As we veered off the main road, another path in the countryside led us to the entrance of Cantina Todini (Todini Winery) on the left side. The place is tranquil with a picturesque front area. External garden chairs and tables are scattered in an orderly fashion and they overlook a vast landscape of Umbria. There are patches of land, luscious trees and rows of vineyards like soldiers. It took my breath away.
12 January 2017
06 January 2017
I love artichokes. So much. I never had them until seventeen years ago when I moved to Italy and I still remember the first time I tried them after my mother-in-law cooked and laid them on the table. She sautèed them in garlic, lemon and white wine and I thought they were the most delicious vegetable I have ever had. Until now. It was such a delicious opening to a big world of genuine Italian cuisine, and I realized how different the interpretation is outside the country. My only knowledge of pasta before can be counted with the fingers of one hand. Instead, Italian cuisine can be from traditional to innovative with one some important characteristics to keep in mind. Simple, healthy and using quality ingredients.
Ottoburg Restaurant is a 360-degree Austrian experience, from outside the building until you walk through the rooms and sit down to eat. Being housed in one of the city's oldest buildings, all the guidebooks would most likely lead you there. It is indeed a destination to get to know Innsbruck inside and out. The building is as beautiful as it has always been in its 900 years of history. It stands proudly at the beginning of the Old Town at Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, where the street opens up to more historical buildings built around the 14th-century, including the famous Golden Roof of Innsbruck.
01 January 2017
When you are planning a trip to Innsbruck and you are looking for a place to eat, it's imperative to go to Sitzwohl Restaurant because it is one of the best and one of the most popular restaurants in the city. Recently attaining 2 toques and 15 points at the Gault Millau's 2016 edition, Irmgard Sitzwohl and Elisabeth Geisler, the two outstanding female chefs who run the kitchen take the diners for a delicious gastronomic spin by putting together local delicacies with Mediterranean characteristics. Being robust and rich, Austrian cuisine is reinvented in their kitchen with simplicity and delicate touches of aromas and flavors.
23 December 2016
With all the recipes for mixed drinks around, you just scratch your head and hope to find that perfect one that is easy to prepare with simple ingredients and most importantly, will please everyone. There are some drinks that make us think how it will definitely be the winning drink to serve but when we read the ingredient part, we back out. The usual plight? Where in the world can we get that bottle of ingredient? Don't fret, there are still some simple solutions with components that you can easily find at home and at the shop. With this delicious Lemon Sorbet and Blueberry Prosecco Float, you will just need a bottle of prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) to give the alcoholic kick. If you can't find the prosecco, replace it with other kinds of sparkling wines. Add some lemon sorbet, frozen blueberries and simple syrup that you can make yourself at home.
22 December 2016
At five o'clock in the afternoon on the 15th of December, Madeleine was all lighted up, classical music streaming out from a couple of antique gramophones, and a buffet table of madeleines, macarons, meringues, cakes, variations of tea and spiced hot chocolate were laid out beautifully for their first guests. Pastry Chef Mattia Mezzina was hovering around checking the last minute desserts that he just created specially for the event. The staff was busy serving tea, hot chocolate and pastries. The ambience was relaxed with a festive spirit lingering in the air. There's an important reason to be jubilant about.
21 December 2016
In Italy, you know when Christmas is coming when the food shop window displays are brightened up with colorfully wrapped big boxes in uniform sizes. Inside these boxes are the panettone. Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas sweet bread that contains candied fruits and raisins, shaped like a dome and weighs a kilo. Opening a box of panettone and sharing it with the whole family is an ancient tradition that started in Milan and continues to be enjoyed all over the country every Christmas.
19 December 2016
Kimchi is a Korean dish made of fermented vegetables and a variety of seasonings. It gives mixed reviews on most tables but on every Korean's, it is an important part of a meal. Being used to strong flavors, I myself like kimchi but up to a certain amount as the spiciness can tear me up. I love its explosive taste and how it goes so well with other Korean dishes. But kimchi is not just about its flavor because it is also one of the healthiest dishes in Korea. Being fermented, it is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that's beneficial to our digestive system and kimchi has a specific kind which is lactobacillus kimchii. Additionally, it is also a rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins A, B, C and other minerals.
When it is about two thousand years old, has three hundred versions, and is considered as one of the healthiest dishes that exists, then I think kimchi should gain a rightful spot among the list of food that we should take note of eating. Kimchi is a Korean dish made of fermented vegetables and a variety of seasonings. Being fermented, it is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that aids our digestive system extensively and specifically in kimchi, you can find lactobacillus kimchii. It is also rich in dietery fibers, vitamins A, B and C and other minerals. It may have a certain strength is spiciness (have a glass of water at hand) and aroma but if you are into food that your body will benefit from, then kimchi is something to include in your regular diet.
15 December 2016
We all take souvenirs back home with us to remember our travels. Most people would buy something small and display it on a shelf, something useful, or something edible to recreate that wonderful bite we discovered. I am the foodie stasher who would fill up my suitcase to the maximum weight to relive the moments of the delectable food that sealed my trip to excellence. To Michelle Sermoneta and Stefano Calò, taking home souvenirs from their frequent trips to Asia meant seeking to live through the distinctive Asian hospitality in their own turf. With this, Le Asiatique came to life and they created a magnificent six-room restaurant in the heart of Rome with the typical hospitality of Asia.
12 December 2016
It's interesting to know that Franciacorta's effervescent wines had already been in one of the world's earliest publications about winemaking in 1570, about a hundred years ahead of the acclaimed Dom Perignon's perception about the wine techniques. Gerolamo Conforti, a doctor from Brescia (Italy) published Libellus de Vino Mordaci (Dissertation of Sparkling Wine) which spoke about the technique of natural fermentation of wine in bottles and its effect on human bodies. He described the effervescent wines as biting or bubbly and they were much more lively during the colder months as compared to the warmer ones.
10 December 2016
Fog was covering Rome the morning of 26 November. I arrived at the meeting point in the large parking lot with the red bus quite visible in the gray morning. About twenty of us started arriving one after the other excitedly getting our seats in the bus for the one and half hour drive to Rieti where more than 500 wine labels are waiting to be tasted. We were headed to the fourth edition of Giro d'Italia Evento Enogastronomico (Tour of Italy Enogastronomic Event). I had been occupying a lot of my free time in wine tasting lately as I am about to embark on a new adventure geared in full swing towards the world of wines. Soon, I am starting the first of three AIS Sommelier Courses.
08 December 2016
The Taste of Excellence's fourth edition was as important and well-attended as ever. With 40 food and wine producers, 60 celebrated Italian chefs, and 3 culinary schools, this much-awaited enogastronomic event took place in SET, Via Tirso, Rome from 26 to 28 November 2016. The program was crammed with schedules of guidebook presentations, cooking shows and interactive talk shows with the chefs and culinary experts while the walk around tastings were available for everyone the whole three days.
01 December 2016
Fiumicino is not just a town in Rome where your airplane lands and departs to enter and leave Italy at the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport. Just a few kilometers from the main flying hub is the town proper where the main road overlooks the canal that comes from the Tiber River then leads to the Tyrrhenian Sea and on a sunny warm day, eating al fresco at Osteria dell'Orologio is a pleasant experience. Right beside the restaurant is the town's historic building with the imposing orologio or clock from 1822 that was designed by the famous Italian architect Giuseppe Valadier. Valadier's most famous clocks are the Oltramontano Clock and Italian Clock on the facade of the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
25 November 2016
When people see that my husband and I have different cultures, the question that usually arises is what we eat at home. My answer is always the same. Ninety percent Italian and the rest of the time, we have Asian dishes, mostly Filipino. The whole family loves Italian food. Give them pizza and pasta everyday and no one will complain and give them rice and their favorite Asian dishes to go with it and you won't hear any complaints either. Shrimp and asparagus are two of my favorite ingredients to put together whether I am cooking Italian or Asian dishes. I think their individual flavors are so distinctive and when I put them together in one dish, the merging of tastes makes bond even more delectable.
16 November 2016
Through the glass wall, the white walls, tall shelves of wine all the way to the ceiling, and emphasis on wood, Osteria Fernanda's minimalist contemporary design beckons you to come in and take part in their phenomenal rendition of gastronomy. I like places where the sun rays are allowed to stream inside and where the brightness accentuates the food that I am eating. With simplicity around the restaurant, the dishes that arrive on the table instead speak of originality and creativity. Osteria Fernanda's muted ambiance gives the food the importance that they need because nothing can distract the senses from the protagonists.
11 November 2016
In the high valleys of the Lessini Mountains, between Vicenza and Verona lies the vineyards of the durella grapes. The land is the ideal environment for the vines to grow for the volcanic minerality of the soil, ventilation and suitable day and night temperatures. Durella is an autochthonous grape variety that comes from ancient times and is described as acidulous with thick skin and rich in tannin. It's perceived as a perfect variety for making spumanti or sparkling wines.
09 November 2016
When strawberries and chocolates meet, there's never a doubt that something great comes out. Always. The love for the one of the best sweet combinations doesn't have any limit to ages because adults and kids (even dogs try stealing too) can't ever say no to this sweet blend. This recipe can be your make-ahead dessert or snack that is quite easy to prepare. Make them small so they're easy to pop and let the complete flavors of the strawberry cream and chocolate cups melt in your mouth. Are you ready?
04 November 2016
Taho is soft tofu mixed with sago pearls and syrup slightly flavored with vanilla served in a glass. Oh, and it's our breakfast.
That was how I explained what this taho is to my husband after I came back to our room early in the morning on our first morning in the Philippines. Poor guy almost died of a heart attack after I sprung out of the bed with surprising speed and ran out the bedroom without giving any explanation. He knows that nothing, even shaking of the bed or dousing of cold water can make me stir out of my morning sleep. He diligently takes me my coffee to bed every morning to help me clear up the morning cobwebs in my head. He couldn't believe that there's something more powerful than coffee that can make me jump up like that and it doesn't even contain caffeine.
31 October 2016
Back in my childhood days, torta (Omelet with Potatoes and Ground Meat) did not have a reserved space in my plate. Whenever I see that torta is being prepared in the kitchen, I usually try to convince my mom to give me other things to eat. Of course she almost never did because we had a rule at home that whatever is on the table has to be eaten. I just learned to drown it with banana ketchup and eat more rice than usual. You see, in the Philippines, a normal meal is composed of meat or fish, vegetable side dish, rice and condiments that can go with the food. In the case of the torta, ketchup is the most popular one, especially the one made with bananas.
27 October 2016
Italian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. I agree and I don't know anyone who doesn't love anything Italian. It's so regarded by so many that it has been recreated in so many countries. Adapting to different palates and innovating in the fast movement of the modern food culture is the ongoing trend but let's also take a look at the traditional Italian gastronomy because in every dish, there is history and culture that kept it going for centuries. The secret ingredient that makes every single bite special is actually intangible. It's the determination for quality and passion of the people behind every production from ingredient to the the hands of the chef.
26 October 2016
Trattoria del Tribunale came up when I asked someone from Parma for a restaurant recommendation. After a couple more unanimous affirmations to the same place, I immediately got the phone and booked a table. After all, who else knows the best place to eat aside from the people who live in that city anyway? Trattoria del Tribunale is in the center of Parma, in a small, quiet street. On warmer days, there are outdoor tables on the side of the cobblestone road while the spacious two-storey restaurant accommodates more diners inside.
23 October 2016
The last thing that I thought I would ever find in Italy is fish sauce. Not the imported one from Asia but a version produced right in this country. With its pungent characteristic, I find it hard to understand how it can go well with the Italian cuisine but IT DOES, especially when eaten with dishes typical of the coastal town of Cetara like the simple spaghetti mixed with the sauce, fish and sautéed vegetable dishes. When I saw the stall of Acquapazza Gourmet in Milano Golosa, I waited for my turn among the wall of curious onlookers tasting and understanding the special sauce that's made in Cetara. The colatura di alici was making waves that day.
20 October 2016
Coconut-coated chicken strips dipped in savory soy-ketchup are hard to resist. Between kids and adults, these are definitely a big hit! In my own table, little hands and big hands join in plunging their chicken strips in the quick and simple homemade sauce which is basically a combination of soy sauce and ketchup (yes, they do blend well together). If you are looking for a quick and easy recipe to serve on your next party, then this is the right one.
16 October 2016
I love Marsala wine and if I can do what I want, I would pour it all over the food that I am cooking - all the time. It goes very well with both savory dishes and desserts, and ahem, even in my pancakes. Being in Italy, it's very easy for me to get a bottle at the supermarket that I use for cooking. I have heard from some readers that it is not that easy to acquire in some places and if ever they do find it, they don't know which one to get. Marsala is a kind of fortified wine that has three levels of sweetness and different levels of quality. For cooking savory dishes, it's best to use secco (dry) or semisecco (semi-dry) while for desserts, dolce (sweet) is the best option. The levels of quality ranges from fine which is aged for a year to vergine stravecchio/riserva or virgin reserve which is aged for 10 years or more. Of course, for cooking, get the cheapest one which is fine or superiore and leave the older ones for drinking.
09 October 2016
Notice the doodles on the signs and how the the pictures of the food are cancelled out by more doodles. Like you, I was curious why they are everywhere. I learned that as childlike as they may appear, the real essence speaks in volumes about looking at food in a completely different way. We are asked to learn a fresh way to talk about food with a new alphabet as we start from scratch. We can mute the background noise as we concentrate on what is in front of us: the food we are eating.
05 October 2016
Giocampus is a multidisciplinary educational project that was born in 2002 in Parma, for the young people with the correct lifestyle through physical education, proper nutrition and healthy environment. When we care about the future of our children, there are no boundaries that can limit us. Being foremost in our agenda, education is the best thing that we can hand over to our kids and with Giocampus, we can join hands with a vast network that helps this important cause for the future generation.
23 September 2016
Autumn just stepped in the other day and it's a new season to look forward to. As much as I love summer, I am so ready for a little bit of cold and a change of diet. It's time to start cooking again in the kitchen and I am starting with this Tuscan Sausage and Beans in Tomato Sauce (Salsiccia e Fagioli). Sausages and beans are great ingredients for the colder months and with the first few steps of autumn, I welcome it with a delicious dish from Tuscany.
20 September 2016
Once upon a time, there was an engineer, an architect and a chef who, in spite of the different roads their careers took them to, put together their heads and on a single slice of bread, a mountain of ideas came out. Sometimes, the uniqueness of every single person can contribute to the solidity of an idea. After all, there is the precision of an engineer, the meticulousness of an architect and the efficiency of a chef. There is a perfect blend of elements and the string that binds them altogether is the passion for cooking and the desire to create something typically Italian that is not only good but extra good. Let me introduce you to a bruschetteria (bruschetta shop), Brusco Lo Strabuono, one of the newest places in Trastevere, that hip district of Rome where creativity meets gastronomy.
18 September 2016
There are times when my Asian side just wakes me up in the morning without warning and drags me to the kitchen and take out the essentials to make a super brunch. Having been used to salty and much heavier (with rice please) breakfasts, Italian breakfasts are a stark contrast to the full breakfast plates I enjoy in the Philippines. Unlike in Italy where I don't usually need a plate anymore while eating my cornetto or croissant and drinking my espresso while on my feet, the Philippine version requires me to sit down with a nice big plate and sit on a comfortable chair because these breakfasts are meant to be long.