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06 October 2017

Cantina Peppucci in Todi (Umbria), Italy


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

04 October 2017

Beef Bazaar in Rome, Italy


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

26 September 2017

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


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

25 September 2017

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


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

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

Molo Diciassette Ristorante in Ostia (Rome), Italy


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

20 September 2017

Il Cantuccio Ristorante in Albavilla (Como), Italy


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

08 September 2017

Brylla Wine Bar in Rome, Italy


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

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

04 September 2017

Collecapretta Winery in Spoleto (Umbria), Italy


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

24 August 2017

Paolo Bea Winery in Montefalco (Umbria), Italy


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

22 August 2017

Eataly: Philippines-Italy Gastronomic & Culinary Exchange 2017


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

20 August 2017

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


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

18 August 2017

Eguisheim in (Alsace), France: Town & Wines


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

16 August 2017

Spiezer Winery in Spiez, Switzerland


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

13 August 2017

Ristorante Livello 1: Fish & Cocktails in Rome, Italy


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

11 August 2017

Wolfshöhle Restaurant in Freiburg im Bresgau, Germany


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

07 August 2017

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


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

02 August 2017

Ristorante Vescovado in Noli (Liguria), Italy


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

27 July 2017

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


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

19 July 2017

Altrove Ristorante in Rome, Italy


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

15 July 2017

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


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

14 July 2017

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


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

05 July 2017

Eit Restaurant in Rome, Italy


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

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.