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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 The Square 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 the chef 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.