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
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

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…



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 !




 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.






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.


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.


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

Dear Barbara, vuoi mangiare sano, vegano e alla moda?

Testo e Foto di Cesare ‘Pumpkin’ Zucca

Anni fa nasceva Westvilleun minuscolo ristorante nella zona downtown. Più di 30 piatti a base di verdura, all’insegna del sano, del fresco e dello stagionale. Un piattone con quattro verdure di vostra scelta a solo 15 dollari e…occhio alla lavagna, quando una verdura viene cancellata, inutile chiederla. Non si accettano prenotazioni e le attese potrebbero essere lunghe, ma, ti assicuro, ne vale la pena: tutto ottimo, compresa l’Imperdibile limonata alla menta Il Westville ha fatto storia e ha dato il via a serie di ristoranti vegetariani, vegani, crudisti o semplicemente più sani. Eccoli.


By Chloe, dove la chef Chloe Coscarelli, profetessa della cucina vegana, serve il suo famoso panino whiskey bbq, con fungo portobello, seitan, kale, marmellata di cipolla e ananas grigliato. Una delizia.
The Butcher’s Daughter 
Ottimo brunch sabato e domenica fino alle 16, 30. Fantastiche uova benedicts con salsa olandese e avocado al curry e il mio amatissimo semolino di mais ‘gritz’ al cavolo viola…
Dirt Candy
 Magie vegane di Amanda Cohen che propone due menu degustazioni di cinque o 10 piatti, mentre il brunch è alla carta. Strepitoso dessert al cioccolato e cipolla.

The Little Beet The Little Beet Table Lo Chef Franklin Becker, diagnosticato di diabete all’età di 27 anni, ha reagito inventando un menu completamente  senza glutine, sano, saporito  e ricco di piattoni “fai da te”.
Superiority Burger Burgers e fast food di moda, qui troverai il colossale megamouth, un classico, o quasi.

Gran finale con un tuffo in un bistro parigino. Al  Cafè Gitane eccezionali Insalate gourmet, come quella con trota affumicata, lenticchie nere, noci, rucola, mirtilli rossi, avocado, formaggio di capra, e pomodorini.


E voilà, dear Barbara, il tuo pranzo (salutare) è servito!
Big kiss from Pumpkin


Lisbon: super chef Josè Avillez interview

Lisbona: oggi vera giornata ‘turismo e gusto’.Mariana Marques, deliziosa PR del J A Grupo, mi guiderà in un viaggio-gourmet per scoprire i tesori di José Avillez, uno tra gli chef più famosi del Portogallo, gestisce 12 ristoranti, produce vini, ha partecipato a moltI show radiofonici e televisivi. Prima tappa Belcanto, premiato con due stelle Michelin. Raffinata cucina portoghese sofisticamente rivisitata. Tra le specialità il decennale mergulho no mar, spigola con alghe e vongole e il tradizionale cocido à la Portuguesa, sensazionale bollito misto di verdure e carni, tra cui la classica salsiccia chouriço de sangue. Proseguo verso Cantinho do Avillez, presente anche a Porto, poi Mini Bar, nell’interno del Teatro de São Luiz, con un menu perfetto per prima e dopo lo spettacolo e Pizzaria Lisboa, omaggio all’Italia e alla pizza, uno dei piatti preferiti da José. Dopo una bella camminata, sosta lunch al Café Lisboa nel suggestivo Largo de São Carlos. Il menu cita e reinterpreta la più storica cucina portoghese, come la portuguesinha, qui proposta con una sfoglia ripiena di carne e cavoli. 
Un must è il bacalhau à brás com azeitonas explosivas. E’ il piatto nazionale dal sapore unico e speciale: teneri bocconcini di merluzzo insaporiti con morbide cipolle e minuscoli bastoncini di patate fritte, il tutto avvolto da una crema a base di uova. Josè lo aggiorna con delle olive ‘esplosive’, piccole sfere ripiene di sugo di olive verdi, incapsulato con un elaborato processo di sferificazione. Boom! vi esplodono in bocca.


       Nel menu non poteva mancare il pastéis de nata, iconico dolce di uova, latte, mandorle, zucchero e cannella.Nato nella celebratissima versione di Belém, venduta nell’omonima pasteleria che fiancheggia il superbo Monastero dos Jerònimos.Nato nella celebratissima versione di Belém, José, oltre che nella versione tradizionale, lo propone anche in versione salata, con una croccante sfoglia ripiena di carne stufata per molte ore.Il tutto innaffiato da un fresco e aromatico JA Branco dai vitigni Viognier e Arinto..            Gran finale: un dolce incluso nelle sette meraviglie della gastronomia portoghese, lo storico budino dell’Abate di Priscos, considerato uno dei più grandi chef del 1800.

Continuo il percorso e arrivo al Bairro do Avillez, davvero unico, dove all’interno trovo cinque alternative: Taberna – dal menù svelto con specialità locali, lo spazioso Páteo – specializzato in pesce e frutti di mare, Cantina Peruana – che ospita lo chef Diego Muñoz, specializzato nella cucina peruviana e infine la gastronomia gourmet in vendita da Mercearia. Alla sera mi sono lasciato tentare dal misterioso e seminascosto Beco Cabaret Gourmet, ispirato ai club degli anni ‘20, con cameriere super sexy e un musical show piuttosto audace. Non a caso sulla parete deL bar troneggia un gigantesco ritratto di Dita Von Teese, la regina del burlesque.

Vengo accolto da un intrigante Master of Ceremony, degno del film Cabaret, al tavolo mi aspetta una rosa che nasconde uno stuzzica-gola alla mela e un tovagliolo sigillato da un bacio. Anche il menù non scherza: ceviche di gamberi, cono di granchio ragno giapponese, mini pizza con tonno crudo e caviale, un peccaminoso stufatino di coda di bue e foie gras e un uovo avvolto in foglia d’argento.Per finire, mini bon bon nascosti tra diamanti e serviti sulle note di ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friends
Finalmente incontro Avillez.
Una ricerca tra giovani ha rivelato che il 50% sogna di diventare uno chef popolare in TV. Cosa ne pensi?
E’ il sogno di molti. Pochi però arriveranno al traguardo. Purtroppo nei TV show sembra tutto piuttosto semplice, ma non lo è.
Parliamo di alcuni chef in TV. Cosa ne pensi su certe ‘battaglie’ in cucina?
Non sono un fanatico né un ammiratore delle guerre televisive in TV. Hanno l’aria di essere state scritte a copione. Se battaglia ci deve essere, preferisco sfidare me stesso.
Dove trovi ispirazione per i tuoi piatti?
Scopro cose che esistono e viaggio nei sogni. Dappertutto e da nessuna parte, nella realtà e nell’immaginazione.
Quali cucine ti influenzano?
Amo la semplicità. Certi sapori asiatici, lo stile giapponese e le tradizioni della cucina portoghese. Mi piace creare piatti che procurino gioia al palato, non solo alla vista.
Come si esprime la tua personalità in cucina?
Sono un tipo tranquillo, non mi piace sbagliare e miro a fare le cose in maniera giusta. Ma tutto con calma. Nessun isterismo se in cucina qualcuno fa un errore.
Sei ospite nella finale di Master Chef. Cosa prepari per far colpo?
Mi affiderei alla tradizione portoghese e alla mia fantasia. Preparerei bacalhau à Brás con olive esplosive, un tipico piatto portoghese, cucinato in maniera un po’ diversa per renderlo più cremoso e guarnito da piccole sfere che schioccano in bocca in un’esplosione al sapore di oliva.
Wow, olive esplosive! Mi daresti la ricetta oppure è un segreto?
Dammi il tuo taccuino, te la scrivo con piacere. E’ un piatto che rispecchia la mia storia, il mio mondo, le mie visioni e tutto quanto ti ho raccontato.

L’inarrestabile José non si ferma.
Al settimo piano del lussuoso El Corte Inglés ha da poco inaugurato tre nuovissimi ristoranti. L’informale Barra Cascabel, che segna la collaborazione con lo chef Roberto Ruiz e che celebra la cucina messicana, Jacaré, cioè alligatore, che si ispira a questo ‘evoluto’ animale che mangia non solo carne, ma anche frutta e verdure e infine Tasca Chic dove i sapori originali delle vecchie taverne tascas incontrano il ritmo e lo stile della Lisbona trendy di oggi. Nel menu troverete pepite di merluzzo meia-desfeita e il saporito maiale di Alentejo, oltre ai famosi dolci di José, tra cui l’irresistibile budino alla crema di miele e olive.
Testo e foto di Cesare Zucca

Lisbon. Discovering José Avillez’s luscious empire.

José Avillez is one of Portugal’s most famous chefs, he runs 12 restaurants,
produces wines, made appearances in many radio and television shows
and has been awarded with 2 Michelin stars for his iconic
     Belcanto                                                                                                                             I met with José n Lisbon at the magnificent Bairro do Avillez, a five restaurants venue, all supervised by José inside the Bairro , I found the unformal Taberna, the spacious Páteo, specialized in fish and seafood, Mercearia, a gourmet store ,Cantina Peruana  which hosts the chef Diego Muñoz, specialized in Peruvian cuisine and finally Beco Cabaret Gourmet a mysteriously hidden Cabaret Dinner Gourmet, with a quite sexy musical revue. It is no coincidence that on the bar wall stands a gigantic portrait of Dita Von Teese, the queen of vaudeville


                                        How do you express your personality in the kitchen?
I’m a quiet guy, I do not like to be wrong and aim to do things right. But all calmly. No hysteria if someone makes a mistake in the kitchen


What interested you in the food planet?
I am interested in the different world cuisines, that’s why I am honored to host chef Diego Muñoz in my Cantina Peruana and I just opened Barra Cascabel, featuring chef Roberto Ruiz, one of the great references of Mexican cuisine in Europe.



What we’ll always find in your fridge and what we’ll never find?
I always leave a lot of space for fresh vegetables, eggs, cheeses. Never, never margarine.
Where do you find inspiration to create a dish?
Everywhere and nowhere, in reality and in imagination. I love simplicity: certain Asian flavors, Japanese style and the influences of Portuguese cuisine. I like to create dishes that bring joy to the palate, not just to the eye.
Eros and food, a proven combination. Your aphrodisiac dish ?
A dish that knows how to create an atmosphere. Like a rich soup, perhaps accompanied by oysters.
Open the drawer and tell us your dream.
Be happy. Professionally and sentimentally.
Are you happy now?
Yes, but still in pursue of more happiness.
You are the guest of honor in a TV show. What would you cook to impress the audience?
I would follow the Portuguese tradition and my heart. I would prepare my signature dish: bacalhau à Brás with explosive olives, one of my favorite Portuguese dishes yet cooked with a twist. I would garnish with little green spheres that pop in your mouth and create an explosion of olive flavor. I love surprises!





Here all Avillez restaurants.
Choose one (or more) for your next trip to Lisbon
José Avillez restaurants






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.

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.




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!










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!

Via Hoffe 10, 32047 Sappada (BL) Italia
T: +39 0435 46 90 70

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’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!

Via Hoffe 10, 32047 Sappada (BL) Italy
T: +39 0435 46 90 70






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



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

by Phlilip Sinsheimer
Photo:Cesare Zucca












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.