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14 February 2018

Fettuccine Alfredo of Ristorante Alfredo alla Scrofa, A True Love Story

How often have you heard about love being the secret ingredient in cooking? I agree, it is one of the most clichéd quotes but I believe in it. An inspired and impassioned cook can whip up a much better dish than someone who does it without any inclination to enthusiasm. Let's take Alfredo Di Lelio as a very good example when he created the Fettuccine Alfredo in 1914 at his restaurant in Via della Scrofa in Rome, Italy. His sole reason was love - for his wife and kids.

08 February 2018

La Meridiana Resort Relais & Chateaux in Garlenda (Liguria), Italy

Three years have passed since my last visit to La Meridiana Resort in the summer of 2014 but it seems just like yesterday when I last set foot on the grounds of my favorite hotel. Nothing much has changed. The atmosphere is still the same as I remember it to be. Luxurious, welcoming, cozy, professional and closely feels like a home away from home. And now there is Posh, a Pembroke Welsh Corgie whom proprietors Alessandra and Edmondo Segre have fondly added to their family recently.  She has taken the role of welcoming all the guests with her perennially smiling face while her four short legs make decisive strides towards her family's new guests. A long sniff here, a friendly look there, perhaps even a smile can escape from her then you are approved before she goes back to her post at the entrance of the hotel. Welcome to La Meridiana Resort Relais & Chateaux!

05 February 2018

Perpetual Ristorante in Rome, Italy

Perpetual Ristorante is a 750 square meter space of gastronomic multi-purpose venue in Rome. It's a restaurant, a bistrot, a wine bar, kitchen and experimental food laboratory that are spread out in three levels. Half of the space is dedicated to the kitchen, another 80 square meters are assigned to a food laboratory while 150 square meters are committed to the dining areas. The spaces are elegant, minimal and there's a lot of space to move around. Wood, metal, and glass make up the interiors while the dramatic lighting of Davide Groppi plays a key role in the three floors of Perpetual which changes the mood. significantly. It has crossed the line of being just a restaurant to an oasis for gourmands where a team of  chefs take them on gastronomic journeys of multitude of aromas and flavors. 

31 January 2018

Il Salento in Una Stanza in Rome, Italy

Salento in a room, that's how Il Salento in Una Stanza translates to English. It's a name that aptly describes the restaurant at Via Mantova, near Piazza Fiume in Rome. It's a small restaurant that can accommodate about 20, with tables against both walls. Compact places have the tendency to radiate a warm ambience and the restaurant easily takes that out for the friendly service given by its proprietor, Corrado Amato, the touch of bright colors on the table setting and the food, the protagonists that lift the spirit when they arrive on the table.

30 January 2018

Dinner of the Agrichefs for Eataly's 11th Birthday at Eataly Rome, Italy

Eleven candles for eleven years and eleven chefs to celebrate the eleventh anniversary of Eataly's first opening at Torino Lingotto in 27 January 2007. To underline the milestone, eleven Agrichefs of CIA (Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori) cooked in the different restaurants inside Eataly Rome (Ostiense) on the anniversary night. Founded in December 1977, CIA is one of the largest agricultural professional organizations in Europe that represents over 900,000 direct growers and farmers. Eataly on the other hand has continued its philosophy of a place where you can shop, eat and learn about good food with ingredients produced by local Italian growers who respect the concept of clean and fair production.

29 January 2018

Babingtons Tea Room's 125th Anniversary at Villa Wolkonsky in Rome, Italy

In the morning of the 25th of January, I opened the Babingtons Tea Room gift bag that I received the night before. Going through the black paper lining, I fished a black shopping tote pouch, a bookmark, a mini version of the two-tier cake of the party, and the best part, a small black canister containing the Babingtons 125 Anniversary Blend. I tried the special tea the previous night, cold, in a cocktail glass that was mixed with gin. You would rarely see me choosing cocktails over sparkling wine but that night, the refreshing tea cocktail just won me over.

27 January 2018

Tenuta Bellafonte in Bevagna (Umbria), Italy

Collenottolo Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG and Arnèto Spoletino Umbria IGT by Tenuta Bellafonte, two wines that express elegance and the authenticity of the grape varieties in the heart of Umbria. Tenuta Bellafonte owned by Peter Heilbron, is located in a 30-hectare estate in the region of Umbria, not far from the town of Bevagna, near the village of Torre del Colle which is divided into woodlands, orchards of olive trees (mainly Moraiolo and some Frantoio and Leccino varieties) and vineyards. The vineyards occupy 11 hectares of the land between 260 to 320 meters above sea level with the cultivation of the Sagrantino and Spoletino grape varieties. 

Osteria Del Mare: Pesce e Champagne in Naples, Italy

When you're in Naples, don't forget to eat your way around because it's one of the best cities in Italy where you can get phenomenal food. There are two things that I love about the Neapolitan cuisine: the pizza and the seafood dishes. In this post, I'm going to introduce to you a splendid discovery where seafood dishes abound with excellence in quality. Osteria Del Mare, a typical seafood restaurant, located just off the Caracciolo seafront, specializes in seafood dishes of the Neapolitan cooking tradition.

25 January 2018

Me Geisha: Japanese Fusion in Rome, Italy

If you have an eight year-old daughter who asks you only two things for her birthday and one of which is to take her to a Japanese restaurant so she can have that endless sushi kind of dinner, then you would take her to a place where you are assured of the food's optimum quality. Kids and raw fish are delicate matters. That's why when I search for a Japanese restaurant, I look deeper than the face of the place. Me Geisha was one of my options being popular among food experts in Rome and knowing the person behind the kitchen doors, Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot.

22 January 2018

Festival della Carbonara 2018 at Eataly Rome, Italy

Festival della Carbonara. I wonder how many representations of carbonara can be invented for the festival. I have seen, heard and tried some interesting variations in the past but to have all of them under one roof is quite a fascinating event especially if you love carbonara! Pasta alla carbonara is a typical Roman dish that is composed solely of eggs, most of which are egg yolks, guanciale, black pepper, Pecorino Romano, salt (only for the boiling of the pasta) and the pasta. Typically, spaghetti or rigatoni are used. From these basic ingredients, some recipes are slightly modified and personalized according to the one cooking. There can be lots of egg yolks, or whole eggs to make it lighter instead of just the eggs yolks, Parmigiano Reggiano in place of half of the Pecorino or substituting the pasta with other kinds.

Food Bunker, A Culinary School in Nepi (Lazio), Italy

Food Bunker, a new training school for kitchen enthusiasts and aspiring chefs recently opened its doors in the lower Tuscia Viterbese between Rome and Nepi. It will be hosting cooking classes, meetings and enogastronomic events. With just about 40 kilometers of distance from the center of Rome, it presents a more tranquil atmosphere in an industrial area outside the chaos of the city.

17 January 2018

La Locanda Del Profeta in Naples, Italy

Naples may be about pizza (yes I agree how incredibly good the pizza is there) but it's also about dishes of antipasto, pasta and main courses. Being along the coast, it's also about the Mediterranean diet, an abundance of fish, vegetables. fruits and meat. The city has one of the best cuisines in Italy. Ask any Neapolitan about it and they would proudly tell you about what, how and why Naples is definitely one of the homes of excellence in the kitchen. There's no denying that because for a fact, some of the best chefs hail from Naples or its region, Campania.

16 January 2018

Bistrot 64 in Rome, Italy


In Rome, there is a star that glistens a tad shinier that the rest because that star brings out what the others can't take out of the Italian cooking. From the heart of Land of the Rising Sun, love, as simple and precise as I can put it, takes forth an incredible rendition of the Italian cuisine. Let me present to you Bistrot 64 in the hands of Chef Kotaro Noda, one Michelin star, Japanese transplanted to Italy and one big love for the Italian cuisine.

15 January 2018

Cantina Del Tufaio Winery in Zagarolo (Lazio), Italy

There are some Italian regions that I tend to favor when I have to go through a wine list. I have this usual tendency to go far away from my home region. I live at the outskirt of Rome which is inside the region of Lazio. What I am saying is that I look everywhere but Lazio. It has 30 controlled designation labels, 3 of which are DOCG (Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita) and 27 are DOC (Denominazione Origine Controllata). With these much quality-controlled labels that wineries have to abide rigorously, a terrain that's rich with minerals, Mediterranean climate, sea and hills and producers who are keen in their focus on the production of quality wines, well then, I don't have to look farther.

12 January 2018

Giro d'Italia Enogastronomic Event 2017 in Rieti, Italy

The first time I attended Giro d'Italia (not to be confused with the annual Italian bicycle race) in Rieti, I was quite impressed with the number of food and wine producers in attendance. I was going to start my sommelier course and it was fundamental that I attend as much wine tastings as I can to build my practical knowledge about wines. Giro d'Italia was an excellent start off point in getting familiar with the diverse characteristics of all the regions of Italy under one roof, spread out in two vast levels of the restaurant and 4 spacious rooms.

08 January 2018

Halabos na Hipon (Filipino Sautèed Shrimp)

There are not so many Filipino recipes from my childhood that I cook for my family. I like the simple ones that my kids' and husband's palates can easily comprehend like this Halabos na Hipon. It doesn't hide any other flavors because really, the ingredients are so minimal and basic. Shrimp, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. With ingredients like that, you can only expect to taste the best that the shrimp can give you. It's very close to Italian cuisine and I think for that reason, this particular dish is favored by my family and friends so much.

04 January 2018

I Migliori Vini Italiani 2018 di Luca Maroni in Frascati, Italy

The best Italian wines of Lazio, 240 labels in all, by more than 40 wine producers were on the spotlight in the fifth edition of I Migliori Vini Italiani 2018 di Luca Maroni (The Best Italian Wines For Luca Maroni) in Frascati. In the magnificent setting of Le Mura del Valadier in the town of Frascati at Castelli Romani, the collaboration between Luca Maroni, Comune of Frascati, Consorzio Tutela Vini Frascati and Gruppo di Azione Locale - Castelli Romani and Monti Prenestini (GAL) was a success just like the previous editions. 

03 January 2018

International Prokupac Day 2017 in Belgrade, Serbia

Prokupac, the celebrated indigenous red grape of Serbia, took the spotlight again on its second anniversary in Belgrade. I was among the forty people, all winelovers, who flew from all over the world, who were enthusiastic in uncovering the wines made from these grapes. These wines don't get much attention outside Serbia since its small exportation is limited only to Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland. On Prokupac Day, all of Serbia's Prokupac wine producers showcased their wines and won the international guests' opinions with their excellence.

30 December 2017

Antonello Colonna Restaurant in Labico (Rome), Italy

In 1985, when Antonello Colonna took the reins and installed a bright red door in his family's restaurant in Labico, not only did the name change to Antonello Colonna but it also became one of the best restaurants in Italy. The red door symbolized the preservation of traditional dishes and their flavors while adapting them for the modern day refined palates. He started a gastronomic revolution that became sought after by Italian gourmands. What a big change it was from what his family started in 1874 when Trattoria Andrea Colonna was just a simple restaurant that travelers stopped for, stay, eat and change horses for the last time before heading to Rome. But what remained unchanged for centuries is the distinguishing quality of its home-style cooking.

23 December 2017

Grand Hotel Via Veneto in Rome, Italy: A Festive Afternoon Tea

Green Christmas, Orange Christmas, White Christmas or perhaps the Racconto di Natale (Story of Christmas). Choose your color, smell around you but most importantly, indulge your eyes with the magnificent Christmas decors of Grand Hotel Via Veneto. The hotel's lobby is dressed up splendidly with such festive atmosphere. Water runs continuously on the glass ceiling while the hanging Christmas trees and shiny gold balls twinkle in the air. It's an extremely charming retreat after a walk along Via Veneto. 

22 December 2017

Zia Rilla Restaurant and Fresh Pasta Workshop in Rome, Italy

There's something about Zia Rilla that quickly made me feel at home as soon as I sat down. It's the wooden furniture, the old cooking paraphernalia on the walls and shelves, the fruits in the baskets, the cookies in the cookie jars or perhaps it's the assemblage of different kinds of plates and cutlery. The whole scenario made me walk back to memory lane. It's a nudge to the past, a reminder of my mother-in-law's kitchen and dining room where Italian-style elegance intermingles with the homey climate of a warm home where scents penetrate every single crack of the house. Yes, it's a snug little place alright for people like me who are looking for that special kind of place right in the heart of Rome.

21 December 2017

Il Tempio Del Gusto Ristorante in Spoleto (Umbria), Italy

When you only have one shot in eating in a city that you are going to visit, it's cardinal to choose the restaurant that best represents the gastronomy of the area. In my trusted online restaurant guide, I quickly zoomed in on one. Il Tempio Del Gusto has seen three family generations dedicated to culinary art in its kitchen, almost perfect reviews from past diners and positioned right at the center of Spoleto. I had to try it.

19 December 2017

Ristorante Trippini in Civitella Del Lago (Umbria), Italy

Ristorante Trippini, I still have vivid memories of the breathtaking view that greeted me when I entered the restaurant. The restaurant's layout is done in a way that the guests can have full visual access to the panoramic window that covers the entire wall that overlooks Corbara Lake and the Tiber Valley. On a beautiful day, it's hard to extract your attention away from the scenery. Until the plates of Chef Paolo Trippini start to arrive on the table.

16 December 2017

Akira Ramen Inside Mercato Centrale Roma in Rome, Italy

I love food and I know that you do too. And it's even much better when you can have as much good stuff as you can under one roof. Maybe that's why I applaud the concept of Mercato Centrale Roma. It's a gathering of Italy's good restaurants and good producers in one accessible place, right at the heart of Rome, at Termini, Rome's central train station. At Mercato Centrale, Japan just entered the scene! Italy and Japan share a bond about extreme attention to quality in their cuisines. Ramen filled up the only non-Italian space at the market, accompanying the already existing sushi stand there.

14 December 2017

Gli Chef Stellati: A Cena da Eataly in Rome, Italy

How often can you have dinner with seven excellent chefs, four of whom have Michelin stars up their sleeves and five exceptional pastry makers? At Eataly Ostiense in Rome, a special dinner last 7 December 2017 featured seven celebrated Italian chefs to celebrate Christmas with traditional holiday recipes that each chef recreated with their ingenuity. Each of the chefs was assigned to a restaurant inside Eataly where they created their original dishes that's paired with a glass of sparkling wine from the Enoteca of Eataly and a dessert prepared by the guest pastry makers.

Santa Brace Ristorante in Rome, Italy

Fish usually rules my kitchen and my choice of restaurants. Or so I thought until I plunged that fork in my first slice of grilled meat at Santa Brace and tasted it. It was tasty alright, with just the right amount of smokiness in the meat and the most important thing was that it was very tender. It was not just one particular grilled meat because at the opening night, I had three kinds of grilled meat, all tender as they can get and succulent, just like I hoped they would be. I can count with the fingers on one hand how many meat restaurants I would willingly walk inside and Santa Brace made it to my list of meat restaurants to go to in Rome.

12 December 2017

Stilelibero Ristorante in Rome, Italy

Stilelibero or freestyle in English, has its distinguishing style where the mergence of art, fashion, live music, food and drinks magnify the kind of modish evening that we would love to engulf ourselves once in a while. It opened its doors to everyone at the Prati district of Rome recently with an artistic approach to dining and drinking. The walls and glass-paneled tables are adorned with the poetry of art represented in original photographs, bags, jewelry collections and other works. In tune with what meets the eyes, the background live music fills the air with pleasant tunes as the gastronomic proposals of Chef Max Mariola completes the circle of congenial entertainment.

11 December 2017

LasaGnaM: Lasagna Fast Food Restaurant in Rome, Italy

LasaGnaM has all the characteristics of being a fast food place except for one fundamental thing, the much higher quality of the ingredients. Like most of you, I also avoid fast food places as much as I can because they are known to have inferior standard in the food that they serve. With this in mind, four like-minded enterprising young people originating from different regions in Italy put their best foot forward in breaking through that paralleled definition of fast food = low quality. LasaGnaM is not your regular fast food place. You definitely eat quicker with the fast service and informal setup of eating but that's when the fast food concept ends at LasaGnaM because the food is way more superior that gives great value for your money.

09 December 2017

Enologica 2017 - Wines of Emilia-Romagna in Bologna, Italy

There's a world hiding behind the shadow of the popular Lambruscos of Emilia-Romagna after all. Some thirty to forty years ago, the Lambrusco of Emilia-Romagna started its vast exportation to the world especially to the U.S. It has a light ruby-red color, frizzy, lightly-sweet to sweet and meant to be drunk young. It's an easy drink especially for the women. Everyone loves it except for the discerning ones who expect more from their wines. In my recent trip to Bologna, the core of the Emilia-Romagna region, I discovered a lot more excellent wines representing the diverse and unique terroirs of the region.

05 December 2017

The Wine Hunter Roma 2017 in Rome, Italy

The second edition of  The Wine Hunter Roma 2017 concluded successfully last 3 December in the Acquario Romano (Roman Aquarium) in Rome. Hunters of excellent wines were treated to a two-day (2 - 3 December) tasting of the wines that were awarded with high points in quality and excellence during the recent Merano Wine Festival 2017 last 10 - 14 November 2017 in Merano, Italy. The venue of the event is located right at the heart of Rome in a circular building built in the late 19th-century by renowned architect Ettore Bernich. It was a magnificent setting for an enogastronomic event aimed at the territoriality and superior quality of the products.

01 December 2017

The New Enoteca of Eataly in Rome, Italy

The Enoteca of Eataly has always been a great referral point to get excellent wines in Rome. Recently, it got a facelift with a wider and pivotal vocation with wines. Eataly has always been a proponent of known and lesser known producers that reflect the richness and varieties of the terroir of Italy. With this new conception, they realized an Enoteca with the three fundamental specialties: grande (grand), Romano (Roman) and verde (green).

28 November 2017

The Square Restaurant in Square Nine Hotel - Belgrade, Serbia

Asked where I can dine while in Belgrade, all my Serbian friends say Square Nine Restaurant. I got the impression that it's not to be missed while in the city and when I finally walked through the the doors and the lobby of the hotel where it is located, I understood why. The Square is the restaurant of five-star hotel Square Nine Hotel in the heart of Stari Grad (Old Town) at Studentski trg (Students' Square). A modern external structure with a tasteful interior design of moderate warm hues of stone, dark wood, leather and mid-century furnishings from the finest North American and Scandinavian designers which evoke a place of coziness in an elegant atmosphere. It's a place where fine things reside including what their restaurant offers.

Iris New Balkan Cuisine Restaurant in Belgrade, Serbia

It's not everyday that I encounter Serbian restaurants and on a recent trip to Serbia for a wine event, not only was I looking forward to discovering their wines but also the food. As soon as my plane landed in Belgrade, I was immediately off to one of the capital's finest restaurants, Iris New Balkan Cuisine. It represents the traditional flavors of the cuisine that's modified to the modern concept of food culture.

27 November 2017

Korea Week: Four Hands Dinner With Sohyi Kim and Cristina Bowerman in Rome, Italy

Two cultures, two renowned chefs and two cuisines in one kitchen. Korea and Italy meet together in the hands of Sohyi Kim, a South Korean chef and a former judge of the cooking show MasterChef Korea and Cristina Bowerman, a Michelin-starred Italian chef and President of the Associazione Ambasciatori del Gusto (Association of Ambassadors of Taste). A press dinner was held at Cristina Bowerman's restaurant in Rome, Romeo Chef & Baker last 24 October 2017 to celebrate the upcoming Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics as part of the week-long program Korea Week promoted by the Istituto Culturale Coreano (Korean Cultural Institute), in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Italy.

25 November 2017

28 Birreria Gastronomica in Rome, Italy

A marriage of two important beer producers in one house. We all love stories of unions as opposed to separations of course because it signifies constructive steps to growth, augmentation of varied possibilities, and simply because it is positive in all ways. Caulier, a Belgian beer producer and Toccolmatto, an Italian craft beer producer paved one road to their union in one gastronomic place in Rome, the reformatted 28 Birreria Gastronomica in Via Flaminia 525.