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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.

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.

13 November 2017

Week of Italian Cuisine in the World 2nd Edition (20 - 26 November 2017)


The Week of Italian Cuisine in the World (Settimana della Cucina Italiana nel Mondo)has come to its second edition after a big success last year. The theme of this year's edition, which will take place from 20 to 26 November, is the binomial "Cuisine and Quality Wine". More than one thousand events are taking place which are coordinated by the 296 diplomatic-consular offices and Italian cultural institutes in more than one hundred countries which is aimed at promoting internationally the enogastronomic traditions as distinctive signs of Italian identity and culture. It focuses on quality, sustainability, culture, food security, education, identity, territory and biodiversity.

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!