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23 November 2017

Enoteca Bulzoni in Rome, Italy

When years pass and the succeeding generations go on, things shift to a wider horizon. From 1929, the wine and oil shop of Emidio Bulzoni has seen years of success. From Emidio to his son Sergio and now to the third generation of the family, grandsons Alessandro and Riccardo Bulzoni, the original Vini e Oli at No. 36 Viale dei Parioli has gone through a reformatting of the concept of the wine and oil shop. Just a few weeks ago, Bulzoni opened its doors again with a kitchen and a bar where guests can have a 360 degree experience in choosing, buying and enjoying their choice with food to accompany them.

Vino d'Artista Maurizio Pio Rocchi Winery in Tuscania (Lazio), Italy

Entering the world of wine is not just about opening the bottle and drinking it. There's a lot more to having that beautiful liquid that emanates vast variations of aromas and flavors. There is an intangible aspect that helps us understand the soul of the wine. It's that part when you get to know the winemaker and his story. Truthfully, it's the facet that I love most in my wines, a simple conversation of shared emotions, thoughts and goals from a winemaker to a wine drinker. In every bottle, there is a past, present and future. One morning, I got to know the person behind the winning bottles of Vino d'Artista Maurizio Pio Rocchi Petra rdg 2015 and 2016 in two consecutive years at I Migliori Vini Italiani of Luca Maroni.

15 November 2017

Poggio Cagnano Boutique Winery in Maremma (Tuscany), Italy

One warm and sunny September morning on the Tuscan hilltop of Cagnano, a table with a platter of local Tuscan cheese, a bowl of walnuts, freshly-sliced bread, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a bottle of Poggio Cagnano Altaripa Maremma Toscana DOC 2014 was waiting for us. There was a marvelous view of the Maremma countryside from where I was seated. The gentle sloping hills with olive orchards, perfectly-aligned tall cypress trees, and patches of vineyards fill up the spectacular Tuscan landscape in front of me. It was like stepping inside a glossy photo of showcasing the life in Tuscany. That morning, I couldn't ask for anything better than being on that chair.

Montioni Oil Mill & Winery in Montefalco (Umbria), Italy

Another winery in Montefalco that I want to introduce to you is family-owned Montioni Oil Mill & Winery that was established in 1972. The production area is located just a few hundred meters away from the door of the ancient town of Montefalco. Here you can meet Paolo Montioni and his family, visit their winery and taste their wines. Montioni has 20 hectares in different patches of land in the heart of Montefalco where vineyards, olive orchards and cereal crops are cultivated. One hectare of the vineyards is located in the cru zone of Pietrauta, where the very first bottled Sagrantino was cultivated from and where the vines grow in excellent conditions.

12 November 2017

Cantina Fratelli Pardi in Montefalco (Umbria), Italy

Pardi is a name that you will encounter often as you walk around the town of Montefalco. You see, the Pardi family specializes in two areas: weaving and wine making. The family, with deep roots in Montefalco started with wine making in 1919 when the three Pardi brothers, Alfredo, Francesco and Alberto, established the Cantina Fratelli Pardi. During those times, the grape production partly belonged to the family while most were procured from local landowners to produce their red and white wine, including the Sagrantino which was made only as Passito in Montefalco. The wines were sold all over the region of Umbria and outside the region to some other important buyers like the Vatican.

08 November 2017

Cantina Valdangius in Montefalco (Umbria), Italy

Valdangius is a distinctive name for a winery. In fact, one of the first things I asked Danilo Antonelli when I first met him in his winery was what it meant. Valdangius, he explained, is an acronym of the word valle or valley in English (val-) his name (-dan-), his father Giuseppe (-giu-), and his sister Sandra (-s). Valdangius comes out as a new word that makes it hard to remember at first, more like a tongue-twister but as it stays in your mind, it turns into something that's very hard to forget. Then when you get to know their wines, the name sets its rightful place in your memory.

07 November 2017

Suburra 1930 - Liquors and Kitchen in Rome, Italy

Mauro and Lorenzo gave their two-storey restaurant a breath of fresh air as they went for a glamorous makeover from the menu to the overall design of Suburra 1930. The dominating color of lime green compliments the dark 1930s-style decor of Suburra 1930 with splashes of monochromatic green palm leaves on the walls, different shades of marble and inserts of gold. On the ground floor, there is an open kitchen on one end where Chef Alessandro Miotto creates his delectable dishes while the cocktail bar on the other end completes the look where the bartenders stir and shake their energizing cocktails. During the warmer days, an aperitif outdoors is one of the best ways to witness the Roman life in one of the oldest quarter of the capital.

Pantaleo - Food, Wine, Mixology in Rome, Italy

Come in and sit down. A glass of wine, sparkling maybe, carefully selected by Sommelier Sergio Frasca or perhaps an original Martini cocktail, made specially for you by Mixologist Paolo Sanna to mark the beginning of your stay at Pantaleo. When you're ready to eat, let Chef Roberto De Santis impress you with his Mediterranean-inspired innovative dishes. But first, let me introduce you Pantaleo.

06 November 2017

Happy First Birthday, Mercato Centrale Roma!

Happy first birthday Mercato Centrale Roma! Time to blow that first candle on the cake on 8 November 2017. It's been a full year since the day Mercato Centrale Roma formally opened its doors and gave everyone the grand surprise. I was one of those attendants at the inauguration who was gazing with awe at the architecture of the place and the collection of known food shops known for their excellence. One thousand nine hundred square meters in all with a 500-seat capacity. There's room for everyone! It was a well-attended event with lots of food and wine flowing around from the 15 shops holding court in the massive market.

03 November 2017

Manforte - Pizza, Bruschette & Burger in Rome, Italy

When you're a parent with a young child and want to go out, dine in peace and actually taste your food, I completely understand you. Being a parent of two kids myself, who are thankfully not in their prime ages of shooting food everywhere but not in their mouths and running around the restaurants anymore, I too have gone through what you're going through. I'll give you a firm pat on the back and tell you that things will always be manageable or even better - I have the perfect place for you! 

01 November 2017

Palm Court of Hotel Hassler in Rome, Italy

Ask any Roman about Hotel Hassler and he will immediately tell you that it's the most historical luxurious five-star hotel in Rome. Its guest book boasts a lineup of royalty families, dignitaries, celebrities, and business leaders beginning from its construction in 1893. Its 140 years of history of being one of the greatest gem in hospitality known throughout the world had never left the hands of two great families of hoteliers, the Buchers and the Wirths. At present, President and General Manager Roberto Wirth, descendant of the families oversees Hotel Hassler in keeping the hospitality that his family is known for its timeless grandeur.

31 October 2017

Cantina Antonelli in Montefalco (Umbria), Italy

Long overshadowed by Tuscany, its neighboring region, Umbria has a wealth of assets that makes it THE destination. With its proximity to Rome, which is just about a couple of hours drive, I found myself often in the midst of its captivating green picturesque scenery with more frequency. Umbria is landlocked but well endowed with rolling hills of combed vineyards and olive groves. Being ardent about wines, I love coming to this region because the wines, like the scenery, are exceptional. Let's speak about the Sagrantino wine route, La Strada Del Sagrantino.

30 October 2017

Officina Pizza e Burger in Rome, Italy

Entering Officina, you won't miss the shiny blue Fiat 1500 vintage car used as a base for a big glass center table. It's a stunning original piece that brothers Alfredo and Mario Arcangeli put together as part of their refurbishment and reformatting of their old pub into a new restaurant and pizzeria. Look around and you will find vintage gas pumps, plate numbers, signs, a Vespa and a shiny red old model of Fiat 500 cut in half and used as a comfortable seat. It's a lovely casual place that represents the brothers' passion in transforming and repairing vintage objects where families and friends get together in a cozy place with good pizzas and burgers.

06 October 2017

Cantina Peppucci in Todi (Umbria), Italy

The wines of Cantina Peppucci stem from the yearning of parents to raise their children well in the countryside of Umbria to commune with nature. It was in the late eighties when Piero Peppucci and his wife Luisa Giontella bought the Monastery of Sant'Antimo, an abandoned 13th-century Benedictine monastery in the middle of the countryside of Todi. Years of big work progressed in restoring it to be the ideal place that they can could finally call home. But building didn't stop there because in the year 2000, they started to acquire the land around their house to plant the three native grape vines Grechetto di Todi, Sagrantino and Sangiovese along with international varieties Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Their mission was to produce wine just like the old occupants of the monastery used to do hundreds of years ago.

04 October 2017

Beef Bazaar in Rome, Italy

When you choose to eat excellent meat in Rome, there is one place I can direct you to. Beef Bazaar at via Germanico, 136 opened its doors a few weeks ago to share with everyone the international world of high quality beef. At this immense and elegantly furnished restaurant, you can find optimum beef that are characteristically tender with diverse tastes from Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Poland, U.S.A., Japan and of course, Italy. Choose the kind of meat you want, the cut and cooking you prefer and for the rest, enjoy your dinner.

26 September 2017

Taste of Roma 2017: Wine-Flavored Gelato of Gunther Gelato Italiano and Vigne di Roma

I remember seeing a photo of Gunther Rohregger in Pinterest hunched over a table full of Post-it notes, bottles of wine and a computer while smelling the wine inside a glass. It was captioned that he was working on new gelato flavors using 14 different wines of Vigne di Roma, wine producers from Lazio (Italy) that were to be presented at the Taste of Roma 2017 by MangiaeBevi, a leading Italian enogastronomic guide. My interest was completely drawn to what his creative mind can come up with. His artisan gelato is not new to me. I am familiar with the clean daring flavors that he comes up with like his unforgettable (and not for the fainthearted) Gelato al Sigaro Toscano (Tuscan cigar). Wine and gelato are very interesting flavors to blend and if there's anyone who can pull it off well, it has to be Gunther Gelato Italiano.

25 September 2017

About...Strawberry and Red Pepper Gelato of Bar Della Darsena in Fiumicino (Rome), Italy

It's called "About...Strawberry and Red Pepper" and it recently won second place in the recent European Gelato Festival in Florence for its simple and frank refreshing flavors of red peppers and strawberries. Imagine a strawberry sorbet with a surprising gentle kick of sweet peppery taste. It doesn't overwhelm the strawberry, rather, its flavor wraps itself around the berry with a very light nuance of sapidity at the end. What else can I say? You have to go to the town of Fiumicino and have yourself a few scoops before the strawberry season ends.   

Bar Della Darsena has been around for years fronting the port of Fiumicino. It's a bar with a lot of tables and chairs which accommodate locals and tourists. It's a place where people meet to have something like coffee, cocktail, or gelato to cool down in the hot summer days in its big open space. And then gelato maker Vincenzo Lenci came home last May 2017 with great news. He won first place (senior division) in the semi-finals of the Gelato Festival in Rome.

Molo Diciassette Ristorante in Ostia (Rome), Italy

Ostia is a large community that's a fraction of Rome sitting near the ancient port of Rome on the Tyrrhenean Sea. It's a place where the sea is the protagonist in everyone's activities whether it's about sports, going to the beach or the most important thing, eating good seafood. Because when there's the sea in front of you, the catch is fresh and bountiful. Simone Curti and Fabrizio Moscara both grew up in the coastal town of Ostia. Friends and business partners and with a common love for fishing, they opened their first restaurant in their hometown called Molo Diciassette

20 September 2017

Il Cantuccio Ristorante in Albavilla (Como), Italy

We were en route back to Italy from our holiday in Germany and Switzerland at almost lunchtime and my two kids, husband and I made a unanimous decision in the car. We want to make it back to the Italian border by lunchtime for a good Italian meal. What can I say? After being away for just over a week, we were all craving for our much-loved Italian flavors. Our entry point was through Lake Como and with a quick consultation at the internet for a restaurant, I found one located in Albavilla, a small town in the heart of Alta Brianza.

08 September 2017

Brylla Wine Bar in Rome, Italy

Un posto dove bere bene, avere un’ampia scelta e sentirsi a casa. Brylla è il posto dove vorrei stare, Marcella Capaldo.

A place to drink well, to have ample choices and to feel at home. Brylla is the place where I would like to stay, declares Marcella Capaldo, a passionate winelover, sommelier and proprietress of Brylla Wine Bar. After my first, second and ultimately, my third visit to Brylla, I agree with Marcella. When I want to try new wines without wasting too much money, the only place I can think of is Brylla. It's a paradise for every winelover like me. A place where you can try excellent wines or extremely expensive wines that you might never even dream of tasting at all.

04 September 2017

Collecapretta Winery in Spoleto (Umbria), Italy

When a wine expert friend shares with you the name of the winery that produces his favorite natural wines in Umbria, then it's imperative that you go there yourself and try the wines too. So there I was on the grounds of Collecapreta Winery in Spoleto, precise like a Swiss watch on the appointed time on a Saturday morning, eager for an educational visit in the winery and a tasting of the wines that impressed a wine expert so much. The winery is inside the neat property of the Mattioli family where their house sits next to the two small wineries, the old one and the new one. The average annual production is 15,000 bottles divided into 11 kinds of wines and with vineyards totaling to 5 hectares.

24 August 2017

Paolo Bea Winery in Montefalco (Umbria), Italy

Drinking the wines of Paolo Bea tilts a lot of things that I learned about wines from my wine classes. To get to know their natural wines, you will just have to leave your bag of knowledge and thoughts outside the door and close it behind you. The best thing to do is enter with a fresh mind, to easily perceive the diverse philosophy of wine making of Paolo Bea and his sons, Giampiero and Giuseppe. Their wines are considered among the best with innumerable commendations, especially internationally where they export 80% of their production to some countries in Asia, North & South America and Europe while the remaining 20% remains in Italy. So when I went there myself for a visit, I was prepared to enter the curious world of Paolo Bea Winery.

22 August 2017

Eataly: Philippines-Italy Gastronomic & Culinary Exchange 2017

Having a bicultural family means that I have two cultures to keep under one roof. My husband is Italian and since we live in his country, I am the one who has to familiarize him and our kids to the Philippine traditions that I grew up with. Asia and Europe are two far continents with completely diverse cultures and combining them in one family can have fascinating outcome. Like traveling, I believe that the best approach to understanding a different culture is always through its gastronomy because if you look at it closely, the story of a country can leave imprints in the food they eat. The Philippine cuisine for one, tells us about the beauty of its 7,107 islands through the unique flavors and aromas the dishes encapsulate.

20 August 2017

Eataly Rome: Raw Fish The Italian Way (Il Pesce Crudo Secondo Eataly)

Il Crudo Secondo Eataly: Il Nuovo Concetto del Pesce Crudo all'Italiana (Raw Fish According to Eataly: The New Concept of Raw Fish  the Italian Way)
Raw fish is not just simply buying fresh fish, cutting it up and mixing it with acidic agents and other condiments to make it taste good. There is something more that we need to know before the catch and when the fish ends up on our table. For this reason, Eataly Rome has started a new initiative to approach the subject for us consumers. The guiding values of this approach is the sustainability, healthiness and taste based on the Mediterranean culture.

18 August 2017

Eguisheim in (Alsace), France: Town & Wines

Upon entry to the cobblestone roads of Eguisheim, nothing else existed between me, my camera and my subject - the whole town. It's a small place with immaculate tidiness that's dressed impeccably with multicolored summer blooms while the brightly colored traditional medieval half-timbered houses stood attractively on both sides of the road. I didn't know where to start photographing because every single detail is eye candy. I was just passing through that morning from where I was staying in Freiburg, Germany and a lunch booking at L'Atelier du Peintre in Colmar (Alsace), France. I wish I had more time. 

16 August 2017

Spiezer Winery in Spiez, Switzerland

The Swiss are keeping quiet about something. Their country is not just about superior chocolates, magnificent alps, extravagant watches and private banks. Nature gave them rich soil and excellent micro climates to tinker with so two thousand years ago, they planted grape vines that they use to make outstanding wines. They have six wine regions producing red and white wines with a current percentage of 60% and 40% respectively with the Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Chasselas dominating the grape varieties planted all over the country.

13 August 2017

Ristorante Livello 1: Fish & Cocktails in Rome, Italy

There's always something to toast about. For our health, life, accomplishments, relationships, changing of seasons - I can go on and on but true to our fun-loving nature, when we cup a cold glass of cocktails around our hands, we yield to the feeling of clinking our glasses to salute a good reason. Cocktail hour is probably one of the sought after time of the day when the men can loosen their ties and the women can let their hair down. Tired or not after a long day, it's the best moment of the day isn't it? It was for that very reason why I closed my computer, bid my work goodbye for the day and drove off to EUR in Rome to catch the early evening Fish & Cocktails at Ristorante Livello 1.

11 August 2017

Wolfshöhle Restaurant in Freiburg im Bresgau, Germany

On the days I was in Freiburg at the beginning of summer, the heat was uncomfortably intense. Waiting for the sun to go down for the temperature to decrease a few degrees, I took on the lovely streets of Freiburg before my dinner reservation. It's a beautiful city at the edge of the Black Forest that is lined with peculiar water-filled runnels called bächle all along the cobblestone streets in the old city center. A little bit of research tells me that these bächle were built in the 14th-century to provide water coming from the Dreisam River to fight fires, to feed the livestock and to help cool down the city in summer. When in Freiburg, the best thing to do is what all the locals do. Look for your space in the bächle (they can get crowded with fun-loving people), take off your shoes, sit down on the street, dip your drinks in the bächle and enjoy - the Freiburg way!

07 August 2017

L'Atelier du Peintre in Colmar (Alsace), France

Entering the town of Colmar is like opening a book of a fairy tales. The intensely colorful half-timbered houses line the cobblestone streets while the well-tended flower boxes filled with gaily-colored flowers give the final touch of perfection. It's alive with architecture, art and history that dates back to the time it was first written in a book in the 9th century. At the main square, it has a stately 14th-century Dominican church that was reconstructed centuries later in Baroque architecture. 

02 August 2017

Ristorante Vescovado in Noli (Liguria), Italy

There are some places that are hard to forget even after a number of years because the fond memories keep on rolling back. Ristorante Vescovado had that effect on me. During a press tour four years ago, I remembered how well-received we were, how one of the chefs of the restaurant pounded on her mortar and pestle tirelessly as she showed us how to properly make the genuine Ligurian pesto from scratch. I also remember how distractedly beautiful the view was from the veranda of the restaurant. And most of all, how delicious the food was, prepared with fresh Ligurian ingredients and paired perfectly with local wines. That was Ristorante Vescovado for me four years ago. Last month, I went back to retrace my footsteps and reconfirm the excellence of the food of Chef Giuseppe Ricchebuono.

27 July 2017

Relais La Tenuta Del Gallo in Amelia (Umbria), Italy

When the gates of Relais La Tenuta Del Gallo closed behind me, I swore that I would go back. My lunch there was not enough to completely appreciate the whole place. I was just passing through for lunch after I discovered it in the restaurant list of the Michelin Guide for Amelia. The relais is a little paradise tucked in the middle of the countryside a few kilometers outside the walled town of Amelia. The villa was originally built in the 17th-century and set on a sprawling area of 1,000 square meters of gardens, fields and walking paths with an incredible unobstructed view of the beautiful landscape of Umbria. It was enchanting!

19 July 2017

Altrove Ristorante in Rome, Italy

Altrove Ristorante: Porte Aperte sul Mondo (Open Doors to the World). Altrove's slogan says it all. Their doors are open to the whole world, to all nationalities, without knowing any boundaries. The only thing they recognize inside is the determination of the young people to reach out for their dreams and with their help, attain them and guide them in success of the paths that they choose to walk on. Altrove is a restaurant but it is also a training ground for young people who come to Italy from different countries and aid them in their gastronomic road to success, be it as sous chefs, sous pastry chefs or waiting staff.

15 July 2017

Ristorante L'Isola del Pescatore in Santa Severa (Rome), Italy

Santa Severa, that beach in Santa Marinella with the castle on its side? I do remember it quite well because the first time I went to Santa Severa a few years ago, winter was ending and we were entering spring. A walk on the beach was imperative for our family with two very lively kids. It was hard to contain them at home so my husband drove all of us to a medium short distance to Santa Severa Beach. It was just about 50 kilometers from Fiumicino (about 65 from the center of Rome). The panorama that greeted us was impressive. A clean stretch of sand with the Santa Severa Castle at the end of the beach. People and dogs were enjoying the sun just like we were. There was almost no structure on the beach except for a sprawling simple white bungalow with some grass behind it and a stone's throw away from the castle. It was L'Isola del Pescatore, the popular seafood restaurant of the area.

14 July 2017

Ristorante All'Oro in The H'All Tailor Suite in Rome, Italy

Parked just a block away, I walked along Via Pisanelli, a quiet residential road in Rome. My eyes riveted towards a light yellow building standing aristocratically amidst the other structures in the area. I quickly scanned the number outside for confirmation. I knew I was at the right place. It says 25 and on the other side of the entrance, The H'All Tailor Suite is written, along with Restaurant All'Oro and under, JRE which stands for Jeunes Restauraturs d'Europe. Being a member of JRE, two forks from Gambero Rosso, a hat from Guida Ristoranti Espresso, a medal from Touring Club, and a Michelin star, I had no doubt that my invitation to the press breakfast that morning would be a notable gastronomic experience.

05 July 2017

Eit Restaurant in Rome, Italy

Eit. Pronounced like eight in English and signifies a lot of things that pertain to the number eight. In fact, Eit was born out of that number. Pino Cau of Hotel Rex, along with Chef Luigi Nastri, the one Michelin star chef of Stazione di Posta in Rome embarked on a new gastronomic adventure by opening another restaurant in the capital. Formerly another Michelin star restaurant inside Hotel Rex, Eit took over its compact space with eight tables for its diners with a new concept of approaching fine dining.