BOLOGNA , DOVE DORMIRE CHIC , PRIVATO, CONFORTEVOLE, CHARMANT

Dove Dormire

Un’indimenticabile notte a Palazzo.
Il Palazzo Gregorini Bingham
vanta 200 anni di storia, arte e cultura. Fu disegnato dal celebre architetto Camillo Morigia e in seguito divenuto residenza del Conte Riccardo Bingham e di sua moglie Adelaide Gregorini.
Il palazzo offre sei suites, dotate di ogni moderno comfort e arricchite da stucchi, stemmi, pavimenti antichi e tutti i beni artistici rinnovati da un accurato restauro per preservare la loro resistenza e la capacità di trasmettere energia. Scoprirete inaspettati elementi artistici, come pavimenti originali, stemmi ottocenteschi, affreschi che ornano i soffitti, oltre a  suggestivi saggi di restauro che trapelano dalle pareti.

Le suites propongono allo stesso tempo una esperienza confortevole, frutto di una ristrutturazione e di un design che mescola elementi artistici a un’ assoluta cura dei dettagli tecnologici di ultima generazione. Ho scelto la Suite Exagon, chiamata così per il soffitto dal disegno esagonale, un ambiente antico e nello stesso tempo contemporaneo. Ho apprezzato i tessuti speciali e biancheria rigorosamente di artigianato italiano.


Il Palazzo non serve la prima colazione (peccato, mi sarebbe piaciuto sedermi in uno dei salotti e gustare un capuccino con chsisà quale dolce delizia…) però in camera troverete tutto il necessario per un buon caffe o un the mattiniero, compresi deliziosi biscotti al cioccolato.

Qui l’eleganza contemporanea si manifesta attraverso materiali nobili come il legno, i marmi e i metalli satinati si alternano in uno stile che accoglie e custodisce. Il servizio, discreto e attento, è sempre disponibile ad ascoltare le esigenze degli ospiti, nel completo rispetto della loro privacy.

Nel cuore della città ho incontrato la deliziosa Maria Ketty, splendida signora di origini venete e ex fotomodella, che da 14 anni gestisce con passione il suo B&B Bologna nel Cuore, un accogliente appartamento con due camere finemente arredate,  ognuna con bagno privato e altri due appartamenti completi.

Un meraviglioso soggiorno con quadri d’epoca nel quale Mary serve un’ accurata prima colazione personalizzata a secondo delle esigenze del Cliente (ho gustato una dei miei dolci preferiti, la torta di riso, rigorosamente fatta in casa, una bontà…)

Quindi se cercate disponibilità, calore familiare ed un’attenta cura, nel massimo rispetto della privacy, altrechè preziosi spunti per avventurarsi alla scoperta di Bologna, questo delizioso B&B fa per voi.

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A CITY IN YOUR HEART


 

In the heart of the city I met the lovely Maria Ketty, a splendid lady of Venetian origins and ex-photomodel, who for 14 years has been passionately managing her B&B Bologna nel Cuore, a cozy apartment with two finely furnished rooms, each with a private bathroom among two other fully funished apartments.

A wonderful living room with period paintings. There Mary serves an accurate personalized breakfast according to the needs of the customer (I tasted one of my favorite desserts, the home-made rice cake …)

So if you are looking fo service, family warmth and careful care, with the utmost respect for privacy, as well as precious ideas for venturing to discover Bologna, this B&B is for you.

INFO
https://www.bolognanelcuore.it/

Are you looking for a top central location? Here where to stay while in Bologna

A New York impera il motto “location,  location, location” vale a dire che più si è in centro, più si vale… Trasferiamoci a Bologna e …niente da dire dell’ Hotel Orologio strategicamente situato nel cuore del cuore della città: Piazza Maggiore, una delle piazze medievali più belle del mondo.

Situato proprio di fronte all’antica torre dell’orologio del Municipio, da cui deriva il suo nome e che l’hotel onora, adornando le aree comuni e le camere da letto con orologi di ogni genere, grandi e piccoli, in bronzo e ceramica, smalto o legno.


In un mix di stili, l’atmosfera generale è calda e accogliente, quà e là troverete simpatici dettagli come coprisedili all’uncinetto, la sala breakfast (ricchissimo) in contrasto con i suntuosi lampadari e un piacevole salone con una combinazione di colori giallo intenso e un trio di divani.

Sculture occasionali, stampe storiche e altri oggetti artistici fanno un cenno al titolo di hotel d’arte, mentre sorprende la decorazione delle camere a tema, come la Suite Africa, impreziosita da oggetti esotici.

Questa proprietà fa parte della mini catena Art Hotel, specializzata nell’ offrire carattere e atmosfera del vecchio mondo ma anche della contemporeità in egual misura, con camere confortevoli e ben arredate in aggiunta alla passione per la qualità e all’incomparabile ospitalità emiliana.
Bologna , I love you!

Naples, Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel, a jewel into a jewel ! Un gioiello nel gioiello.

Mi trovo a Spaccanapoli, arteria pulsante della vita mondana nel pieno centro storico, al numero 23 di Via Benedetto Croce, mi aspetta Palazzo Tufarelli, dimora storica del XVII secolo che mi accoglie con un cortile magico e evocativo. Dalle arcate ritornano alle mente immagini, scene da film, rumori, vociare delle signore e bisbiglii di nobili. Mi infilo nell’ascensore con gettoniera vintage (si, per salire o scendere si metteva una monetiva!) oggi fuori uso, ma suggestivo. Benvenuti al Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel  un gioiello di ospitalità, arte e storia che nasce nel ventre di Napoli, da cui ne eredita accoglienza e passionalità.

Spaccanapoli,  arteria pulsante di vita mondana è la pittoresca strada che ‘spacca’ Napoli in due. Animata da bancarelle, negozi souvenir, ristoranti, taverne. Qui potrete trovare il calore, la passionalità e l’allegria di questa città nelle forme più disparate: dai locali più tradizionali al folklore locale, ai personaggi più stravaganti che animano il quartiere.

In questa strada ogni muro, ogni volto è pronto a raccontarvi millenni di storia e cultura. Lasciatevi guidare dall’euforia e fatevi inondare dallo spirito accogliente di Napoli. Giusto di  fianco all’hotel, si trova l’insurabile incanto del Monastero di Santa Chiara, il cui porticato è un’ oasi di pace e di bellezza.

Il Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel  è permeato da un’atmosfera di pace e relax, che sa coinvolgere l’ospite e chiunque voglia costruire la propria esperienza esclusiva che, grazie alla disponibilità e ai suggeriementi del gentilissimo staff, lo porterà alla scoperta delle magnificenze, dei luoghi magici e dei segreti di Napoli.

Nelle 7 suites, il classico degli affreschi restaurati incontra un design moderno e confortevole, le finestre si affacciano sulla città,  un attento restauro ha conservato molte delle caratteristiche di questo magnifico edificio (soffitti con travi originali, splendide porte dipinte, finestre alte, pavimenti in cotto antico); mentre un mix di mobili antichi e contemporanei uniti ai comfort di oggi , lo rendono aggiornato e accogliente.

Il Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel, inoltre, è situato a pochi passi dalle principali attrazioni napoletane come: il Chiostro di Santa Chiara, San Gregorio Armeno, Piazza del Gesù, Piazza San Domenico Maggiore e Cappella San Severo con il suo Cristo Velato.

Questo piccolo ed elegante hotel è un tranquillo rifugio dal caos del centro storico e offre camere belle e spaziose e un servizio personalizzato nel contesto di uno storico palazzo napoletano.
Anche i prezzi sono ragionevoli.

Il breakfast è, per dirlo alla napoletana, “nu babà”! Ho trovato tutte le prelibatezze della pasticceria napoletana, accompagnate da altre squisitezze dolci e salate, ll buffet comprende torte e le sfogliatelle del famoso negozio Scaturchio oltre a frutta freschissima, uova e omelettes a richiesta.

Una dritta: chiedete al gentilissimo Direttore Giuseppe Autorino di farvi vedere la terrazza sul tetto, da dove si gode una vista a 360 gradi della città e da cui potrete godere di uno spettacolare tramonto magari con un buon bicchiere di  vino.

INFO
Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel  

NAPLES: ATELIER INES, HIDDEN JEWEL. ATELIER INES, GEMMA NASCOSTA

Nel cuore della Sanità, ho scoperto un piccolo gioiello . Atelier Ines, un B&B con sole tre camere tutte dotate di bagno privato, una diversa dall’altra, arredate con i pezzi design creati da Vincenzo Oste. Tranquille, luminose e curatissime nei dettagli e nei comfort,

Un indirizzo nascosto dietro a un bellissimo giardino arricchito da sculture contemporanee create da Oste, che qui ha il suo magico laboratorio artigianale, dove tutto è rigorosamente fatto a mano, schizzi dei disegni appesi alle pareti, opera incompiute, pennelli , scalpelli. Un luogo poetico come poetiche e visionarie sono le opera che lo decorano.


Da una parte ci si sente a casa e a nostro agio e dall’altra si è affascinati dal decoro, dall’arredamento e dal grande talento presente in ogni singola creazione.  Oltre a elementi di arredamento e oggetti per la casa , l’Atelier produce meravigliosa gioielleria, bracciali, anelli, collane.

Ines, la padrona di casa è appassionata della sua città. “Guarda verso l’alto, mi suggerisce, scoprirari pareti, palazzi e una luce speciale che filtra prepotente dallì’alto dei vicoli. Fermati a chiaccherare con gli abitanti del luogo”Oasi elegante ed eclettica nel quartiere Sanità, questo B&B  è un omaggio all’arte e alla sua bellezza.Tutto, dalle lampade ai portasciugamani a spirale, alle testate scultoree uniche nel loro genere, , integrati da materassi paradisiaci, una scelta di cuscini e bagni in ceramica Vietri.
Gli ospiti sono invitati a esplorare il laboratorio e l’archivio Oste.. Situato nel quartiere del centro storico di Napoli, a 600 metri dall’Osservatorio astronomico di Capodimonte, l’Atelier Inès offre camere climatizzate con WiFi gratuit, mentre alcune unità dispongono di un’area salotto dove è possibile rilassarsi La colazione offre marmellate fatte in casa, yogurt e torte (meravigliose) nonché uova strapazzate fresche di fattoria e frutta biologica.

 

HOTELS REVIEWS BY CESARE ZUCCA


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HAMBURG

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PALAIS HANSEN KEMPINSKI, Vienna
published on Zester Daily

KEMPINSKI, Vilnius
published on Traveller/Vanity Fair

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LONDRA
Dove alloggiare
Cercate classe e tradizione ?
Consiglio il cinque stelle Royal Lancaster Hotel. Si affaccia su Hyde Park e, secondo me, rappresenta il top dell’eleganza, discreta e sempre di buon gusto accompagnata a un servizio ineccepibile. Due ristoranti: Nipa Thai serve autentica cucina tailandese e Island Grill, che offre piatti della tradizione locale. L’elegante Hyde Bar è perfetto per un cocktail. Il ricchissimo breakfast è servito nello splendido ristorante Park con vista mozzafiato sul parco.
Dalle camere, progettate in modo impeccabile per combinare stile e comfort, si oode di una vista spettacolare giorno e notte. Arredamento vagamente anni ’60, sembrerebbe che James Bond possa entrare nella hall da un momento all’altro.


Eccleston Square Hotel
Perfetto esempio di alta classe alberghiera che sposa Ie più avanzate soluzioni tecnologiche.È uno dei primi hotel al mondo a fornire connessioni TV 4K e, grazie al soundbar Sonos Beam, un suono perfetto. Comandi digitali dovunque, dal controllo di tutte le funzioni in camera, all’inclinazione del letto e, come se non bastasse, vi verrà consegnato un cellulare gratuito per chiamate illimitate a numeri mobili e fissi britannici e internazionali.

Chi prenota direttamente può usufruire di un minibar gratuito rifornito ogni giorno. Si trova a pochi minuti da Victoria Station e della metropolitane Circle, District e Victoria, nonché il Gatwick Extress. Ah dimenticavo…. gli ospiti possono utilizzare il meraviglioso giardino privato antistante l’hotel!see full article

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LOOKING FOR ‘A ROOM WITH A VIEW’?
HERE 7 SPECTACULAR DESTINATIONS

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Budapest ONE December 13 pag 1,2,3budapest-onebudapest-traveller-finny-new-hotels-draggedBOUTIQUE HOTEL CASA ANGELINA,  AMALFI COAST
by Cesare Zucca
A contemporary interpretation of the Italian Riviera; an innovative, intimate retreat of 43 guestrooms. Although just a few minutes’ drive from the destination village of Positano, Casa Angelina’s fishing village location immerses guests in an off-the-radar authenticity that occupies a prime spot on the Amalfi coast.Resting high up on the cliffs, the converted fishermen’s homes look to the future with an immaculately minimalist design complimented by exquisite Murano glass sculptures. Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 12.54.28Aperitivi are served at the on-trend Marrakech Bar, and the rooftop gourmet restaurant—Un Piano nel Cielo—offers sweeping views of the Gulf of Salerno. Guests are also encouraged to make use of the restorative spa and exclusive access to Casa Angelina´s own beach, La Gavitella, to fully appreciate la bella vita. Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 12.54.33INFO
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LA TORRETTA, CINQUE TERRE
At the gentle yet accurate reception, you ‘ll find a bottle of Italian prosecco and Cuban rum
to welcome you in one of the ten gorgeous sunny rooms that harmoniously mix a combination of antique and contemporary pieces.

SAM_3185 copyMost of them have balcony overlooking the vineyards to one side and the blue Mediterranean to the other. At breakfast time, the “buongiorno” , is a real “good morning” thanks to Gabriele’s Mamma who prepares the most delicious torte salate (salted cakes with fresh vegetables) and the succulent torta di riso ( a rice cake traditionally cooked every year con August 10th, but available here every morning! ). All this goodies enhance a generous breakfast with local cheeses, meats, home-made patisserie, fresh squeeze oranges.Enjoy one ( or more…) glass of wine offered at your arrival or served at the sunset aperitivo time in the terrace that boasts a spectacular views of the stunning Bay.

Spectacular view from the terrace

Spectacular view from the terrace

Superbly located in the centre of the wonderfully picturesque village of Manarola a once-in-a-lifetime ultimate destination in beautiful Cinque Terre, Ligury, Ital. Reservation a must. Here the link
http://www.torrettas.com

3 ‘Nobel’ days in Oslo
Stay at the Grand Hotel
by Cesare Zucca

The Nobel Peace Prize 2014 has been awarded  to Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian children right’s campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.
900x506Malala rose to fame after Taliban militants shot her at close range in the head for speaking out against the Islamic extremists and demanding education for girls.
Satyarthi has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain.
Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said the joint prize was symbolic because it was important for “a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.
Highlights of the 3 days event include:
Save the Children’s Peace Prize Party [in Norwegian] outside the Nobel Peace Center.
Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo City Hall.
Torchlight parade and The Nobel Banquet at the Grand Hotel
_DSC7796Oslo 9,10,11 of December 2014
Great time to visit Oslo, celebrate PEACE, enjoy the magnificent Grand Hotel a superb symbol of a first-class hospitality with tradition, atmosphere and style
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3 HOTELS ROOF TOPS you don’t want to miss
by Cesare Zucca

Let’s go straight to the point.
You want service, design, comfort and an amazing view.

Witt Istanbul Hotel, Turkey

Witt Istanbul Hotel, Turkey Just opened this summer in the neighborhood of Cihangir, the Rooftop Permaculture Garden, designed by Aybike Zengin and Deniz Ucok, caps off the timeless luxury of the18-room Witt Istanbul Hotel. A lofty place to relax, cozy sitting areas are ensconced by lush greenery and infused by the aromatics of flowers and edible herbs. Created with the recognition that societies far-and-wide face joint challenges of food security and climate change, this garden is a sustainable agriculture model of community-involved vermicomposting and micro-green cultivation practices. Take in a moment of urban escapism along with views of Turkey’s Bosphorus, Topkapi Palace, and Galata Tower.

Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona, Spain

Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona, SpainlWith its panoramic rooftop deck, the 147-room Grand Hotel Central offers a discreet and luxurious hideaway high above Barcelona’s fashionable El Born district. Unobstructed city skyline views extend beyond the infinity pool, best taken in from the poolside perch of the floor level sunbeds. Dine on gourmet dishes of beef carpaccio and chilled gazpacho at the soaring Skybar. Post dinner drinks are paired with classic cocktails, DJ-curated beats and the local flair for which Barcelona is renowned. www.designhotels.com/grand-hotel-central

THE THIEF, Oslo, Norway

THE THIEF, Oslo, Norway As Oslo’s first waterfront hotel, THE THIEF and its 116 rooms overlook the canals of Tjuvholmen and Oslofjord. A 360-degree panoramic view from the rooftop terrace is the hotel’s crowning highlight. Rub shoulders with the hip Oslovian set at the weekly rooftop-bar sessions where intimate performances range from chilled-out acoustic sets to up-tempo DJ electronica. THE THIEF BAR also hosts the year-round THIEF MUSIC UNPLUGGED showcase, presenting the works of today’s musicians, and introducing the stars of tomorrow. From sipping sundowners during the summer months to seeing in the New Year in THE THIEF’s inimitable style, the rooftop remains Oslo’s hottest spot whatever the weather. www.designhotels.com/the-thief

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Discovering beautiful Poland
POZNAN
by Cesare Zucca

Article Breslavia and Poznan Page2 PoznanVISITING MEXICO CITY?
CHECK THIS HABITA HOTEL!
by Cesare Zucca
TUCKED BETWEEN HISTORIC FACADES ON A TREE-LINED ROAD IN MEXICO CITY’S TRENDY CONDESA NEIGHBORHOOD,
THE HOTEL CONDESA DF FUSES THE SPIRIT OF ITS BOHEMIAN SURROUNDINGS WITH A PLAYFULLY SIMPLE AESTHETIC DESIGN.
HOUSED IN A 1928 BUILDING IN THE FRENCH NEOCLASSICAL STYLE
www.condesadf.comScreen shot 2016-01-15 at 7.58.20 AM

 

 

 

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL Phnom Penh
I 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.

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DISCOVERING TURIN

I spent 4 fantastic days in a fantastic city: Turin, capital of the Piedmont Region, Italy.
Turin is a remarkable treasure of history , arts, culture and…great food.
Let’ s start with the history. Many venues to visit, so I choose two of them and I adventured myself in a fascinating journey through the Royal Palace and the Savoy dynasty. The breathtaking apartments, the Royal Library, the Royal Armoury, the Savoy Gallery, the Archaeological Museum and the close Guarini’s Chapel of the Holy Shroud  recently reopened to public.
The next day I went to Venaria, the monumental Savoy Royal Residences and gardens, housing one of the most important centers for art and culture in Italy.You will be amazed by the enchanting Hall of Diana, the huge complex of the Stables, the famous golden ship Bucentaur and much more

The venue hosts several great exhibits, including Easy Rider, a glamorous exhibit that celebrate the magical world of motorbikes, evergreen symbol of “leaving the world behind”, “freedom”, and “speeding into the unknown”. and a great photo gallery showcasing the amazing work of Elliott Erwitt. 

 

 

The current exhibit Hercules and his myth focuses and illustrates the figure of the Hero with a selection of extraordinary paintings and art objects created in classical antiquity and between the 16th and 18th centuries and literally surprising the visitor with an unexpected selection of those pretty tacky 60’s-70’s movies and their posters, starring the very first Superman.
Looking for a unique museum?
National Museum of Cinema, located In the iconic Mole Antonelliana, symbol of Turin.

 

 

 

It runs vertically, up the ramps that line the inside of the building while exposing historical archives in film history, costumes, wigs and elements that have been used by great artists, and impressive screens showing films.  On the year commemorating the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, one of the biggest composers and orchestra conductors of the 20th century, the NationalMuseum of Cinema organised a large multimedia exhibit  Soundframes that investigates the complex relationship between music and moving images.             

From the first musicals, to impressive scores created by great composer such as John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer, etc.The exhibit is exclusively made up of screenings winding along the Temple Hall’s helicoidal ramp. Visitors to the exhibition will be provided with wireless headphones that are necessary for a 360 degrees immersion. To complete this emotional journey into the universe of music in cinema, the last part of the itinerary consists of 6 rooms with highly interactive features.

 

Into modern art?
Here two beautiful museums:
GAM. In addition to its rich collection, starting Oct 26, the museum will host THE MACCHIAIOLI Italian art moves towards modernity, an exhibition that focuses on the antecedents, birth and highly successful debut period of Macchiaioli painting, spanning the experimentation of the 1850s and the masterpieces of the 1860s, exploring in-depth the artistic dialogue established between 3 Italian Regions: Tuscany, Piedmont and Liguria. MEF is hosting 100% ITALIA, a journey through the three great wars that have changed the world and its perception and, above all, an accurate account of Italian creativity.
The show proposes a selection of exceptional works never exhibited. masterpieces that are usually kept in private collections and that are hardly exposed to the public     .Welcome to Turin, Capital of taste!

 

On my arrival night, lovely Silvia from TurismoTorino.org took me to one of her favorite restaurant, Tre Galli, located in the heart of the Roman Quarter, one of the oldest areas of Turin.

There I became 100% Piedmontese! Boiled tongue with the traditional salsa verde (anchovies, parsley, bread soaked in red vinaigrette, garlic and egg yolk) Then panissa risotto with beans and bacon, a traditional peasant dish also known as paniscia depending on the local dialect, and here served in a metal can. Silvia ordered Agnolotti alla Piemontese, that are fresh pasta dumplings, similar in shape to ravioli and stuffed with tender fassona meat. I tried one: it was rich, generous and tasty.>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To follow, a delicate flan with leeks and fonduta of Toma Montecauri cheese.
Sweet finale with a bonet (peach stuffed with a creamy fusion of Chocolate and nuts.Shall we lunch ?

Caffè Elena
Established in 1800, right in the heart of the magnificent Vittorio Veneto. Here furniture and atmosphere have remained unchanged.Ideal for breakfast as well as the lunch break or a later aperitif paired with  high quality tapas made on the spot. I sat at the small table by the window, the one preferred from Emilio Salgari the world best pirates stories writer I had handmade potato gnocchi with sausage and sheep cheese, then grilled fassona (super tender meat) with arugula salad and parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For dessert, I had panna cotta
made with a historical recipe, adding Vermouth Carpano, a bitter drink invented in Turin ,
cacao and hazelnut crumble. Yes, You need a long walk after that lunch.
Chiodi Latini
‘We are a vegetale–integrale restaurant’, told me Antonio Chiodi Latini, the quite bizarre owner and creator of this minuscule venue in the center of Turin. ‘No meat, no fish, no derivates, not at all those sad unflavored vegan dishes. We don’t want to be a trendy place, We like to research , experiment and have the right knowledge of raw materials, their benefit, their taste. We propose a new approach to healthy food, whole foods, paying attention to plant-based ingredients, placing them at the center of our dishes in all their simplicity’.
At lunch, the menu offers 5 choiches, Business, Image, Premium, Whole and Experience (to be booked in advance)

 

Under Antonio’s authorisation, I mix matched some of the choices, Starting with a porcini and cream on stale bread, followed a velvety watercress and Swiss chard with roasted pumpkin seeds, a broccoli cream, then the signature dish called  ‘PA-PO-BA,we can’t do without it’ (that’s PAsta, Pomodoro, BAsilico)


and ending with the ‘chilly’ sorbet Freddoloso (90% fennel, cardamom, cream of parsley.) As drinks a healthy kombucha (fermented tea , pine needles and cones) and a delicate smoothy with fennel extract, celery. green apple, lemon, ginger and zucchini squash.
Pizza maniac?
Tasteit
An unusual concept for making pizza. It is called ‘gourmet pizza’ and you will be the creator! You have the possibility to have ‘your’ customized pizza, choosing between the selection ‘earth’ or ‘sea’. In the first section there is a great presence of parmigiano cheese because the manager Domenico made a long culinary experience in Emilia-Romagna, Parma ham or Ghirardi reserve smoked scamorza, the famous culatello di Zibello, porcini mushrooms, pesto of parmesan rucola in poppy seed crust. Any sea proposal? There is no lack of unusual couplings, such as the amberjack fillet paired with spinach, guancialino slice and porcini or a tuna and shrimp tartare with kiwi, orange citronette and grapefruit zest, or low temperature cooked octopus, mashed potatoes and taggiasca olives.
The most popular? W
ith stracciatella, pork fillet cooked at low temperature, lard from Colonnata,  sprinkled crispy bacon and sesame seed vinaigrette. For lunch, the menu takes on a more business format with the choice of two first and three seconds. I chose amberjack risotto with tomato and cheese stracciatella. Perhaps because of
the late hour (it was almost 2.00 pm) to my taste, the rice was a little overcooked.

The score went up  with the arrival of a slice of pizza scampiamola which takes its name from the raw scampi paired with a delicate guacamole just flavored with shallots, pepper and just a drop of tabasco (thank God! I hate  guacamole full of garlic, coriander and onion !)

 

Fancy some tapas?
Languorini

Cosy little bar that will delight you with its creation. I tried the one called  Maialino nel panino (semi-sweet bread, pork strips cooked at low temperature and the chef’s sauce) the always classic black bread and Mediterranean anchovies and ‘U pulpo’, crispy octopus, scamorza cheese and herb mayonnaise. To drink, a FOG crafted white beer.

Chocoholic?

 

Your destination is the store of Guido Gobino where you will find the cremino al sale, a chocolate praline enriched with integral sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, was awarded in 2008 as the Best Praline of the World from the prestigious London Academy of Chocolate.Are you a coffee lover?
Do not miss Nuvola Lavazza Museum. Lavazza is one of the oldest Italian factory producing coffee since 1885. The museum is a  multi-layered journey through the world of coffee, from the first grocery store where Luigi Lavazza invented the concept of blending, to the characters from advertising campaigns to yearly calendars, shoot by renowned photographers such as Helmut Newton, and Annie Leibovitz.
To end the journey at the bar where you would tray some experimental coffee drinks or food, like the amazing coffee sprinkled chips.
Did you say burger?
Check out  M** Bun, first ‘slow food’ burger of the history .
They use only meat processed in the Scaglia farm in Rivoli, strictly Km.0 obtained from animals raised and fed with cereals and fodder grown in their fields, to guarantee a unique taste and consistency at every bite.
In addition you can find different raw tartare  (plain, with capers or olives.
     The menu is a fanny mix between Italian and Piedmontese dialect, burgers here are oven grilled, chicken, fassona, pig. and a daily winter soup. The potatoes are to die for: absolutely fresh-cut and grilled to perfection. (forget those greasy fast food fries.) To drink artisanal beer from Susa, local wine and Molecola, a home-made alternative to Coca Cola. I got one and took me a minute to realize that even here the name is playing with words, mixing Mole ( the symbol of Turin) and Cola, as per the drink….

My favorite restaurant with traditional Piedmont cuisine? The istorical Porto di Savona opened in 1863 and still one of the most representative venue in Turin.

 

I started with a mix of traditional appetizers vitello tonnato ( cold veal with tuna sauce),

Zucca, which is my last name. In italian, it means ‘pumpkin. Long story short, I couldn’t resist to try a little bit of a very promising pumping creamy soup with robiola cheese and amaretti. It definitely was a good choice. Then a Turin must: Fritto Misto Piemontese. A fried mix of salty to sweet. Enjoy 9 different ingredients: sweetbreads, anchovies with green sauce, tomino cheese with green sauce (parsley, garlic, olive oil)) Vegetable flan with Parmesan creamy sauce, amaretto, fruits and more. Perfectly fried, crunchy, not greasy and super tasty
Then I had the opportunity to taste the Finanziera, a real Piedmont treat. Apparently it was born in the eighteenth century and offered by the peasants to the revenue officers, whose jacket inspired the name. y. It’s  an old poor recipe that used the less noble parts of slaughtered animals and the entrails, such as brain, lungs, testicles, sweet bells, liver and cock’s crest which were left to those who performed the slaughter and immediately cooked, prepared and consumed.Today the Finanziera is considered an elaborate and sophisticated specialty.

Where to stay?
I checked in at Genova Hotel, a four star Best Western Plus property, steps to Central Station Porta Nuova and all the transportation. Super central, excellent service, comfy bed, even a jacuzzi in my room!

 

The breakfast is generous and delicious. Among fresh cold cuts, a lot of cheeses, including my favorite tomini.
Lots of homemade cakes with fruits.
I loved the one with caramelized pears and
(of course) the traditional Turin gianduja chocolate.
I stayed 4 nights and I highly recommend it.

 

Get the Torino&Piemonte card!

Free admission in the most important museums and exhibitions in Turin, in the castles, fortresses and Royal Residences in Piedmont and discounted tickets for many attractions, events, rides, including the great City SightSeeing Torino bus 

 

 

 

MY GREAT WEEKEND IN ATHENS

Planning a trip to Athens?
Great idea for a destination where history, art, culture, food and entertainment will keep you busy from morning until dawn. I go there often, I leave on Friday and back on Sunday or even Monday. Here how to discover the city in 3 days.
I started big with the most classic step and the most spectacular destination:
the Acropolis. Scattered on a hill, the Parthenon, the temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea monuments, Erechtheum and the theater of Dionysius await for you. Many steps, but without major problems. No strollers.
Obviously very crowded. Do like me, visit it around mid-afternoon, you’ll find less tourists and less lines at the box office.
Don’t miss the nearby Acropolis Museum, with its essential modern and minimalist architecture, almost a fortress that wants to protect those priceless beauty and treasures. Open until 8pm, Friday at 10pm. Closed Monday.
Do you fancy a Greek look?
Get inspiration in theNMuseum of Folk Art and the Museum of the History of the Greek Costume, located at Dimokritou 7, the BenakiMuseum, located Koumpari 1, that currently showing the exhibit ‘Doulamas, the magnificent. An exceptional overcoat’In these great venues, You will find traditional clothes,  historical costumes,jewels and wonderful embroiderie. Then rush to shop in the stalls of Monastiraki, a neighborhood famous for its weekend flea market and vintage stores.
I took a cab (very affordable there) to the Stavros Niarchos Center, one of the newest masterpieces in the City. Designed by Italian famous architect Renzo Piano.
It houses the National Library with more than 750,000 books! Have a tour, a coffee or a snack and  a guided tour of the majestic National Opera Theater, where ballet and opera lovers can applaud the stars of dance and the masterpieces of Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and many others.
You can get there with free shuttles from the popular Syntagma Square.
Do you want Athens (and the sea) at your feet?
Here the answers for day and night.
Mount Lycabetus is your destination.Take a taxi (very cheap) to Aristippou St, Kolonaki. You can walk or take the curious yellow funicular (5 euros). Short ride, breathtaking views and, of course, a selfie. You can walk down and enjoy the view.Get ready for an unforgettable dinner!
I discovered the GB Roof Garden Restaurant, located on the terrace of the sumptuous Grande Hotel Bretagne. It was a perfect ‘Welcome to Athens’ and a magic evening with one of the best view of the city. Not only the view, but also food was delicious Executive Chef Asterios Koustoudis, created dishes inspired by the new Mediterranean cuisine.
Grilled sea bass with steamed vegetables and extra virgin oil.
To end up an amazing dinner I had a taste of two amazing desserts created from Arnaud Larher ,  5 times  nominated ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France‘. One of  top 10 chocolatiers of France. I just follow the MD suggestions: they were paradise!
The best way to discover Athens?
Ask a local….. actually contact This is Athens , great tours that will give the possibility to discover Athens as a real NTT , non touristy tourist!
You ‘ll see parts of Athens outside the tourist zone! This service is excellent, and it is free and staffed by volunteers, shows just how passionate they are about their city.
My lovely guide Danai took me to see so many things, even a solitary street where a national guard soldier was practising the traditional walk.
Let’s get lost in the market!
Varvakeios
, historical, chaotic traditional market, in the streets Athinas, Evripidou, Sofokleous and Vissis. There you will find everything from improvised sellers to souvenirs, to spices, to antiques. There is even a street dedicated exclusively to handles.
Do NOT forget to buy some amazing pistachios!
The Anafiotika district.
I went there without knowing where I was going … I felt like I was in a Greek island! It is a semi-abandoned village hidden in the hills. Small houses full of graffiti, narrow streets populated by lazy cats. Perfect location for a lunch in one of the many tabernas, including Elaia, Zorbas, Psara and my favorite To Kafeneio, pure Greek cuisine like the tasty handmade dolmates. I had one of the most traditional dish: yellow fava purè with onion, lemon. olives, capers and feta cheese.The Riviera is waiting!
On Sunday afternoon I discovered a heaven just few kilometers away he center of Athens.
It’s the  beautiful 5 stars boutique hotel Margi located in Vouliagmeni, the most exclusive area of the Athens Riviera.     Margi is just a few steps away from the most elegant sandy beaches but just close enough to Athens Historical sites. With its superb cuisine and organic food from its farm, friendly and attentive staff as well as exquisite design, this hotel offers a memorable experience for travelers all year round. I had a wonderful lunch served at the sunny swimming pool. The super fresh shrimp salad was superb!Over the years, owner Maria Stavridis’ and her son and Architect Yiangos Agiostratitis have created the warm and chic atmosphere of the hotel by combining artwork from all corners of the world with soft traces such as candlelit tables and plush furnishings.Next stop YOLENI’S, Joannis Filippidis is the young Executive Director in charge of this great Greek Gastronomy Center , located in the central and trendy area of Kolonaki .
The venue offers cooking classes, olive oil seminars,  wine tastings, among a restaurant, a bar and a great selection of greek products. ‘ We have the best pita in Athens, told me Joannis, try one…” He was right: crunchy pastry like dough and a delicious filling with eggplant and cheese., not too salty, just perfect. they are freshly baked in the groundfloor can be taken to go as well.

Yoleni’s produces 3 wines, called GReat (Gr+eat, you got it?)  and in the menu you can find rotisserie, eggs, wonderful pizzas.

A ‘ WOW’ evening?
Wear your trendiest outfit and dive into the Hellenic nightlife. Better not to go there by car or taxi: the streets are clogged, use the subway (very efficient until 2 am) to get off at Gazi or Keramikos, the most frequented districts of Athenians and tourists. Find music, pubs, clubs and ouzo non stop.
Here a secret and a discovery.
Diporto, a dungeon-restaurant. No sign, hard to find but, thanks to the address and my photos, you will reach the goal.
Frequented mainly by local workers, plus some intrepid tourists. Spartan ambience, food  is homemade and very fresh. No menu, the dishes are chosen directly from the pots: a few choices served with bread, water and wine (only white). Two entrees, a couple of main dishes with meat or fish and of course a rich Greek salad with black olives and feta cheese. I tasted a spectacular chickpeas soup and a bean stew. Gruff owner (and chef). Don’t even think about asking him for a selfie …
Low prices, but not very low … but the atmosphere is magical and the food super tasty. Attention: it is open only at noon, closed Saturday and Sunday, but if you arrive  in Athens on Friday morning or if your return is on Monday afternoon, you can make this experience truly unique.
Here the address: Sokratous 9 &, Theatrou.
Good hunting and καλή όρεξη !

FOR MORE INFO
athenscvb.gr
www.visitgreece.gr
www.thisisathens.org

http://www.visitgreece.gr/
GB Roof Garden Restaurant
Margi
YOLENI’S,
National Greek Opera

Hamburg, discovering HafenCity, Where to stay? My suggestion is HOTEL 25 HOURS HAFENCITY.

HafenCity It is the new futuristic district of Hamburg, area of ​​creatives and artists,
To get there they have specially built the metropolitan U4 line. in 3 stops from the center you have already arrived. Here you can breathe fresh air, the spaces are open and many Hamburgers get away from work to go for a drink or a snack.
I stayed at the brand new 25 Hours HafenCity Hotel where I had a great time.
I felt like a sailor, the rooms look like a ship’s cabins, with prosperous painted models on the bathroom walls.Here atmosphere is easy and relaxed , The motto says  COME AS YOU ARE! There is also free access to a spectacular spa in stones and wood. In the morning a rich buffet breakfast is set up, there you can find everything, including rote gruetze, my beloved raspberry, blueberry and cherry sauce served on lean yogurt. Yummy!For lunch or dinner, the HEIMAT restaurant welcomes you with local and international food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a wide variety of room types. Cabins, Each of the cosy 21-25sqm / 226-269sqft M Cabins contains a queen-size bed and has an ocean-going atmosphere without compromising on comfort. Perfect for short trip ashore. As you would expect from 25hours, they are designed with plenty of attention to detail.Anchoring made easy. The M Cabins+ are boutique retreats with an area of 21-25sqm / 226-269sqft and maritime-themed decor. Ideally suited for a short shore leave. These rooms either overlook Hamburg’s spectacular port or have full-length windows looking out onto the quiet courtyard.ou can almost smell the sea.                                                                               The laid-back Bunk Bed Cabins have an area of 20sqm / 215sqft and contain two single beds. You could be forgiven for forgetting you’re still on land. Ideal for friends to discover Hamburg or colleagues after a long office day. In addition you can find large Cabins are inspired by the harbour and the sea and offer enhanced comfort. With an area of 31-35sqm / 334-377sqft, they feature a king-size bed and additional seating. Finally the spacious XL Cabins, perfect forr those guests who are planning a special or extended stay in Hamburg and the logbook is a great source of inspiration. After a day spent exploring, free use of the Hafensauna is the perfect way to unwind.span approx. 40sqm / 430sqft and feature maritime design and extra comfort. The rooms each have a king-size bed, a couch to relax on and a Nespresso coffee maker. A room with a bath is available on request.
From many rooms, Guests can look out over the courtyard garden and landlubbers can explore the HafenCity by bike or using one of our MINIs

INFO
25 HOURS HAFENCITY

 

 

DIARIO DI TONNARA E GIROTONNO 2019

Ispirato all’omonimo libro di un sub, Ninni Ravazza, che aveva lavorato presso la tonnara di Bonagia, in provincia di Trapani e cucendo insieme come una rete da tonnara le immagini di repertorio recuperate negli archivi dell’Istituto Luce (quelle di maestri come Vittorio De Seta e Folco Quilici) con nuove, superbe immagini da lui realizzate ad hoc.
il regista Giovanni Zoppeddu racconta per dettagli di grande poesia come hanno funzionato, per secoli, le tonnare siciliane e come hanno vissuto le comunità che intorno a esse prosperavano.Le lampare e le gomene colorate, le mani consunte dei pescatori e i loro gesti esperti, i volti della comunità raccolta intorno alla benedizione delle muciare (le barche per la pesca al tonno), la lotta impari con la lava dei vulcani, le tempeste sul mare e le nubi minacciose, gli sguardi di uomini, donne e bambini la cui vita era scandita dai ritmi della pesca fanno risorgere un mondo scomparso, intriso di forza e grazia, ma anche un modo di fare cinema dimenticato e assolutamente da riscoprire.


Il documentario prende ispirazione dall’omonimo libro Diario di Tonnara dello scrittore Ninni Ravazza. La storia racconta i borghi, le comunità e le avventure che hanno scandito la vita quotidiana dei pescatori del tonno. Una comunità che si sviluppa sul mare e che dal mare mutua le leggende, i riti magici e la sacralità. Il film è un documento che dipinge a tinte poetiche ma fortemente realistiche un mondo destinato a essere sempre più relegato nell’oblio. Un universo fatto di racconti, di storie tramandate di generazione in generazione e di una ritualità che oggi fatica a essere ricordata. In Diario di Tonnara, rais e tonnaroti, offrono lo spunto per descrivere la Sicilia del mare, quella ancorata alla tradizione, fatta di valori primordiali e nobili dei quali, ancora, si sente l’eco in tutta l’Isola e oltre.
Un mondo affascinante che culminerà con lo spettacolare GIROTONNO 2109 a Carloforte, Isola San Pietro, in Sardegna

INFO
Diario di tonnara , Trailer
www.girotonno.it

 

THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE LANGHE

Destination Langhe Roero, Piedmont, Italy.
What a wonderful trip! Starting from the exquisite 5 stars boutique hotel La Ribezza located in Monteforte d’Alba, a suggestive borgo  on the hills of the Langhe, a territory  located in the southern part of Piedmont and encompasses the whole range of technical and economic processes relating to the winegrowing and winemaking that has characterized the region for centuries. The Langhe offer panoramas of carefully cultivated hillsides, following ancient land divisions punctuated with buildings that lend structure to the visual space: hilltop villages, castles, Romanesque churches, farms, cellars and storehouses for cellaring and for the commercial distribution of the wine in the small towns and larger towns on the margins of the vineyards.
The serial property is outstanding for its harmony, and the balance between the aesthetic qualities of its landscapes, the architectural and historical diversity of the built elements associated with the wine production activities and an authentic and ancient art of winemaking. 
The vineyards of Langhe-Roero constitute an outstanding example of man’s interaction with his natural environment. Following a long and slow evolution of winegrowing expertise, the best possible adaptation of grape varieties to land with specific soil and climatic components has been carried out, which in itself is related to winemaking expertise, thereby becoming an international benchmark. This landscape covers eleven little towns located in the  wine-growing areas with outstanding landscapes and the magnificent Castle Grinzane Cavour, an emblematic name both in the development of vineyards and in Italian history.
Back to the hotel: The pleasant surprises started from the reception (where a lovely lady offered to taste 4 different fragrances, in order for me to pick up my preferred and have all toilette amenities. like soap, shampoo, and shower gel  of the same fragrance. MY room was spacious, cosy, well equipped with TV screen, wifi, and tasty welcome fruit basket and a tempting bacio di dama (a two buttery hazelnut cookies sandwiched together with a dollop of dark chocolate) left on my pillow before the night, with a courteous prevision of the next day weather. How nice..
.La Ribezza boasts 20 rooms, a wonderful outdoor sauna-gazebo where you can relax while admiring the breathtaking view, Did I mentioned the view?…
The moRning after we left for an ‘simulated’ truffle huntIing with the expert trifulau Carlo Olivero and his dog Steel. Simulated means that a truffle was previously hidden on the ground (of course Steel didn’t know where…) Well, in less than 10 minutes the was able to locate one. Then Carlo took us for a little walk, when suddenly Steel went crazy over a spot and started digging, He was right! There another big one  (and not purposely hidden)  Everybody, Carlo included, very happy! Grand finale. Gala Dinner at 3 Michelin star Piazza Duomo.That was an  amazing gastronomic adventure with dishes created by resident Chef Enrico Crippaand guest Chef Támas Szell, from Stand, Budapest.
The remarkable menu
headlined the collaboration between the Italian and Hungarian  Bocuse d’Or Academies and the participation of the Hungarian Academy at the next edition (the 89th) of the Alba International White Truffle Fair 2019
The truffle is a sort of mushroom known since ancient times. The first testimonies come from the diet of the Sumerian people and from the time of Jacob the Patriarch, around 1600 – 1700 B.C. Truffle are known as a qualitative ingredient in finest quality kitchens. Their cost could reach up to amounts of one hundred dollars per kilogram!y
White truffle fair is held in the city of Alba, which is located in northwest Italy, for more than 80 years. The fair is held every Saturday and Sunday from the first half of October until the second half of November. It is a bonanza that celebrates not only truffles, but also the tipical products of the territory, from wine to cheese, to cakes, pastas and any kind of food produced in the Langhe. Visitors from everywhere, with particular attendance from Northern Europe, Germany, Switzerland, France, but with constantly growing presences also from the United States, Brazil, Australia and East Asia, in particular Hong Kong and Singapore, have confirmed the success of the 88th edition of the Alba International White Truffle Fair,
An edition, the one just ended, which took place “Between earth and moon” paying tribute to the satellite of the earth which, through the phases of the moon, is an integral part of the search path and which was also inspired by organizers and visitors. The vintage, quantitatively and qualitatively exceptional, has been lived intensely at the World Market of the White Truffle of Alba, the largest international exhibition of truffles from the Piedmont hills of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato. Here each single truffle has been checked by the special “Quality Commission”, available to customers for the entire duration of the Fair to guarantee quality and safety in purchasing. The season, which was hypothesized could be very interesting for the quantity and quality of the product, has surpassed the brightest expectations with about 700 kg of Alba White Truffle sold at the World Market of Alba White Truffle.
A celebration that offers a unique cultural experience. Chefs, vendors, experts and amateurs gather to have a glimp and possibly a taste of the precious mushroom. I was kindly invited to a yummy workshop featuring Chef Gabriele Boffa, from Relais Sant’Uffizio , Cioccaro , Asti . Gabriele, originally from Alba has an impressive curriculum: Yannick Alléno in France, Mugaritz in Spain, Pujol in Mexico, Piazza Duomo, in Italy,
He
prepared a Filetto alla Torrengo, with cooked radicchio, heart of lettuce, béarnaise sauce, smoked butter, onion water, fassona meat and, of course, white truffle.
Delicious! The yearly Alba International Truffle Fair is the most important food and wine event of Langhe Roero, increasingly open to the internationality of the proposed contents, will host, in fact, the Magogian food and wine tradition, thus contributing to promote two top-level enogastronomic traditions and consolidate the cultural relationships that bind the two Academies. In fact, both Academies are engaged in the preparation of the respective candidates for the World Final of the Bocuse d’Or, the most prestigious haute cuisine contest in the world, which will be held in the next 29 and 30 January, 2019  in Lyon. Between the many highligt of the trip I would like to mentin a dinner at Ca’ del Re, Verduno, a great lunch at  Wine Bar Barolo Friends in Barolo, the  wine tasting at Sordo Wines and and a visit to the exhibit Nina’s Tale in the suggestive San Domenic Church , where we got the chance to meet with the Artist Valerio Berruti.

 

 

All of that embraced by the beauty by the enchanting Langhe!

INFO
International White Truffle Fair
Boutique Hotel La Ribezza
Academy Bocuse d’Or Italy
Academy Bocuse d’Or Italy  Press Office
Bocuse d’Or

NEW YORK, TAKING YOUR KIDS TO THE MUSEUM…

 

WHERE TO STAY WHILE IN HAMBURG, GERMANY. My suggestion: NOVOTEL Hamburg City Alster Hotel

Novotel Hamburg City Alster Hotel
4-star hotel boasting modern rooms and suites with a desk and free WIFI
Central location and U-Bahn station on our doorstep make the Novotel Hamburg City Alster hotel the ideal base in Hamburg.  5-minutes away from Alster-Schwimmhalle and within 20 minutes of English Theatre Of Hamburg. Highlights at this hotel include in-room free WiFi, free high-speed Internet,
Great place, convenient rates.

and LCD TVs. All 210 soundproofed rooms feature sofa beds, satellite TV, and separate bathtubs and showers. You’ll find nice touches like soaking tubs and free toiletries to enhance your stay. Coffee/tea makers, free newspapers, and safes are also available. Enjoy the fitness centre, Turkish bath/hammam, and sauna. Business amenities include a meeting room and a business centre.
Added amenities include free WiFi in public areas and laundry facilities. Each morning excellent buffet breakfast is served between 6:30 AM and 10:30 AM. Sights within a 20-minute walk of this 4-star Hamburg-Nord hotel include Museum of Arts and Crafts Hamburg and Mundsburg Center. Enjoy the comfort of the sauna and the video games area. Rooms are spacious and bright, Super comfy bed…I slept like a baby!
As I said, the hotel is centrally located  so all the major venues are easily reachable.
Dining in is an option with room service, and minibars provide refreshments.


I had a great lunch at the hotel stylish restaurant Novo2, and a nice chat with the executive Chef, who told me that his menu focuses on seasonal products and evergreen tasty meat. and suggested a juicy and tender La Maracho Rump Steak with sauteed vegetables  and … a silver swan (just for decoration…)

 

 

 

 

Novo2 is an innovative combination of a bar lounge , that offers delicious seasonal dishes and light snacks are served from 6.30am to 9.30pm. A cool spot where where you can have a nice glass of wine, like i did!


INFO
Novotel Hamburg City Alster Hotel
Luebecker Strasse 3
22087 HAMBURG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of Ljubljana and the enchantment of Bled, Slovenia.

Ljubljana is the delicious, small, neat, clean, surprisingly lively and cheerful capital of Slovenia. The tiny, pedestrianized center, under the hill where the Fortress dominates the city, follows the curve of the Ljubjanica river and the walks on both sides are home to an impressive number of bars, restaurants and trendy clubs that are the heart of the nightlife. To go from one side of the river to the other there are the three old bridges, Cevlarski most, the Triple bridge and basically the one of the Dragons.Turning around you will meet green electric cards with the words Ljubliana The Friendly City. They are free, for tourists and locals, and you can go up for a tour of the city or simply to move comfortably from one side to the other
The best way to explore the city?  Rent a Bicike(LJ). bicycle.

 

Really convenient and practically free. The symbolic price (€ 1 for one week, € 3 for the whole year) covers the enrollment in the system. The first hour is free, if you want to cycle more, it goes from € 1 to a maximum of € 4.

 

For the lazy ones or simply for those who prefer a more sedentary transport, there is Urban, electric train ups and downs that runs throughout the city. € 8, ticket valid all day. Turning around you will meet green electric cars with the words Ljubliana The Friendly City. They are free, for tourists and locals, and you can go up for a tour of the city or simply to move comfortably from one side to the other.

 

 

 

You can also take a Boat Tour, a suggestive excursion in a boat open in summer and heated in winter, to discover the city from the river Ljubljanica.

An applause to Joze Plecnik, the greatest Slovenian architect and one of the most important pioneers of modern architecture in many European capitals including Vienna and Prague. It is a must to take a walk in the heart of Ljubljana and cross its famous Three Bridges. A riverside-night full of restaurants, bars, clubs, music at night. Maybe you did not know that Chef Ana Ros, winner of the 2017 World’s Best Chef Award, is from Slovenia! Ljubljana is a food heaven and offers the delicious Food Tour, a guided tour dedicated to anyone love good food and like to know the culinary history of this city.

 

Through shops, markets and typical restaurants, you will discovery (and taste!) a lots of local specialties. From the honey of Dobrote-Dolenjske, to the sausages of Klobasarna, to delicious cakes. Four green Dragons. The symbol of the city, will welcome you at the beginning and the end of the bridge.

 

People say that it brings good luck to stroke it and take home a dragon magnet, or a tshirt or one in pelouche  that you will find in the adorable Dragon Shop in the central Ciril-Metodov Street. I suggest to visit these beautiful churches: the Franciscan and the Saints Cyril and Methodius, the streets Mestni Trg (which becomes Stari Trg) and then Gornji Trg, the Kongresni Trg on which stands the beautiful University and the near the Parliament.
A must see is the Ljubljanski Grad , the mighty fortress that dominates the city offering breathtaking views of the City.. Today totally renovated and ntegrated with modern elements. used for a different events, including exhibits, cultural meetings, shows and concerts. Don’t expect lavish ballrooms, the castle served mainly a military role, but various sections of the high perched citadel have small museum like spaces to visit, from Slovenia’s tormented history to a beautiful puppets collection.   On the terrace the excellent Strelec Restaurant offers traditional Slovenian recipes revisited by the famous Chef Igor Jagodic who is seen as a true reference in Slovenian fine dining. To top it all, this comes at a very reasonable price with tasting menus going from 44€ for 4 courses to 77 euros for the top of the hill 9 course experience. Those who want to be free to choose can also pick à la carte from various Slovenian specialties, as humble as a Kranjska sausage served in the pot with freshly grated horseradish and sautéed potatoes. But there are also chef’s creations with elegant plate compositions: I had an amazing crispy octopus with young peas and strawberries anyone or would you rather experience the matured beef with goose liver, poached egg yolk and vegetable bouquet.  Every Sunday the Flea Market is a collector’s paradise. There you can find vintage stuff, original items, paintings, ceramics and jewels, while the Central Market offers fruit, vegetables, spices, Slovenian specialties such as ham and the traditional prekmurska gibanica (my favorite is at Gujzina)) Ljubljana is a great city for shopping. Many in the Ciril-Metodov. Among my favorites, there is the Catbriyur workshop-laboratory that supplies the cups even to Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth. Ladies and girls, here you will find unique ceramic jewelry, such as necklaces, brooches and earrings that will be envied by your friends.
For a special dinner, I suggest the new and innovative Bistro Monstera,, created by Bine Volvic, the judge of Master Chef Slovenia. It is a tiny restaurant with a traditional-alternative menu, where the law of ‘no waste’ prevails starting with the cutlery that is never changed. Top night in Metelkova Mesto, former slums, became the most alternative area of ​​the city. After sunset, it hosts music and underground performances. A riot of graffiti, street and locals that are the point of reference for the young crowd.If you are in the mood for an out of town excursion, I suggest a…paradise.
Lake Bled. It is only an hour North of the capital Ljubljana to the North-West and can be reached by car or with a convenient bus (perfect wifi on board)

It is a charming alpine lake, in the center of which stands a small island with its Gothic church from the legendary bell whose toll is customary to express 3 wishes.Bled is also offering hot spring source and thermal waters.

 

 

 

Be prepare to find a postcard like dreamy locationa, and breathtaking sunsets. You can come and go in the day, or enjoy an unforgettable night in the historic facilities of the elegant Grand Hotel Toplice, famous since 1930’s with grand salons adorned with memorabilia pictures and bring all the comfort of modernity, including a lido, a superb spa with swimming pool and free boats to row with to the island,

 

A remarkable venue for its class, for the fantastic views you can enjoy from your room or from the terrace and for the excellent Julijana Restaurant, signed by the starred Chef Simon Bertoncelj.  Having dinner at Julijana, especially if the weather allows to eat outdoor, facing the lake is a moment of bliss: the quality of service, attention to detail and classic décor evoke a certain respect of classical elegance. This doesn’t constrain the cuisine to old classics, and the chef’s creativity and modern techniques seem to find their place very naturally in this elegant environment. Sweet final: the famous sweet Cream of Bled, an iconic cake, a heavenly millefeuille which recipe goes back to 1953 and and is still secretly kept by the Hotel. The result was up to the legend: two layers of perfectly crisp puffed pastry holding a firm custard covered by a layer of lighter whipped cream is to die for..Last bit not the least: The precious Ljubljana Card that gives free admission to more than 20 attractions, free travel on city buses, guided tour of the city, 24 hour internet access.valid 24, 36 or 72 hours will be a great friend that will guide you to discover the beauty of the City.

 

For more info on Ljubljana and Bled
http://www.visitljubljana.com/en/visitors/

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY BEAUTIFUL, GOURMET WEEKEND IN LONDON !

HERE MY STEPS. TAKE A LOOK!
Everyone wants to visit the UK’s busiest city, but aside from the main tourist sights, what is there to see? How do you get from one place to another in this huge place? Need an insider’s perspectiveI want to share a ‘ NON TOURISTY TOURIST’ perspective on what to see in the Big Smoke! If you want to visit the mainstream attractions like the London Eye, Tower of London and Madame Tussauds then, of course, you should go for it!
They’re lots of fun.
BUT………
There’s another fascinating side of the city that goes far beyond the usual tourist highlights. I want to share some quick tips that real Londoners enjoy to make your time there truly memorable!
Friday:
First things first, get accustomed to the TFL (Transport for London) website and buy an oyster card from your nearest station: it’s the most affordable way to travel.
You arrive early afternoon and want to see as much as possible this weekend! Head towards Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark ship, hire a Boris bike and cycle under the Thames. At the other side, enjoy the view and take a left towards Canary Wharf to get a sneak peak of all the city’s penguins (the crowds of businessmen in suits). If shopping and city life is your thing, the Canada Water shopping centre is your new best friend. Enjoy all of the main high street shops, in addition to some more fancy brands! The restaurant ROKA in Canary Wharf has a beautiful view of the city from a great height, and serves delicious food and cocktails.
If you prefer the scenic route, continue along the river you’ll reach some cobbled streets (difficult for cycling: it’s going to be a bumpy ride!) with quaint English pubs before arriving at St Katherine Docks. Dock your Boris bike somewhere and catch your breath before the evening adventures begins. There aren’t many places I’d recommend more highly than Frank’s bar in Peckham on a warm evening to really appreciate the atmosphere of London. Opposite the station lies a formerly disused multi-story carpark, which now hosts Frank’s Bar on the roof! Affordable drinks (for London) and a view over the whole city!
For my first night in the city, I went exotic and choose a great restaurant in Portobello.
Outdoor, a flashing red neon sign says Japanese Gastropub, just below a mysterious face of a mysterious woman. Is she a geisha? Is she crying or praying? Let’ s go inside. Previous doubts ended as soon as I found myself embraced by UKAI’s cosy and warm atmosphere . A welcoming bar to the front and an open kitchen restaurant in the back. It looked loke a nice mixing of Japanese design with Italian flair and some traditional British pub features black and white photo portraits give an art gallery feeling, while Japanese artwork and foliage painting decorate walls and ceilings the rooms adorns the walls; furnished with causal wooden tables and filtered by an amber lighting that warms up the rooms.

 

The big surprise was to briefly chat in italian with the head chef Alex Verros or should I calling him Alessandro, as he’s Italian born, like me.

Alex, who previously worked at Roka and Nobu, told me about his passion of mixing different cultures and ingredients, like his native land North Italian truffles, to South Latin accents, to British influences, not afraid to combine simplicity with complexity. I started with a warm, inviting and comforting wonderful salmon miso soup, served with tofu, seaweed and spring onion. Then I beg Alessandro to surprise me. And he did. Between his choices, my favorite were the kampachi salad, with thin slivers of tender cobia white fish, drizzled with yuzu truffle and rocket, a dish that Alessandro likes to pair with galapeno and the prawn tempura maki. From the menu, I would like to mention also some signatures dishes as the truffle white tuna tataki, the lobster tail tempura and his ceviche, where Japanese flavours meet South American tradition. In addition to a generous choice of sushi, sashimi and nagiri and of course the beef robata dishes that Alessandro loves to cook in person, lighted by the fire grill fireworks .

 

 

 

 

Impossible not to ask such a nice host a souvenir picture…
‘Let’ do it at my robata grill, said Alessandro, it is my favourite spot in this place’ ‘Certamente!’, I enthusiastically answered, and, both risking a fire attack, I shoot the pic.
A hot moment of an unforgettable dinner.For more info
UKAI
240 Portobello Rd, London W11
Phone: +44 20 7792 2444

Saturday: Grab brunch or food from every country you could think of at Borough Market (get off at London Bridge station) and wander around the stalls and old backstreets. Head down the steps on London Bridge and walk left along the river, passing lots of cute English pubs, the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern gallery (many free exhibitions for lovers of the creative).
Stop by the National Theatre mid-afternoon for any last-minute discount tickets, or sit and enjoy the view of Big Ben or the London Eye from the South Bank. There are often pop-up bars or street performers there too!
Now you can carry on over the Jubilee Bridge towards Trafalgar Square and the West End. On sunny days I would highly recommend taking a left turn before Covent Garden and checking out St James’s Park, where you can find most people in London enjoying the weather and nature. If rainy England is sticking to its infamous title, head towards the National Gallery: free entrance and some of the most breath-taking paintings and sculptures you’ve ever seen!
Covent Garden is the perfect place for an evening out. From Sushi to Greek, Burgers to Quinoa, the choices are endless. There is also the option of trying out an old English pub or one of the trendy new bars the city is popular for. If you’re planning a late night, Oxford Circus is only twenty minutes away by foot, where you can party until your heart is content!
DINNER TIME!
I choose Tredwells, a Marcus Wareing restaurant and winner of AA’s London Restaurant of the Year.
Great location, excellent service and a breathtaking menu signed by the charming Chef Chantelle Nicholson, Tredwells showcases the very best in British seasonal produce  Located in the trendy Seven Dials area, right in the heart of Covent Garden, the venue boasts two bar areas serving seasonally inspired cocktails, cementing Tredwells’ reputation as one of the best drinks venues in Seven Dials. the restaurant sets over three floors, while the mezzanine and lower ground floors are available for exclusive hire.

Potato and rosemary bread, salted whey butter

 

 

I went for lunch, tried several of Chantelle proposals and found them all perfectly cooked and pleasantly tasting, starting from the beginning with a great potato and rosemary bread with salted whey butter till the end, indulging in a delicious fig mousse.

 

 

 

I noted, and photographed my choices and my recommendations.
After lunch, I meet with Chef Chantelle, obviously in her kingdom,the kitchen, and chatted oh her life, her love for cooking and her first solo cook book Planted.

Where your passion for food comes from?
It’s all because of the love of my New Zealand garden, so rich of herbs and vegetables and my two aunties who were great cooks Probably since that tender age I wanted to be a Chef, but…story of my life, I went to university to become a lawyer.
So you forgot your culinary passion?
Not really , while studying, I got a job at the local café, waking up at 6am on Saturday mornings to bake muffins, then proudly becoming a kitchen hand in the restaurant of a small hotel that also had a garden…
A garden? Here you go…
Yes, my passion for fruits and vegetables was there again, learning about seasonal food, how they grow, and the ecosystem of the garden. I remember picking up herbs super early in the morning…

Slow cooked lamb belly, beetroot, brioche

What happened to the lawyer?
Well, I passed the bar in my law exams and ready to become a layer , but the still enchantment of the kitchen was always in my head…Coincidentally I enrolled the amateur cooking competition Chef Search, run by Gordon Ramsay. I made it to the final six, and was offered to work at The Savoy, London.

Sweetcorn mousse, cornbread, pickled mushroom

After that?
I have co-authored Marcus’s cookery books and in 2015 worked with him consulting on the movie Burnt. Then Marcus Wareing asked if she’d join Pétrus, his two-starred restaurant, as a junior sous chef in 2006, followed by The Gilbert Scott in 2011 and from 2014 I was in charge of as group operations director of the entire range of Marcus Wareing restaurants. Now I am back to my passion: cooking! I am proudly the chef patron at Tredwells created by the genius of Marcus Wareing.

Swiss chard pancake, turmeric, coconut, cashew

Your new book ‘Planted’
Is not a book about veganism, it is about tasty dishes, made without animal products. You will find recipes for a plant-based cooking, focusing on plant based cuisine that deliver taste and creativity. I like to celebrate produce, seasonality and food that taste good.

Gloucerstershire pork collar, bacon jam, peas, broad beans, courgette

Chantelle, what will I always find in your fridge?
Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables and a bottle of a great New Zealand Chardonnay!

for more info
www.tredwells.com

Sunday:
The perfect day for a relaxing walk around the local parks. Check out Dulwich’s Horniman Museum, a small childhood favourite of mine with beautiful botanical gardens, before riding on the banana bikes through the peaceful Dulwich Park. Then take a well needed rest and sit in the garden of the Woodhouse pub, sipping your ale (if you dare) and enjoying your roast dinner. If you still have time after doing all of this, then firstly, congratulations; you’re super efficient! Brick Lane, Camden and Liverpool Street would be my next recommendations. If there’s a day to spare, you can’t pass up the opportunity to go to the Harry Potter Studios cast some spells!
SUNDAY IS …. Brunch time!!!!
I discovered Trangallán.
It’s a word from Galicia, Spain for a kind of bohemian artist.
This so called ‘gastro-cultural space’ certainly has that bohemian feel, with its shabby chic-flea market furniture contrasting with rich glass chandeliers and vintage objects all around. The menu changes frequently boasting imaginative dishes revealing a good deal of skill and creativity. Add an easy-going welcome from the stuff and the super cool owner–chef, who came at my table to say hello while sipping a delicious 2016 Albarino Igrexario de Salar and snacking some succulent Manzanilla olives.                                                        I followed his suggestions and went for a very traditional tortilla made of eggs and potatoes. Perfectly browned on the outside, still tender within and served at room temperature. I asked if that is the way that tortilla should be served, medium warm not hot. They told me that is a Spanish tradition to cook tortillas in the morning and let them rest till the meal so, yes, the temperature should be room temperature, Good to know. Then I tasted a more winterish dish of judion, a butter beans & piparras, followed by a perfectly roasted octopus with saffron potatoes and wilde samphire.                                  If you’re looking for a ‘not so commun’ tapas restaurants in North London, or Spanish food in Stoke Newington then you must try this cool venue.
For more info
Trangallán  
61 Newington Green, Mildmay Ward, London N16

Monday
Smart move. I took a  day off from work and reserved a late afternoon flight!
Yes I wanted to enjoy London and … I had London at my feet!

London. I happily experimented the OXO TOWER restaurant located at the eight floor of the OXO Tower. Relaxed atmosphere, good service and … the view. The menu boasts dishes so-called ‘contemporary British’ with European accents spanning from Spain with a gazpacho with sardine paté, to Italy with bresaola paired to a watermelon carpaccio. I tried a rich yet delicate soup of Scottish langoustines, spaghetti style chopped squids, tomatoes, fennel, and lobster- It tasted rich yet delicate, not too spicy or garlicky (I hate too much garlic…) Notably the langoustines were nicely straight, not curvy at all, My very nice Italian born waiter, told me that the secret is simply to put them in the freezer for about 40 minutes.When you take them out, the shell will be solidified, you would easily break it and extract the langoustine in all its fullness and horizontality. As a main dish, I followed Guido’s suggestion and opted for a John Dory fish, served with lobster, celery puré, oil and herb sauce with little white beans.

 

 

I must say all the ingredients were in perfect fusion and the broth maintained its freshness thanks to the acidity of the vegetables. I paired with a very fruity Albarino Atlantico white wine from Galicias, excellent!

 

As a side dish, a kale salad, sprinkled with a powder of beets and pumpkin seeds and seasoned with a Caesar dressing.Delicious finale: English strawberry and basil mousse.
Not to mention the spectacular sunset view that made my dinner unforgettable.

 

For more info
https://www.harveynichols.com/restaurant/the-oxo-tower/

For reservations
Call 020 7803 3888 or
email oxo.reservations@harveynichols.com

Finally ….. here the best list of the two M I am crazy about …
MUSEUMS …AND MARKETS!

British Museum
Imperial War Museum
Bank of England Museum
Science Museum
Design Museum
Maritime Museum
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Natural History Museum
Queen’s House, Greenwich

Victoria & Albert Museum THE BEST!!!!!!
MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC
Royal Academy of Music Museum
YOU WANT MORE ???
Museum of London Docklands
RAF Museum
Horniman Museum & Gardens
Science Gallery London
Grant Museum of Zoology
YUMMY….
The Chocolate Museum

MARKETS, MY PASSION!
Borough Marketk ( my fav…)
Leadenhall Market.
Brick Lane Market.
Columbia Road Flower Market.
Camden Market.
Greenwich Market.
Portobello Road Market.
Brixton Village and Market
Old Spitalfields Market.
Mercato Metropolitano

LJUBLJANA FOOD TOUR: A MUST TASTE! by Philip Sinsheimer

You just don’t realize how lucky you were when your join the guided 3,30-hour food tour organized by VisitLLjubljana.com managed by the Tourism Office of Ljubljana until you experience it.          

They offer numerous guided city tours  including the Historical City Centre and Ljubljana Castle revolving around history, art and landmarks, whether on foot, bicycle or on a boat cruising the river.

There is no other way to sample the incredible diversity of Slovenian food in so little time and in such a fun and well-paced way.
Slovenia is a small country yes, but it counts no less than 24 gastronomic regions.

Ljubljana, reminding me of Paris in a way, is pretty much in the center of the country and, as a capital, has attracted many food vendors and restaurateurs to benefit from the largest concentration of population (and tourists) of the country. But, right off the bat, let me tell you that, at no point, do you feel shepherded to a pasture of touristic traps you would have found on your own. The choice is balanced between food shops and restaurants, clearly very carefully picked.

Also, it isn’t a gorging party:
at the end of the tour, you feel satiated, without ever feeling over full!. As all good cooking requests, things started with the sourcing of ingredients: the market!
And Ljubljana is blessed, right in its center with a human sized, yet substantial farmer’s market, with one section dedicated to only certified organic vendors. I had noticed on my way to the tour some beautiful chanterelle mushrooms, as well as yellow broad beans that I had never encountered before. Lucky enough, I was able to find them again and was met with the most charming smile the seller could have shared.

Then, we got to visit the permanent covered market, a beautiful building along the riverbank. That was like entering a world of its own. Gorgeous charcuterie, cheeses, breads (got a loaf of this dark and dense bread, yet moist and oh! so tasty). A separate section is dedicated to fish, perhaps for temperature and odor control. Whatever the reason might be, I was really impressed by the display of fish available and the absence actually of any strong fishy smell. Slovenia is known mainly as an inland country, but it does have a little bit of coast on the Adriatic Sea and they sure know how to source the best of what can come out of it. Everything looked so fresh, a real temptation for any cook.
But carrying fish on ice for the rest of the tour was NOT going to happen!

 

 

We met our lovely guide Simona in Ciril-Metodov, the cobblestoned main street. She took us at Klòbasarna, where we had the first tasting: a warm smoked sausage form the Carniola region just South of Austria, in other words at the Northern end of Slovenia. Made of the finest pieces of pork, this sausage neither greasy nor too dry, just hit the spot accompanied by a light red wine, a little horseradish and mustard which I loved.

 

 

Simona took us in more that 7 venues, specialized in different specialties, from the syrups and the honeys of Dobrote-Dolenjske,  to the traditional cake prekmurska gibanica homemade at
Gujzina

I won’t be going in the detail of all the things tasted, either in gastronomic shops or in restaurants… I want you to go and experience it for yourself. Besides beef tongue, fried chicken, honey (Slovenia is Europe’s largest producer per capita), my heart will go for this humble dish of mashed potatoes with sautéed onions and bits of bacon that we tasted at a very special restaurant, Druga Violina, where all the members of the staff suffer from some form of disability or another. It felt really good to contribute to this effort to support the community and, let’s be frank, it also tasted soooo good, just by itself. With influences coming from all neighboring countries (Italy, Austria, Hungry and Croatia), tucked between sea, plains, forests and mountains, the small country of Slovenia is rich of diversity and, if this three-hour tour cannot cover everything, it sure serves as the best introduction one can hope to taste in this timeframe!
Tours priced at 52€ everything included,
To make a reservation
For more info www.visitLjubljana.com

GRAND HOTEL TOPLICE, JULIJANA RESTAURANT IN BLED, SLOVENIA

Slovenia. Bled, about an hour North of the capital Ljubljana to the North-West of Slovenia. Rather than the town it is the beautiful lake that gives the name Bled, famous among the European elite as early as the 1930’s with the construction of a luxurious hotel providing  natural hot spring source knowned for health benefits.I am talking of the Grand Hotel Toplice, a venue that boasts a rich history, a magical location, gorgeous alpine and lake views and sumptuously comfortable, elegantly styled rooms.

 

Each of the rooms and suites at Grand Hotel Toplice has its own unique character and are traditionally styled with beautiful parquet floors, rich furniture and beautiful paintings with many of the rooms benefiting from breathtakingly beautiful lake views. The hotel has been recently renovated and restored to its former glory and is one of the best hotels in Slovenia as well as being a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection.

 

 

 

 

 

It has hosted many eminent guests and is frequented by celebrities such as  Vivian Leigh, Arthur Miller, Pablo Neruda, King Hussein of Jordan, Paul McCartney and…me, with my best friend-chef-writer Philip Sinsheimer, graciously hosted by Sava hotel and resort group that manage the venue.

Starting from the impeccable reception. the hotel boasts luxurious accommodation, few restaurant, a bar  and the enchantment of Lake Bled. All rooms and suites are individually decorated in an enchanting and traditional style, lavishly equipped with an excellent range of facilities, a relaxing thermal swimming pool and benefit from different saunas, wellness services and a solarium among a private lido, where Philip (expert swimmer) dived in the limpid lake water while me (lazy man…) was indulging in a relaxing sunbathing. We dedicated the morning ( when the light is best) to row to the island where the minuscule baroque chapel.I was anxious to hear the bells rings, because  I knew about the legend wich narrates that around the year 1500, the leaseholder of Lake Bled at the time, Hartman Kreigh, disappeared. People said he was killed. Sad for the events, the Lady of the Castle collected all of her precious golden jewellery to be melted down and casted into a bell for the chapel on the island of the Lake, so that the bell would toll in remembrance of  beloved companion. They say the bell has a magic power, when it rings, you should make 3 wishes and wait for them to become real.  We did 99 steps and finally we arrived at the church, where the view is really breathtaking and, yes, we waited for the bell… Not sure my wishes are becoming a reality, we ll see….

A true wish coming true was the  splendid dinner we were invited for dinner at Julijana Restaurant where Chef Bertoncelj prepared a great dinner.
I leave Philip the privilege of writing about it, since he is a chef and a food blogger.

                                  GRANDE CUISINE BY THE LAKE
This historic landmark now called the Grand Hotel Toplice, operated by the Sava hotel and resort group, has managed to preserve the relics of the past with grand salons adorned with memorabilia pictures and bring all the comfort of modernity at the same time.This delicate balance between past was brilliantly reflected in the cuisine of the executive chef Simon Bertoncelj and the whole crew under him. Having dinner at the gastronomic Julijana Restaurant, especially if the weather allows to eat al fresco facing the lake is a moment of bliss: the quality of service, attention to detail and classic decor evoke a certain respect of classical elegance. This doesn’t constrain the cuisine to old classics, and the chef’s creativity and modern techniques seem to find their place very naturally in this elegant environment.

The mise en bouche consisting of a delicately baked oyster and a buttery giant shrimp had all the signs of what you can expect in a palace restaurant: prime quality ingredients simply treated. This seafood opening was in synch with the view of the water even though it wasn’t the sea. As I were to learn later by the chef, unfortunately, as beautiful as it is, the lake doesn’t often yield the quantity of fish needed to take place on the menu.

 

The mushroom cappuccino with porcini had the depth of flavor one can only get in top notch restaurants, served piping hot but adorned with the freshness of a few micro greens scattered on top rather than the old habit of a dollop of cream and a few chives. Fresh too was the vitello tonnato inspired salad, bright and lively. Here, as in all the great restaurants experienced in Slovenia, the wine list paid homage to the country’s fine wines, such as the 2017Verus Chardonnay from Stajerska, the western part of the Podravje region in the North of the country. At last a chardonnay that can showcase both concentration of flavors and freshness in the palate with a mere 13° alcohol content.The shining fish course was a thick and moist turbot filet, perfectly cooked and adorned by a beautiful composition of vegetables and foamy grapefruit sauce. Here again: classic base and modern composition. Though generous, nothing was heavy, and the beautiful matured saddle of veal served pink with a herb crust was still welcome.

To finish, the iconic Bled Cream Cake, which recipe goes back to 1953 and is secretly kept by the Sava hotels group. The result was up to the legend. Even though I really do not have much of a sweet tooth, and I have had my share of mille-feuilles in France, this raised version of the classic with just two layers of perfectly crisp puffed pastry holding a firm custard covered by a layer of lighter whipped cream is to die for…

Chef Simon Bertoncelj, who has worked under the commands of Gordon Ramsey, seems rather poised and discreet, but if you really want to find out, he opens his kitchen to a guest table of 2 to 6 people for a 7-course menu cooked and served, right before their eyes…and ears!

For more info
Julijana Restaurant
Grand Hotel Toplice
Cesta svobode 12, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
+386 4 579 10 00

Contact

Cesta svobode 12, 4260 Bled, Slovenija

Reception

+386 4 579 10 00

Reservations

+386 4 579 16 00

 

 

Hotel Hellsten, Stockholm. Memories of an exotic journey

Hotel Hellsten is located in the heart of Stockholm and is the ideal starting point for all those who are visiting the City, since the attractions and sites of interest are reachable by public transport within easy reach including the subway that is just round the corner.
The next street is the busy Sveavägen, Stockholm”s only real boulevard. The hotel is just around the corner from the underground (metro) stop Rådmansgatan. The locality is one of the most exciting in Stockholm, with a multitude of different restaurants within a few minutes walking distance. It is also a short walk from Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s historic and beautiful old town. I loved the area, and the next busy street Sveavägen, so alive and full of restaurants, shops and…barbers & haidressers,don’t ask me why, but very useful…

The rooms are divided into various types depending on the services they offer, mostly in different styles, some have canopy bed, some are equipped with the classic Swedish fireplace called kakelugnar, light rays, wooden panels, even a private sauna,

 

 

 

The walls are painted with warm colors that span from orange to red, to blue, to purple.

 

 

All rooms have private new bathrooms, TV, telephone, free wired internet access and a hairdryer. They are non-smoking as well as the entire structure.

 

My room had a cosy little terrace.

Here and there I found exotic touches, my guide explained that Mr.Hellsten, owner of Hellsten, Rex and the newest Hellsten Glashus, is an enthusiastic traveller who likes to collect items from his trips. I loved the african masks !

 

 

 

You have a colonial-style bar where coffee and tea are served 24 hours for free. Great idea! Every Thursday Hellsten Earth Bar transforms into one of Stockholm’s premier jazz venues. Exciting live acts on stage at 8pm and on the last Thursday of each month you are welcome to jam with the band, just bring your instruments or vocals, and the entrance is free.. Comfy beds and an excellent breakfast buffet that included pancakes, cold cuts, cheeses, eggs, lots of fruits and the traditional Swedish meatballs and served in a sunny and spacious veranda.
Add Hotel Hellsten on your next trip to Stockholm!
For more info
http://hellsten.se/en/Hotel_Hellsten

 

Industrial or design? A posh stay in Hamburg

In my last trip to Hamburg I got the chance to visit and stay in Hotel Gastwerk and The George, two great properties owned by Fortune Hotels Group.
They have different style and decor, both friendly, welcoming and worth to spend one (or few) nights there.Let’s start with the industrial red bricks Gastwerk. The name says it all, It was a squared and rigorous red bricks gas factory. Roughly 120 years ago, the old gas plant provided light to the streets and houses in West Hamburg. In the impressive and carefully restored industrial building, built with brick and steel, modern design and historical architecture form a fascinating harmonic setting. Gastwerk is first Hamburg’s design hotel.

The building welcomed me with a large hall with a wide, meticulously well lighted reception and two unforgettable metal elevators, one red and one yellow lighted.                                                 The industrial adventure was already starting…

 

 

 

 

 

 

141 rooms, lofts and suites, some with modern walls with a contemporary feeling, some with bricks walls (I love them), like the loft-like one where I was staying, giving the perfect atmosphere of and warehouse.

In addition to that Gastwerk boasts a configurable conference area, the Mangold restaurant (I didn’t dine there, so no idea of the food) the L.BAR, the beautiful SPA, free parking spaces in front of the hotel and underground.   Here and there you’ll discover classy touches of fresh flowers, old  black and white pictures, original gas machines, and a splendid old water boiler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second Fortune Hotel is The George, located in the hearth of the vibrant Saint George area.                                                        This venue is a triumphant tribute to the apotheosis of a ‘boutique hotel’ concept, where design meets furniture, lighting and that smell of trendyness…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This reinterpretation of English style in Hamburg results in rooms swathed in warm colors ranging from cocoa to Champagne, lamps with delightful pleated shades and stylish wallpaper in a variety of designs.                             Super comfy mattresses, a nice view of the Lake Alster, not to mention that sweet & cute ‘Welcome Cesare’The George Hotel is a four-pearl property flush with a Great-Britain-in-the-’60s design, with 125 stylish rooms that all have flat-screen TVs, minibars, and free weight, a party-vibe bar, the supercool rooftop Campari Lounge in the terrace with a spectacular view of the Alster, a defined breakfast buffet that included a fine selection of cold cuts, imported cheeses, fruits and vegetables, and…

 

Yes! there is Da Caio, italian restaurant (where I could not resist peeping at the menu, which I found correct in dishes choices and…right spelling, which is always a good sign for an Italian eating in an Italian restaurant abroad…

Here info
Hotel Gastwerk
The George,
Fortune Hotels Group.