Giulia Scarpaleggia, creator of Jul’s kitchen is a food writer and food photographer from Tuscany. She loves everything that revolves around food: products, memories and tales. Her husband, Tommaso Galli, is the official taster. He deals with photography, podcast, video, and social media. They were both born and raised in Tuscany: Tommaso grew up near Florence, while Giulia grew up in the countryside of Siena. Now, they both call home a corner of the world in Val d’Elsa’s hills. Their blog is Jul’s Kitchen.
Here is our interview.
WHAT CAME FIRST, YOUR PASSION FOR COOKING OR WRITING?
I have always loved cooking since I was only a child. My love for food has always been innate, the background of every moment of my life. Indeed, the awareness of this love is more recent: it happened when I was around twenty years old. Cooking turned from a hobby into my natural way of expressing myself. At parties you could find me in the kitchen, at family reunions you could find me cooking… I used to feel good while cooking and I made others feel good too. My passion for writing and food photography came later, especially after I created my blog.
HOW, WHEN AND WHY WAS JUL’S KITCHEN BORN?
I created my blog just for fun in 2009 and that made me open my eyes on what my real passion was. For the first time in my life, I was not afraid of committing to something, of dedicating myself completely to something. Then I realized cooking could be something more than I had thought. In January 2012 I turned my passion into my job: at first, I worked as a freelance food writer and then, from 2017 I have been working with my husband, Tommaso, with whom I’ve founded a company.
Now Jul’s Kitchen has become our common life project. We deal with cooking courses, meetings, cookbooks, recipes and photography, video and podcast: everything revolves around our love for food, cooked and shared. This is our job, which we bet on our future every morning.
WHY DID YOU START WRITING IN ENGLISH TOO?
At the beginning, our blog was only in Italian. There were (and still are) recipes of spring rolls and muffins. Then, many foreign friends of mine began asking me for Tuscan recipes. That’s when I started writing in English too.
English has now become the language we prefer to use to communicate online also on our socials, because it’s an international language and allows us to reach a larger amount of people. As well as for our podcast, we chose to do it in English because it is without any doubt an international language.
WHERE ARE YOU TODAY? WHAT ARE JUL’S KITCHEN’S NUMBERS?
To date it is one of the few Italian blogs to be held in a double language, and during the past years we have received many awards, from Corriere della Sera to Saveur Magazine. In 2019 we won the award “Best Food Culture Blog” from Saveur Magazine.
Over the years we have managed to create a very active community which renews everyday its trust in our recipes, making them in a couple of days since we have published them. Once the pandemic is over, we look forward to welcoming back people from all around the world to our studio to attend a cooking course.
To celebrate the ten-years anniversary of our blog, in 2019 we started our podcast, “Cooking with an Italian accent”, the first podcast about Italian cuisine to be done in English from Italy, which has now reached more than 90.000 views. In 2020 our blog has reached more than 2.200.000 views, with an increase of 40% of views of the English posts alone, and over 1 million users. Who said blogs are dead?!
For 2021, publishing a cookbook with an American editor is a dream come true and a compensation for the effort and the perseverance we have put in our job over the years.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TELLING ITALIAN CUISINE ABROAD?
It often means looking from a different point of view at what you see every day. One thing I have learnt during the past years about my relationship with foreign countries is that we, Italians, sometimes take for granted the wonders we have around us every day.
Telling Italian cuisine abroad means always challenging yourself because one ingredient, a cut of meat, a process could not be as simple as it seems.
We are lucky to have a strong gastronomic culture widespread homogeneously all around our country. The nice thing about going to the market is being able to buy from Tuscan pecorino to buffalo mozzarella from Campania, to nduja from Calabria.
WHICH ARE THE MOST CLICKED RECIPES IN ITALY AND ABROAD?
In Italy, the most viewed recipe is ricotta ravioli (the recipes of our wedding), stuffed turkey breast and castagnaccio. Abroad, the absolute queen is parmigiana di melanzane (my grandmother’s recipe), apple pie with oil and ricciarelli, typical in Siena.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS?
In 2021 we will be working on our sixth cookbook, published with Artisan Books, an American publisher, which will be released in English all around the world. We will take care of the whole creative process, from making the recipes, to writing and photography. We look forward to having it finished in our hands!
IN CONCLUSION, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DISH AND MATCHING WINE?
Pappa al pomodoro. One cooking course after another, summer by summer, I have created my own version, which is halfway from Florence and Siena, like me, like Val d’Elsa. My biggest accomplishment has been when my grandmother tasted it. Later she told me I had finally learnt how to make it well, and that was her favourite version ever.
About wine, I would choose a red one from Tenuta Mensanello, our neighbours, but also a rose wine that spreads freshness if we eat pappa al pomodoro in summer.