Summary of DANCE, OPERA, MUSICAL THEATER articles by Cesare Zucca

Ravel Project is a triptych structured tribute to the always fascinating music of Maurice Ravel .A new production by Jas Art Ballet ensemble, founded and directed by principal Andrea Volpintesta and the international prima ballerina Sabrina Brazzo a prima ballerina at  in Milan who performed on the most famous stages in the world such as Milan La Scala, Paris Opera, London Covent Garden, Moscow Bolshoi and NY Metropolitan, .
The show starts with
Piano where three couples alternate on a suggestive piano composition played by Stefano Salvatori. La Valse by Giorgio Azzone the research by many young people searching for a dark new world of alcohol and drugs. Loving and hating each other. The piece reminded me some intense duel scenes from West Side Story The metaphysical landscapes of Giorgio De Chirico are the inspiration for the final ballet Bolero where the original composition has been revisited by the choreography among the musical arrangements by Massimo Margaria, In a breathless run, the faceless dancers seem to struggle in a ritual of love dialogue, and contact.
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Thursday, December 10th. It will be an amazing night for opera lovers.
It will happen in one of The Space Cinema, a  great chain of movie theaters                      all over the Italian territory, hosting two long waited live performances                                 from London Royal Opera House. I am talking off Mascani’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, two short works, each recognized as the masterpiece of its composer, are presented together in a new production of the award-winning Damiano Michieletto. Exaggerated and cheeky, tender and inventive, energetic and ironic: 40 years old Michieletto is considered the richest talent of Italian directors, who come and go between lyrical and dramatic theater.The two masterpieces, set up as Sergio Leone westerns, will reveal their western soul…
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Diaghilev, Nijinsky, Massine, Pina Bausch, Martha Graham, Kenneth MacMillan, Maurice Béjart, Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliev those are just few names of extraordinary choreographers who were enchanted by Igor Stravinskij’s The Rite of Spring, the legend where in spring a virgin was sacrificed to propitiate the benefit of the gods with primitive rituals celebrating the advent of spring,with a unique score that contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, rhythm, stress and dissonance. that attack and conquer every listener.
Hungarian choreographer Marinel Stefanescu staged it in 1986 with a show at the Valli Theater in Reggio Emilia,  It was a great success and was requested in many Italian theaters and for several tours abroad. Last night, the Teatro Manzoni di Milano hosted Liliana Cosi and Marinel Stefanescu‘s company Nuovo Balletto Classico, featuring Dorian Grori and Rezart Stafa, a strong couple of male principals, while Elena Casolar and Michela Mazzoni seamed  to me to be less stable on their movements. I have to mention the energetic and convincing ensemble of 25 young talented dancers.
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Put together the “Swan Song ” a vaudeville by Chekhov about an old actor in a
theatre after the lights go out, the eternal music of Tchaikovsky, the genially irreverent choreography and direction by Fabrizio Monteverde and a bunch of older, aching, curved dancers who want to live one more time the tragic love story of Prince Siegfried and Odette/Odile. The result is an amazing new version of one of the most celebrated ballet in the history The Swan Lake, this time retitled Il Lago dei Cigni ovvero il Canto.
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Here it comes again. The magic world of Mummenschanz hypnotizes one more time.
The group of four mimes debuted last night at Teatro Carcano in Milan, Italy.
Despite some technical issues, the show captured the audience, as usual.
The performance started with two huge hands…
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What a (sweet) journey…

Let me take you to Venice to taste the traditional cake Veneziana. It’s delicately soft on the palate and it’s delicious for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. It’s a mixture made of milk, eggs, flour and butter, topped with sugar and almonds.
Loison created two
new tentalizing Veneziana one with chocolate and spices, the other with apricot and spices.
From the Madagascar Vanilla (Slow Food Presidium) to the prized mix of Lampong Black Pepper (Indonesia), Timut (Nepal) and Jamaica, from the Asian turmeric to the South American Tonka beans, with an eye to Cuban and Venezuelan cocoa
Tw
o new delicacies that seem to pay homage to the Serenissima Republic, for seven centuries a crossroads of peoples, cultures and flavors.
The amazing packaging, signed “Sonia Design” showing off images of the lagoon atmosphere, of magnificent traditions and magnificent architecture, taken from ancient postcards kept at the Loison Museum.
The two veneziana will be previewed at Vinitaly, in Verona from April 15th to 18th,
at Area C Sol Agrifood stand A10.
A tasty opportunity to celebrate the 80-year anniversary
of Loison’s sweet journey.

 

 

Valle dei Cavalieri, please ADOPT ME…

 

 

 

 

Today I take you to Succiso, a small village of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines that has attracted Japanese, American, Swiss, Burmese, Canadian and Korean researchers who aim to climb the hairpin bends immersed in the nature of Emilia Romagna. I discovered the COOP VALLE DEI CAVALIERI  that runs a bar, a grocery store with locals products, the visit center of the Park, an efficient restaurant, with annexed six rooms with bathroom, and ultimately also a center well-being, extra service both for guests and for occasional tourists and hikers. The farm also offers hospitality, genuine homemade food, locally produced sheep cheese, and porcini mushrooms. The restaurant offers “Menu Kilometro 0″, guaranteeing quality and freshness and recovering and enhancing the agro-food and gastronomic heritage of the National Park. The Park project aims to encourage local and traditional agro-food supply chains, bring producers and consumers closer together, and encourage forms of tourism related to the excellence of the territory.
The products of our farm range from lamb to castrato, from Pecorino cheese to cured meats, from homemade tortelli to pizza bread and homemade desserts.
Main agricultural activity of the Cooperative which consists in breeding of Sardinian sheep. E ‘started with about 20 items bought at the time by a Sardinian shepherd who moved to the lower Reggiana and currently has 200 heads of which 160 milking; the breeding is of sedentary type and mainly dedicated to the production of milk. With the 200 garments currently present in the company, the Cooperative produces in the mini-owned dairy about 50 quintals of “Pecorino dell’Appennino Reggiano” cheese according to a certified specification.
In order to reach this number of garments, genetic selection has been neglected over the years. Today it is indispensable to have a minimum milk production from each garment so that the economic return is balanced and we can continue with this difficult (at least for the areas in question) activities. Therefore, a “restructuring” of the flock is essential. What is the goal to achieve? to purchase a ram of genetic improver for the new breed of Sardinian breed and 20 “Lacoune” sheep with a ram.With your free offer, you can contribute to achieve this important goal and support this Community Cooperative which is a virtuous example of how the responses of the community, also supported by local authorities, create services and overcome inefficiencies, generating economic and employment value not negligible within the same community.
So …. adopt a sheep!
Here info
http://www.valledeicavalieri.it/

3 TIMES MAURICE. Ravel music pulses on stage.

Ravel Project is a triptych structured tribute to the always fascinating music of Maurice Ravel .A new production by Jas Art Ballet ensemble, founded and directed by principal Andrea Volpintesta and the international prima ballerina Sabrina Brazzo a prima ballerina at  in Milan who performed on the most famous stages in the world such as Milan La Scala, Paris Opera, London Covent Garden, Moscow Bolshoi and NY Metropolitan, .
The show starts with
Piano where three couples alternate on a suggestive piano composition played by Stefano Salvatori. La Valse by Giorgio Azzone the research by many young people searching for a dark new world of alcohol and drugs. Loving and hating each other. The piece reminded me some intense duel scenes from West Side Story The metaphysical landscapes of Giorgio De Chirico are the inspiration for the final ballet Bolero where the original composition has been revisited by the choreography among the musical arrangements by Massimo Margaria, In a breathless run, the faceless dancers seem to struggle in a ritual of love dialogue, and contact.

 

 



Royal Highnesses at your table. Since 1467, a story that continues.

Today I take you to Tenuta Carretta one of the most historic Italian wineries, founded back in 1467 and located in the Roero area, in the South of Piedmont Region, Italy .The property’s vineyards also extend close to the Langhe, such as 2.6 hectares in Barolo on the prestigious Cannubi hill, from which the nebbiolo grapes destined for the production of the celebrated Barolo Cannubi, a wine of grand character, elegance and longevity.Thanks to the vines’ exposure to sun and to the particular microclimate, it is a wine of grand character, elegance and longevity, thanks to the exposure to sun and to the particular climate.

 

Not to mention the iconic 2010 Barolo Cannubi Riserve 100% nebbiolo grapes , with a  minimum refinement of 60 months, of which at least 36 in barrel and 18 in bottle. Enjoy its scent of roses, citrus notes, cacao and spices.

 

 

Yes, Tenuta Carretta is preparing to showcase their wines in the industry’s biggest fairs in Verona, Italy called Vinitaly,  the largest Italian wine show hosting the best winemaking all over Italy
Verona, April 15-18, 2018  at Pavillion 10, Stand R4

Tenuta Carretta is a splendid winery that sets the stage of an amphitheatre of unique and evocative vineyards. They make up a part of the touristic ‘wine mosaic’ through which visitors can follow a guided trail through the vineyards Guided visits to the winery, the elegant Charme Hotel and a welcoming Enoteca – Wine Shop, make up the rest of the mosaic.I saved the best for last…
Two high-end restaurants where your dishes will take to meet  the royalties of the territory: the tartufo bianco di Alba ( Alba’s white truffle) and the porcini.

 

 

 

 

Did I made you eager for all that?
Well, here how to make a reservation to this  Paradise…

 

A ‘NICE AND EASY‘ INTERVIEW WITH CHEF CHRISTOS ATHANASIADIS

A ‘NICE AND EASY‘ INTERVIEW WITH CHEF CHRISTOS ATHANASIADIS
by Cesare Zucca

Where do you find inspiration to create a dish?
I look at the nature around me. I observe at the seasons, I look at what grows out of the soil, the characteristics of a place, is there a sea, is there a mountain at the area? In general, I look at what nature has given me and take those natural and local resources and create something new.
What convinced you to become a chef?
My grandmother had a big impact on me and influenced much my decision. She passed me on her love for food and the idea of being authentic, all of which helped me find my talent as a chef from a young age.
How do you express your personality in the kitchen?
I have to say I’m strict but very tolerant to mistakes as I believe that we learn the most out of our mistakes. Most of all I try to inspire my fellow chefs to love the kitchen environment even more through the position of a leader and not a manager. Is there a food you love only if cooked by another? Ravioli with anthotyros cheese dipped in butter that my grandmother used to make.
How relevant is the greekness in your dishes?
Hugely relevant.
All of my dishes and all I create spring up from the greekness that had been developed since the day I was born and have intimately within me.

What or Who inspires you? Why?
I get inspired by geometry, shapes, clean lines and colours. If I had to name someone I would say Thomas Keller because his dishes are very constructed, because of his creativity and the way he converts a food scene through his unique “plasticity” and last but now least I really like his personality.

 

 

 

Connery, Monroe, Elvis…Nice n Easy menu has often stars names. Why?
Because the creativity element that stands out within the nice n’ easy restaurants is authenticity. We believe that the old era of Hollywood is one of the most authentic ones in the history of arts. We’ve tried to find elements that each Hollywood star liked and combined those with our plates.

Eros and food, a proven combination.
Your aphrodisiac dish?
Ganache with back chocolate and chilly.
A food we will always find in your fridge and one that we will never find.
You will always find basil because I really love and use it frequently in many of my dishes. You will never find coriander as I’m allergic to it.

You are the guest of honor in the Mater Chef Grand Finale. What would you do to impress the audience?
I would be myself. You can only impress by being the authentic you.
On your chef’s life, any curious episode?
300 pieces of wedding cake that were completely destroyed by the truck that was transporting them to the location and we had to make up for it within only one hour. We did it!
Open the drawer and tell us your dream.
To end up, after a long journey, to my beginnings; in a small restaurant by the sea in a beautiful island with only 5 tables. I want to serve people feet naked, go fishing in front of the restaurant and to live the everyday sun along with the authenticity of the location.

 

They were 30. They became 9. Yesterday only 1 ….

They were 30. They became 9. Yesterday only 1 ….
Hey, this is not an Agatha Christie novel….It’s what happened between
nine chefs who made it to the final culinary competition UPVIVIUM , hosted by ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine in Colorno (Parma).
A large passionate audience and two juries, a technique and one of the press (including myself) attended to a bonanza of dishes, all inspired to the convivial table concept, where a main dish can be combined to a variety of different sides.


Bettolino di Foce di Comacchio  from UNESCO Po Delta Biosphere Reserve won the first place,“It’s a very strong emotion for us – said a visibly moved Alessandra Margherita Verduci, head of Bettolino di Foce – Surely this victory fills me with pride and makes me feel even stronger the sense of belonging to my territory that I love and that I live all the days. Our restaurant has been converted into an old ‘casone’ that was part of the Foce Fishing Station. Our philosophy is that of “you eat what you fished” accompanying simple recipes to products such as Comacchio salt, salicornia, an herb harvested here, pumpkin and our own radicchio ,Winning this edition of the UPVIVIUM contest makes us happy for the suggested  theme the convivial table. wich reminds me of my childhood, when my grandmother put everything on the table, not that much, but always a great joy. 

 

The second went to my favorite, Agriturismo Montagna Verde di Apella (Licciana Nardi – Massa Carrara) in the Biosphere of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, which also won the ‘Premio Stampa’,Great emotion also for the Montagna verde Maffei’s Team  the young chef Luca won two awards, ‘I dedicate this award to the passion, the strong bond with our land and the rediscovery of ancient traditions’ says Luca“.The flavors of Lunigiana are those that go to make up the convivial table presented by the Agriturismo Montagna Verde. The central element is chestnut polenta which for centuries has been the base of the rural Apennine family. To realize it the Maffei use their production D.O.P. high quality, distributed under the Azienda Agricola Borgo Antico brand of Maffei Barbara. The other ingredients are the home made honey and the rabbit of the farm, La Valle di Fivizzano, the sheep ricotta (excellent!) Boschetti Giancarlo di Tavernelle, the Moro’s beer of Pontremoli and China Clementi of Fivizzano, used to make a reduction.

Third place for the “Fèsta granda” by Don Pedro Restaurant in Ponte Arche, Comano Terme (Trento) in the Alpi Ledrensi and Judicaria Biosphere Reserve.

 

 

I was a part of the invited press, and I have to say that we all were left with the tipicaly Italian expression ‘acquolina in bocca(mouth-watering) since we had no chance to taste the dishes….just watch and smell..

Well , looks and scents were amazing tho,,,
Enough to make me happy !

 


 

When the art of restoration shines up the beauty of the art

The Sale delle Arti located in the magnificent Reggia di Venaria in Turin, Italy, is hosting the exhibition LA FRAGILITA’ DELLA BELLEZZA (The fragility of beauty) that covers almost 40 centuries with  212 restored masterpieces including Titian, Van Dyck, Morandi, Burri and Twombly.

The exhibition itinerary is organized according to a chronological / thematic logic that focuses on the fragility of our heritage.and ends significantly with a room dedicated to works damaged by the earthquake.

 

 

You will be able to see the frescoes of the Tomb of Henib, from the Egyptian Museum of Turin; the precious Head of Basel, from the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria; the Portrait of Caterina Balbi Durazzo
by Anton Van Dyck, from the Royal Palace of Genoa,  St. Jerome of Tiziano, from the Pinacoteca di Brera, to 17th century painted Harpsichord, from the National Musical Instruments Museum. Rome.

Several informative meetings on the restoration and a series of educational workshops will be organized by the Educational Services of La Venaria Reale and the Conservation and Restoration Center.

 

 

 



Sale delle Arti, Reggia di Venaria, Turin.
F
rom March 28th till September 16th, 2018

To know more about this majestic exhibit click here

 

 

 

 


THE COLOMBA, EASTER SWEET TRIBUTE TO PEACE

 Colomba di Pasqua is a traditional Italian Easter yeast bread. It is shaped like a dove (colomba in Italian), the symbol of peace and resurrection. The birth of the colomba dates back to the year 572, when King Alboin, after three years of siege, captured the town of Pavia in northern Italy on Easter Eve. Evading the guards, an old baker was able to reach the king and offer a dove-shaped leavened bread. “Alboin,” he said, “I offer this symbol, as a tribute to peace, on Easter day.” The sweet scent and the convincing message persuaded the king to give a promise of peace. That’s the legend.The dove we know today has a more recent origin and, I should say, a more prosaic version of the history. In the early 1930s the Milanese company Motta specialized in panettone, a cake produced only for Christmas. Unhappy to have their machinery unused for many months, Motta decided to package a similar product to be sold during the Easter holidays.
The shape of the sweet dove was a choice dictated not only by symbolism, but also to welcome the arrival of the spring. The new cake was (and still is) a huge success. It is typically soft, fragrant outside and moist inside, naturally leavened for a whole night, then filled with a mixture of flour, sugar, eggs and candied orange. After a long rest, the dough is portioned in different sizes for an additional four hours of leavening, then covered with almonds, sugar and amaretto. Since its birth, the colomba was enriched by many variations and a variety of different icings and fillings.

After baking, it must rest at least seven hours before it is finally packaged.

 

So many colombe
From Loison to Fraccaro to all those of the Regina Colomba event, held in Milan a few days before Easter. I would like to mention the very young pastry chefs of Alma, the celebrated  International School of Italian Cuisine in Colorno, near Parma, where I discovered and tasted their very soft creation: the colomba with chocolate and black cherry flakes. Pleasantly  soft and spongy and intensely fragrant.
A sweet message of peace.

90′ RAPIDA. A new FUTURISM brings the fastest cooking pasta in the world.

Italy,1909. The ‘futurismo’ artistic movement is born!!
Industrial, energetic, creative, daring, combative, controversial and ..super fast! Launched by the Filippo Marinetti’s tribe of innovative artists as a tribute to modernity, speed, violence, war, and the machine. Painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, poetry, fashion, cinema, music, theater, dance, typography and interior design and food! avantgarde, innovation, revolution, rebellion.. those guys were real punks of the era! To celebrate the rhythm of futurism, Rustichella d’Abruzzo created the amazing “C” shaped 90′ Rapida Spaghetti that connects the futurist concept of speed with that of a ready-made pasta in the shortest cooking time: only 90 seconds to boil and they are ready to be served with your favorite sauce. This revolutionary ‘speed in cooking pasta’  ( not a not a precooked product) reduces usage of gas, electricity and water, is  highly digestible, rich in perfume and flavour  of weat.Rustichella draws its origins from the ancient pasta factory Gaetano Sergiacomo, founded in 1924 in Penne, Italy and uses only the best durum wheat semolina selected, with a higher gluten content, mixed with pure mountain water to give a unique flavor and tenacity to its pasta, now available in more than 70 countries worldwide.
luckily I was invited to aFuturistic Dinner’ by lovely Rustichella owner Maria Stefania Peduzzi who entertained her guests with an amazing ‘one of a kind culinary experience’ inspired to the artistic movement. The futuristic dinner took place at RED la Feltrinelli , located i the trendy area Isola, in Milan. Chefs Zonfa, Martin Sirmais, Cristian Di Tillio and Giuseppe di Mauro created a daring menu that started with a colorful dish of  finger food featuring the famous PolloFiat, followed by spaghetti 90 “Rapida, Paccherini with fruit and a variety of desserts. All served with futuristic poetry and music thanks to the actress Franca Minnucci who and Vincenzo Di Nicolantonio’s Work Music in Project.


 


 

 
 

 

A CLOSER LOOK AT ROMAGNA…UNIQUE WINES WORTH THE TRIP

By Philip Sinsheimer
Photos by Philip Sinsheimer, Cesare Zucca

Cesare Zucca already related our fabulous trip to Romagna last June with its various highlights, where the warmth of the people rivaled the heat of the constant sun.
Today, the “vino-Phil” that I am will focus on the unsung grace of the wines of this region, overshadowed by Emilia, its twin sister to the West, which rolls on the fame of products as famous as Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico de Modena, Mortadella di Bologna and, for the wines, Lambrusco.

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of it, as it seems to be exported pretty much everywhere. Quite an achievement for a rather peculiar red wine, both fizzy and often sweet. Clearly, not the best bottles are exported… I still need to sip a Lambrusco that I would actually want to drink.Regardless of quality, Lambrusco has acquired fame. But, can you tell me anything about wines from Romagna? Sorry? I can’t hear you… Well, my guess is: not so much. At least, that was my case before discovering this region with my own eyes and mouth! Before, I knew it only for the famous beach town of Rimini (birthplace of Federico Fellini and of beach umbrellas according to some, and the historic city of Ravenna, which served as the capital of the Western Roman Empire (from 402 to 476). But wines, no, “I was dry”, as we say in French, not a clue as to what to expect…
I didn’t have to wait long to be initiated. As soon as we arrived at the charming Fattoria Faggioli where we were hosted during our four-day press trip, we were offered a red wine which reflected perfectly the delicious home cooked pasta and the general atmosphere: no fuss, big heart, big flavor, frank and bold (photo). It was a Sangiovese which, I was told right away, was the most prized and celebrated red grape of Romagna. Everyone tends to associate the noble grape with Tuscany, the region immediately to the South, with its world-famous Chianti and Brunelo di Montalcino. Even though Sangiovese has not reached those level of notoriety in Romagna, the region can definitely boast of a deeply rooted wine culture. After a few glasses, an old saying came up, revealing the generosity of the Romagnolo people and their love of wine. If a stranger knocks at the door of someone in Emilia, he is offered a glass of water, in Romagna… a glass of wine!. This sense of hospitality connected to wine culture was perfectly exemplified during our visit of the medieval town of Bertinoro. The symbol of this perched little city is its 13th century column with twelve metal rings, named the “column of hospitality” photo). Each ring was associated to one of the local noble families and when a traveler arrived into town and tied his horse to one of the rings, he would automatically become a guest of the family associated to it We didn’t arrive on horses, but were just as warmly welcomed at the beautiful visitor center with an in-depth presentation of the local wines. This was my first encounter with Romagna’s most celebrated white wine: l’Albana, unique to this region. The 2016 “I Croppi” from Celli winery (photo) revealed a white unlike any other. Golden in color, the wine had a serious body and boasted 14° of alcohol. One of the distinctive tastes I noticed was a lingering ripe apple flavor and it felt like it had some tannins. It is actually sometimes called the red wine made in white and it can pair meat dishes as well, if not better than seafood. We tasted a local 100% Sangiovese, bold and rich with 14.5% alcohol, but my second thrill came with the second white wine we tasted: the 2016 San Pascasio, Romagna Pagadebit DOP (photo), from the Campodelsole winery. Unlike the Albana, this white had a vivacious acidity and a refreshing minerality. Aromas and flavors of exotic fruits and elderflower were delicious. I was wowed and seduced immediately. Pagadebit is made from the Bombino Bianco grape, which, unlike Albana, is not unique to Romagna. It can be found in central Italy all the way to Puglia, but it has definite terroir characteristics here in Romagna and must count for at least 85% of the grapes for the Pagadebit di Romagna DOC. The name is a story in itself. “Paga-debit” – literally “pays your debt” in Italian – comes from the grape’s reputation for being high yielding and a reliable crop for vineyard owners to grow, assuring that each vintage would enable them to pay off their debts. But the latest report regarding the 2017 vintage is rather alarming and almost puts in question the validity of the promising name. My source is Mauro Sirri, co-owner of the Celli winery in Bertinoro. In his 34 years of winemaking experience, he has never seen such precocious harvest, which started on the 8th of August, about 3 weeks before than usual, due to high temperature and scarce rainfall. So much for those who have doubts about global or local warming! The oldest vines, benefiting from deeper roots, reacted better, but the average yield still dropped by 50%, putting at risk the financial balance of wineries.
On the positive side, Albana seems to gain some appeal outside the borders of Romagna. On November 25th and 26th 2017, Bertinoro will host the first Albana Trophy to find the best expert of this wine in order to be its ambassador both nationally and internationally. I wish I could go, perhaps you can, I know you should! The little town will be having many events for the occasion. You just cannot miss having a meal at l’Osteria Cà de Bè with a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and fantastic food (still thinking about this rabbit…). The wine collection is also exceptional (photo du mec?) and I really liked the 2016 Albana “Neblina”, produced by Givana Madonia, which had a very pleasant acidity
After my initiation in Bertinoro, I was better armed to appreciate the following tastings of Romagnolo wines. The first one came soon after at the Cantina Poderi dal Nespoli (link? http://www.poderidalnespoli.com/en/), a winery established in 1929 about 16 miles to the South-West of Bertinoro, with a beautiful tasting room and a wide diversity of wines. There was of course various Sangiovese based reds and out of the lot, my favorite was the Prugneto, Romagna DOC, Sangiovese Superiore, made from 100 % Sangiovese grosso: a wine full of life with a bright ruby color, an intense bouquet of ripe red fruit which didn’t translate in the palate into anything jammy, allowing a certain freshness to shine through and soft tannins to carry notes of violet and plum. Yum!
But, once again, my focus was more on the whites. The Campodora, a 100% Albana showcased the typical golden yellow color of the grape and a rich smooth taste of stone fruit and acacia flowers. But what made it shine for me was this beautiful balance between ripeness and acidity. This freshness, I was told, was to be attributed to vines perched at a higher altitude and a careful picking of the grapes in the morning, before it got too hot. Their Pagadebit (blended with 15% of Sauvignon Blanc) was fresh and vivacious with a floral nose and a crisp finish. Besides those two established whites in Romagna, we had the chance to discover a third one, called Famoso, in reference to the name of the grape which it was made of exclusively. Ironically, this indigenous grape from Romagna has been rediscovered in the last ten years or so after a period of abandonment. Fame comes and goes I guess. And what a flamboyant come back this was in the glass with this 2016 vintage: totally charming white, light, with only 11.5° alcohol, but intense with its floral aromas, notes of tropical fruit, and a long, clean, lip smacking finish. Cesare and I fell in love with this rarity and decided to buy a few bottles to take home and share with others. In spite of its name, Famoso won’t be in the aisle of your supermarket anytime soon! Look for it at your specialty wine store, but better yet, plan a trip to Ravenna.
If you have the chance to go in the summer during the Festa Artusiana in Forlimpopoli, your will be able to discover the beautiful Casa Artusi  (where you can take traditional cooking classes, as well as learn about one of the legends of Italian cookery in the name of Pellegrino Artusi whose monumental La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene was first printed in 1891 with 700 regional recipes. The whole town during these few days pays homage to the legendary food writer by putting certain of his recipes on the menu of established or ephemeral restaurants. Food stands abound and enable you to taste specialties from Romagna and elsewhere. Beverages are also part of the feast of course, from local microbrewery beers to local wines.                                                                                                                                                                         One stand had me taste an Albana Passito, sweet and intense, beautifully balanced with just enough acidity to make you want to have another sip. This final tasting note still lingers in my mind and the unique wines of Romagna will have me go back again, that is for sure.

 

VENICE. THE HANDS OF THE SPLENDID CA’ SAGREDO

                                                                               Buongiorno Cesare, sorry I literally have 5 minutes, i got to run to Mestre to sign the extension of showing ‘Support’.

They accepted our proposal, therefore Lorenzo’s sculpture is going to stay, It’s a victory!”

 

 

I am in Venice and I am meeting the flamboyant Lorenza Lain, general Manager of Hotel Ca’Sagredo,
The sculpture she is referring to is the amazing (and controversial) ‘Support’  an artwork by Lorenzo Quinn, an Artist known to sculpture body parts, and especially hands. as these two giant hands rising from the waters of the Grand Canal ideally aiming to protect the façade of Ca’ Sagredo, one of Venice’s most beautiful and iconic buildings that risks sinking due to a changing climate. At the same time, however, they could destroy it and let the city sink at any moment, because “A hand could hold so much power, said Quin, the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy. “Venice is a city of floating art that has inspired cultures for centuries, said Quinn, but in order to continue to be like this, it needs the support of our generation and the future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and the decay caused by time”.Inaugurated on May, the sculpture was supposed to remain there until November., but thanks to the combative pressure of Lorenza and her team, it is still standing and it will stay longer.
The sculpture created a controversy: are the hands symbolically saving Venice from the threats linked to climate change or may be interpreted as instruments capable of destroying the city ? I walked on the small streets of the city and asked few locals (wasn’t easy to find some real ones, they were mostly tourists…) I got different answers:
The younger guys see the art as a positive message:.”Sure  those hands are protecting our city” “Can’t you see? Venice is sinking, needs a support, I wish the hands would stay forever and I hope to see more of them to protect other buildings” Someone, more cynically  went like “Nah, to me is the symbol of the invasion of too many tourist getting their hands on Venice and trying to steal its beauty”  Finally an older lady told me ” C’mon the hands are innocent! those are baby’s hands!
I guess she is right, the hands are the ones of a boy, as the model was Lorenzo’s son Anthony who is eleven years old.
Ca’ Sagreto benefitted of a huge amount of pics, videos and selfies, stimulating the curiosity to visit and stay in the hotel . I did, I spend a great night in one of the room , facing the canal. I was happy right from my arrival, welcomed by an
enchanting lobby and a high-level reception where you can find all the information you need to be guided to discover the magic of Venice. My room was charming, with Venetian glass lamps, white marble bathroom, comfy bed, a private little terrace and a complimentary tempting selection of chocolates and truffles.

In the morning I took a tour of the venue, excited to discovered the magnificent palazzo, which is the only Museum-Hotel of the City. The venue is a meticulously renovated 15th-century palace, with its lavish pink façade, between Ca’ d’Oro and the Rialto Bridge on the spectacular Grand Canal. I took me time to discover the extraordinary artworks throughout the palazzo.It is a real gem, half hotel, half museum with important works of art by 17th and 18th-century artists Sebastiano Ricci, Niccolò Bambini, Pietro Longhi and a beautiful Giambattista Tiepolo‘s canvas dated circa 1740. From every room and Suite you can admire the beauty of the lagoon city, the passage of Venetian gondolas and the roofs of romantic Venice. All accommodations have the most modern comforts from A/C to Wi-Fi. The rooms and suites are ideal both for a romantic visit to Venice and for a family to discover the Arts and Cultures of Venice.

 

 

 

 

 

The breakfast was essential, but made with fresh and quality food, and served in the amazing Sala del Doge, where the ceiling holds a painting by Nicolò Bambini, depicting a glorious god Apollo from which the other characters try to find shelter.Unfortunately I had no time Ca’ Sagredo’s restaurant  L’Alcova with its splendid panoramic terrace on the Canal Grande, featuring Chef Damiano Bassano who has worked in Paris, Strasbourg, Spain, USA and Spain in the three-star Michelin-starred restaurant Ferran Adrià, in Catalonia.
Damiano’s kitchen is a laboratory of traditional Italian flavors combined with unique touches are the distinctive elements of its cuisine, such as “Marsala scented tuna medallions” and t”Carnaroli risotto with prawns, burrata and almonds
I will definitely go back to Ca’ Sagredo and try his dishes,
and please…keep those ‘hands’ on!                           Ca’ Sagredo
is one of the  Small Luxury Hotels on the World.

 

THE ENCHANTING BALLET ‘SAGRA DELLA PRIMAVERA’ AT TEATRO MANZONI, MILAN

                      LA SAGRA DELLA PRIMAVERA (The Rite of Spring)
Diaghilev, Nijinsky, Massine, Pina Bausch, Martha Graham, Kenneth MacMillan, Maurice Béjart, Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliev those are just few names of extraordinary choreographers who were enchanted by Igor Stravinskij’s The Rite of Spring, the legend where in spring a virgin was sacrificed to propitiate the benefit of the gods with primitive rituals celebrating the advent of spring,with a unique score that contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, rhythm, stress and dissonance. that attack and conquer every listener.
Hungarian choreographer Marinel Stefanescu staged it in 1986 with a show at the Valli Theater in Reggio Emilia,  It was a great success and was requested in many Italian theaters and for several tours abroad. Last night, the Teatro Manzoni di Milano hosted Liliana Cosi and Marinel Stefanescu‘s company
Nuovo Balletto Classico, featuring Dorian Grori and Rezart Stafa, a strong couple of male principals, while Elena Casolar and Michela Mazzoni seamed  to me to be less stable on their movements. I have to mention the energetic and convincing ensemble of 25 young talented dancers. The ballet tells the extraordinary primitive experience of man in contact with nature and its elements, in an almost fairytale setting at the sources of life. In the second part “Dialogue with the Infinite” the music was written by Adrian Enescu to give life to an inner dialogue of modern man, attracted both by violence and by peace. Man, the protagonist of the show, experiment with curious intensity every element of nature – has an instinctive repugnance for the horrible rite of the young woman who must be sacrificed and decides, risking in person, to save her. It is projected into a new world – and here it is Smetana who repays it by immersing it in the rich and fantastic Nature, so well described in the Vltava, which will close the first part of the show.

In the second part of the Stefanescu ballet, starting from an almost autobiographical reflection, he emphasizes the exhausting struggle of man against the aggressiveness he finds within himself. In collaboration with his friend composer Adrian Enescu, he chooses a music that unfolds on nine contrasting passages to illustrate the inclination of Man to yield to the fascination of violence and war rather than to the choices of peace. In fact, he will call this ballet ‘Dialogue with the Infinite’ because it is a struggle that seems never to be resolved until reaching out for peace.

 

 

 

 

How to surprise your guests? Cook a tasty no-sugar, no-salt, no-fat dinner.

Venice, Italy
The magnificent Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, hosted Gusto in Scena , a bonanza of Chefs and food and wine Producers and hosted by Marcello Coronini, author of La Cucina del Senza
(cooking without)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mission was to serve tasty dishes in which you do not notice the lack of fat, salt or sugar. 14 Chefs covered the challenge literally surprising the audience with their inventions cooked without all those three forbidden ingredients. I was particularly impressed by the juicy vegetal broth created by  Chef Alessandro Gilmozzi, and used to make an excellent risotto. Alessandro for over 20 years, has been experimenting unusual ingredients from his mountains giving life to new gastronomic expressions able to leave an incisive mark on anyone who tries them.Among all the Chefs, I like to mention Oliwer Glowing, from ‘La Tavola, Il Vino e la Dispensa’ in Rome, Luca Marchini, from ‘L’erba del Re’ in Modena, Luca Veritti from Met Restaurant at Metropole Hotel in Venice, creator a really original menu called Tra Contemporary Cuisine, combining two philosophies: the traditional Italian and Veneto recipes, and a futurist style through which the same recipes are elaborated and proposed in a creative way. I should mention all of them, but I like to keep some secrets, teasing you to attend to the next edition of  Gusto in Scena.

 

 

Remember. the Cuisine of the Senza is good, tasty, attentive to health, but also very attentive to flavors, as was proved by Ristorante Vecio Fritolin who prepared an entire ‘without’ dinner

The highlight of the evening?
An amazine gallinella with vegetable bisque and spiced bread.
Delicious!

 

Have a coffee in Riva!

Manuel Caffè, the blend Velluto and the Specialty Coffee line produced by Fratelli De Giusti will be featured at the 42nd Expo Riva Hotel in beautiful Riva del Garda, Italy.

The Riva Fair, which presents the best of hospitality and professional catering, is an open showcase of Italian and international tourism that sees coffee as a cornerstone of enogastronomy and a privileged stage where the De Giustis will exhibit all their innovative strength in the field of eco-sustainability, control of production chains.
A great opportunity to visit beautiful Riva, meet new people
and enjoy a fragrant cup of coffee.
More info at
42nd Expo Riva Hotel
4th to 7th February at the Riva del Garda