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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.

16 June 2017

Boccacciello Bistrot in Rome, Italy


Boccacciello Bistrot is about an actor and a chef who rekindle the gastronomic beauty of the place where they grew up in. The aromatic memories of the kitchens instilled in their minds created the identity of Boccacciello Bistrot. With selected recipes using ingredients that were produced by the local farmers, they are placed in the hermetically-sealed jars then steamed for hours. There are no additives nor preservatives added. These food jars are available in versions of 106 grams and 212 grams where they can be kept for as long as 180 days. With the popping of the jars and the sudden release of a diversity of aromas, they do replicate the smell of cooking in the kitchens of Naples.

11 June 2017

Vinitaly 2017, 51st Edition in Verona, Italy


The first thing that was taught to us in my sommelier course was to go out and taste as much wines as we can to build our knowledge about them. It is not enough to sit down in our classes listening to the teachers, take down notes and study them. What matters most is to practice what we are studying. That means to analyze them by looking, smelling and tasting the wines ourselves. In short, drink as much as you can (intelligently, of course!). With the largest wine show in the world right inside Italy, it is every wine enthusiast's key to the widest span of discovery and learning paradise. With more than 4,270 exhibitors from 30 different countries in a duration of 4 days, Vinitaly is the best place to be when you want your senses to perceive the beautiful world of Italian and international wines. 

09 June 2017

Ristorante Cervinia in Rome, Italy


Ristorante Cervinia's story started in 1971 when Riccardo Desideri Tozzi went one big step further to accomplish his culinary adventure. The restaurant gave him a window to express his love for genuine traditional cuisine. Forty six years and two generations later, Ristorante Cervinia still stands proudly at Monte Mario area of Rome under the management of his grandchildren Andrea Parisse and Francesco Callipo. With the youthful enthusiasm of both cousins, the restaurant thrives dynamically with complete attention given to the details of quality and freshness of the ingredients that they use.

01 June 2017

Amistà 33 Ristorante in Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà in Verona, Italy


Beauty is represented in different ways. Five-star hotels are always lavishly decorated and are so luxurious that you never want to leave them. Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà is all of the above and even much more. It's a contemporary art gallery housed in a 15th century villa created by architect Michele Sanmichele then later completed by distinguished architect Ignazio Pellegrini in the 1700s. A 20,000 square-meter manicured Italian garden surrounds the elegant villa. Byblos, as it is known worldwide as a prominent Italian fashion house, has crossed the borders from fashion to art, hospitality and dining.

25 May 2017

Host Restaurant in Fiumicino (Rome), Italy


Walking around the corner space of the apartment building and looking through the big windows, my attention was riveted to the accumulating number of tables and chairs inside. My guess was right. Indeed, a restaurant is taking shape in there. Coming around the corner again days later, I finally entered the finished Host Restaurant. It was spotless with the smell of new wood lightly permeating the room. Planks of wood give the white ceiling a nice accent while the windows give a lot of space for the natural light to stream inside. It is crisply decorated with simple refinement of white, gray and black motif. 

23 May 2017

Retrobottega Restaurant in Rome, Italy


Chefs Alessandro Miocchi and Giuseppe Lo Iudice say that in their 2-year old restaurant, food happens. Gastronomy does happen in Retrobottega, I firmly agree. These two talented chefs created a gastronomic lab where they spin ideas, innovate, create and interact with their diners (especially the ones who sit at the counter that overlooks the fully-opened kitchen). The kitchen team is composed of a couple of other chefs, Matteo Magagnini and Gabriele Di Lecce. All four of them have impressive past working backgrounds in the kitchens of Michelin-starred chefs before congregating in a kitchen of their own.

13 May 2017

Caffè Vergnano 1882: Three New Openings in Rome, Italy


When Domenico Vergnano founded the company in a small town in the foot of the Turin hills called Chieri, it didn't have anything to do with coffee. It was actually an apothecary shop. Only a few years later did it become evident to the Vergnano family that coffee was their specialty. Their mastery in the secrets of coffee-making became so important that they eventually opened 3 warehouses in Turin, Alba and Chieri. Then finally, the biggest accomplishment was in 1930 when they purchased a coffee-producing farm in Kenya. Today, with Enrico and Carolina Vergnano, the fourth generation of the family running the company, they have more than 120 coffee shops scattered in 19 countries around the world.

04 May 2017

Mosnel Winery in Franciacorta, Italy


One hundred and eighty years, five generations, 1876 to present. From Azienda Agricola Barzanò Barboglio to Il Mosnel and finally, simply Mosnel. It all started in in a sixteenth-century villa with vineyards and cellars that was inherited by Rosina Rosa Cacciamatta in the town of Camignone, in the heart of Franciacorta. Rosina is the grandmother of the maternal grandfather of Lucia and Giulio Barzanò, the siblings who now proudly carry the name Mosnel. It's a family with a long history of viticulture that both brother and sister continue with great passion that their mother, Emanuela Barboglio has instilled in them.

02 May 2017

5 Foods Suspected Of Causing Cancer…What Is Lurking In Your Popcorn, Etc.?



When you walk down the aisle at the grocery store, you unwittingly make an assumption that, if something is available to the public, it has to be safe. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Inside some products that are on the shelves across the nation are chemicals and additives that are not safe for consumption and that can lead to some severe and chronic diseases and illnesses.

29 April 2017

4 Healthy but Delicious Mini Donut Recipes (Seriously!)



Nothing can satisfy your sweet tooth better than a traditional good old donut. And, the best part about it is that you can find it pretty much everywhere. From the corner coffee shop to your favorite food delivery service, it’s easy to get your hands on a tasty donut when you crave one.
But wouldn’t it be awesome to try to make it yourself? The advantages of making donuts in your kitchen are not limited to spoiling your family and friends with your cooking skills on a fine weekend day (although we guarantee they’re going to be seriously impressed!). But when you cook them by yourself, you get to pick the recipe and every ingredient in it and personalize the recipe based on your preferences and personal diet.

28 April 2017

Art & Chocolate Gallery Cafè in Verona, Italy


Verona is a very beautiful city and I will never get tired of it. A leisurely walk at the center, through Piazza delle Erbe with its ancient monuments revealing stories of its rich history. A major part of it is from the ancient Roman period where Decumano Massimo (ancient Roman road that runs from east to west) and Cardo Massimo (ancient Roman road that runs from north to south) connect together making the square the center of political and economic setting of the city. The city is substantially rich in history, art, and culture. 

26 April 2017

I Vitelloni Restaurant in Rome, Italy


From an early breakfast to a late night cap, I Vitelloni stays open, every single day, non-stop from 5 in the morning until 2 the next morning. It's quite a long schedule for a restaurant to stay open but with so much diversity in its menu, it has a great potential to be the place to go to in Rome from the time you open your eyes until the time you are ready to close your eyes.

22 April 2017

The Semifreddi of the Master of Pastry with Pastry Chef Fabrizio Donatone


Semifreddo is the semi-frozen Italian dessert that can be based on fruits, chocolates, nuts, coffee and sometimes even cheese. It's one of the best ways to end a good meal especially when the pastry chef is able to make it really well and the ingredients that he uses have fine quality. Being a World Champion at the 2015 Coupe de Monde de la Patesserie, Fabrizio Donatone, along with two other pastry chefs, Emmanuele Forcone and Francesco Boccia, makes exceptional cakes, pastries and semifreddi. Fabrizio was also honored by the Accademia Maestri Pasticceri Italiani (AMPI) by giving him the title Master AMPI ad Honorem.

19 April 2017

Le 5 Stagioni Flour in Making Healthy Pizza: Buono a Sapersi (It's Good to Know)


Four Italian chefs from different nooks of Italy and one flour mill that has been creating flour with high quality parameters for hundreds of years, all in one place. Padua, Italy, 21 March 2017. For this congregation, good pizza was the topic that was foremost in everyone's agenda. Buono a Sapersi (It's Good to Know). What is a good pizza anyway? A good pizza doesn't only entail how delicious it is but of course what we put on top, even in the middle matters but a genuinely good pizza should be healthy and easy to digest. Like what I had been writing here when I wrote about how the flour matters and here when I wrote about a pizzeria that uses good flour, what matters most is the quality of the flour and the technique utilized by the pizza chef. If you can easily digest it and the ingredients are of optimum quality, then classify it as good pizza.

18 April 2017

Sommeliers' Selection 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey


March has gone by quite fast and I didn't even get the chance to write about my extraordinary experience with the Turkish wines in the Sommeliers' Selection held in St. Regis Hotel in Istanbul last 25 - 26 February that was organized by Gustobar. I had a very fast-paced trip to Istanbul arriving from Rome at midday on the 25th just in time for a late lunch, the Sommelier Masterclass and a few minutes of tasting wines at the almost empty tasting rooms before the event closed for the day. The 26th was a different thing as the wine tasting event opened to the public. It was full of wine enthusiasts but it was surprisingly nice to see such excited anticipation of the wines produced in Turkey, 179 of them from 40 producers and a handful of international labels from Italy, France, Chile and Spain. Turkish wines are very much under the radar and I think that they need to find a niche in the wine world and be recognized outside the country.

08 April 2017

Secondo Tradizione Restaurant in Rome, Italy


When two excellent gastronomic icons in Rome hook arms together and create something new, traditional or just simply great, then it's something that merits to be explored. Secondo Tradizione is the product of the bonding of Il Pagliaccio of Chef Anthony Genovese, a Two Michelin-starred restaurant and La Tradizione of Stefano Lobino and Francesco Praticò, a historical high quality delicatessen for food experts. It's a place where your every Italian food desire comes to terms with the seal of quality and excellence.

06 April 2017

Topaz Restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey



Topaz Restaurant has something spectacular awaiting its guests upon entry. Its floor to ceiling glass wall frames a picturesque view of Istanbul. The Bosphorus Strait and its bridge, the whole city with some of its grandest sites and the Dolmabahçe Palace create a breathtaking scene. At night time, the restaurant's lights are kept low (pardon the dark pictures) to emphasize the lighted city outside and believe me, upon walking in that restaurant, the view is the first and maybe the only thing that you can focus on for the first few minutes.

04 April 2017

Pasta B Restaurant: Singaporean Cuisine in Milan, Italy


Entering its third decade, Pasta B has a success story to tell. In 1989, the Han family opened Jing Hua Xiao Chi in the Chinatown area of Singapore, a place specializing in making dumplings. Over a short period of time, it attracted throngs of people queuing for their fresh noodles and dumplings. They opened other branches in Singapore and eventually in Japan to cater to the big demand for their high quality dumplings and noodles. After an unabating success, the second generation of the Han family continues to serve the freshly-made noodles and dumplings alongside some specialized dishes still using the exact recipes. Today, I am taking you to their restaurant in Milan, their first branch that crossed continents that is well received by the Italians and Europeans.

03 April 2017

Marco Lodola's Lodoland: Luci Pop in Franciacorta, Italy


Marco Lodola takes us on a magical journey of his lighted life-size artwork in the streets of Franciacorta Outlet Village for an exhibition called Lodoland: Luci Pop in Franciacorta from 16th of March until the 17th of April in collaboration with Deodato Arte of Milan (where you can buy his artwork). The external art exhibit graces the main points of the commercial center with its vibrant colors at daytime but when the sun goes down and the artworks light up, the overall effect gives a dramatic impact.

30 March 2017

Clotilde Restaurant, Spirits and Cocktail Bar in Rome, Italy


Who is Clotilde? She is a refined woman who puts extreme attention to the needs of her guests and always ready to share the best in her cellars and kitchen. A woman who is able to create magic on her table where conviviality lives in beautiful moments of staying together. She is the icon of savoir fare in the mind of her son, restaurateur Clemente Quaglia and for this reason, he named his restaurant after her for which the place stands for.

27 March 2017

Buff Restaurant in Trastevere (Rome), Italy: Farm to Table


Quality-conscious diners always have lingering questions on their heads when they head out to restaurants. Where did the ingredients of their food come from and how were they treated? Sometimes we read them in the menu, and sometimes we don't. We just put our trust on the chef in the sourcing of his ingredients and how he decides to put them together. In Rome, there is a restaurant that pioneers the farm to table concept. They produce practically all the ingredients in their farm in Calabria (that's in the southern part of the country) then their young and talented chef Fabio Trovato, who grew up in a family of restaurateurs, creates his masterpieces in the kitchen while his counterpart in the dining area, Franco Magliocchetti, a sommelier in wine and oil, makes sure that Fabio's creations are paired well with Calabrian wines.

16 March 2017

Vogue Restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey


Istanbul makes every inch of the food lover in me somersault with anticipation. My first trip there had been a discovery of its food and wine culture with a group of press people. Even if Istanbul was the shortest stay on our way to another part of Turkey, the Northern Thrace, the markets, shops and restaurants we passed were enough to take a whiff of comprehension of how vast and rich the gastronomy is. The whole country has a diversity of cuisines due to its cultural interactions throughout its colorful history. Being eclectic and dynamic, Istanbul is the place to catch different kinds of cuisines. Whether you are looking for the classic ones that stretches its roots from the Ottoman empire, international cuisines or even more inspiring, the interweaving of traditional characteristics with contemporary ideas, this is definitely the right city to explore.

13 March 2017

I Migliori Vini Italiani 2017 di Luca Maroni (The Best Italian Wines 2017 For Luca Maroni) in Rome, Italy


Between 16 to 19 February 2017, more than 600 wine labels, 160 gastronomic and oenological producers from all over Italy and thousands of visitors were in Salone delle Fontane in EUR, Rome for 4 days of wine tasting. It had been an incredible event that converged all food and wine enthusiasts under one roof celebrating the excellence of Italian creations.  It is an annual event established in 2013 by Luca Maroni, a well-known Italian sensory wine analyst, where wines were tested according to his evaluating method of a series of sensory analysis that are based on three principles - Consistency, Balance and Integrity of the wines.

10 March 2017

Babingtons Tea Room in Rome, Italy


If you have been to Rome, most probably you have already come across Babingtons Tea Room or even photographed it while taking photos of the Spanish Steps. Standing from the bottom of the steps, Babingtons Tea Room is on the left side in the 18th-century faded bright orange building where it has always been since 1893. Surviving two world wars, various economic recessions and now on its fourth generation of descendants, Babingtons Tea Room continues to serve what it has been serving for more than a hundred years - proper English tea.