In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of Luisa Ruocco, a British influencer of Italian origin who has captivated audiences worldwide with her culinary explorations. Known on social media as @luisainta, Luisa's passion for food and travel shines through in every post, making her a beloved figure among food enthusiasts.

A Passion for Food and Travel

I didn't choose to be a food influencer," Luisa begins, "you know, food really is my passion. It's a genuine passion that I have. I wake up thinking about what I'm gonna eat for the day, and if I'm gonna have friends over on the weekend, what I'm gonna cook for them."

Her love for food is evident, and it's this genuine enthusiasm that resonates with her followers.

In 2017, Luisa took a sabbatical from her job in finance to embark on a six-month culinary adventure.

I planned a six-month trip that was based around the restaurants I wanted to visit,"

she recalls. What started as a personal journey quickly turned into a social media sensation.

I started taking pictures and videos on my social media because it was actually too much work for me to send individual photos to my friends and family,"

she explains. This decision led to her first ten thousand followers, marking the beginning of her influencer career.

A Return to Tunisia

Luisa's love for travel and food recently brought her back to Tunisia, a country she had visited as a student in her late teens. This time, she was invited by her friends at SAWA Taste of Tunisia, led by Lamia Temimi, with the support of USAID and Nouvelair.

It's a country that's always been on my list, and I thought, what an opportunity! The timing was right, everything worked out perfectly, and I thought, you know what, let me go back and do it properly, let me do it from a food angle."

Luisa shares.

With Lamia as her guide, Luisa embarked on a culinary journey that she describes as "life-changing." One of the highlights was discovering the versatile use of harissa, a staple in Tunisian cuisine.

It surprised me how big of a staple it is in Tunisian culture and how simple it is to make,"

She says. She also learned about the surprising use of couscous as a dessert, a revelation that left her eager to try new recipes at home.

The Rich Culinary Heritage of Tunisia

Tunisia is such a rich land," Luisa marvels, "it has seafronts, inland areas, and a drier desert area. The traditional dishes reflect this diversity, from olive oil from the groves to fresh seafood from the seaside and a variety of spices."

She highlights the blend of cultural influences, from Berber, Arab, Italian, Sicilian, French, to Ottoman, that make Tunisian cuisine a true melting pot.

Sharing Recipes with the World

Luisa is excited to share some of the recipes she discovered in Tunisia with her global audience. 

I'm always very concerned about how easy it's going to be for people making the recipes at home to find the ingredients wherever they are in the world,"

she notes. One of the recipes she plans to share is for Malawai*, a simple yet delicious bread made from semolina, flour, and water.

Touched by Tunisian Hospitality

Reflecting on her experience, Luisa is deeply moved by the hospitality she received in Tunisia.

Our hosts, Lamia and Aslan, treated us like family,"

she says. She also praises the passion and dedication of the local producers she met, from olive oil makers to artisans, who are eager to share their craft with the world.

Luisa's culinary adventure in Tunisia is a testament to her love for food and travel. Her journey is not just about discovering new flavors but also about connecting with people and cultures through their culinary traditions. As she continues to share her experiences and recipes with her followers, Luisa's story inspires others to explore the world, one dish at a time.

 

Highlights of Luisa's Culinary Experience in Tunisia:

  • Discovering the versatile use of harissa in Tunisian cuisine.
  • Learning about the use of couscous as a dessert.
  • Exploring the rich culinary heritage influenced by various cultures.
  • Sharing accessible recipes with her global audience.
  • Experiencing the warm hospitality of the Tunisian people.

Luisa Ruocco's journey is a delicious reminder that food is not just about sustenance but about bringing people together, exploring new cultures, and creating unforgettable memories.