Getting to Varenna

 

Como Lake is really a world of its own, and discovering it bit by bit is an extremely rewarding experience. It’s also a great lesson in learning how many treasures and endless beautiful surprises you can discover, without covering too many kilometers. The lake’s spectacular three-armed shape, mountainy surroundings and history unite in making the lake a really adventurous place, a timeless place, a natural paradise, where the atmosphere could be described as a mixture of an eternal “Belle Epoque”.

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Niçoise Salad

Niçoise salad is one of those whole meal salads that speak of summer. As can be understood from the name, its origin is the city Nice. There exist quite a few variants of the recipe. This is a “light” version I like very much. Light because I omit both boiled potatoes and green beans often present in the salad. Sometimes for extra indulgence I throw in a couple of mozzarella “bocconcini”, that aren’t exactly what comes to mind thinking of “light”, in matter of calories, but I love the white, soft texture and freshness they add to the whole. This salad is extremely rich and colorful, the perfect summer dish, with a glass of Provençale rosé, reflecting the warm and generous flavors of the South of France.

 

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Refreshing taziki dip

This refreshing originally Greek Taziki dip associated with Greek food, is to be found served in various places across the Mediterranean and Middle east with slight variations. F.ex. the Egyptian version doesn’t include cucumbers. This is a quite classic version. In summer it is an absolute MUST in my diet, and I even have it for breakfast….without the garlic in that case.

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EVOO Extra virgin olive oil – the real taste of Life

Extra virgin olive oil, Evo oil, is a worthy of consideration. I have nurtured love for this precious condiment for a long time, that has been growing gradually over the many years living in Italy.
This spring I decided that I wanted to get to know it more deeply. When there is a person or a place that you are particularly fond of,  you would like to get to know it more closely, and understand who that person or place is, all its peculiarities and characteristics.
I chose a course on the Italian Levante Riviera, at Recco, organized by L‘Associazione Italiana Sommelier dell’Olio

 

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Zesty ciambella with extra virgin olive oil inside & out

Ciambella is such a beautiful word and comforting in a way. The second part of the word “bella” means “beautiful” in Italian, so there’s one reason for the word’s expression for something good. Pronouncing “Ciam“, adds gladness and saliva to your palate in advance. It reminds of the sound of “yum“, meaning something that tastes or looks delicious. This bundt cake, ciambella, or better ciambellone, because of the size of it, is very light (despite the size of it), and extremely fragrant and zesty. An important factor for its lightness is given to the presence of extra virgin olive oil and zest in the dough. Then we exalt the zestiness, almonds as well as the mild olive oil in the dough with a second oil, a fruity Sicilian one.

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I Love Paris

I love Paris in the Springtime
I love Paris in the Fall
I love Paris in the Winter when it drizzles
I love Paris in the Summer when it sizzles

And so goes the first part of the lyrics of Cole Porter’s love song for Paris, I Love Paris of which he wrote the music as well as the lyrics. Who doesn’t fall in love with Paris? I couldn’t agree more with Cole Porter, as well as Audrey Hepburn’s classic line from Billy Wilder’s film “Sabrina” (1954), when she says: “Paris is always a good idea”.

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Monet and the colors of the riviera

Claude Monet, the grand French Impressionist, master of color, light and shadow, could not omit the magical Flower Riviera in his Life Work. Until 31th of July an intimate and very special exhibition, Monet in Riviera, pays tribute to the great honor given by the Monet to the territory of Dolceacqua, Bordighera and its surroundings. Three paintings from Monet’s Riviera spring in 1884 are now gathered for the first time where they were painted 135 years ago: Two at the Dolceacqua’s Doria Castle and the third at the Villa Regina Margherita in Bordighera. Before embarking on his Riviera Journey, Monet said: “I have the impression I will do wonderful things”. And he surely did.

 

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Poetry on the plate

Poetry is to be found everywhere, you only have to be curious, open minded and look. I see a lot of poetry in food, both when I prepare it, as when enjoying it prepared by others. What brings a very special poetry and joy to the senses, is when your dish is including local food and you can savor it in its natural surroundings.
I always look for these moments, and especially when traveling I already start from breakfast, and take my coffee or tea in a special place at the location that reflects its spirit, and with local specialities when possible.
Here are a some food poems from the beautiful Camogli, on the Ligurian Levante Riviera.

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Belle-Île-en-Mer

Beautiful Island in The Sea“, is the name of this island off the coast of Brittany in Northwest France. The one who gave it that name, really chose one that suits this fascinating place perfectly. The island is simply stunning in every aspect, and it certainly does not come as a surprise, that its remarkable beauty has been (and continues to be) a source of inspiration for artists all over the world.

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Authentic mixology in an angle of Paradise

Authentic is a term deriving from the greek authentikos meaning something or someone being genuine. In this evermore virtual world, being authentic and recognizing it in our lives, has been come a really difficult task. Our senses are more and more occupied in memorizing values, flavors, opinions and feelings that are not real and genuine. I will not go further into definition of the subject, but leave that to you readers to reflect on. I will give you in this article an example of what I consider an example of a highly authentic person, doing a highly authentic thing in – what you may call it – an angle of paradise…….. that maybe makes it easier to be be authentic or as Paolo Marazzi says himself: “I put my soul into my mixology and cuisine and create genuine experiences with authentic products, but I need the sea in front of me to produce that magic”.

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