This month our Blog of the Month has taken an Italian twist. Introducing Paola from The Tiny Italian.
What inspired you to start your blog?
It was after the closure of my Pop’s Italian delicatessen in south-west London. Due to higher rents and business rates he decided to call it a day which was a very sad day for our family. We had all helped to run it over 20 years. At that point I wanted to hold on to my Italian food heritage, so I started to geek out. I began to read about and cook as much Italian food as possible. I then realised that I could continue the family’s Italian food legacy by sharing recipes on a blog for others to read. It has just grown from there.
Has your content changed much since you started?
Even though it’s still very recipe focused, I have centred my writing on being an Italian food specialist.
I have started to write top 5 lists, such as best Italian delis, pasta restaurants and even tips on how to cook pasta. I have also spent a lot of time travelling around Italy so I write posts on my favourite places to eat or traditional foods I recommend people to try. When it comes to Italian food, I’m your girl!
What have you learned since starting your blog?
Writing was never my forte. My career involved sitting in spreadsheets all day and analytics. However, since starting my blog I have definitely spent a lot more time on writing. Best advice I was ever given is to put my personality into my writing and I’m proud of how my descriptive writing has improved over time.
What has surprised you about blogging?
I have actually been surprised at how positive people respond to my content and do come to me for Italian food advice. Asking for recipes, restaurant or foodie travel tips. I feel like my credibility is building every day and that’s thanks to having my blog. When I started the blog, I never knew that so many people would be reading. For a while I thought it was just my family and friends, haha.
How do you balance blogging and real life?
I have recently given up my 14 year career in merchandising to spend more time on my passion for Italian food. So right now, I am writing more than I have ever have before and the extra time has given me the capability to do more travelling around Italy to widen my knowledge on Italian food and cooking.
What’s the best thing about writing your blog? Best thing- sharing all my Italian food love and getting a positive response from my audience. I love promoting home cooking and the blog I believe is the best platform for me to do that.
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
Start writing all your ideas down and don’t worry about what other people think or what initial traffic you have. I remember at the beginning I would shy away from telling people about it as I thought I would get laughed at or told it was rubbish or fear that no one would find it. However, if you have passion, it will definitely come across and I feel that’s something no one can mimic. No one can be you. So you already have a USP that no one else has.
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
It has, especially in the last year. I have been asked to many Italian food events, including the Italian embassy last year which was great honour. I was asked to work on an incredible consultancy project for a UK Italian restaurant chain. That was an amazing experience. Recently, I threw my first every Pasta Party in collaboration with Italian Bar, Bar Termini promoting the best in Italian food and cocktails, but more importantly bringing people together on a social level which is an important part of the Italian culture and my brand I’m working on collaborating with other people to throw other Pasta Parties so watch this space!
Which have been your most popular posts?
My recipes have been my most popular posts. My recipes are inspired by my love for rustic Italian cooking, but I re-create them for everyday city life. I think sometimes due to demanding jobs in our lives, cooking can appear to be a chore. So I create quick dinners to inspire those to cook at home rather than order a take-out or eat out. Home cooking is so important for self-care and I want to help promote that movement.
And which are your personal favourites?
My personal favourite post is a recent one that I posted. It’s called ‘Puglia – The best foods and dishes to eat’. My family are from there and the regional cooking really inspires the dishes I recreate. I wanted to share my favourite tradition Puglian dishes and food stories so if people go to visit this beautiful region they know what to look out for. It’s a post very close to my heart.
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies100 blog of the month?
I literally squealed when I got the email. I’m so happy. I feel so honoured and I do feel proud that my blog has the recognition to be given such status. It’s been a journey, a lot of hard work, but been incredibly rewarding and hope you guys can continue that journey with me.
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