A dinner with Audrey Hepburn, Sean Connery, Elvis and Sinatra? I had it!

Text and photos by Cesare Zucca

For my first night In Athens, I discovered a real hidden gem called Nice n Easy, a cosy restaurant located in the quiet and romantic Omirou Street, n.60.
Nice n’ easy, inspired from Frank Sinatra’s well known song offers a beautiful menu based on quality and simple organic ingredients, carefully chosen. The dishes, created by the well known Chef Christos Athanasiadis, are a blend of Mediterranean flavors, keeping an eye to the tradition and the innovation. In the ‘savvy&healthy’ menu I found the place of origin of each ingredient, calories, and the nutritional value of each dish.

 

Many of them have a screen legends ’signature’ from

 

 

 

Between the pastas stands up (who else…) the Sophia Loren, a gluten free vegetarian dish with skioufihta pasta, wild mushrooms, organic baby tomatoes and aged Cretan Graviera cheese flavored with thyme. Talking of screen goddess, here comes Audrey Hepburn grilled wild mushrooms with gorgonzola, flavored with thyme  and Brigitte Bardot, where carrots, zucchini, baby corn, soya and bamboo sprouts meet noodles made of konjac root, that has zero calories, is rich in fiber and, thanks to the glucomannan, it absorbs liquids in the stomach, improves the level of glucose in the blood and decreases cholesterol, helps to detoxify the body and to stabilize the glycemic index and cholesterol levels. Viva la Bardot! I loved the gluten free Sean Connery, baked wild fresh salmon with barley crust, herbs and citrus, on quinoa tabbouleh with mustard- honey sauce. For meat lovers I suggest the succulent Frank Sinatra, prime beef flank tagliata with marinated grilled zucchini, organic baby tomatoes and truffle oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All paired with an intense Thema 2016 made of assyrtico, probably Greece’s most striking white grape from Drama, Northern Greece.

 

 

More than anything, ‘nice n easy’ is a way of living. It’s the food, it’s the music, it’s the people and it’s the moo. Nice n’ easy in open all day for lunch and dining, coffee and cocktails, not to mention a fab Sunday brunch.

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.

 

 

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A CLOSER LOOK AT ROMAGNA… UNIQUE WINES WORTH THE TRIP

by Philip Sinsheimer
Photos by Philip Sinsheimer, Cesare Zucca

Cesare 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 the Italian region called Romagna, 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).

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 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” 

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 ), 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 (photos). 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 , 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 Romagna. 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., but also take traditional cooking classes and purchase hand-picked local wines at the gift shop.

 


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.

 

HUA HIN THAILAND, GOOD WINE IN THE TROPICS???

HUA HIN HILLS VINEYARD PROVES IT’S NOT A JOKE…AND WORTH A VISIT!
by Philip Sinsheimer
Photo: Cesare Zucca, Philip Sinsheimer

It’s harvest season and 2017 appears as a challenging vintage in Europe (“a catastrophy” in Italy according to our host Cesare Zucca). Climate has always been a nail-biting stress factor in wine production and the recent warming observations are not helping… Well, not helping everybody! If some predict the growing production of wines in small Northern players such as the UK, Southern European big producers are feeling the heat and are worried. Wine geography has seen many changes with the emergence of “New World” wines of North America, as well as Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa in the Southern hemisphere. But wines of decent quality in tropical countries had never come to my attention… Until the discovery of Mansoon Valley wines in Thailand! During our one month trip in Southeast Asia at the beginning of the year, I had conditioned myself to limited opportunity of interesting wine discoveries. I was ready to enjoy the beers of the various countries visited and an occasional bottle of rather generic imported wine. But, our initial stay in Bangkok at the Centara Grand Central World already gave us a taste of how serious the wine lists were at its various restaurants.
When we visited their sister property Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin , around 3 hours South of Bangkok in the historic royal beach town of Hua Hin.                The Centara Hua Hin  is a magnificent venue designed to evoke the spirit of the 1920s. Colonial influences meet modern-day comforts and soothing views are to be had of the swimming pools or the magic gardens, populated by grass elephants and other animals.

 

The hotel opened at a time when the new railway line to Malaysia was transforming the sleepy fishing village of Hua Hin into Thailand’s first beach resort.

Sensitively extended and renovated, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin retains its air of that bygone age of elegance. I had an even greater surprise during our meal at the elegant, yet relaxed Suan Bua restaurant: a local white wine was offered to go along the traditional Thaï dishes, from shrimp with mango salad to roasted duck in red curry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            I have  to say I was skeptical, but all preconceptions disappeared after a few sips of this Mansoon Valley colombard, both crisp and delicate, with exotic fruit and citrus aromas, along with floral notes. Wow! Perfect pairing with the lemongrass used in the dishes and perfectly cooling to counterbalance the heat of the chilies.I was very curious about it all and the adorable staff of the hotel arranged a visit to the vineyard located less than an hour away. The drive was a beautiful occasion to see a bit of the country side with many fields, mainly pineapple plantations. What a surprise to see in the background of one of the most iconic tropical fruit a well manicured vineyard of over 100 hectars. The surprise does not stop there, as I had the opportunity to tour the property on the back of an elephant (if you’ve never done this, just be prepared, it’s a beautiful, but rather rocky ride). The large and elegant tasting room dominates the valley and one can appreciate the key position of the vineyard that benefits from a cooler micro climate with breezes coming from the hills. This is essential to the production of wines that do not taste “cooked”. It’s also the occasion of learning about who is behind this incredible business operation: a man whose name you may not know, but whose fortunate was made by a beverage you definitely have heard about. No, not wine… Red Bull! Chalerm Yoovidhya is among the richest man in Thailand with a fortune approaching 10 billion US dollars according to Forbes this year. Upon returning from his studies abroad where his taste for wine was developed, Chalerm took up the challenge of growing grapes in his native Thailand and show the world that great wines can be crafted even at the 13th latitude of the northern hemisphere. New World wines are old, new latitude wines are in! Hua Hin Vineyards is actually one of three vineyards he owns, but it serves as the flagship of the Mansoon Valley brand. The winemaker is German born Kathrin Puff, who worked in several wineries in Italy and New Zealand before meeting this tropical challenge with brio. I had the chance to sample a few of the large collection of wines available at the vineyard and all showcased a serious winemaking expertise. A brut blanc de blancs, showacses the delicate a floral notes of chenin blanc, colombard and viognier grapes that compose this traditional champenoise method sparkling. Besides the colombard white, I tried the medium sweet chenin blanc, which was not cloying at all and promised a nice pairing with spicy meats dishes and seafood salads. Among the two high-end “Cuvée de Siam” bottles, made with the best grapes of chosen parcels, I was really impressed with the red, made with the oldest vines of shiraz and sangiovese, aged in French oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. The result: a spicy wine combining medium tanin and long finish (which earned 84 points by Robert Parker). The white was a serious wine, but lacked a bit of the freshness so pleasant in the other more simple whites. To finish on a sweet note, the chenin blanc late harvest with a nice balancing acidity invites to be enjoyed along with seared foie gras, aged gorgonzola or a more local mango, sticky rice and coconut dessert.                                             Yes,!
Good tropical wine is a possibility and Hua Hin is the place to go to check it for yourself!

ARGENTA,ITALY. FUTURE HOT CHEFS COMPETING IN THE SILVER CITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text and Photos by Cesare Zucca 

I had a blast in Argenta, Italy ! This is a friendly little town that hosts its historic Fair at the 60th edition. The Italian word argento means silver as the legend says that the river around the town sometime gets that shining silverish reflex from the sky. Here I had the honor to be one of the judges of ORO D’ARGENTA, a tough competition between young cooking promises coming from the Culinary Schools of Sardinia, Sicily, Lazio, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The show featured the School Pellegrino Artusi of Riolo Terme, Ravenna with a rabbit surprisingly paired to a pear mousse that got some ‘more traditional’ judges quite annoyed, but that I personally didn’t hate…Talking about tradition & innovation, the Remo Brindisi Institute in Comacchio, Ferrara, was inspired by their own a national treasure: the eel served with which orange flavoured vegetable couscous and crisp bacon, getting my enthusiastic votes…and the prizes for best presentation and popular jury favorite.                                                   Thanks to its marinated mackerel, Pietro Piazza in Palermo, won the Golden Wine Award for the best wine and dish combination, sponsored by Tenute Garusol.                The Malatesta School of Rimini served a successful stuffed chicken with blueberry sauce that went straight to the final.                                                                                The Amerigo Vespucci team in Rome, launched a creation named 444 Kilometers, which is the distance between Rome and Argenta, Cool name for a not so convincing ‘gnocchetti alla romana’ with hare topping.                                                                      Ipsia Ferraris of Carbonia-Iglesias, surprised with fresh kamut pasta, pumpkin flower mousse, parmesan, caramelized onions and orange bottarga,                                       while Ipssar of San Pellegrino Terme Bergamo opted for local rabbit and couscous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the winner was…
The Institute Tonino Guerra di Cervia, Ravenna who prepared a juicy and tender duck with almonds, dried tomatoes, parmesan,  mashed potatoes, blueberry foam and crunchy waffles. This quite traditional tasting dish will take Aurora Llavanji, Fabio Faggi, Riccardo Giovannini and Domenico Magnifico to the spectacular Cous Cous Fest in San Vito Lo. Capo, Sicily during the International Cultural Integration Festival whose 20th edition begins on Friday, September 15, where they will have the opportunity to meet the most important international chefs.                                                                                     The show, brilliantly hosted by funny Actor-Chef Andy Luotto and charming Eliana Chiavetta, was an opportunity to discover the flavors and the atmosphere of the Delta del Po Park, UNESCO heritage and its valuable wildlife, fish and herbs, among some excellences in the wine &food industry: such as the wide range of Giulio Bellini’s Bia CousCous,  Tenuta Garusola wines from the Consorzio Bosco Eliceo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand finale with a local idol: the native starred Chef  Igles Corelli. His dish was a colorful bonanza of couscous, all cooked with different vegetables such as carrots, aloe vera, cabbage, etc. A carnivalesque dish that reminded me of the Missoni fabrics, the Gustav Klimt palette and those Pollock brush strokes. The taste? a Carnival joke!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to mention a ‘suspense’ moment due to the upcoming rain.‘Show must go on’ dictated the organizers and the unsinkable people of FeedBack PR …In less than an hour they were able to move the outdoor stage, lights and cameras from Piazza Garibaldi into a big tent wisely called…Rolling , Action, Eat !See you next year in the Silver City ! Yummy…..

Article published in ‘Turismo del Gusto’

Dal giallo del Tiepolo al rosa delle Dolomiti…
Testo e foto © Cesare Zucca

La mia avventura con Laite è iniziata nella suntuosa Galleria Tiepolo del Palazzo Clerici a Milano, dove Champagne Veuve Clicquot ospitava ‘Atelier des Grandes Dames’ tributo a Madame Clicquot, Grande Dame dello Champagne.Tra gli ospiti speciali della serata spiccavano 10 top chefs, tra cui Fabrizia Meroi.

 

Appena hanno annunciato che il suo ristorante era situato a Sappada (Belluno)… ho avuto uno shock. Sappada è un incantevole villaggio circondato dalle spettacolari Dolomiti…

Qui il paesaggio è caratterizzato da tipiche abitazioni montane in legno scuro decorate da fregi e, in estate, da mille fiori colorati, in un’atmosfera da fiaba.

Mia madre è nata in paesino vicino e lì la mia famiglia ha trascorso molte vacanze estive.
Conosco Fabrizia e le prometto di sperimentare Laite durante il mio prossimo viaggio a Sappada.
E l’ho fatto!

A tavola da Laite

 

Il minuscolo ristorante si trova nell’antica borgata Hoffe, un gioiello nascosto dove le case sono mescolate ai vecchi tabiè, le cui finestre, affacciate sulle spettacolari Dolomiti, sono arricchite da cascate di gerani selvatici.

 

 

 

Due accoglienti stanze in legno, riportano a un’atmosfera familiare con echi di tempi passati.Con nuove invenzioni, in un menu che rispetta la cucina locale, Laite continua a sedurre i suoi ospiti con i piatti sapientemente preparati da Fabrizia e la superba ospitalità (e la conoscenza dei vini) fornita da Roberto Brovedani.

La creatività di Fabrizia rivela intuizione e immaginazione, come nel Tagliolino di Riso Nero Venere, piatto senza precedenti, dove il riso ridotto in polvere, si trasforma in una pasta, servita con cavolo, prosciutto affumicato, kummel e felicemente abbinato a un ottimo Pecorino Rève Velenosi.

Come antipasti, ho assaggiato una deliziosa melanzana con saurnchotte (tradizionale ricotta acida) e peperoni.

Poi è arrivato il piatto ‘hit’ di Francesca: Cervofondente, cervo marinato sei ore con spezie, canna da zucchero e servito con schiuma di muschio, tuberi e radici zestati con una lacrima di resina di pino e buonenrico, un’erba selvatica locale. Accoppiato a un ottimo dry Riesling by Villa Huesgen/By The Glass.Fabrizia ama armonizzare la tradizione con la creatività come nel Tortello all’Uovo, una revisione del tradizionale tortello, qui diventato di patate, riempito di un rosso d’uovo à la coque e sormontato da anice e porcini, irrorati di burro fuso.

 

 

E che dire di quei gialletti marinati in kefir, aromatizzati con camomilla e barbabietole, tutto per guarnire un tenerissimo bocconcino di vitello?

Per finire in freschezza

Un trio rinfrescante: sorbetto di albicocche, rabarbaro e piselli, accoppiati a un seducente e ambrato Anselmi 2016 I Capitelli, con aromi di albicocche, miele e buccia d’arancia, fichi secchi.
Ecco la mia avventura, profumata dall’atmosfera di un luogo accogliente, familiare, cordiale e con un incredibile chef.

Non cheap, ma vale ogni euro.Ottimi vini più la versione di Fabrizia della sopa coada, (classica zuppa di piccione) di Treviso. Questa volta l’ho persa, ma l’estate 2018 arriverà… e tornerò!

Laite
Via Hoffe 10, 32047 Sappada (BL) Italia
T: +39 0435 46 90 70
www.ristorantelaite.com

LAITE: when a restaurant is more than an adventure…

Text and Photos by Cesare Zucca

You know that Mr. NTT (Non Touristy Tourist)  is always eager to know of hidden gem destinations and unusual venues, well …my adventure with Laite started in the luscious Tiepolo’s Gallery, a sumptuous hall in Palazzo Clerici, one of Milan’s most charming 17th century historic palace, where Champagne Veuve Clicquot Milan hosted ‘Atelier des Grandes Dames’ as a grand tribute to Madame Clicquot, Grande Dame Of Champagne.
The event was intented to promote a network of women’s catering talent who have been able to assert their entrepreneurship and their professional style.

 

 

Special guests of the evening were 10 top female starred Italian Chefs,
including Fabrizia Meroi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as they announced that her restaurant was located in Sappada (Belluno) … I had a shock. Sappada is an enchanting little village surrounded by the spectacular Dolomites. My mother was born there and my family spent many summer vacations.
I meet Fabrizia and promised her to try Laite cuisine during my next trip to Sappada.
And I did it!
LAITE
Laite’s two cozy wooden rooms bring back a family atmosphere with echoes of times gone-by. It lies amongst an ancient village sourrended by the spectacular Dolomites. The village of Sappada is a hidden gem where houses are mixed with old tabiè (barns), where the windows are enriched by colorful cascades of carnations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laite continues to seduce its guests with the skillfully prepared dishes of Fabrizia Meroi and the superb hospitality (and knowledge of wines) provided by Roberto Brovedani.

 

 

 

 

Daring Fabrizia creates a never-ending stream of new dishes that suggest intuition and imagination, like the unprecedented Venus Black Rice Tagliolino,

 

made from the deconstruction of black rice, surprisingly reivented as pasta and served with cabbage, smoked ham and kummel, wisely paired with Rève Velenosi Pecorino white wine.

 

 

 

 

As starters, I tried a delicious eggplant with saurnchotte (Sappada traditional sour ricotta) and a soft mousse of peppers.

 

 

 

 

and Francesca hit dish: Cervofondente, tender deer marinated 6 hours with spices, sugar cane, moss foam, goodbye, local wild herb and served with tubers and roots and zested with a tear of circus, pine resin …
paired to a high-quality Mosel Riesling dry Riesling by Villa Huesgen/By The Glass.
Fabrizia loves to harmonize tradition with creativity like in the Tortello all’Uovo, new version of the raditional tortello pasta, here filled with a semi-boiled egg yolk and topped with anis and porcini Mushrooms and served with burned butter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about those gialletti, delicious chantarelles marinated in kefir and flavored with chamomille and beetroot to garnish a tender veal? New inventions in a menu that respect the local cuisine

 

To end the feast, the refreshing trio: apricot, rhubarb and pees sorbets, paired to a seductive Anselmi 2016 I Capitelli with amber reflections and intriguing aromas of apricot jam, orange blossom honey, orange peel and dried figs.

 

 

 

 

My story feels the athmosphere of a cozy place with friendly friendly service and an amazing top chef. Not cheap but worth every euro. And very good wines..plus Fabrizia’s version of sopa coada, a classic regional pizza dish from Treviso.
I missed that this time, but summer 2018 will arrive sooner or later … and I’ll be back!

Laite
Via Hoffe 10, 32047 Sappada (BL) Italy
T: +39 0435 46 90 70
www.ristorantelaite.com

You know that Mr. NTT (Non Touristy Tourist)  is always eager to know of hidden gem destinations and unusual venues, well …my adventure with Laite started in the luscious Tiepolo’s Gallery, a sumptuous hall in Palazzo Clerici, one of Milan’s most charming 17th century historic palace, where Champagne Veuve Clicquot Milan hosted ‘Atelier des Grandes Dames’ as a grand tribute to Madame Clicquot, Grande Dame Of Champagne.
The event was intented to promote a network of women’s catering talent who have been able to assert their entrepreneurship and their professional style.

 

 

 

Special guests of the evening were 10 top female starred Italian Chefs,
including Fabrizia Meroi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as they announced that her restaurant was located in Sappada (Belluno) … I had a shock. Sappada is an enchanting little village surrounded by the spectacular Dolomites. My mother was born there and my family spent many summer vacations.
I meet Fabrizia and promised her to try Laite cuisine during my next trip to Sappada.
And I did it!
LAITE
Laite’s two cozy wooden rooms bring back a family atmosphere with echoes of times gone-by. It lies amongst an ancient village sourrended by the spectacular Dolomites. The village of Sappada is a hidden gem where houses are mixed with old tabiè (barns), where the windows are enriched by colorful cascades of carnations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laite continues to seduce its guests with the skillfully prepared dishes of Fabrizia Meroi and the superb hospitality (and knowledge of wines) provided by Roberto Brovedani.

 

 

 

 

Daring Fabrizia creates a never-ending stream of new dishes that suggest intuition and imagination, like the unprecedented Venus Black Rice Tagliolino,

 

made from the deconstruction of black rice, surprisingly reivented as pasta and served with cabbage, smoked ham and kummel, wisely paired with Rève Velenosi Pecorino white wine.

 

 

 

 

As starters, I tried a delicious eggplant with saurnchotte (Sappada traditional sour ricotta) and a soft mousse of peppers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Francesca hit dish: Cervofondente, tender deer marinated 6 hours with spices, sugar cane, moss foam, goodbye, local wild herb and served with tubers and roots and zested with a tear of circus, pine resin … paired to a high-quality Mosel Riesling dry Riesling by Villa Huesgen/By The Glass.
Fabrizia loves to harmonize tradition with creativity like in the Tortello all’Uovo, new version of the raditional tortello pasta, here filled with a semi-boiled egg yolk and topped with anis and porcini Mushrooms and served with burned butter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about those gialletti, delicious chantarelles marinated in kefir and flavored with chamomille and beetroot to garnish a tender veal? New inventions in a menu that respect the local cuisine

 

To end the feast, the refreshing trio: apricot, rhubarb and pees sorbets, paired to a seductive Anselmi 2016 I Capitelli with amber reflections and intriguing aromas of apricot jam, orange blossom honey, orange peel and dried figs.

 

 

 

 

My story feels the athmosphere of a cozy place with friendly friendly service and an amazing top chef. Not cheap but worth every euro. And very good wines..plus Fabrizia’s version of sopa coada, a classic regional pizza dish from Treviso.
I missed that this time, but summer 2018 will arrive sooner or later … and I’ll be back!

Laite
Via Hoffe 10, 32047 Sappada (BL) Italy
T: +39 0435 46 90 70
http://www.ristorantelaite.com

THE “GENTLE GIANT” IS WAITING…with a ‘secret’ phone number…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The river Po, called the “gentle giant”, is the longest river in Italy. With its 650 km (about 400 miles), it runs through the Po Plain and flows into the Adriatic Sea, forming a delta and one of the largest wetlands in Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea. The Po Delta Park is a wonderful land, where blue sky and clouds get reflected on the water, like a magical palette of hundreds of shades. It should be experienced by bike, by boat, by canoe, or on foot, by walking slowly across, discovering the gentleness of its landscape, the warm and rough welcome of the fishing lodges, the emotion of the boat bridges, the wide horizons, the activity in the fishing lagoons and in the vegetable gardens. From equipped beaches of Rosolina mare, Boccasette and Porto Barricata to some isolated sandbars strips of land that are formed at low tide and where there are numerous colonies of wading birds: gulls, terns etc..making the area a wonderful bird-watching attraction. I discovered Scano Boa island, where the fishermen used to live in straw houses and recently retrieved to allow visitors to experience the life of these lands. You must get a boat to get there , ask locally and yes I have their ‘secret’ mobile number)

There I had a succulent lunch thanks to Signora Chef…….. who generously prepared yummy clams with tomatoes and garlic, fried mussels and fried fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get there , you must ask locally how to call a boat , to reserve a great meal … well you got t have Lady’s number ….which I do !!!!  Check below..)

 

 

 

From September 18th to 23rd 2017 Po Delta and its jewel Venetian Botanical Garden, will host the World Youth Forum MAB UNESCO 2017.Hundreds of young people aged 18 to 35 coming from 120 countries around the world will gather in the heart its Biosphere Reserve.

                                              The Forum is conceived as an event that will provide young people with a unique opportunity to meet, debate and share their vision and commitment to sustainable development. It aims to become a place where strategies and action proposals can be discussed and implemented in order to achieve,

 

 

 

 

Since the area produces the excellent Riso del Delta del Po,  all the partecipants will be challenging in a cooking competition where that rice that will be the main ingredient of tipical dishes from different countries.
I am crazy for risotto and rice…I soooo wish to be in the jury …

 

 

 

 

 

Delta people just love their land.
“The Po Delta is a territory where development can start from the pursuit of happiness.” says Marco Gottardi, Po Delta Park’s director, while expert guide Sandro Vidali like narrate about the last 400 years when the Venetians diverted the course of the Po. Isabella Finotti guided me through the fascinating botanical garden, which is a unique habitat for many species of animals and plants. Alessio Greguoldo has experimented with a new oyster farming system in the Po Delta. Today, more than 1,500 Delta people are members of the fisheries Consortium of Scardovari. Numbers are huge! About 80,000 quintals of clams and 50,000 of mussels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay
Ca’ Zen, a 17th-century Venetian villa, nestled in a garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agriturismo Monte Scala, clean and cozy.

 

 

 

 

                         Where to eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osteria del pesce  Via San Gaetano, 78 Cà Pisani Porto Viro (Rovigo)
Trattoria alla Rosa (my favorite) Via Treponti, 8/A, 45011 Bellombra (Rovigo)
Il Bilancione, Via Bacucco, 17, Ariano Nel Polesine ( Rovigo)
Scanno Boa (ask locally how to get there by boat, and yes….
I do have their cell number +39 345 92 34483

 

info@parcodeltapo.org
www.parcodeltapo.org

Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas. Kick back away from the crowds in luxury

by Phlilip Sinsheimer
Photo:Cesare Zucca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand.
After a few days in Hua Hin city,
I checked in for 2 nights at the Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas about 30 minute drive south in a super quiet locality called Pranburi.

 

 

Even though unlucky with unexpected rain, the stay was just fantastic.

The villas are super spacious, comfortable and private.
Didn’t use the private pool to cool off from the sun, but after a long relaxing hot bath in the outdoor tub.

The food was awsome: just loved the breakfast buffet with various both Thaï and Western treats. Not the widest variety ever, but no one should be frustrated and everything was top notch. Who needs 90 items if half of them are disappointing.The à la carte menu of the restaurant with ocean view had me have the best Thaï food so far: true flavors with excellent ingredient sourcing. Loved the local Pranburi squid, partially sun dried for a great flavor and texture.

Killing time inside the villa, reading, watching TV, catching up with email left no time to boredom. The staff just couldn’t be nicer and professional.

Stepped out the resort to have a long walk along the ocean. The beach has been washed out on large portions, but discovered abot 7km South a beautiful beach.
Just outside the resort I had my favorite foot massage ever at Mali massage for a mere 300 Bahts. In the village great moment on a terrace with a Leo Beer and snacks.
Everyone in town seems relaxed and someone offered a free ride back to the hotel.
Loved that place.

TIGER’S EYE: when passion for the local meets global artistry…

Text: Philip Sinsheimer
Photo: Philip Sinsheimer, Cesare Zucca

 

 

 

Many foreign chefs seem to flock to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital and we were not going to miss going to the trendy and much talked about Tiger’s Eye, the latest restaurant of South African chef Timothy Bruyn.

 

 

 

 

Both lauded by personal and professional contacts, Cesare and I managed to get a table in this rather small and intimate, modern and quietly sophisticated venue. Let’s be honest, visiting a star chef restaurant is always a thrill and, unfortunately, often somewhat a disappointment? Is it because the expectation is too high? Or simply because the marketing generated by fame trumps the soul of the cuisine, as if the personality of the chef in the limelight overshadows the distinction of the plate. Well, in all honesty, this is NOT the case at the Tiger’s Eye.

Timothy is a truly passionate and involved young chef and he personally delivers each of his creations to the table with just enough explanation to satisfy the curiosity without giving a self-serving description of his genius idea. Young, handsome, humble… and talented, the fame is justified. He managed to achieve what is truly difficult: creating “fusion” dishes, using local ingredients and bringing them into a very personal, delicate highlight.

 

 

 

 

The eyes are ravished with the delicate balance and precision of the composition .
Cured fish first course, expertly cooked duck breast with red curry were clear salutes to khmer cuisine.

 

But the chef follows his love of fine food to wherever his heart goes. One thing remains constant, the attention to the sourcing of the products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timothy goes local whenever possible. He was kind enough to take me on a dazzling tour the next morning of two of his favorite markets knowing all ingredients and saluting the vendors he works with talking in Khmer .

 

 

His involvement in the local community is genuine and heartfelt. When he can’t find the quality he expects at his footstep, he’ll go a little further. The best mozzarella he found is made freshly in Siem Reap and the best oysters he found come from Vietnam.

 

 

Sensible fusion, not confusion.
For wines, his home country is well represented and we enjoyed a beautiful South African Chenin Blanc for the opening of our tasting menu. For the reds, I was wowed by the excellent and well priced Château Haut Saint brice, Saint Emilion Grand Cru which went so well with the duck. Hipsters will also appreciate the wide selection of beers.THE TIGER’S EYE
49 SOTHEAROS BLVD
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
TEL 855 (0)17876382
WWW.THETIGERSEYE.ASIA

Italy: welcome to ROMAGNA, where people love to host …

Unsinkable promoter Roy Berardi and Fausto Faggioli, organized an educational press tour featuring Italian and international press members such as Australian Desmond O’Grady, Alabama’s Pauline Fitzgerald, Chef/Author Philip Sinsheimer from Los Angeles, Silvia Donnini from Milan and me, from…everywhere in the world!
Our base was Fattorie Faggioli  at Borgo Basino, on the heights of Cusercoli,
There we were welcomed and pampered by the Faggioli family with the proverbial warmth and empathy of Romagna
. For a Non Touristy Tourist like me, this place was heaven, far from noise, cars, immersed in a peaceful green valley. I was feeling the quality of life, in s natural environment that contributed to the health of its spirit and body.
Mountain trips are provided, among herb gathering, hay baths,
healthy sauna with herbs and mud bath.
Here rooms are cozy, there is a nice swimming pool.
The spectacular food are made by fresh products cultivated on the premises, totally
home-made, healthy and delicious with prices definitely affordable
In addition to that  the Faggiolis organize an internship for workers and future experts.
Our group was taken around to visit local borghi (little historical villages) and to acknowledge the identification of identity and biodiversity, of a territory that is now actively engaged in the tourism development of the new “Destination Romagna”. that I consider the most genuine, deep and sincere Region in Italy, where nature, history, wine and food and wine relate to roots, memories and traditions.
We started visiting Ravenna discovering of the quirky “Hospitality Shops” of the historic center and participating to a Happy Bio  meeting by the sea hosted by the Regional Advisor To agriculture
delightful Mrs. Simona Caselli.
On the second day, Alberto Zattini, took us to the grandiose Piazza Saffi in Forli,
then we moved In Bertinoro, where we met Tourism Concil Mirko Capuano,
Lunch  (with a spectacular view)  at Osteria Cà de Bè
 
I loved their hand made fresh pastas. especially the passatelli in brodo,
followed by tastings of  delicious rabbit with vegetables and roasted pig, 
to end with the famous latteruolo
a signature dessert
created by iconic 19th century chef
Pellegrino Artusi
                                                                                                                                           In Predappio, Mussolini’s birth place, we were welcomed by Mayor Giorgio Frassineti, we ended the day at the vineyards of the Poderi da Nespoli and the visit to the wine cellar. Quite a journey …so Roy decided to give us a relaxing morning at the  Emi and Gianmarco Rossi‘s Terme di Fratta, a luxury hotel with an equipped spa that blends wellness, beauty and health.
The next day we moved to the Ridracoli Dam, taking a suggestive sailing around the lake at the edge of the great National Park forest. In the hamlet of Santa Sofia, then, walk with the councilor Ilaria Marianini to discover the the  River Bidente outdoor sculpture park, curated by Renato Barilli and Claudio Spadoni. Gran finale In Pianetto di Galeata with a succulent dinner at Osteria La Campanara
authentic testimonial of the Romagna gastronomy.
I finally had the traditional tripe with tomatoes, among pastas and excellent Sangiovese and Albana the masters of local winery.

 

 
For the next two days, Philip and I went to the close Forlimpopoli the city that every year pays a tribute to its most illustrious citizen Pellegrino Artusi, the acknowledged father of  modern Italian cookery, Pellegrino was born in 1820 in Forlimpopoli. He was a succesful businessman, became a wealthy man and, at age 45, was able to concentrate full time on his passion: the home cuisine. He loved to search, ponder recipes and have someone else cook his experiments. After long research, he narrowed his findings to 790 favorite recipes that he collected in a manual called “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” (“The Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well”).
The city celebrates Pellegrino hosting the Festa Artusiana, a tempting feast where  from now till June 2th,  from 7 p.m. to midnight, the historical city center changes into a “town to be tasted.” The big castle dominates the borgo, where courts, alleys, streets and squares have names of recipes from Artusi’s book.
All the best restaurants and the street vendors in the area are invited to participate and include in their menus several of Artusi’s specialties.
For nine evenings, Forlimpopoli becomes the capital city of “Eating Well,” thanks to the partnership with Casa Artusi, the first Italian gastronomic center devoted entirely to traditional home cookery. Casa boasts a library, a museum and a school that teaches practical courses both for food lovers and professionals wanting to learn how to improve their skills.
We had a wonderful Artusi dinner in the Casa’s restaurant. tarting with a  traditional welcome small carrot soup,
then the famous tortelli , stuffed with ricotta cheese and fine spices,followed by paccheri pasta with duck ragu and beef with cloves and white beans, to end with an almond chocolate dessert with zabaione cream.
Yummy!!
To welcome Philip, Laila Tentoni, Casa Artusi Director set up a fresh pasta making class , coached by Carla Brigliadori  head teacher of the Artusi cooking school…not only … but
also accurately supervised by a local Marietta ( the name is from Artusi,s assistant) and the attentive eye of Alberto Capatti, considered the top connoisseur of the Artusi cuisine.
So, if you want to feel welcome…put Romagna in your next vacation agenda.
              A region where people love to host, eat, drink and love tobe merry …

PHNOM PENH, luxury, comfort and gourmet food at the INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL


By Philip Sinsheimer
Photos: Cesare Zucca

Cesare had planned it all and planned it well. We arrived in Cambodia’s capital and enjoyed a 2-night stay at the Intercontinental a magnificent venue that isn’t in the touristic epicenter of Phnom Penh which would be close to the river, close to the Royal Palace, but actually it is rather central taking the city in its full scope. There are good things about staying at a hotel that is NOT particularly meant for tourists and that ISN’T in the touristic hub of town.

 

For one thing, your fellow hotel guests do not resemble your neighbors back home! That is a change right there that you will not get from checking in the most popular touristic TripAdvisor foreign based venues.                                  Grandiose lobby, courteous check-in, impeccable service and comfortable room with all amenities.  Not to mention, a 24 hours business center a well equipped Spa, and a surprising swimming pool with ‘elephant fountains’

 

 

 

 

 

 

What else do you want?

A good meal, well, that we had, check, check!

 

 

THE BREAKFAST FEAST
The breakfast experience was outstanding, even after having experienced some of the most lavish spreads in Southeast Asia in the previous weeks. Outstanding by the luxury of the ingredients used or the diversity of the offerings? That’s not the point. The striking element was actually constraint. Less can be more. It is an asset to know just how many things one can get right and serve at its best of freshness.

 

Talking of freshness and quality of service, I think the best thing was this open bar of fruit and vegetables that you could choose before seeing them juiced before your eyes. Yes, we had seen at other breakfast buffets a whole variety of fresh fruit juices, but what is more luxurious than “made to order”? I had become shortly before our long trip a quasi-addict of fresh ginger juice. Not a tea, but fresh ginger extraction with just enough water not to choke in public.
Well, to my surprise, my request for a full glass of ginger juice was met with no surprised eyebrow meaning “are you sure? You must be out of your mind!”, but with a smile and a reassuring “yes, Sir, of course! I will bring that to your table in a couple of minutes”.

Real class is treating a client’s unusual demands appear as total normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHINESE GASTRONOMY
Our second noteworthy experience was the dinner we had at Xiang Palace the hotel’s gourmet Chinese restaurant.

 

 

Besides the comfort and poise of the room, pleasure came from the expertise showcased by the chef in what are two of the most testing and iconic elements of Cantonese gastronomy.
The feast began with a trio of masterly prepared dim sum bites with a medal of honor to the delicacy of the sea scallop one for the exquisite freshness of both the filling and the wrapping.

 

 

 

 

 

Then we got to taste perfectly roasted meats with a winning trio of duck, chicken and crispy pork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having the pleasure of tasting true foreign cuisine is in itself a sign that Phnom Penh Intercontinental has become also a world class cosmopolitan culinary destination.

Caserta Region, Italy: a beautiful journey to the Villa

 

 

 

To celebrate their wines, Villa Matilde owners Maria Ida and Salvatore Avallone, invited distributors, buyers, bloggers to spend a wonderful time in Cellole, in the Caserta Region,

 

 

The location boasts a wonderful vineyard, a restaurant, a swimming pool, several bedrooms and, of course, good wines and delicious specialties from a traditional or revisited cucina napoletana.

 

We were all invited and the Villa looked really festive.

 

 

 

 

 

Actually the celebrations started the night before, indulging in a luscious dinner in the terrace of the five-star, overlooking the beautiful bay, unexpectedly lighten up by fireworks.

 

 

 


There I met Mr. Avallone. and his team among other journalists and several wine distributors from all over Europe. During the all event, guests were invited to try the wines.
I loved the golden and soft Falanghina Roccamonfina 

a  sophisticated fruity white that brings hints of pineapple, banana, yellow peach to rose and sage a great glass to star you meal , served with appetizer , light dishes, fish and white meat.

Then the Mata Rosé, elegant sparkling wine obtained from one of the oldest and noble native Carnation vines, the Alleanic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


My
special applause goes to Terre Cerase Rosè, (I have to confess:I had 4 glasses) with a floral the bouquet of morello cherries, black and red wild berries, plus delicate hints of spices, ideal with fish, poultry, veal and making an outstanding paired with bufala mozzarella.

 

 

 

 

Last but not the list the reason why we all were there. We were graciously invited to Celebrate the king of the Villa, His Magesty Falerno del Massico, a red wine famous in literature and history is a blend of aglianico and piedirosso; the clusters are carefully quality-selected from the hillside vineyards on the San Castrese estate growing on the slopes of the extinct Roccamonfina volcano, in the province of Caserta. Showing a deep red, its intense, rich bouquet is brimming with fragrant sweet violets, cherries, blackberries, and raspberries, finely balanced in all teir components. The “Falerno Party” started with the Exclusive Ceremony of opening and tasting Falerno del Massico aging in Amphora:
What an entertaining show! Fabio Gennarelli (Wine Making Director) opened one of the “Phitos” the traditional clay Amphora used exclusively by Villa Matilde, followed by an a unique sensing experience: the Vertical tasting of Falerno del Massico Vigna Camarato spanning from 1995 to 2010.  A parade of eight glasses where every “millesime” was telling his own story.

 

 

 

 

The outdoor lunch featured delicious seafood bites(I had to video some) and the one and only pizza fritta, freshly fried and stuffed by the expert hands of the Chef from “La Masardona”.

 

 

 

 

Not to mention the final dinner stuck between tradition and  innovation, created by the chefs of
Taverna del Falerno
and the “Grand Hotel Parker’s 5 Stars Restaurant”  pairing their dishes with the new Villa Matilde baby born:

sparkling Spumante Mata Falanghina, with its warm golden reflections and a fine and elegant perlage, thanks to the long stay on yeasts. Just put your nose to the glass to feel delicate scents of ripe fruit mixed with hints of yeast and crust of bread. The taste is fresh, elegant and harmonious, with acidic and intense fruity notes typical of the Falanghina, which are accompanied by pleasing sensations.
A dinner that brought
the culture of food of Napoli and Campania.ending with a nice souvenir that anyone who is a little superstitious would have love it . A little red corn, mounted on a Villa Matilde cork, a traditional “Good Luck”
for the Neapolitan people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sicilian oranges conquer USA

This year the NY Summer Fancy Food will smell and taste of Sicilian oranges…

In the Level 3 at Booth 2220 the annual event will host for the first time Mongibello, the new red Sicilian orange juice  by Oranfrizer, with a name inspired by Etna Volcano.
The product will participate in the Italian Food Awards USA 2017, is thought and dedicated only to the American market.

Over the Ocean, the company exports non-sourced juices for 20 years, with the launch of Mongibello and targeted communications strategies to propose new sales channels.I tried it and I lived it! No concentrate, it tastes like a real just squeezed fresh orange..

 

 

 

The NY Summer Fancy Food Show is the best specialty food industry trade event in North America, from June 25t till 27th ,

 

 

                 If you will be in NY, do not miss to tray this nectar of Sicily !

 

 

Not to be missed: the one and only ELEPHANT BAR in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh by night: legendary Elephant Bar leads to other delights…

By Philip Sinsheimer
Photo. Cesare Zucca

The team of the Raffles Siem Reap, engaged us to pay a visit to a real jewel., located in their sister property in Phnom Penh, I am talking of the historic Elephant Bar,

a place that exudes the charm of old school luxury. Not only do the walls spoke of history but, the service evokes a tempo of another time, a pace where the demands of productivity are not part of the game. Not to say we waited a long time for our cocktails, we waited just the right time for it to be made to perfection!
The signature cocktail is the Femme Fatale,
created for Jacqueline Kennedy during her 1967 visit in Cambodia.

 

The bar boasts a selection of 54 hand-picked gins and among the most recent offerings you can pair your libation with a spoonful of Giaveri caviar from Italy for a very friendly $5.

We were hosted by the young French F&B manager of this legendary institution,
Thomas Bianco.

 

We hit it off immediately and Thomas offered to meet with me the next night for a night in town. What a treat! We met with his charming Cambodian wife and I got to experience the best true khmer cuisine at their favorite restaurant, Kravanh, located at 112 Samdach Sothearos Blvd,
Simple, yet lovely decor with soft lighting (pic below), great service, nice wines and yes, a real gastronomic adventure at an affordable price. The “phlear trey” traditional marinated raw fish salad tossed with a variety of fresh herbs was incredible, definitely one of the best dish of my entire stay in Cambodia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening ended in a fun and lively bar, Chez Flo, located at 308 St 308, Phnom Penh, in the trendy Bassac lane area. Cocktails were impeccably executed by a young and hip bartender who really knew his stuff. Thomas had him create on the spot a cocktail combining ingredients I loved: bourbon, fresh lime and ginger juice, simple sugar and mint leaves. Shaken with egg white and served on the rocks with a splash of angustura bitters. What a treat! Thomas coined the name Tsin-Tsin for the cocktail in a heartbeat, combining the first letter of his first first name and the first 3 letters of my last name for an inviting chin-chin ring to it. It is now on the menu of the Elephant Bar, sealing in history the final touch of a night made of whimsy, fun and good taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Info for The Elephant Bar at Ruffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh  at
http://www.raffles.com/phnom-penh/dining/elephant-bar/

PARMA, Italy. GOLA GOLA 2017…YUMMY!

‘mi fà gola’, an italian slang that may translate in english as watering mouth or hungry hungry or, even better, greedy greedy …But I ll go for YUMMY YUMMY.

For the second year, Parma hosted the yummy Gola Gola Festival, a three non-stop days of food, drinks, show cooking, laboratories, tasting, street food, culinary events, summons, music and … did I mentioned FOOD ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Parma?
Because Parma proudly boasts the qualification of Creative city of Gastronomy designated by Unesco and enters officially into the network of the food and gastronomic culture of Unesco creative cities, in a triumph of tortelli, anolini, stuffed pastas, parmesan cheese, Parma ham and more. A role conquered in centuries and confirmed every day by the factories of the gluttons’ valley to guarantee certified products of high quality.

Then you got the Parma People…Corteous, kind, enthusiastic, happy and productive. You ‘ll feel welcome in this City, your appetite will be satisfied, your stomach will be very happy…and you will enjoy three unforgettable days in one of the most beautiful city of the world, rich of art, culture, history and the undoubtably expertise to throwing amazing parties…
On Friday night, the sumptuous summer residence of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, located in the Parco Ducale, hosted a superb Gala Dinner , where all the sponsors introduced their specialties. On Saturday, starred Chefs from all over the word meet here, changeling tradition with innovation and cooking for the Unesco Dinner, right in front of the Teatro Regio, considered one of the most prestigious venues for opera in Italy .The succulent menu was created by Chefs coming from Bélem (Brasil), Bergen (Norway), Chengdu (China), Dénia (Spain), Gaziantep (Turky), Östersund (Sweden), Tucson (Arizona) and, of course, Parma (Italy) serving the traditional anolini in brodo , exquisite starter of pasta stuffed with meat and parmesan cheese, floating in a rich steaming broth.

Useless to say that I found novelties, ideas and surprises all over the City.

Chef Andrea Ruisi, for example made an upside down version of the parmesan stuffed anolini in broth, actually using the broth as a filler and the parmesan a soft foam, a sort of the chinese xiao ling bao dumpling, in a Parma version.

 

In the beautiful University Garden, the worldknown cooking school ALMA ,
hosted Alma Caseus ,
a cheese contest based on taste, presentation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the colorful Piazza Ghiaia, the Riserva di Biosfera Unesco d’Appennino tosco-emiliano,  presented the Taglere Unesco a wooden palette introducing the local products such as ham, farro, cheese and my favorite,
the amazing
Torta di Erbi,
made with fresh greens.,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to mention the brilliant idea by Mutti peeled tomatoes, who served a tomato risotto in their Mutti can.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally the not to be missed the historical pesto di cavallo  a traditional  raw minced horsemeat dish dated 1881, when Mr. Orlandelli opened the first butcher’s shop in the Oltretorrente, where is still visible on the front door a sculpture of a horse head. I tried at the 1800 Trattoria Corrieri, I loved it!

 

Want to know more?
Well ….make a note on your 2018 June calendar and check for the 3rd edition of the yummiest Food festival on earth!
                                                                 Parma is waiting for you…

 

When real Truffle meets fake Tuna…a delicious surprise.

At the last Milano TuttoFood, I met with Carlo Bolli, active producer of Palaghiaccio historic farm dated back more than one thousand years ago on the most rich soils of the Mugello valley,

 

 

 

 

 

I tried a real excellence of Tuscany, called Grand Mugello Ubaldino, a straw-colored cheese compact, derived from simple ingredients: raw cow’s milk, cultures, rennet, salt. then the rich and creamy Gran Tartufo Toscano, regarded as an authentic art in Tuscany, It is aged in the “Ubaldini Grottos” located beneath the medieval Palagiaccio dating back around the 1200’s.

 

 

 

 

Finally a big surprise, the Tonno di Firenze. (Firenze’s tuna). It is produced by baking white pieces of beef in white wine, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and flavors. It has light hazel color, tastes and tones of light and delicate tuna

 

 

 

.The beef is called tune because it’s smooth, tender and easy to cut as a piece of tuna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From June 25th -27th , the Palaghiaccio products will be at the 2017 New York Fancy Food Show, booth 2609 Italia – Toscana.
You can check more of their products at www.palagiaccio.us/
Enjoy the video at www.palagiaccio.com/swf/presentazione.swf?width=792&height=494

Discovering the wines of the Euganean Hills, Italy

Are you a wine lover? Do you like to discover new tastes while sipping a nice glass of white or red? Do you enjoy to end up a dinner with a sweet touch of dessert wine? Or …do you indulge meditation?
Here several good reasons to visit the Euganean Hills, to get acquainted with the local wines, starting from the typical Fior d’Arancio, a very golden Moscato to a variety of whites with the typical straw-yellow color and jasmine scent, The hills produce Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon reds, the Chardonnay, , the Merlot, to my fav, the sparkling Serprino.
I forgot… most importantly, are you ready to discover a hidden gem in Italy? Breathtaking panoramas, art, culture and good food?

Already excited?
Well, hold your glass (still empty…) and let’s start your journey with some tips…
Where to stay, where to eat, what to visit.

Where to stay
Abano Ritz Hotel
Abano Terme is famous worldwide as the “Thermal Baths of Venice”, thanks to the extraordinary curative qualities of the thermal water and the bio-thermal clay or aged mud: a true medicine without side effects. At AbanoRitz boasts two swimming pools, the SPA, wellness rituals and culinary experiences at our 3 restaurants; immersed in a territory that offers a wealth of culture and folklore, as well as golfing and other sports.

 

 

 

 

Where to eat
Antica Trattoria Taparo in Torreglia, since 1921.
Not to be missed the ‘baccalà itinerary’ stockfish cooked in 3 different ways. 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Sasso in Teolo, celebrated for his one and only fried chicken, which (unfortunately ) I could not try… Instead I had an elaborate pasta dish, tagliolini with morchella mushrooms and snails.

 

 

 
What  to visit
Villa Barberigo, Valsanzibio. A sumptuous residence dated 1600, so spectacular that has been renamed the little Versailles. Get lost in the amazing labyrinth garden.

 

Cini Castle, Sanctuary of the Seven Churches and Villa Duodo in Monselice
At the foot of the Colle della Rocca there rises an imposing architectural complex called Castello Cini, which incorporates several diverse types of building.

From the XI to the XVI centuries the castle has changed from a luxurious residence, to defensive tower to become a Venetian villa. The Council Hall with frescoes and wooden stalls on the walls,

the room Jacopino with bevelled fireplace and kitchen with a rich collection of tools in the medieval and Renaissance Romanesque House;

the Armory, a precious room with frescos walls and the Carrara motif of red and white checkerboard which contains one of the most important collections of arms and armours in Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catajo Castle

Photo Enrico Paggiaro
Located in Battaglia Terme, close to Padua, with 360 rooms, decorated by the amazing GianBattista Zenotti’s frescos, this castle  is considered among the most unusual of the Villas in Veneto, it has served as a mansion, ducal palace and imperial residence. conceived in 1570 by the wealthy Obizzi family as
theatre to receive and amuse their guest.

Glamorous balls, sea battle scenes, huge theatrical productions…in a way hey were one of the greatest party planners of all ages.

                                                                                                         Photo Art New Media

Where to stop
Arquà Petrarca one of the most beautiful Italian burg, included on the prestigious list of Parchi Letterari Italiani (Italian Literary Parks), those locations that where celebrated in the italian and international literature by famous authors. The quiet and enchanting beauty of the Euganean Hills has been an iinspiration for writers, poets and artists,  Bruce Chatwin, Shelley, Byron, and Foscolo, narrates theses inspiring places that vibrate of beauty, passion, and poetry. Unique colors, flavors and scents bring to the attention of environmental oases, ancient abbeys, castles, villas, country retreats and other excellent stages. Visit the village where the iconic poet Francesco Petrarca  Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) lived and the house that hosted his final days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Literary Park take you to a journey through an itinerary identified by 11 plaques that portray sentences from different authors who immortalized the landscape and its heritage.

For more info
parco petrarca e dei colli euganei
c.baldin@confpd.it

 

Let’s…finally toast!
On the panoramic outdoor of the Villa Beatrice, a former Convent founded in12th century, on the top of the hill, we tried the Quota 101 wines, I loved the Malterreno an authentic expression of the Euganei  territory.  Authentic and true. The grapes are hand-picked in September, when the sun has made them nice and ripe. Warm yellow color, scent of Summer, in the mouth it is velvety and well-structured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next stop at Paolo Brunello’s Cantina Vignale di Cecilia,  located in Baone.

My fav was the white Val di Spie, an experimental trip in the world of sparkling wine, blinks its eye to the traditional natural fermentation in the bottle, while maintaining its natural yeasts, followed by the first born at Vignale, the red Passacaglia made with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera boasting a long maceration as well as the handmade mixing of fermenting grapes.

 

In the evening I met with lovely Elisa Dilavanzo, owner of Maeli Colli Euganei featuring the yellow muscat
from these amazing volcanic hills, where Elisa decided to “work towards the production of a wine that is rich in emotion whilst at the same time a worthy ambassador for this prestigious territory”.
Sparklyn Moscato Giallo IGT
Muscat 85% Chardonnay 15% Destemming and soft pressing, maceration on the skins for three days, pressing, fermentation on natural yeasts without added sulphites. The wine is bottled on its own yeasts with in-the-bottle secondary fermentation using the original must following the time-honoured method.

 

 

 

 

Grand finale with a wide varIety of Zanovello wines, hosted by Mr. Franco Zanovello, President of La Strada del Vino and owner of Cà Lustra wines. I ended my journey with the iconic Passito, born in the year 1200. Only in the Euganean Hills that the 100% Fiori d’Arancio muscat grapes keep that strong Mediterranean character, cheerful and vigorous.
Intense aromas, thick and colorful skin, crunchy pulp,are the hallmarks of this archaic variety that likes bright and dry sites. It’s a farmer’s tradition to harvest the ripest grapes and let them dry on racks in the old barns with the dual aim of producing a strong sweet wine and rustic cakes for the spring-winter festivals. Its intensity and complexity allow it to enter the category of “meditation wine.”

Believe me, no many other places on earth would enrich a meditation time
like being on the top of one of the volcanic Euganean Hills,
specially after sipping a glass of a delicious volcanic wine…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monselice, the Cini Castle,

Villa Duomo and the Seven Churches street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner at Al Sasso in Teolo

Sunday Another castle , in Lispida , hosting the Volcanic Wines event

 

Sunday

Visit Castello Catajo, monumental palazzo hosting the Obizzi family.

Affrescos and room, outodoor , garden

7 GOOD REASONS TO VISIT PRATO, ITALY

Fabrics vagary at the Museo del Tessuto, 1700 amazing embroidery, biscuits dated 1858, how to became a crewelwork artist and more…

At the top of my list
The Museo del Tessuto hosting the exhibit Il Capriccio e La Ragione ,

me, having a great time at at the exhibit

Here you will find a luxurious display of embroideries, silks, brocades, and lampasses from 1600, when new nations were discovered and new costumes  images and stories were imported to Europe.

Porcelains, paintings of landscapes, and the new profession of the fabric painter  starting from the vagary of remembering antique historical ruins to portraits either official or private.

France launched and updated this elaborate fashion, stating different styles, from bizarre to dentelle, to the beautiful drawings of Jean Revel, a major figure in Lyonnaise silk from the 18th century and a pioneer of the French style, who carried his innovative style beyond the courts of Versailles and Paris.

In the center: the exhibit curator Daniela Degl’Innocenti

The exhibit will be on till April 29th 2018.
Plan your visit to Prato because …here 6 more reasons to visit this Tuscany jewel.

Palazzo Pretorio  Austere and imposing this impressive palace has dominated Prato’s Piazza del Comune for more than eight hundred years acting as a silent witness to the political, civil and military history of the city.
The Duomo with its spectacular pulpit by Donatello

Champagne on the rocks? Mais oui!

SUMMER ROCKS!


Moet Ice Impérial breaks the tradition and launches a new style, a genuine drink experience that mixes unexpectedly sparkles and ice cubes to strawberries, raspberries and lime. 
Moët & Chandon created more than 270 years of elegance and savoir fête  now blended harmoniously with an irreverent yet inimitable spirit of celebration.
Moët Ice Impérial Moët & Chandon created more than 270 years of elegance and savoir fête  now blended harmoniously with an irreverent yet inimitable spirit of celebration.

 

 

 

A glizzy bottle White bottle with the inevitable black tie, golden label and silver reflections Moët Ice Impérial is perfect synthesis of the Maison’s values: elegance, glamour and pioneering spirit. Moët Ice Impérial

 

the ideal drink for exclusive summer excursion in the trendiest locations all around the world: from the beaches of Acapulco, Rio de Janeiro and Saint Tropez, to Los Angeles, to the magnificent

                                                             Duomo Terrace in Milan, where the luxurious drink was served among the Rosè and celebrated by a vip crowd.

DELIGHTS ALL THE WAY TO THE SKY…

AT CENTARA GRAND CENTRALWORLD, BANGKOK

by Philip Sinsheimer

I spent most of the month of January in Southeast Asia in company of colleague and dear friend Cesare Zucca. Our journey started with Bangkok, undoubtedly the touristic and business hub of Thailand and the whole region.
We stayed at The Centara Grand Central World, located in the heart of the shopping area of this other city that never sleeps!

Thankfully we did coming from far away thanks to the thick windows of the tower that isolates you from the constant noise far below.

 

 

Modern design and ultimate comfort was definitely for this 5 star hotel, but what was perhaps less expected was the quality and diversity of the food offering.

 

 

Follow the guide, from the ground up!

THE ZING

The ground floor hosts ZING cafe we were impressed by the quality of the food and beverages. We didn’t taste much, but what we did was bordering perfection: a double espresso for me served piping hot revealing perfectly roasted beans, intense flavor, regrettably often confused with burnt flavor… Not here!  But as an Italian, Cesare has probably more expertise than the French when it comes to coffee tasting. Well, let’s just say that his macchiato brought a big smile to his face. Both our beverages were the perfect companions
to mini French style hazelnut macarons.

The technique for the delicacy which travels the world is one of the most difficult to master in the science of pastry. A+ here: top and bottom both crumbly and soft; hazelnut buttercream in between intense in flavor, not too sweet, cold but not chilled. As you arrive into the air conditioned hotel after facing the heat and commotion of town, relax there for a moment of poised, simple luxury. On your way out, arm yourself with a double shot espresso to hit the road full of fresh energy.

 

THE WORLD
Take the elevator and discover the World! Located on the same floor as the gorgeous check-in lobby in midair, the restaurant is where breakfast is served. The concept: a scrumptious buffet with various stations allowing all appetites to be fulfilled. You have your classic western treats from eggs cooked to your liking with all the usual accoutrements to an array of breads straight up from Zing, moist muffins, jams, yogurts, cereals and various freshly squeezed juices. But you are in Bangkok and the more local and Asian at large treats are there to surprise the visitors from abroad and content the locals who should want to feel at home. Cesare and I were immediately tempted to enjoy a bowl of clear soup with your choice of noodle (thin or flat, rice or wheat) and various topping such as fresh baby bok choy, mini meat or fish balls, green onion, fried garlic and fresh chili for those who need a kick start besides the excellent coffee served to order. What a healthy way to start the day! A clean broth to hydrate your body in a savory way. There is also the ubiquitous congee, the boiled rice porridge typical of Southern China, but that you will find throughout Asia. Throughout our trip in Thailand and Cambodia, Cesare indulged in this soothing white breakfast staple we found each time at different levels of thickness. If the clear noodle soup is an adult get up and go type of thing, congee is as soft as a childhood memory allowing you to transition from the night to the day in a gentle way. To my opinion the one served here at the World was the best with a perfect flavor and texture and the selection of toppings were great. I loved to add a little kick to it with shreds of fresh ginger and a little dried shrimp or fish, as to prove that I’m no longer a baby! But wait, the soups are only the beginning for your Asian delights: over there are the dim sum (essentially the traditional pork siu mai and shrimp) hakkao and then various
Thai dishes such as a chicken green coconut curry, rice (plain or fried), sautéed vegetables…

Wait! Is this breakfast or lunch?
The only sweet I could indulge with was freshly cut fruit, including the dragon fruit, very bland but oh so pretty. In 2 days, I don’t believe we were able to taste more than half the offerings and each time we were set for the day while exploring the city. I personally couldn’t resist a good green papaya salad (som tam) at a street vendor in Chinatown, but I couldn’t eat much of the sticky rice that traditionally comes with it. We had to keep some appetite for the evening treats.

Philip at World

UNO MAS
Our evening started with the complimentary drink and hors d oeuvres guests of the hotel can enjoy at the tapas bar way up in the tour on the 54th floor. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the view during happy hour from $ to 7 pm or go for a full dinner as the restaurant is open up to 1 am. Let me be frank, I was skeptical: throughout my travel, I’ve experienced numerous tapas bars which seemed to embody more of a marketing ploy than a true culinary experience: small plates of faint resemblance to their Spanish model that you pile up desperately trying to find one better than the one before for a rather hefty bill at the end of a mediocre meal made of mitch match oily preparations. Well, I was in for a big surprise. Uno Mas once again confirmed that the hotel was serious about the food and beverage offerings. For one thing, the chef is from Catalonia so authenticity is taken seriously. A cava sangria was served perfectly chilled and well-flavored with citrus and fruit. It was well balanced, but as I tend to like all mixed drinks on the dryer side, I asked if a little extra cava could be added to alleviate de sweetness. No problem at all, the demand was met with a smile. Service is top notch.

As for food, I chose “cochinillo asado” a beautiful little chunk of roasted pork deliciousness. Super simple revealing the quality of the ingredient and the culinary technique to treat it with the respect it deserved.
Wow, this bitesize treat will stay in my mind for quite some time.

For then, it served as a great “mise en bouche” for the dinner expecting us upstairs.

RED SKY
Welcome to what has to be one of the most exciting, trendy, sexy, chic dining experience of Thailand! And the word has spread, reservation highly recommended to be seated outdoor at one of the tables with a breathtaking view of the skyline. Hip music is in the air and well-clad hipsters of all countries seem at home 55 stories above earthly concerns. We felt like VIP’s with our table for two at the very end of the floor plan
enjoying one of the best views.

Cesare at Red Sky

While Cesare perused the menu, I plunged in the depths of the impressive wine list. Top notch celebrity wines are there, such as the inviting 2008 Chateau Haut-Brion red Bordeaux ($1600), rare finds are there too such as a 1997 red Chateau Musar from the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon and the list abounds on Australian wines
We settled for a crisp and aromatic white Spanish Rueda, 2014 El Gordo del Circo (66$) to open the dance. It served as good match to the two first courses we ordered, pairing the freshness of the sea of the perfectly cooked octopus and cutting through the richness of a velvety cream of porcini mushrooms, very well done, perhaps a bit out of context in the tropics, but, as established for breakfast at The World, we are soup aficionados, anytime, anywhere! Here, we were transported to our native France and Italy by the magic of the chef.
For the main course, we got tempted to share the surf and turf tour, with grilled shrimp, king crab legs, prime beef, rack of lamb…

Perhaps not the wisest choice, as we both like our dishes to be piping hot and there was so much to tackle that we had to speed up to achieve that with a bit of confusion in the dimly lit table and sauces hard to identify. But, fun we had, the quality of the ingredients was definitely there and matched the mood of the place.  Those who want the party to go on can take the elegant staircase one floor higher to the Red Sky Bar which remains open until 1 am offering a 360-degree view of the cityscape. Imperial mojito anyone as a nightcap? Or would you prefer to go yet above and discover, at the very top of the building, the newly opened Cru Champagne Bar for exclusive French bubbles to wrap the night on a high-end note? You could also start your night there since this unique venue opens at 5pm offering delicacies to go with your selection of vintage champagne, from freshly shucked oysters, to Caspian Sea caviar and French foie gras. We didn’t have a chance to go, but we definitely will upon our next visit…
Always leave something to wish for in the future, Centara Grand at Central World
had already wowed our palates and our eyes.

For more info check  The Centara Grand Central World