Archive for ‘Food’

June 23, 2014

An Authentic Italian Cappuccino

cappuccino-300409Find out how to make a true Italian cappuccino Everyone knows what cappuccino is, but not many American barista know how to make them.  More often than not, when I order a cappuccino state-side, I get a boiled cafe latte with a little froth!

The classic recipe calls for 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam. Italy has recently certified a cappuccino recipe that goes into more detail. Bravo!

A true Italian cappuccino is made with 25ml (almost 1 oz.) espresso and 125ml(4+oz) frothed milk. A hundred millilitres of cold (3.5oz) fresh milk with at least 3.2% protein and 3.5% fat content must be frothed to 125ml, reaching a temperature of 55C. Note that water boils at 100C, so the milk is only to come half way to the boiling point. It then needs to be poured over 25ml certified Italian espresso in a white 160ml (5.5-6oz) cup. The end result should be “white with a brown border, and should have an intense aroma with hints of flowers and fruit under the stronger scents of milk, toast (cereals and caramel), chocolate (cocoa and vanilla) and dried fruit.”

Other interesting coffee drinks served in Italian bars:

Doppio—that’s simply a double espresso

Ristretto—an espresso with less water than usual

Lungo—an espresso with more water than usual

Caffé con panna—an espresso topped by whipped cream

Freddo—iced coffee made with espresso

Americano—an espresso with added hot water


See more at:

December 3, 2013

Mario Batali Eataly Opens in Chicago

La MacelleriaBuon Natale! (Merry Christmas!)
Eataly, that Colosseum-sized arena of cibo italiano from super chef Mario Batali, has arrived in the River North area of Chicago.
Half food hall, half marketplace, it’s got everything from a Nutella bar to a white tablecloth restaurant called Baffo. And that’s just the ground level. Upstairs: a central piazza-style wine bar surrounded by specialty stalls and eateries hawking meats, fish and cheese. The motto here: taste it before you buy it.


La Biera – Gents may stop at the Birreria brewpub first. Eataly’s in-house brewing system means year-round small-batch experimentation. On tap now: FL!P Ale, a warm beer concoction brewed with saba grape syrup, cardamom and candy ginger, then mixed with rum and egg whites and a pale ale with thyme named Gina.
La Macelleria – Get to know these butchers well. They’re the gatekeepers to super lean and tender cattle breeds like Razza Piemontese, as well as a dry-aged prime beef program like none other in the city.
Il Salumi – What’s an Italian specialty store without cured meats? In addition to imported delicacies like Prosciutto Toscano, Eataly also stocks hometown heroes West Loop Salumi. Stop by the cheese counter for some primo Grana Padano to pair.
Buon appetito.

November 25, 2013

Wine Maker for a Day in Chianti

A ‘WOW’ experience in the heart of Tuscany! Spend the day with a top notch wine maker in his Chianti cellar tasting and blending your very own personal vintage. The barriques of Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, and Syrah that you will use for blending your wine, come from the vines on the 150 acre estate. Your local oenologist will coach and guide you, with his 20 plus years experience, to assure a memorable wine. After a lunch break in this historic castle, you will bottle the wine which will be delivered to your home two months later. Of course, you will have designed your own personal label for your private bottling.

Though I did not have a full day to blend my own vintage, I can assure you that my recent tour of this historic Chianti winery, followed by an intimate wine-paired five course lunch, was one of my most memorable Tuscany experiences.

Aside from having your own personal vintage wine, adorned with your unique label, the opportunity to understand the blending process with an expert is a very special event !

April 19, 2013

Valencia, Spain’s Third Largest City

photo2Still an agriculturally rich city, Valencia is the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, with the special charm that a seaport city has.  It has an excellent balance of commerce, culture, theatre, museums, music, and business.
Architecturally, Valencia is comprised of significant historical buildings that are beautifully maintained and abundant avant-garde modern structures that somehow blend harmoniously.  It is quite remarkable, as the contrast is so dramatic.
High points include the Cathedral dating to 1262, the iron and glass Mercado Central, the Ayuntamiento (Town Council), the Correos (main Post Office), as well as the ultra-modern City of Arts complex – the largest of it’s kind in Europe devoted to culture, education, and recreation designed by the world famous Santiago Calatrava.By the way, Valencia is where Paella originated and they make the most mouth-watering version I have ever had.
April 16, 2013

Sevilla’s April Fair Week Kicks off today

The capital of Andalucia and Spain’s fourth largest city, Sevilla, is beautiful and flamboyant – enveloped in the fragrances of orange trees, jacaranda, and myrtle. It is a place where bullfighting is still politically correct and little girls still dream of growing up to become flamenco dancers.

The center is very pedestrian friendly and architecturally rich. From Plaza de Espana, the sight of Spain’s pavillion built for the 1929 World Exposition; to Los Reales Alcazares, built by the Moors in the 10th Century and still serving as the royal digs; to the Cathedral, the third largest in Europe (after St Peter’s at the Vatican and St Paul’s in London).

A side note of interest, the town of Jaen, within an hour of Seville, produced three times more olive oil in 2012 than all of Italy. A testament to the agricultural production of Andalucia, also famous for it’s sherry.

February 5, 2013

Fascinating Naples

Castel del' Ovo view from room balcony at Hotel Santa LuciaNaples, Napoli in Italian, is the third most-populated city in Italy and the biggest city in Southern Italy. Its close proximity to many interesting sites, such as Pompeii and the Bay of Naples, makes it a good base for exploring the area. Naples is a lively and vibrant city, full of wonderful historical and artistic treasures and narrow, winding streets with small shops, making it worth at least a few days visit.

During my late January visit to Italy, I was priviledged to be one of ten American guests invited to partake in a 4 day educational program highlighting the history, arts, culture, and cuisine of Naples. It had been many years since I had visited Naples with locals and I was rewarded with a renewed enthusiasm for this magical city that is rich in history, traditions, art and breathtaking views, not to mention the culinary highlights. Mayor Luigi de Magistris and Antonella Di Nocera, head of Tourism and Culture, and her welcoming staff prepared an incredible ‘Grand Tour of Naples’ for us and personally joined in on much of the agenda.

read more »

%d bloggers like this: