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5 great things to get excited about in this beautiful wine region
I'm sitting here in Piedmont on a beautiful late spring day, lamenting the coming rains as well as the masses of tourists. The fact that this spring has been decidedly wet certainly contributes to a mad rush like this when the weather turns, but what I’ve seen is ridiculous!
Ridiculous, but expected. I mean how long can the treasures of Piemonte escape our collective attention? I am of course talking about the glorious wines, but also about the food. Even the people and the accommodations they offer are so Piedmontese!
There is so much that one has to come to Piedmont to experience. While many try to imitate what they have, there is no improving on these things. They are part of this place; authentic, original and inimitable. Though many try, you simply can't beat all things Piedmontese directly from the source.
Click here to find five reasons to love Piedmont and its wines.
— Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth
Discover Why We Love Turin
I’ve been living in Turin for over 40 years. There’s an infinite number of things to do: wonderful outside markets with great fruit and vegetables, lots of wineries to visit just an hour away, with unbelievably good restaurants, beautiful mountain and sea sites just over an hour away. Lots of sports clubs, and an excellent cultural center with first class lectures, filled with interesting people, including an English book club. Music festivals, a major slow food fest, good theatre, lively encounters on subjects related to democracy and spirituality, a film festival. Not to mention the outside cafes and the great variety of good restaurants in the city. There aren’t too many “foreigners,” so it is easy to become part of the social fabric, which offers lots of opportunities for new professional and social initiatives. Never to be bored!
Porta Palazzo market photo: compliments of Turismo Torino
Anita Santorum, Development Consultant and Nutritionist
I grew up in Turin, but I left in 1984 and then lived overseas for 30 years. Every time I flew back into Turin, I started feeling emotional just before landing at the breathtaking sight of the Alps, then the view of the Basilica of Superga on the southern hills, and, lastly, the distinctive chessboard layout of the city.
During every visit home, I always included a few leisurely strolls under the ‘portici’ (arcades) along all the main streets in the heart of the city, looking at the elegant Piedmont Baroque architecture, peeking in the fashion stores and stopping at the historical cafes to savor some of the best coffee blends I ever tasted.
I also made sure to spend some time shopping at the street markets: Piazza Benefica, Corso Palestro, Crocetta, Santa Rita and many others for fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses and cured meats from small local producers, honey from the nearby mountains and good quality fashionable clothes and shoes at low prices.
But what I missed the most while living overseas was the ‘pasticceria Piemontese’ a unique selection of tiny choux pastries, beautifully decorated with a variety of creamy fillings: chocolate, vanilla, Chantilly cream, orange, pistachio, zabaione, lemon and many more. Each one is an explosion of taste and delicate texture, which I can only describe as food for the heart!
Gierdi Ahmetaga, Architect Originally from Shkoder, Albania
Walking around Turin you can admire so many things that the city has to offer and start to understand the unique rhythm it moves to. I can still remember the many things that impressed me when I first moved here over 10 years ago. I love strolling around the quieter streets and squares but also enjoy the vitality and enormous variety Turin has to offer. Some of my favourite places are Cinema Massimo, which shows a monthly or bi-monthly selection of films by notable directors. I also love the Mole Antonelliana with its magnificent Cinema Museum. The bars nearby also add to the vibrant atmosphere of the area. Not far away is another of my favourites – the Teatro Regio with its magnificent and elegant curved wall…
Museo Nazionale del Cinema: compliments of Turismo Torino
Andrew Garvey, University Lecturer Originally from Southsea, UK
Where to start? Well, a whole lot of people know and love Turin for its foods and wines, especially in the Quadrilatero. They love its history linked to the House of Savoy with the famous Corona delle Delizie of royal residences around the city, the river with its rowing clubs, such as Cerea behind the Valentino Castle and the now world famous “Silver Skiff” competition held in autumn. Perhaps also for the Palazzo Vela which featured in the “Italian Job”.
On the cultural and sports side, Turin also has many other things to offer: clubs and associations that even the long-term residents don’t often get the chance to enjoy. Here are a few things I’ve been lucky enough to take pleasure from even without being a member of all of them. For instance, there are a number of golf clubs from the top level venues of the Italian Open, the Golf Club Torino and the Royal Park Golf Club (both in the beautiful surroundings of the royal park at Venaria). Both are exclusive, yet very welcoming to players of all levels, to the smaller (9-hole) but equally attractive and challenging “I Cigliegi” (“The Cherries”) in the hills at Pecetto, which is especially beautiful when the cherry trees blossom in spring.
Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi: compliments of Turismo Torino and Turin Rowers: photo by Hilary Martin
Then there are such associations that, while they might seem a little anoraky to some, do offer further glimpses into the variety and surprises the city offers and into how people strive to keep alive lesser-known aspects of Italian heritage. The Italian Heraldry Society is one, which is based in Turin, and the Vivant Club is an association that keeps traditional values alive. Last but not least, there’s even a shaken not stirred James Bond link with the Martini & Rossi (of the world famous Vermouth) museum a short distance from Turin at Pessione.
Laura Marchisio, English Language Consultant Originally from Turin, Italy
I’ve lived here most of my life and I love my city… Turin has always been seen as an industrial town and ‘Fiat’ was the main word people closely associated with the city for many years. However, all that has changed… The first signs of change came when we hosted the World Cup in 1990 and some journalists came to Turin for the first time. The articles they wrote showed how amazed they were at how beautiful the city was. However, the Winter Olympics in 2006 marked the moment when the city became a bona fide tourist destination. I remember being in London at that time and so proud when I saw a red double decker bus with an advert on it encouraging people to visit Turin. I love its green parks, its arcades, its Parisian atmosphere, its chocolate (unique!) and, of course, its people!
You'll Want To Make These Prawn Recipes All Year Long
What do we love so much about prawns? I don't know, maybe the fact you can just about do anything with them! They're a super versatile and delicious ingredient when it comes to home cooking and immediately enhance most dishes (and tbh, they make us feel boujie AF). Whether it's a fancy Prawn Pasta dish you're craving, a fresh Prawn and Avocado Salad, or some Prawn Tacos, there's so many different recipes for you to choose from.
Takeaway pad thai is never as good as we want it to be. So we make it at home instead. (It takes less than 30 minutes!)
This recipe cheats the usual way you make risotto. You don't have to bother with stirring instead, bake the rice in the oven, and add the prawns and cheese at the very end.
Wildly flavourful and easy homemade curry that'll have you ditch your takeaway menu after 1 bite.
This pasta is truly heaven sent. Buttery, garlicky prawns tossed in a creamy Parmesan white wine sauce, then folded into a bed of angel hair pasta and topped with fresh herbs&mdashand it's all ready in just under 30 minutes. Cooking at home has truly never felt so easy and tasted so good.
Prawns tossed in an easy from-scratch Alfredo sauce and penne and baked until you have cheesy goodness.
The Wines We Love, and Why
The Wines We Love, and Why
It&rsquos no secret that we are crazy about wine! That&rsquos why we make sure we offer a wide selection of flavors and varieties to our customers. We also work hard to provide complimentary flavors within our gift baskets, ensuring you&rsquore giving a fellow wine lover an unforgettable gift. Whether you&rsquore a light and fruity wine drinker, or you prefer a full-bodied red, we guarantee we have something you&rsquoll love.
Remember, finding the perfect wine for your taste buds doesn&rsquot have to be scary&ndash it&rsquos truly all about trial and error until you stumble upon something you love. Explore ten of our beloved wine varieties below to discover a new favorite.
1. Grgich Hills Napa Valley Selection Gift Basket
This signature basket featuring Grgich Hills wines includes a chardonnay with rich honeydew flavors, along with a spicy zinfandel, velvety merlot, and refreshing fume blanc. Grgich Hills Estate is an &ldquoiconic Napa Valley winery, consistently producing world-class wines. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, they farm five estate vineyards without artificial pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use their passion and art to handcraft&hellip elegant wines.&rdquo
2. Houdini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2015 Houdini Cabernet Sauvignon is a Gold medal winning wine. Harvested from the vineyards of Saint Helena in Napa Valley, it is rich in dark fruit. The wine is filled with flavors of cherry and barrel nuances and has a long, smooth finish. Houdini has been in the wine business, &ldquosourcing and selling wine, for over 30
years&hellip. They&rsquove tasted thousands of wines and met a variety of characters including some of the best wine grape growers and winemakers in California.&rdquo
3. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Gift Basket
Three Robert Mondavi Private Selection wines are included within this gift basket, which include a rich cabernet sauvignon with cherry and blueberry flavors, creamy chardonnay and supple merlot. &ldquoRobert Mondavi Private Selection meticulously selects the finest grapes from their coastal vineyards to create wines that express each grape variety in the context of its origins.&rdquo
4. Little Lakes Cellars Cabernet
Little Lakes Cellars cabernet is a &ldquoyouthful wine that has flavors and aromas of both red and black fruit. Rich ripe black cherries, blackberries, black currants and strawberries. Look for hints of fern and dried herbs as well as some nutmeg and clove.&rdquo Little Lakes Cellars is a part of the Houdini wine brand.
5. Rock Falls White Wine Duet Gift Basket
This gift is great choice for those who enjoy white wine. Rock Falls crisp chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are featured. The &ldquomedium bodied, creamy and round chardonnay is well balanced and finishes with toasty brioche notes. Flavors include pear and green apple and are well balanced with just the right acidity,&rdquo according to Rock Falls.
6. Stella Rosa Italian Collection Gift Basket
This basket contains Stella Rosa Moscato, Bianco, Black, Rosso, and Prosecco. Stella Rosa wines are sourced the region of Asti, a province in Piedmont, Italy. The first Stella Rosa wine was Moscato D&rsquoAsti, which has become a flagship of their wine line. &ldquoThe rapid phenomenal successes of these two wines began the lineage of the L&rsquoOriginale and Imperiale lines of Stella Rosa, which now boasts 16 distinctive flavors.&rdquo
7. Houdini Vineyards Napa Valley Exclusive Gift Basket
Houdini Vineyards Napa Valley wines have won over twenty-five wine competition medals. The six bottles of wine included in this gift basket are: Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley Chardonnay, Napa Valley merlot, Napa Valley pinot noir, Napa Valley sauvignon blanc, and Blanc de Noir Carneros.
8. Cardinale 2013
This wine beautifully captures the outstanding qualities from this excellent vintage, as it opens with seductive aromas of ripe black cherries, dark currants and blueberries followed by spring florals, graphite, cinnamon and mocha notes all coming together and soaring from the glass. On the palate, this is full-bodied and dense with layers of beautifully concentrated fruits resonating throughout.
&ldquo. rather sublime and intense Cabernet Sauvignon that should drink well for 25 or more years. It is certainly one of the finest Cardinales I have tasted in my experience.&rdquo - Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate, October 2015&rdquo
9. Gray Monk-Gretzky Trio
The wine connoisseur on your list will be impressed with this selection featuring a trio of wines form Wayne Gretzky and Gray Monk. Wayne Gretzky merlot has aromas of red cherry plus hints of vanilla, Gray Monk pinot gris has aromas of citrus, pear and white peach, and Gray Monk pinot noir has a fine aroma of blackberries and rose petals.
&ldquoThe name &ldquoGray Monk&rdquo comes from one of the first grape varieties the company produced - pinot gris. In Austria and Hungary, this grape is called &lsquoGrauar Mönch&rsquo hence the translation to &lsquoGray Monk&rsquo.&rdquo
10. 2 Bottles Houdini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
The Houdini Cabernet Sauvignon is a Gold medal winning wine. Harvested from the vineyards of Napa Valley, it is rich in dark fruit. The wine is filled with flavors of cherry and barrel nuances and has a long, smooth finish. This red wine blends seamlessly into whatever you&rsquore doing, whether it&rsquos barbecuing burgers in the backyard, entertaining over the holidays, or stepping out for an upscale dinner.
We hope you&rsquore able to find a new favorite wine from the list above. If you&rsquore unsure of where to start, give our experienced staff a call today and they&rsquoll help you determine the best wine for yourself, or a fellow wine lover whom you&rsquore trying to select the perfect gift for this year. Cheers!
How to Cook with Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Too much Champagne? Ahh yes, that age-old dilemma of the working class. It is, perhaps, a problem we long for rather than one we actually negotiate on a regular basis, but if ever there were a time when our flutes runneth over with an excess of bubbly, it’s during those first few foggy days in January.
Because You're a Star Why You Should Drink Champagne Every Day Maybe you stockpiled a bit too much for your fabulous New Year’s Eve party or were given a bounty of bottles as holiday gifts and the idea of downing one more glass has you eyeing that industrial strength Tylenol. Or maybe, just maybe, those two mysteriously opened yet unconsumed bottles have begun to lose their fizz, and thus are destined for the drain (or so you thought).
Halt! Allow us a to make a few suggestions of a culinary nature.
Cooking with wine , in general, is a good and fast way to impart depth of flavor to sauces, stews, desserts, and much more. That’s because wine, by nature of production, has already aged itself and its ingredients into a complex tapestry of sweetness, acidity, tannins, and other aromas and flavors attractive to our taste buds. It’s why we love wine in the first place. When we cook, and thus reduce/concentrate that flavor, while removing far less tasty alcohol, we’re left with a power shot of flavor created for us, deftly and lovingly, in a winery somewhere.
In terms of cooking, sparkling wine is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. For one, it bears association with celebration or brunch cocktails and, on average, runs at a higher price point per bottle. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great choice for a range of exciting dishes, and should not be overlooked!
A good rule of thumb when cooking with wine is to use it in recipes that, themselves, would pair well with the wine in question. It’s also wise to use something of a quality that you yourself would drink. That doesn’t have to mean a $300 bottle of Krug, but stay away from the bargain bin, when possible.
Do be careful. Most sparkling wines have a specific and sometimes delicate flavor and are not a viable substitute for any recipe, even those calling specifically for white wine. To complicate matters just a bit, different sparkling wines themselves have marked differences in their own profiles, via production and blends, making some better than others for particular dishes.
In general, French Champagne is dry (or “Brut”), light and often Chardonnay-based with some Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier but can also be majority Pinot Noir, which makes for a bolder more structured profile. Because of an often dry and biscuity breakdown, Champagne does nicely with lighter cream sauces, soups and seafood, especially shellfish, but can stand up to chicken dishes or even as part of the base in a good béarnaise or béchamel.
Italian Prosecco, another sparkling wine you might have laying around, is made from Glera or Prosecco grapes and, in general, produces a wine with more present sweetness, fruit, and floral aroma. Because of this, Prosecco or a sweeter Champagne, may be suited for a dessert or pork dish with complementing fruit elements.
Others, like Spanish cava and a slew produced in the American west, sport their own distinct flavor profiles. The trick is to learn them somewhat intimately and use accordingly. Try not to forget that cooking is a soft science, so trust your instincts and take a chance. You might just stumble upon greatness.
The below recipes all fancy a spot of sparkling wine. Cheers and enjoy!
Oysters with Prosecco Mignonette
Mignonette, a classic Oyster topper, is vinegar-based so a dash of sweet Prosecco adds a nice balance. Feel free to try an even sweeter version for a fun twist on a classic appetizer. Get our Oysters with Prosecco Mignonette recipe.
15-Minute Brie and Champagne Fondue
A sweet sparkling wine would be a total fon-don’t in this one, to be Brut-tally honest. Get the 15-Minute Brie and Champagne Fondue recipe.
Shrimp and Champagne Bisque with Gruyere Cheese
We mentioned Champagne pairing well with seafood, cream, and soups. This hits all three and would be an awfully nice first course for your next winter dinner party. Get the Shrimp and Champagne Bisque with Gruyere Cheese recipe.
Why are Palestinians protesting? Because we want to live
‘The protests are a complete reclamation of faith, not in international policymakers, not in negotiation committees, not in humanitarian observers and NGOs, but in ourselves.’ Palestinian protesters in Ramallah, 9 May 2021. Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images
‘The protests are a complete reclamation of faith, not in international policymakers, not in negotiation committees, not in humanitarian observers and NGOs, but in ourselves.’ Palestinian protesters in Ramallah, 9 May 2021. Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images
Last modified on Mon 17 May 2021 14.38 BST
I started going to demonstrations when I was 17. At first, I went to protests against Israel’s military occupation. Then we also began to protest against the authoritarianism of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, and the sickening rivalry between Palestinian political factions. For Palestinians, protest has become a way of life – a way to be steadfast, to persevere.
Over the past decade, much of this burden of protest has been borne by individual Palestinian families facing expulsion or violence at the hands of soldiers and settlers. The threat of evictions or demolitions will spark a local protest, in the hope of preventing this or that particular outrage. But right now the attention of the world is on us not as individuals, but as a collective, as Palestinians. It is not only about one village or one family or “only those in the West Bank” or “only those in Jerusalem”.
What we are in the streets protesting about now is not one killing or one violent raid, but a whole regime of oppression that destroys our bodies, our homes, our communities, our hopes – just as the protests for Black lives that spread across the US last year were not only about George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or any one killing.
This is what colonialism does: it suffocates every part of your life, and then it finishes by burying you. It is a strategic, deliberate process, and it is only obstructed or delayed because oppressors are almost always confronted and challenged by those under their rule. In the end, who wants to be chained down for being born who they are?
Last week, I was near the illegal settlement of Beit El by Ramallah in the West Bank as the Israeli army sent jeeps rushing towards demonstrators, journalists and medical staff, firing high-velocity teargas canisters directly at the crowd.
The sound of those canisters spiralling towards us in the dozens still makes me tremble. It reminds me of the day in December 2011, in the village of Nabi Saleh, when an Israeli soldier fired a teargas canister, from close range, directly at the face of 28-year-old Palestinian stone-thrower Mustafa Tamimi, who died as a result of the injury.
I remember the face of then six-year-old Janna Tamimi, his cousin, as she screamed in her fragile voice: “Why did you kill my best friend?” Behind her was the illegal settlement of Halamish. Mustafa’s protest was against the settlement expansion and the impunity of settler violence as he and his community were imprisoned in the village, with no access to water springs or public services.
The fact that these protests are leaderless is a sign of what has been festering for decades among all Palestinians. This is the coming-of-age of a generation born since the pitiful Oslo accords of 1993-1995, who grew up during decades that only solidified Israel’s settlement expansion and grip on Palestinian lives.
More than this, it is a continued growth of stamina, endurance and loss of faith. But at the same time, it is a complete reclamation of faith, not in international policymakers, not in negotiation committees, not in humanitarian observers and NGOs, but in ourselves.
“Why do you always have to put yourself on the frontlines?” my mother reprimanded me years ago, as she threw away my clothes that were soaked in noxious “kharara”, skunk water, sprayed by the Israeli military.
Often used in protests in the West Bank, Israeli forces have also now been spraying it on the streets of Sheikh Jarrah and the homes of Palestinians. It’s an attempt to make our lives so unbearable that we are driven out.
I wanted to tell my mother, if it isn’t me, it’s someone else. I wanted to tell her how in Gaza the unarmed protests of 2018 were met with the sniping down of hundreds, as Israeli soldiers turned it into an unrelenting sniper free-for-all, deliberately causing debilitating injuries.
But we both knew that what made her so angry was the horrible recognition that we had no choice but to protest – that as long as injustice persists, and our dreams for better realities continue to push us towards confrontation, getting soaked in skunk water meant that I was at least alive.
Why We Love Chocolate
Often lovingly referred to as the "other food group" chocolate has found its way into our daily lives. Inspiring everything from recipes, stories, cravings and a host of products from eating chocolate to bubble bath chocolate is an obsession.
Cacao trees are native to Mexico, Central and South America. Cultivated for over 3000 years, Mayans drank chocolate both as an everyday beverage as well as for ceremonial purposes. The frothy bitter concoction was mixed with vanilla, chile peppers and achiote (annatto). Turning cacao beans into the tasty sweet confection we all know and crave is a complicated process with only a handful of companies all over the world truly making their own chocolate. Most candy shops buy chocolate in blocks, melt it and shape it into candies and other sweet treats.
Benefits of Chocolate
Xocoatl, as it was known in the Mayan culture, was believed to fight fatigue. This is due to the theobromine content in chocolate.
Chocolate then and now is considered to have many therapeutic benefits including cancer fighter antioxidants, circulatory benefits and many studies are being conducted on using chocolate to fight obesity. While this is certainly good news and really any excuse to eat chocolate is a good one, I urge you to take heed of the adage "you get what you pay for".
What Makes Good Chocolate
Not all chocolate is good chocolate. In fact, there is a lot of bad chocolate out there. Thankfully it is easy to find the good stuff. Look at the ingredients on the label. There should be just a small handful of ingredients. There should be only cocoa, fat and sugar for dark chocolate, the less sugar the darker it will be. Milk chocolate will have the addition of milk listed and white chocolate, which is not really chocolate due to the fact that it does not have cocoa paste or cocoa mass but does have cocoa butter, will have sugar, cocoa butter, milk or milk powder and vanilla. That&aposs it! No other ingredients should be in the chocolate. Notice that cacao beans are listed first. Great chocolate should have a high concentration of cacao, not other ingredients.
There are many great chocolates on the market that are kosher. In fact, there is no reason that great chocolate cannot be kosher. I am lucky enough to have recently been in Paris where I slurped and stuffed myself full of chocolate for one solid week. Armed with my list of kosher chocolate companies and bakeries, I ate my way through the city of lights. You also can enjoy amazing chocolate if you follow a few simple rules.
Imagine bringing together 125,000 visitors from 145 countries with 4,600 wine exhibitors and 33,000 foreign buyers for the largest wine exhibition in the world. Then hosting it in the city of Italian renaissance, home to the greatest Shakespearean love story of all time – Romeo and Juliet.
That is exactly what happened in Verona this month for the 53rd edition of the international wine and spirits exhibition Vinitaly 2019 which was the largest show in history. The majority of wine enthusiasts traveled from the United States, Canada, Germany and the UK with the biggest increase in visitors coming from China and Japan.
Vinitaly 2019 in Verona
“One of the distinguishing aspects of this Vinitaly was undoubtedly its internationality.”
“We announced the new ‘Wine To Asia’ promotional platform that will become operative in Shenzhen, China, in 2020. All the more, the guiding role played by the wine system was confirmed by significant institutional attendance, with visits by the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers, the President of the Senate, the Minister of Agricultural and Tourism Policies and, on a European scale, the Commissioner for Agriculture” said Maurizio Danese, President of Veronafiere.
“One of the distinguishing aspects of this Vinitaly was undoubtedly its internationality. This edition was increasingly digital and connected, confirming the central role of our global online community and directory in nine languages which attracted more than 1 million visits over the last two weeks.” said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere.
Stevie Kim the Managing Director of Vinitaly International
Wine, culture, meetings and entertainment blend seamlessly together in the squares of Verona at Vinitaly where a unique range of events comprise four days of tastings alongside gourmet street food. Mantovani says Vinitaly’s appeal among wine professionals – buyers, restaurants, sommeliers, and technicians – is “truly 360°” – in part thanks to its focus on quality food that helps bring wine alive.
These off-show events allow attendees from all over the world to experience Verona by night, with the immersion of concerts and a range of guided tours across the historic city centre. This year saw three key themes around Verona, highlighting “Red Wines”, “White, Rosè and International Wines” and “Sparkling Wines and the Great Italian Red Wines”.
Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) aims to be the gold standard of Italian wine education.
“This edition was increasingly digital and connected.”
Vinitaly also toasted success to their famous blind tasting event ‘5StarWines 2019‘ which examined 676 different wines with over 3000 bottles being sent in from Italy and all over the world from the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, USA, and France.
Senior General Chairman Lynne Sherriff MW supervised over 90 individuals in the wine business who participated as event judges which included various Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, oenologists, producers, importers, buyers, journalists, and bloggers. These exciting events took place over three-days where highly-qualified judges examined, commented and ultimately decided which wines would earn international recognition. The key benefit being various promotional initiatives organized by Vinitaly International and Veronafiere in connection with 5StarWines.
Vinitaly Directory, the online business guide in 9 languages, now lists more than 18,000 labels.
The ISWA (Italian Signature Wines Academy) also represented Vinitaly 2019 in force. The ISWA is a strategic alliance between eight of the top Italian wine brands which include Allegrini (Veneto), Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria), Feudi San Gregorio (Campania), Fontanafredda (Piedmont), Frescobaldi (Tuscany), Masciarelli (Abruzzo), Planeta (Sicily) and Villa Sandi (Veneto). These companies have a turnover of more than €300 million, while producing over 50 million bottles annually and exporting more than 80% of their production.
About The Love Italian Life Awards
At the Love Italian Life Awards ceremony, the greatest Italian restaurants and chefs in Europe are announced with over 20 different categories including The Best Contemporary Restaurant in individual Italian regions as well as the national winner of Italy, The Best Authentic Italian Restaurant in London and Dublin along with The Best Italian Chef in Europe (Female + Male) and the Italian Lifetime Achievement award.
Other award events include The Best Contemporary Italian Wine & Food Pairing, The Best Contemporary Italian Dish and The Best Contemporary Italian Cocktail.
What are the Rules of the Awards Voting Process?
For the first round of public voting, a shortlist of restaurants across all 2019 award category regions and cities are selected by a panel of independent Italian food & beverage experts including renowned critics, award winning writers and exhibition judges. Key assessment criteria included the quality of ingredients, recipe innovation, contemporary Italian cooking techniques, dish presentation and Italian heritage of chefs. Each of these locations enter a local online public vote for the chance to secure the proud status of winning their regional award category. The top two seeded restaurants for each of the regions then enter the last round of the competition with a place at the final awards ceremony in Dublin on October 30th. The winning regional restaurants are announced at the award ceremony as well as the national prize of one location being crowned the Best Contemporary Italian Restaurant in Italy for 2019 which is decided by a final online public vote for all ceremony final nominees.
We spoke to Marcella's husband and longtime collaborator Victor Hazan on chef trends, kale salads, and creating one last book together.
Victor Hazan on Marcella, Memory, and Their New (Recipe-Free) Book
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Why we love old recipe books
I would sit on the floor with my mother's copy of the Royal Hostess recipe book ("South Africa's own cookbook" it said proudly on the cover) and wish with all my heart that my mother would one day make me the Royal Rondawel cake (see picture in the gallery above).
Now that I am a mother, I understand completely why she didn't ever make it. But I loved everything about that picture: the colours, the little Father Christmas, the hint of a present in the corner.
At a recent gathering, one of the women present said to her sister (my friend, also present) that the cake we were eating tasted just like the apple cake their long-departed mother used to make. "I still have the Royal Hostess," she mused. "I wonder if that recipe is in there?"
I also still have my mother's Royal Hostess - so I asked them if they too remembered the rondawel cake and they were mystified. Their Royal Hostess had no such cake they declared. They hauled out that old recipe book - and found that it does have a rondawel cake, though nothing like a splendid as mine. It turns her book is the second edition from 1954, while mine is the fifth edition from 1962 (Completely Revised, it says).
The series was of course made to promote Royal Baking powder.
What they have in common are very battered white leather covers, the rather strange version of the old South African flag, glossy pages and tabbed sections. Both these books assume they are talking to a young housewife and have reassuringly commanding tones: "If you keep a check on your expenses you will maintain a balance between stinginess and extravagance," says the 1962 edition in its section on The Household Budget.
The foreword to the 1962 edition says the books are based on recipes from the kitchen of Mrs Molly Wrightson, who had previously only sent a complete set of recipes into "the households of her married daughters. They and their friends found them invaluable, and soon pointed out to Mrs Wrightson how much her recipes would be appreciated by other young housewives."
I have never been a housewife, but I did go and buy myself my own Royal Hostess in 1987. This has no references to young housewives but promises to provide "basic, economical and easy-to-prepare recipes, using ingredients that are readily available in South Africa" and deals with new cooking appliances like microwave ovens and slow cookers.
Sadly, it does not contain any version of the rondawel cake.
Jenny Kay, the current "Angela Day" on the Star newspaper, also has her Royal Hostess from years ago. "When I worked at Angela Day over 30 years ago this was one of the most used books when it came to sourcing reliable information," she says.
"We have recipe books dating back more than 30 years ( sadly all out of print now)," she adds.
Why are we all so fond of these books? Partly they come from a quieter time, when there was no Google and no millions of choices abut what to do with trendy ingredients. No celebrity chefs. No foodie blogs. What you had was just an authoritative collection of recipes that really do work, the contents of your pantry and some common sense.
But mostly what these old books represent is continuity. Through the handing down of these familiar companions, our mothers were handing on memories and connecting generations over the love of what is both a daily chore and a source of life.
I asked my son if he minded that I had never made the famous rondawel cake. In his serious 12-year-old way he took a long look at the picture and the recipe and concluded that he and I can make it together. So we have made a pact to try it in the New Year.
And the Royal Hostess will live again.
Lindsay L says: " I enjoyed reading "Why we love old recipe books" because I have a very scruffy (must be from love) Royal Hostess recipe book that was my grandmother's. I think it is a 1954 Edition - not sure where to check the "for sure" publication date. Have you noticed - under Table settings an asbestos mat is recommended "to protect" the table :-( "
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