-5 artichokes, cleaned
- 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- fresh pecorino cheese
Clean the artichokes by removing the outer leaves until you reach the center part which tends to be pale yellow in color. Cut about 1/3 off the top of the artichoke to remove the tip of the leaves. With a small pairing knife, remove all the tough, fibrous skin on the stem leading up the base of the artichoke. Next, cut in half and then each half into halves, allowing you to remove the hairy bit in the middle. As you work, please the pieces in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon as to avoid discoloration.
Prepare the salad by drying the artichokes and slicing them as thinly as possible. Arrange the slices on a plate, season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. If you wish, you may want to add a squeeze more of lemon.Finish by shaving the pecorino cheese in large, thin slices over the artichokes using a vegetable peeler.
Before arranging the artichokes on the plate, start with a thin layer of cleaned, baby arugula. This adds a bit of a peppery bite and if nothing else, a lot of color!
written by Gaia