The Beautiful Life, Italian Style

JAN the Journal Volume 12

For Volume 12 of JAN Journal, Jan Hendrik invites readers to join him on a personal journey across Italy, soaking up Italians’ love for life and relishing the art form that is Italian cuisine as he criss-crosses the country.

When we travel, we open ourselves up to the experiences of others, mirrored through our own unique perspectives. The greatest thrill of exploring life outside our own is that – for as little as a moment or as long as a lifetime – we find ourselves changed. And these are the experiences that are captured on the 256 pages of our six-year anniversary issue.

This is by no means a definitive guide to Italy – it is a record of Jan Hendrik’s deeply personal experience of the country as he picnicked in orchards, bought basketfuls of citrus from locals selling this cornerstone of Italian cuisine on the roadside, whizzed from city to city on a high-speed train, and bumped along lesser-travelled roads, discovering whitewashed villages – like Ostuni – perched on hilltops where they have stood for centuries, stoic guardians of ancient traditions and colourful legends. The pages of this Journal pay homage to Italy as Jan Hendrik experienced it, with limited time and a whole lot of curiosity.

Being Italian is a state of being, and each of the five chapters of Volume 12 celebrates a unique aspect of Italian life, linked to their love affair with simple ingredients lovingly conjured into unforgettable antipasti, primi, secondi and dolce in Italian homes in the countryside, villages and cities of this bountiful land. From citrus, seafood, tripe and Parma to pasta, pizza and gelato – Volume 12 deep dives into the Italian art of cooking and gathering to eat around a communal table, where every dish is savoured alongside the table’s company.

Jan Hendrik’s journey – and this issue of JAN Journal – takes readers to several destinations, each unique with their own special drawcards. We start in Emilia Romagna – the home of Parmigiana Reggiano – where Jan Hendrik visited the famed Salumi Antica Corte Pallavicina, a family-owned salumi producer on the banks of the Po River, established in 1882. The stopover was a window not only into the time-honoured curing traditions of Parma, but into the lives of those who have inherited their skill from their ancestors, and who are passing those techniques on to new generations.

Jan Hendrik then headed south through Positano and on to Florence, where he got to meet up with fellow South African Stef-Albert Bothma – famous for his opulent interiors. Stef-Albert opened his doors – and his heart – to share his gloriously decorated Florence home with the Journal, where every detail is thoughtfully considered and captures the essence of Italian décor. In Rome Jan Hendrik hopped on board the Frecciabianca, a high-speed train that connects the capital with Naples, where he explored the city’s cuisine (mostly the pizza) before crossing over the ankle of Italy to the hillsides of Puglia, to walk the streets, capture the views, and explore the markets of the White City, Ostuni.

It is impossible to visit Italy without being inspired to try and recapture your memories in the kitchen. After returning to Nice, Jan Hendrik did just this and Volume 12 has more than 50 recipes inspired by Italian classics and the country’s favourite ingredients for readers to recreate at home so that they can experience something of the magic Jan Hendrik enjoyed on his travels.

Italy is a rich, nuanced, not-so-nuanced, crazy and beautiful country and Volume 12 aims to capture that. The pages of the Journal are filled with recipes, stories and photographs that strive to bring to life the changing rhythm of this dynamic country as you travel form the north to the south, inviting readers to share in life’s simple pleasures, and inspiring them to live life beautifully, the Italian way.

Building on the Italian spirit of la dolce vita, Volume 12 also comes with a special Holiday Entertaining guide that helps you celebrate the good life in style. Whether you are planning a bubbly party, hosting Christmas lunch, having friends around to celebrate with cocktails, or pulling out all the party stops to see in the new year, we share hosting, catering and décor tips to elevate your special soiree – as well as the perfect wine to serve your guests.

For Volume 12 we continue our new tradition of placing food front and centre of this quality culinary publication, with a bold and beautiful cover image that emphasises everything that JAN Journal celebrates – quality, innovation and authenticity. And what better way to set off on our journey through Italy than with a delicate selection of Italian-inspired antipasti as our cover image. In Italian cuisine, gatherings of good friends, long lazy lunches, and great nights out all start with antipasti, a selection of appetisers to tease the palate. It’s a fitting way to start our Journal journey.