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10 February 2019

Fornace Stella in Rome, Italy: You'll Love This New Pizzeria

The idea of a pizza meal in Italy is a kind of casual and quick dining to be enjoyed with family and friends. That's what proprietors and friends Enrico Mercatili and Roberto Priora had in mind when they created Fornace Stella in Piazza Lecce (a short distance from Piazza Bologna). The place is big enough, accommodating about a hundred patrons but without making you feel the vastness of the space because the tables are distributed in four well-insulated and cozy rooms that absorb excessive noise. With the architecture of Strato and consultancy of Laurenzi Consulting, known for their excellent works in other Roman restaurants, Fornace Stella is able to provide a cozy ambience in its maze of four beautifully designed welcoming spaces.

09 February 2019

La Mère Germaine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is small village that lies 12 kilometers north of Avignon in southeastern France with just over 2,000 of population. Its popularity is attached to the red wine production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and in the medieval period, the castle that sits above the village that was built for the popes who have resided in in the 14th century in nearby Avignon after moving away from Rome.

05 February 2019

Wines in Magnum Bottles at Ardengo Bistrot in Prato (Tuscany), Italy

Ardengo is a bistrot at the center of Prato that centers on a distinctive level of dining experience linking good wine and innovative food created by their chef Cristina Liguori. Opened in July 2017 by Mirko Banacchioni and Lorenzo Filippini who are both sommeliers with baggage of experiences, highlights one whole wall of the bistrot as its particularly interesting wine menu. The concept is greatly inspired by their mentor, the late Renzo Priori, one of the most distinguished experts on wines and a collaborator of important food and wine guides. With the eye catching magnum bottles of their white and red wine proposals line the wall upon entry to the modern and minimalistic space. The wine bottles are only available in magnum format as well as in glasses, with the use of the Coravin system that extracts the wine from the bottle without the need to pop the cork.

04 February 2019

Hiromi Cake, The First Japanese Pastry Shop in Rome, Italy

The opening of a traditional Japanese pastry shop finally completes the circle of one of the most favored cuisine in the capital. Hiromi Cake was opened by Pastry Chef Hiromi  in the Prati area of Rome where she maintains a laboratory for making yogashi, sweets of foreign origin and wagashi, the traditional Japanese sweets that are best enjoyed accompanied with a cup of green tea.

02 February 2019

Restaurant Christian Etienne: 30 Years of Michelin Star in Avignon, France

Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a dramatic city to explore with a rich history to reveal as you take every single step in its cobblestone roads. Between 1309 to 1377, during the Avignon Papacy when the popes moved away from Rome, seven successive popes resided in the Palais des Papes. Even after the papacy moved back to Rome, the city remained under the papal control until late 18th century when it finally became united with the rest of France after the French Revolution.

01 February 2019

Hotel Shangri-La in Rome, Italy: Reopening with Style

When Hotel Shangri-La closed its doors for the last time last 30 July 2017, the capital lost a piece of its modern story because for 47 years, the Romans had a token of memory attached to the elegance and hospitality that the hotel provided. In December 2018, after a year and a half, Hotel Shangri-La opened its doors once again revealing a total new look and identity. The hotel was purchased from the Corsetti family and completely refurbished by the Lo.An Group of the Lazzarini family, hoteliers for over 35 years.

31 January 2019

Preview of Luca Maroni’s I Migliori Vini Italiani 2019

On 24 January 2019 at the new 5-star luxury Elizabeth Unique Hotel in Rome, Italy, the preview of the upcoming wine event of Luca Maroni, I Migliori Vini Italiani (The Best Italian Wines) and the presentation of his book Annuario dei Migliori Vini Italiani 2019 (Yearbook of the Best Italian Wines) took place. The 2019 edition of Luca Maroni's I Migliori Vini Italiani (The Best Italian Wines) will be held on 14 to 17 February 2019 at the Salone delle Fontane in th E.U.R. zone of Rome.

30 January 2019

Sangiovese Purosangue in Rome, Italy: Getting to Know the Ancient Tuscan Grape

Sanguis Jovis in Latin and blood of Jupiter in English, Sangiovese is the most cultivated red grape variety covering more than 70,000 hectares in Italy with concentrations in the central part, most especially Tuscany. It is the main component of almost all the red wines in Tuscany, Umbria and Marche and vinified 100% pure or in major percentages then blended with other red grape varieties. Among the popular ones are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Carmignano, Morellino di Scansano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and the Super Tuscan.

28 January 2019

The Cheerful Green at the Land of Prosecco: Ristorante Verdegaio in Treviso, Italy

Cheerful green, a delightful color that nature has bestowed the hills of Susegana, just a few steps from Conegliano in Treviso. This ebullient color portrays the picturesque landscape of Prosecco with the neatly combed rows of vineyards of Glera. In the midst of this stunning scenery is Ristorante Verdegaio which is aptly named for the vibrant color that surrounds it.

24 January 2019

Tuscan Pastry Chef Paolo Sacchetti’s Pasticceria Nuovo Mondo in Prato, Italy

Pastry Chef Paolo Sacchetti, Vice President of the Accademia Maestri Pasticceri Italiani, has been operating his pastry shop, Pasticceria Nuovo Mondo in the center of Prato since 1989. In the course of 30 years, it had always been considered as one of the best on national level and and it has been awarded “3 torte or cakes” by the Guida delle Pasticcerie d’Italia (Guide of Pastry Shops in Italy). Tuscan by birth, he has always brought the Italian gastronomic tradition to the topmost importance with respect to the optimum quality, seasonality of ingredients and taste, always in line with the statutes of the Accademia Maestri Pasticceri Italiani.

22 January 2019

Strasserwirt in Strassen, Austria: Serving High Quality Tyrolean Cuisine

There are 400 years of history in the walls of Strasserwirt Hotel while the dining hall of the restaurant is much “younger” at 175 years old. Dating back in 1744, Strasserwirt Restaurant showcases stubes with the quintessential Tyrolean style mixed with accents of different materials and periods. Wood, stone, silver and linens of subdued beige and white hues complete the picture of an elegant alpine dining room.

19 January 2019

Gellius in Oderzo (Treviso), Italy: A Restaurant on the Ruins of the Roman Empire

Oderzo is a beautiful town in Treviso (Veneto) in the northern part of Italy, and about 60 kilometers northeast of Venice. It is in the heart of the Venetian plains, traversed by the Monticano River, halfway between the Dolomite Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Historically, Opitergium, its ancient Latin name, played an important role in the ancient Roman Empire, leaving the center of the town rich with archaeological ruins from its foundation in 1100 B.C.

18 January 2019

Itinerant Tasting of Sensi Wines at The Pantheon Iconic Hotel in Rome, Italy

The tastings of wines don't have to confine us in brightly-lit rooms with white walls while attending to quarter-filled glasses and scribbling of analyses in notebooks. Wine tasting is about relishing the precious alcoholic drink that has evolved from fruit to juice to wine, given by nature and perfected by the hands and minds of the people working behind the bottles. It has its own sense of beauty that has to be savored in an equally aesthetic ambience.

16 January 2019

The Gourmet Pizza of Giuseppe Maglione at Daniele Gourmet in Avellino, Italy

Neapolitan by origin and having grown in the world of pizzas, Giuseppe's recollections of his childhood were breathing flour and dipping his hands in the dough in his grandmother's pizzeria in Naples. Opened in 1965 in Naples, Anna Daniele (thus the name of the pizzeria), followed her passion of frying pizzas (and we know that they are in their best in Naples where they originated from). It was Anna from whom Giuseppe inherited the "pizza gene" that made him into a great pizza maker today. 

14 January 2019

Truffles and Wine at Chez Serge in Carpentras, France

Truffles, foie gras, Mont Ventoux meat, exceptional French wines, what else can you ask forin a French restaurant? Chez Serge is one of the best and most popular restaurants in Carpentras, a town in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azure region (southeastern France). It's a destination for the French gastronomic lovers.

13 January 2019

Terra Roma: Eataly’s Wood Burning Grill Restaurant

After a double success with the American public in Boston and Los Angeles, Terra finally lands in  Italy, the country where it was born. The first chosen city is Eataly in Rome, the branch in the country (and in the world) that has the most square-meter space. Terra is a restaurant that highlights the true heart of its philosophy by grilling raw materials of superior quality. A 3-meter long grill was specially by an artisan's hands in Spain where it continuously spews fiery red fire. With particular attention to the superior aspect of the food, the oven is fueled only by virgin oak wood from the Italian Calabria region for the unique aromas that they give.

The Healthiest Sicilian Winter Citrus Salad

It's been ages since I shared a recipe at Apron and Sneakers. My attention had been diverted to other branches of enogastronomy. Truth be told, I have a very long list of  recipes in the computer waiting to be shared. Let me start today with this extremely simple citrus salad recipe that I learned yesterday from my trusted Sicilian citrus fruit vendor yesterday. I usually prepare a much simpler version of oranges, extra virgin olive oil and salt but this one is very good. It is very easy to prepare and can be eaten for lunch or dinner while the fruits are in season when they are at their best - sweet and exploding with nutrients. Citrus fruits, as we all know are significantly rich in vitamins like fibers, vitamin B, magnesium and most especially vitamin C. With the cold of the winter, we need it the most.

Eataly Rome Gets a Total New Look

Six years after it opened in 2012, Eataly Rome, the biggest branch in the world, is refurbished and gets an exhilarating new look in its more than 50,000 square-meter space. The shops and restaurants from the ground floor to the second floor have been reformatted with new workshops, thus they are more thorough with their proposals to the consumers. Eataly has 13,000 references and 5 authentic restaurants dispersed in its vast space: the new Birreria (Brewery), Pasta and Pizza, Osteria Romana, the temporary restaurant on the third floor which is hosting Bosco Umbro and Terra, the new signature restaurant of Eataly.  The biggest surprise of all is the opening of the new pop-up store of Ikea in an additional 700 square-meter square space located in two levels inside Eataly. 

11 January 2019

So Wine So Food Magazine Starts a New Journey to Luxury

Before the year 2018 ended, So Wine So Food Magazine organized a gala where they unveiled their new image for the coming year amidst Italy's icons of luxury and prestige of Ferraris and Maseratis. It took place in Sa.Mo.Car, a car showroom in Rome of two of the world's best car brands. Highlighted in the event are four renowned chefs in Italy and the dishes that they prepared specially for the night's dinner accompanied by the wines of Champagne A. Bergère and Castelli Romani Food & Wine, water of Acqua Filette and coffee of Momento Espresso.

10 January 2019

The Barolos of the Langhe Hills: Cascina Amalia in Piedmont, Italy

The Boffa Family had an aspiration when they created Amalia Cascina in 2003. After acquiring an early 20th century farmhouse in Monforte d'Alba in Langhe and its surrounding vineyards, they decided to cultivate Dolcetto and Barbera. After all, they are in the Langhe hills, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Langhe is a wine growing landscape that enraptures the eyes with its soft hills filled with neatly combed rows of vines and most importantly, home to one of Italy's finest red wines.

09 January 2019

Vini Raimondo: The Different Portraits of Cesanese di Affile

Cesanese di Affile, a distinct relative of the Cesanese Comune, is unique to the area of Affile. Affile is located in the region of Lazio, about 50 kilometers in the east of Rome, in the valley of Aniene on slopes of the Affilani mountains where the soil is noted for its reddish tint because of the major presence of iron oxide.

08 January 2019

Giulia Restaurant: Along the Most Luxurious Street in Renaissance Rome

Four big windows give a wide panorama to the cobblestone ground of Via Giulia from the Renaissance period. It has a fundamental history that shares its story with the building of the St. Peter's Basilica. In the early 1500s, Donato Bramante, the same Italian architect commissioned by Pope Julius II to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica, was also responsible to make the new layout of Via Giulia wherein all the administrative seats of power of Rome were to be located. Hence, elegant Renaissance buildings line the street one after the other.

06 January 2019

Va.Do al Pigneto in Rome, Italy

Over the years, with the refreshed identity of Pigneto from being circumvented to a frequented home of some of Rome's hippest restaurants and bars, the eclectic selection of places to go to has increased in number. A walk in the neighborhood takes you to different portrayals of food and drink - the Pigneto way.

05 January 2019

The Resplendent 125 Years of Hotel Hassler Hospitality in Rome, Italy

Hotel Hassler, an icon of the capital for its luxuriant hospitality for more than a century, stands proud just a few meters from the Church of the Trinità dei Monti on top of the Spanish Steps. For the city of Rome, it represents the capital's portrait of elegance and excellence that has been a part of its modern history and renowned all over the world. It has recently renovated and it still maintains its high standard of quality and affluence in perfect balance with its historical past, present and future.

03 January 2019

Restaurant Fanny Rey et Jonathan Wahid in Saint Rémy de Provence, France

Anyone who loves to delve into the pleasurable intricacies of the French cuisine shouldn't miss Restaurant Fanny Rey et Jonathan Wahid in Saint Rémy de Provence. In the main road of the typical Provencal town where cafès, shops, art galleries and little squares abound, this restaurant is one way of experiencing the cuisine in the hands of two accomplished young chefs, Fanny Rey and Jonathan Wahid.

Ristorante Al Capriolo: From an 1850 Postal Office to a Michelin Star

There's a long history behind Ristorante Al Capriolo, 168 years in the same family and still counting. It started as a postal office in the Dolomites, a fundamental part of the town in the year 1850 when postal offices were used not only for postal services but also for lodging, eating and changing of horses for the transit of travelers along the Habsburg - Alemannia Road that connects Venice with Bavaria crossing the Dolomite mountains.

Created For You by Chef Giulio Terrinoni in Rome, Italy

Walk your way along Via Giulia then turn towards Vicolo del Malpasso and you will see a charming restaurant with a few modern external tables set on the old Roman cobblestones. Fringed with leafy green plants and flower pots with glass walls where you can see through the restaurant's contemporary interior. An open kitchen upon entry assures you of transparency in the cuisine of Giulio Terrinoni, Chef Patron of Per Me Ristorante.

16 December 2018

Korea Week 2018: Four Hands Lunch With Riccardo Di Giacinto and Kwon Woo-Joong

How interesting can lunch be when two great chefs from totally divergent gastronomic cultures swap ingredients, collaborate together and represent their individuality and traditions with the dishes they created? The game of flavors between Korea and Italy took shape in the hands of Chefs Kwon Woo-Joong  (2 Michelin stars) and Riccardo Di Giacinto (1 Michelin star) in Ristorante MadeITerraneo in Rome. "The goal is not to promote our culture but also to create a harmony between two different cultures," declares Soomyoung Lee, Director of the Korean Cultural Institute. The culinary meeting between the two great chefs representing Korean and Italian cuisines happened on the 29th of November as part of the week-long celebration of Korea Week 2018 in Rome, Italy. 

13 December 2018

Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019 in Rome: Open Restaurants

We're just counting the days until the big Christmas and New Year celebrations arrive. It's the time of the year when we are all aiming to commemorate the special holiday with great food in the company of our families and friends. Most of us would be putting together the menus for the dinner and lunch at home while some of us are opting for more relaxed celebrations in restaurants. If you are spending it in Rome and would like to know which restaurants are open during these special holidays, here's a list that you can refer to. Prices are per person and without drinks unless indicated.

12 December 2018

Pascucci al Porticciolo Restaurant in Fiumicino (Rome), Italy

The sea is my biggest supplier, where I had to get everything. Chef Gianfranco Pascucci has a vast source of ingredients right in front of him, where fishes of different kinds are taken to the dock by the local fishermen of Fiumicino as soon as they come in from fishing. He doesn't limit his ingredients to the usual sea bass or turbot, because he feels impelled to take out the immense supply that the sea can provide us, more the unknown than the ones we are used to. There is the desire to generate awareness and through his kitchen, his dishes can create stories from the sea, the fishermen then to us.

01 December 2018

A View For Two at Ego Bistrot in Rome, Italy

The latest vogue in the Roman dining scene is elevating to a higher point in enjoying the capital's famous panoramic skyline. What is Rome from a towering perspective where terracotta tiled roofs, church domes and the maze of cobblestone streets are seen from a bird's eye view? Whichever part of the city you are, it never disappoints. 

26 November 2018

Olio Colato Flumeri 2018: The Excellence of the Ravece Olive Cultivar in the Irpinia Hills

In a stunning panorama in the Italian region of Campania, the town of Flumeri lies in the Valley of Ufita, at the back of a hill at 638 meters above sea level and surrounded by two rivers, Ufita and Fiumarella. But deeper than its beauty, this enchanting landscape of rows of olive tree orchards bestows another offering to Flumeri. Because of the soils rich in volcanic sediments combined with the calcareous clay soil, the microclimate in its high altitude and the centuries-old cultivation techniques, the olive varieties cultivated in this zone thrive in perfectly good condition especially the Ravece cultivar. In fact, the area is characterized by a production of high quality biological extra virgin olive montocultivar obtained from Ravece variety, a precious ancient olive cultivar native to the area, blends of olive cultivars like Ogliarola, Leccino, Marinese and Carpellese and the Irpinia Colline dell'Ufita DOP.

23 November 2018

Elevating the Cocktail Culture at Drink Kong in Rome, Italy

When the sun goes down and the dark skies sway in, cocktail drinks aflow in a dystopian futuristic setting. Influenced by the 1980s neo-noir science fiction film, Blade Runner, the 300 square meter place takes you to a labyrinth of smoky alleys of an oriental metropolis splashed with neon signs and arcades. A melange of eras from the characteristic minimalist Japanese, the loud chaos of New York and the innovative modern London style. Four distinct rooms with subdued lights, reddish glare, velvet chairs, live music and a splendid lighted bar overflowing with rows of liquors and glasses, that's how Drink Kong is to its visitor's eyes.

When Emotions Unfold on the Table at Metamorfosi Ristorante in Rome, Italy

Rarely do emotions take over you when you eat in a restaurant. A delicious dish is a great treat but something that can stir up sentiments that the chef wants to convey in his dishes is profoundly impressive. When Roy Salomon Caceres is in the kitchen, his dishes unravel with the unverbalized stories that he wants to tell. Born in Colombia in 1977 then transplanted to Italy when he was at a young age of sixteen, his stories are unique and bountiful which are spiced with aromas from far away. A chef is like a silent storyteller whose words are the ingredients that he uses and the the way he puts them together is the story that he wants to relay. He provokes sentiments with what he has shaped. He leaves a door open to the adventurous gourmand who likes to traverse a cuisine that continues to reveal different roads.

The Winning Chefs at the Festival della Gastronomia 2018 in Rome, Italy

The second edition of the Festival della Gastronomia, organized by Luigi Cremona and Lorenza Vitali concluded on 30 October 2018 in Officine Farneto after four days of celebrating the Italian gastronomy. The four-day festival put emerging chefs (under 30 years old), pizza chefs (under 35 years old) and chefs de rang from different parts of the country at the center stage with competitions that lasted throughout the four days of the festival. The juries were composed of professionals working in the field of gastronomy wherein I had the honor of taking part in. Another highlight of the festival is the presentation of Touring Club Italiano’s 2019 edition, one of the most prestigious Italian guides on hotels and restaurants of the country.