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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.

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.

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 to 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 รจ 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.