Category Archives: oenogastronomic

Loire Valley Wine Tasting in Chicago at the W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive

French red wine from the Loire Valley region o...

Image via Wikipedia

What a great day for the Loire Valley French Wine Tasting on the 33rd floor of W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It was definitely a Vino con Vista opportunity with plenty of French wine and wine-makers. The central part of the  Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire in France was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List  in  2000.

 

The Loire is the longest river in France and it is characterized by elegant historic chateaux and 300 miles of distinctive terroir that supports numerous vineyards along the river banks. This region is the leading producer of white French wines. The region is cloaked  with lovely vineyards and microclimates that produce distinctive varietals and wine styles. It is one of the most diverse wine regions in France with 69 appelations that include red, white, elegant sparkling wines and refreshing rose wines. There are distinct climates and a variety of soil types that divide the Loire Valley into 5 distinct regions.

The first vines were probably planted during Roman occupation 2000 years ago. Afterwards, the Augustinian and Benedictine Brothers enhanced the wine-making practices in this region.

I tasted some interesting Rose wines and plenty of earthy 100% Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is one of the world’s major red grape varieties and was introduced to the region in the 11th century. It  is frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce a Bordeaux style wine. In the Loire region, it is  not blended with other grapes so it is lighter in color than Bordeaux blends. It is used in the development of Chinon and certain roses in the Touraine appelation.

Today I spoke to Philippe Porche, a charming wine-maker from the Saumur-Champigny region in Parnay located on the south bank of the Loire River decreed an AOC in 1957.  Cabernet Franc is the predominant grape in the area.  He and his viticulturist wife founded the estate in 2005 and produce some interesting Cabernet Franc wines. I favored the garnet-colored full-bodied and velvety  “Le Fou du Roi” that was aged in oak.  This lovely couple is looking for an importer @ www.domainederocheville.fr. Feel free to contact them if you are interested in importing  luscious wines from this region. Tell them that Vino con Vista sent you.

There is a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and Chicago’s Landmark high rises from the former “Pinnacle Room” of the hotel where I spent my Senior Prom.Chicago Illinois It’s always exciting to re-live your youth.

Chicago Architecture

Domaine de Roche Ville Winery

Lake Michigan

It was such a beautiful spring day that I decided to stroll down Ontario Street heading westbound after the wine-tasting. I longingly gazed at the wide array of restaurants on Ontario Street that I patronize. They run the gamut from divine to sublime. Here’s a sampling of my “Chicago Foodie Nation” favorites:

Les Nomades is an outstanding French Restaurant that offers a Prix Fixe menu of four courses for $115 in a swanky turn-of-the-century brownstones mansion on Ontario Street. It is the perfect place to enjoy French cuisine after a Loire Valley wine-tasting event at the W Hotel down the street.

Chicago Restaurants

Chicago French Restaurants

Another one of my favorites is the Capital Grille Steakhouse where I can’t stop eating the crunchy potato chips at the bar. I love the grilled salmon served over a bed of  veggies with a side of creamed spinach. They have an extensive wine list and have won numerous awards for their outstanding burgers!

Chicago RestaurantsOntario and St. Clair in Chicago

Capital Grille ChicagoChicago Restaurants

.

Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Chicago Italian Restaurants

Across the street from the Capital Grille, I enjoy dining on the outdoor patio of the Coco Pazzo Cafe when the weather is nice. They have an outstanding lunch menu and recently won an award from the Italian government for their “Authentic” Italian cuisine. Quartino was another “Authentic” Italian-award winning restaurant. I took cooking lessons with the chef and he taught me to add some water from the pasta to my sauce–what a novel idea!! The Red Head Piano Bar is another one of my favorites night spots. They have great wine-tasintg events.

Authentic Italian Restaurants in ChicagoRestaurants in Chicago

There are plenty of famous classic Chicago  “Steak-Houses” on Ontario. Lawry’s serves an incredible Prime Rib and I love the “Aged Filet Mignon” and mushrooms at David Burke’s Primehouse in the James Hotel. The Chicago Chop House has a wide array of delicious “sizzlin steaks.”

You will never be hungry or thirsty on Ontairo Street in Chicago. This city is a haven for Foodies!

Chicago is a Haven for Foodies

Chicago Steak HouseDavid Burke's Primehouse

Stop in at the the Hard Rock Cafe if you’re up for some live music. There are also some landmark fast food joints on Ontario including “Rock and Roll” McDonalds with a Rock and Roll Museum filled with memorabilia that my guitar-playing son adores.

Portillo’s has a great Italian Beef sandwich and classic Chicago hot dog and the drive-thru is always packed. Make sure you try the decadent chocolate cake . Chicago DestinationsM Burger is another fast food option that people are raving about.

Chicago Hot Dogs and Beef Sandwiches

Burgers in Chicago

Plan a trip to the Loire Valley and explore some of the majestic castles with spectacular medieval architecture: Chambord, Cheverny, Villandry and Chenonceau.

 

1. Villandry was built by the same man that designed much of Chambord (François I Finance Minister Jean Le Breton). Villandry is actually most renowned for what is outside of the castle. However, while Chambord remains Le Breton’s main achievement in construction, it is Villandry where he used all of the Renaissance gardening tricks he had picked up while working as an ambassador in Italy. The castle remained in the Le Breton family until the early 20th century, when it was purchased by Joachim Carvallo, who spent a whole of time, money and devotion to rebuilding, expanding and repairing the beautiful gardens. Today the gardens at Villandry are considered one of the best examples of Renaissance style gardens in the world and boasts a water garden, flower gardens and vegetable gardens laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges—making it a must-see on any castle tour of the Loire.

2. Chambord is one of France’s most recognizable castles known for its distinct French Renaissance architecture, which blends late French Gothic and newer Italian Renaissance motifs. Chambord is also the largest castle in the Loire. Chambord was first built by King Francois I as a hunting lodge (I know you picture a hunting lodge as being more of a log cabin than a magnificent model of French Renaissance architecture, but it was a KING’S hunting lodge, after all).  Chambord has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces and 84 staircases. It is most known for its façade, which through more than 800 sculpted columns was designed to look like the skyline of Constantinople, with 11 kinds of different towers and different types of chimneys. Chambord also has a double-helix staircase that serves as the centerpiece to the castle and was rumored to have been designed (or inspired) by Leonardo da Vinci during his time at nearby Clos de Luce.

4. Chenonceau is one of my favorite castles in the Loire Valley. Chennonceau was built in 1513 by Catherine Briçonnet and later embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, the Chateau de Chenonceau contains exquisite interiors and has idyllic gardens that look over River Cher.

Originally a small castle along the banks of the River Cher, the castle got its current design in the 16th century when it was seized by the crown for unpaid debts. In 1547, King Henri II offered the castle to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. and she had Chenonceau’s  arched bridge built. It spans the river. She is also responsible for the gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens set in buttressed stone terraces.

Upon King Henri II’s death in 1559, his clearly bitter widow and regent Catherine de Medici had Poitiers expelled from the castle and she moved into the scenic spot herself, adding even more extensive gardens. Since then the castle was privately owned for years and even used as a make-shift hospital for soldiers during WWII; its gallery bridge’s southern door provided access to the unoccupied Free Zone while the castle’s main entrance was in the Nazi occupied zone. Chenonceau today is one of the most visited and popular of the Loire castles and its Renaissance architecture and well-lit gallery and beautiful gardens.

5. Amboise is perched up on a strategic point along the Loire River and was originally built as a fort. In 1434, the castle was seized by King Charles VII after its owner (from which the castle got its name), Louis Amboise, was convicted and killed for supposedly plotting against the King. In the 15th century that the castle was lavishly rebuilt and added onto, starting with its late French Gothic architecture, until Italian builders were brought in and the castle’s style changed to Renaissance.While the castle became a favorite retreat for many French Kings (King François I was raised primarily at the castle), Amboise’s most famous guest was Leonardo da Vinci, who came to the castle in 1515 as a guest of the King and stayed in nearby Clos de Luce. What is most notable about Amboise, however, is known for its unique blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and large formal garden.

6. Blois was always a favorite getaway town for French kings; the castle in this quaint little Loire town is best known as the birthplace of King Louis XII as well as the primary residence for Henri IV’s exiled wife Marie de Medici, and later for the Duke of Orléans (brother of Louis XIII and uncle of Louis XIV). However, the castle has a long and prominent history and its Renaissance architecture and picturesque spot along the banks of the Loire make it a definite worthwhile stop on your Loire castle tour. In fact, the castle was the main resort for the French court during the 16th century and was also the location for the famed States General meetings held by Henri III in 1576 and 1588, where several prominent nobles were sentenced to death. The castle also plays a role in the famous Three Musketeers series by Alexandre Dumas as an important retreat for some of France’s most famous and powerful kings.

7. Cheverny was also given to Diane de Poitiers by her lover, King Henri II. Chenonceau was her favorite and primary residence. Poitiers sold Château de Cheverny to the former owner’s son who had originally built the castle between 1624 and 1630. The castle passed between owners until 1914, when the owner made it the first castle to be opened to the public; the family still owns and operates the castle to this day. The castle is renowned for its beautiful interiors and collection of furniture, tapestries and rare objects d’art. There is also a pack of about 70 dogs that are kept on the grounds and taken out for hunts twice weekly.

 

8. Clos Lucé is not really a  “Château de la Loire”; it is a large mansion located just 500 meters from  the Château d’Amboise by way of an underground passageway and is notable mostly for its most famous resident, Leonardo da Vinci. In 1515, King François I invited the Italian painter and inventor to Amboise and offered him the manor to use as a home and studio. When Da Vinci arrived in 1516 he came with three paintings, including the famed Mona Lisa, and lived in the mansion for the last three years of his life. Visitors to Amboise should not hesitate to hop on over to Clos Lucé, where you can peruse a museum that includes forty models of various machines designed by Leonardo.

9. Langeais is a perfect example of Medieval French architecture. It is located near the Brittany frontier and had a significant role in the battle between the French and English. The structure dates back to the 10th century and was built on a cliff which offered a strategic location overlooking the Loire River. The castle was actually fortified and expanded under the rule of Richard I of England (when English kings ruled this region of France) until King Philippe II of France recaptured the castle in 1206. The castle was also where Anne of Brittany and King Charles VIII wed, thus uniting France and Brittany. Today, the dark and ominous looking castle is replete with a great collection of Medieval tapestries.

Château de Langeais

 

 

Destinations in Chicago

@ www.vino-con-vista.com.

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

Happy Spring!!

Enhanced by Zemanta

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Attractions in Chicago, Authentic Italian Restaurants in Chicago, Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, Chicago, Chicago Architecture, Chicago Hotels, Chicago Restaurants, ebooks, Famous Chicago Restaurants, French Restaurants in Chicago, French Wine from the Loire Valley, History of wine in France, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian restaurants in Chicago, Italian Wine, Loire Valley Wine Tasting in Chicago, michelin guide to chicago restaurants, oenogastronomic, Ontario Street in Rivewr North in Chicago, Ospitalita Italiana Quality Restaurants in Chicago, Pinot Noir Wine, River North in Chicago, Roman occupation of France, Rose from the Loire Valley, Steak in Chicago, Travel and Tourism, UNESCO, vino con vista, Vino con Vista Chicago, Where can I get a good Chicago Hot Dog, Where can I get a good Italian Beef Sandwich in Chicago, Where should I eat in Chicago, Wine, Wine Festivals, World Heritage Sites

My Glorious Vino Con Vista Weekend in San Diego

National Register of Historic Places listings ...

Image via Wikipedia

English: Imperial Beach, California The symbol...

English: Imperial Beach, California The symbol of this surfers’ community south of San Diego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you follow my posts, you already know that I wax poetic about my on-going love affair with Italy. Basically every nook and cranny of the magnificent peninsula and surrounding islands take my breath away. But you probably didn’t know that my second love is San Diego. There are 33 beaches, and 70 miles of coastline stretching from Imperial Beach to Oceanside. There are about 267 glorious days of sunshine per year. No wonder San Diego is “America’s Finest City.”

English: San Diego's original Victorian-style ...

English: San Diego’s original Victorian-style railway depot, built in 1887 for the California Southern Railroad Company, is razed to make way for the opening of the new Santa Fe Depot in 1915. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: San Diego Cityscape looking down Harb...

English: San Diego Cityscape looking down Harbor Drive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IMG_3330 I love the Santa Fe Depot train station with its glorious mosaic domes. There are plenty interesting places to visit on the way to Los Angeles.

IMG_3369

In Little Italy, go to  Extraordinary Desserts for the most beautiful sweet treats you will ever witness.

IMG_3371

IMG_3375

IMG_3346

The city has a vibrant Little Italy neighborhood with outstanding restaurants and bars and plenty of gelato and Italian delis. Filippi’s Pizza Grotto on India Street is a Little Italy institution.

Here’s a Video of Little Italy http://youtu.be/beH01nziAIsSkyline in San Diego California

Sometimes, when  I yearn to be sun-kissed by the hilly landscape of Tuscany or transported to the  glistening  azure sea that surrounds the majestic cliffs of the Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast; I just plan a trip to San Diego.

Amalfi coast Italy 1

Amalfi coast Italy 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amalfi Coast Italy 6

Amalfi Coast Italy 6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cinque Terre in Italy

A Town in the Cinque Terre

If all I have is a long weekend, I escape to the www.vino-con-vista.com of San Diego. Did I mention that the weather is always perfect in San Diego? As a college professor, I have the luxury of a Fall Break and believe me, I thank God each and every day for all my blessings.

Chef prepaing glazed shrimp in San Diego

Chef prepaing glazed shrimp in San Diego

I always celebrate Columbus Day in what I consider to be America’s Amalfi Coast. I prefer to stay at the Marriott in the Marina District for a number of reasons. I love sun-bathing at the luxurious pool while listening to the soothing sound of the magical fountains as I sip a refreshing Miami Vice from the Tiki Bar. The Marriott is within walking distance of many of my favorite San Diego attractions and it is close to the trolley.

The city is great for biking and the hotel has a bike rental service. I like the food and the view from Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant. The rooms have outstanding views and balconies. I enjoy watching the jet skiiers and boating enthusiasts. It’s fun to watch people flying their kites in the park. Gazing at the Coranado Bridge and the sailboats is basically one of life’s simple pleasures.San Diego California Marina District Sea Port Village’s 14 acre outdoor plaza has a beautiful 19th century carousel. Grab a coffee at the Upstart Crow Bookstore and Cofeehouse at 835-C W. Harbor Drive. If you go in the summer, get tickets for the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops concerts in the Embarcadero Marina Park South (behind the Conference Center). The tickets start at $20. For more informationn visit: www.sandiegosymphony.com. I’m saw Michael Bolton and Burt Baccarack in the summer of 2013!

English: San Diego Symphony Summer Pops 2008 -...

English: San Diego Symphony Summer Pops 2008 – “Motown Magic with Mary Wilson” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego California

Rocks in Sea Port Village in San Diego

Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego California

The Marina District of San Diego California

The tenth annual San Diego Wine Festival will be held in the park behind the Marriott Hotel  on November 20-24, 2013 at the Embarcadero Marina Park North. What a great “Vino con Vista” venue!! Some of the other festivals held in 2013 include: Taste of Gaslamp (June 8-9), Taste of Little Italy (June 19) Taste of Adams Avenue (June 30), Encinitas Wine Festival (June 1), the San Diego Spirits Festival (August 24-25) and the San Diego Festival of Beer (September 20), and Hillcrest City Fest on August 11th with 250 vendors. On June 15th there was a Carlsbad Beach Fest with water sport challenges. The Festival of Sail is when Tall Ships from around the world dock at downtown’s Embarcadero between August 30-September 2.

San Diego Wine Festival 2012

San Diego Wine Festival 2012

San Diego Restaurant Week Kick-Off Event Tasting Event

San Diego Restaurant Week Kick-Off Event Tasting Event

San Diego Wine Festival 2012 Chefs

San Diego Wine Festival 2012 Chefs

There are many other reasons why I like the Marina District. I like to watch the sea gulls strategically capture and devour left-overs from sleeping sun-bunnies. They really seem to love french fries.  I wonder if they have cholesterol issues? Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego CaliforniaI adore watching the captivating sunsets from Seaport Village.

San Diego California Marina District

I can’t understand why San Diegans don’t celebrate the vistas with the same pomp and circumstance as the daily sunset festivals in Key West.

It’s an easy stroll over to the Port of San Diego. I like the USS Midway Museum with the longest-serving US Navy aircraft carrierod the 20th century. At the museum, you can “relive 50 years of world history by walking in the footsteps of 225,000 Midway sailors” on Harbor Drive. There are 27 restored aircraft. For more information visit http://www.midway.org

Visit the “Greatest Generation Walk” that commemorates military heritage through art. My favorite WWII commemorative statue “is “Unconditional Surrender.”  This romantic 25 foot statue of a sailor kissing a nurse by J. Seward Johnson always makes my heart skip a beat.

Nurse and Sailor in San Diego California

Nurse and sailor in San Diego California

The  Marina District is also appealing because it is within walking distance to Horton Plaza, the Gaslamp District and Little Italy. These are some of my favorite San Diego destinations. Take some time to explore the bay on a Hornblower Cruise. I like the “Sights and Sips” Sunset Cruise. Pay for a reserved window seat when you purchase your ticket.

San Francisco 2012 616

My “Vino con Vista” San Diego adventure began in the Gaslamp District with a local wine event at the House of Blues.  Exhuberant dancers enjoyed the DJ’s classic Prince tunes. I was glad they were pouring Pinot Noir because I can be such a wine snob. We meandered over to the historic Grant Hotel at Broadway and 4th where a female San Diego attorney named Lynn Schenk broke the gender barrier at the Grant Grill restaurant in 1971. The sign at the entrance said “Men only until 3:00 pm.” The Hotel is celebrating their 100th anniversary. Long story short, the place was recently refurbished as an elegant Starwood Property and serves as a testiment to the Glory Days of San Diego. The live music was enchanting.

IMG_3461

IMG_3446 IMG_3447

The Gaslamp District has 94 historic buildings that have been  lovingly restored. Businessman Alonzo Erastus Horton spent $264 for 800 acres in 1867. These 16 blocks eventually became the Gaslamp Quarter. You can schedule a two-hour walking tour of the Gaslamp at the Historical Foundation at 619-233-4692. There are over 200 restaurants, bars and night clubs with a vast array of Happy Hour options including: Altitude Sky Lounge, Chianti, Currant, House of Blues, Hard Rock Hotel and McCormick & Schmicks.

IMG_3442 IMG_3445

The next day, I had the good fortune of having lunch on the sun-drenched patio of the Hotel Del Coronado which is one of my favorite hotels in the world! I am also a big fan of Wentworth by the see near Portmouth New Hampshire.

View of Coronado and San Diego from the air.

View of Coronado and San Diego from the air. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I usually take the Coranado Ferry from the Broadway Pier behind the Convention Center when I want to visit Coranado. I put my bike on the ferry and ride down Orange Street to my final destination. I love the view of the skyline from the Coranado Ferry Landing.  Technically, the Silver Strand connects Coronado to the mainland so it really isn’t an island. It is technically an isthmus because it is attached to the mainland at the southern end of Silver Strand State Beach and is connected to Imperial Beach

English: The pier in Imperial Beach, Southern ...

English: The pier in Imperial Beach, Southern California. South of San Diego, very close to the Mexican border. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

.

The beach at Coronado in front of the hotel is definitely the best beach in San Diego! Have brunch at the Hotel del Coronado’s Crown Room on Sunday at 1500 Orange Avenue. . You won’t be disappointed in this Victorian gem brimming with history.

Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego California

 I love the California Historic Landmark’s  photo montage of  the 1959 film “Some Like It Hot.”  The hotel was featured in the classic film with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. It reminds me of the pictures of “La Dolce Vita” that adorn the walls of the Hotel Majestic in Rome. I like all the cute retail-therapy shops on the lower level. One of the jewelry stores had an adorable ruby slipper necklace that I had to work really hard at resisting. I grabbed a business card just in case I changed my mind when I got home about the necklace. Although our plan involved feasting on one of the restaurant’s famous Ruben sandwiches, we realized that they had changed the menu. I ordered some delicious seared scallops instead. The breath-taking views of the beach, the Pacific Ocean and hilly peninsula of Point Loma reminded me of Mondello Sicily. If I win the lottery, I’m moving to Ocean Drive in Coronado or maybe I’ll move to La Jolla so I can be Mitt Romney’s neighbor.

After lunch, we went to the Cabrillo National Monument on the southern tip of Point Loma and paid hommage to the Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo who landed here on September 28,1542 when he anchored his “San Salvador” ship. This is agreat place to watch the sunset! Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego CaliforniaI never knew about the sandstone cliffs that surround the tide pools and precious pre-historic fossils in Point Loma, but they definitely peaked my interest. Tide pools are generally found on rocky shores that are covered and uncovered daily by ocean tides. They are best viewed at low tide when you may see an array of sea like including sea stars and urchins.

Point Loma San Diego California

Point Loma San Diego California

As I gazed at the fourteen foot structure of Cabrillo, I was magically transported to the “Monument to the Discoveries” in Lisbon that honors the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator with Magellan, Vasco da Gama and other notable Portuguese explorers lining the concrete prow of a caravel. I heard the sweet serenade of Fado music and envisioned the Manueline Belem Tower that protects Lisbon’s harbor. I remembered that I was in San Diego when I saw the lighthouse, North Island, military ships and the skyline. Senior Cabrillo looks like he was kidnapped from the monument in Lisbon. In Point Loma have a burger at Slater’s 50/50 at 2750 Dewey Road. One of my favorite lunch is Point Loma Seafoods at 2805 Emerson Street.

Point Loma San Diego California

We drove past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery that was named after a Union General in the American Civil War. The tombstones made me think about my travels to Normandy.

Point Loma San Diego California

Then I thought about how much I missed my Dad. I remembered that someone from the army called me the day before his funeral to tell me that they were sorry to hear that they had lost another one of their WWII brothers. They came to his funeral and presented me with a folded flag and gave him a proper 21 gun salute. It brought  tears to my eyes. Weeks after his funeral, I received a certificate from the White House. President Bush signed a document that stated The United States of America honored my father’s memory. It says: “This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.”  I presume that the daughters of many beloved fathers buried at Rosecrans and other military cemeteries received the same document.

It was time for us to check out the newly-renovated Bali Hai Tiki Temple at 2230 Shelter Island Drive. Bali Hai was a famous show tune from Roger and Hammerstein’s 1949 musical “South Pacific.” Shelter Island in San Diego CaliforniaThe venue was lavishly adorned with maps and Polynesian artifacts. We sat at the bar for another incredible “Vino con Vista.” Instead of wine, I opted for a Polynesean cocktail that was so strong that  I had to dilute it with orange juice. I felt it was too early in the day to get hammered. I’m starting to sound like Ernest Hemmingway; most of his tales revolve around cocktail hour.

That evening, we went back to Banker’s Hill overlooking  Balboa Park  where the San Diego Zoo is located. We watched the 1937 film “Captains Courageous” based on a 1897 story by Rudyard Kipling. In the film, a young Spencer Tracy serves as a heroic role model for the arrogant son of a wealthy tycoon played by Freddie Bartholomew.  Rudyard Kipling‘s heart-warming tale is about vices and virtues. Spencer Tracy is a Portuguese fisherman who teaches the child about respect, valor and love. This tear-jerker is a must see for the over-indulged pre-teen in your family.

IMG_3361 IMG_3351

The weekend was  filled with festivals. We walked over to the Saturday morning Mercado in Little Italy. I love the fresh flowers, farm-fresh produce and wide array of merchandise offered at this weekly event. Smilin’ Jack was playing Italian songs on his accordion. When you go to Little Italy, make sure you try some of the Happy Hour Venues. I like the Glass Door Restaurant and Lounge for a Vino con Vista overlooking the Bay. San Diego’s vibrant dining scene has more than 7000 options. There are also plenty of food trucks including Mangia Mangia Mobile and Miho’s Gastrotruck. In Little Italy dine at Bencotto Italian Kitchen at 750 Fir Street or Prep Kitchen for Happy Hour.

IMG_3394 IMG_3395

Little Italy in San Diego California

san diego california

We hopped on the Trolley in Little Italy that transported us to the Art Festival in Old Town where I found the perfect blush-colored  pearl bracelet to wear to my son’s spring wedding. Then for about  $20, we took a cab to Prospect Street in downtown La Jolla. I had to re-visit the historic  La Valencia Hotel and climb the stairs at George’s at the Cove for a panoramic shot of the Pacific Ocean. George’s Chef Trey Foshee serves contemporary California cuisine with breath-taking views. There’s even a rooftop terrace. Another interesting dining option in La Jolla is Nine-Ten at 910 Prospect Street inside the Grande Colonial Hotel. Chef Jason Knibb’s seasonal cuisine is served in an elegant dining room. I love the pink La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla on Prospect with the hand-painted murals

San Diego California

We walked over to the Art and Wine Festival on Girard St. The festival was a school fundraiser. Wineries from Temecula were pouring $3 tastings. I found it interesting that the public school on Girard Street was located at the intersection of the Maserati Dealership and the Ferrari Dealership. That spoke volumes about the demographics in La Jolla.

San Diego California

San Diego California

Plan to attend the La Jolla Music Society Summerfest between July 31 and August 23, 2013. La Jolla has an annual festival of the Arts between June 22-23. I wanted to attend the Gourmet Festival in Del Mar but we didn’t have enough time. If you have time, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla Village where Nancy Rubins’ large-scale, nautical inspired  artwork adorns the museum’s west side.

One of my favorite Fall Festivals is in Little Italy. I love this annual Columbus Day celebration called  “Festa” in Little Italy.

San Diego California

Live music permeates the neighborhood as the chalk artists work their magic on five- foot square sections of Date Street. Some of the chalk art is incredible!

Little Italy in San Diego California

Litte Italy reminds me of Cefalu Sicily with the historic tales of tuna fisherman, cute shops with imported Italian ceramics and charming outdoor Italian restaurants. I had some flavorful gnocchi from Buon Appetito’s food booth.

I made my mandatory trek to Fillippi’s for pine nut cookies. They offer the perfect blend  of almond paste and pine-nuts. I was too full to order a Caprese Sandwich at Mona Lisa, one of my favorite Italian stores on India. Have a perfect expresso at Caffe Italia at 1704 India Street. There’s a summer Film Festival in Amici Park Amphitheater on Saturday nights in the summer at West Date and State Streets.

Little Italy in San Diego California

In the evening, we went to Island Prime on Shelter Island and I ordered a yummy Ahi Tuna/crab meat appetizer that was drizzled with a balsamic infused apricot flavored glaze. It was just the right mate for my Cadillac Margarita with Gran Marnier. I savored the combinaton as I admired the billion-dollar views of downtown San Diego at night. The cruise ship was parked in the Port and the configuration of the ship’s red lights resembled the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Diego California

Then it was time for some  “Smooth Jazz” at Humphrey’s at 2241 Shelter Island Drive. .  I loved watching the people on the dance floor move to the rhythm of Marcus Anderson’s sexy saxophone. The passionate tatooed drummer was getting a cardiac workout.

Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay is a great venue for dinner and a show during the summer months.

No weekend in San Diego would be complete without visiting the Gaslamp Quarter. Go to Bice at 425 Island for an outstanding Happy Hour. Everyone loves Searsucker with Top Chef Brian Malarkey’s grand slam at 611 5th Avenue. I absolutely love the Grant Grill at 326 Broadway inside the elegant US Grant Hotel.

IMG_3422 IMG_3430 IMG_3432

If you have extra time, there’s plenty of biking, hiking and walking trails. Go to Balboa Park, Lake Miramar, or the Grasslands loop if  you want short and flat terrain. Balboa  Park is the site of the 1915 and 1935 international exposition.

 I think my next book will be “Vino Con Vista San Diego.” Fortunately, my research will involve many return trips to my favorite American city. How appropriate that the local flowers are “Birds of Paradise.” If you wand to browse an event calendar visit http://www.sandiego.org/events

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com

 

San Diego California

Mark your calendars for the San Diego Wine Festival in November. Here’s a YouTube Video overview that you might enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPmEnsU3LsY

English: The city flag of San Diego, CA. Flag ...

Image via Wikipedia

Buon Viaggio–

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

20 Comments

Filed under amalfi coast, Cabrillo Monument, Cefalu, Christopher Columbus, CInque Terre, Coronado Bridge, ebooks, Embarcadero, Gelato, Hotel del Coronado, IPad, Italian art, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Riviera, Italian Wine, Italy, Little Italy in San Diego, Live Music in San Diego, Mariott Marina in San Diego, Mondello, oenogastronomic, Point Loma, Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, San Diego Attractions, San Diego California, San Diego Hotels, San Diego Jazz, San Diego Pictures, San Diego Restaurants, San Diego Skyline, San Diego Weather, Shelter Island, Sicily, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, vino con vista, Wine Festivals, World's Best Gelato

It’s Always Halloween in San Gimignano Italy

San Gimignano, perhaps the most popular of Ita...
Image via Wikipedia
Coat of arms of San Gimignano

Coat of arms of San Gimignano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Gimignano delle belle Torri is 32 miles southwest of Florence. It is considered the Manhattan of Tuscany. The majestic skyline of noble towers was built for defensive purposes and as a symbol of status and wealth.

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclos...

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclosed with walls, causing crowding and the building of tower houses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This destination served as an important relay point for pilgrims traveling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena.

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 5

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The patrician families who controlled the town built 72 tower houses (some as high as 50 meters) as symbols of their wealth and power. The Torre Grossa is still open to the public. Although only 13 of the original towers have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance.

san gimignano

san gimignano (Photo credit: michael pollak)

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 3

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You probably didn’t know about the Spooky Musuem in San Gimignano where you can celebrate Halloween all year long! Visit the Museo Pena di Morte.

Museo della Tortura in San GImignano Italy

San Gimignano Torture Museum

Skull in San Gimignano Torture Museum

Torture Museum in San Gimignano

Panforte at a shop in San Gimignano, Tuscany, ...

Panforte at a shop in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and  Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

Happy Halloween from www.vino-con-vista.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under ebooks, Gelato, IPad, Italian art, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Museo Pena di Morte, oenogastronomic, Renaissance Art, Rome, San Gimignano, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, UNESCO, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites, World's Best Gelato

Have a Feast in Fiesole Italy near Florence

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Florence as seen from Fiesole.

Florence as seen from Fiesole. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View to Fiesole in Florence, Italy
Image via Wikipedia
Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of...

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of Tuscany, home of the Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. The photo also demonstrates the viticultural technique of clear (or bare) cultivation that leaves bare soil between the vines and rows with no cover crops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bistecca alla fiorentina

Bistecca alla fiorentina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Theater. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Temples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Temples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole is in the province of Florence in Tuscany. It was a former Etruscan settlement. It is nestled on a hilly ridge 30 minutes north of Florence. It’s position offers a breath-taking view of Florence.

Head for tranquil Fiesole for lunch or dinner at Trattoria Le Cave de Maiano. Order a veal chop or the famous “Bistecca alla Fiorentina” (Florentine T-Bone) from Tuscany’s famed Chianina beef and a bottle of Bolgheri Rosso, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Brunello di Montalcino.  Dine at La Reggia degli ‘Etrusci‘s terrace for a fabulous “Vino con Vista”.

Visit the Piazza Mino de Fiesole, the main square, and have an expresso at the Caffe Aurora in the bougainvillea shaded terrace with a fabulous view of Florence.  Take a picture with the bronze statue of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel II.

Roman theater in Fiesole, Italy

Roman theater in Fiesole, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Explore the 14th century Franciscan Friary of San Francesco with a presepi on display all year long. Visit the Archeological area in the first century BC Roman theater,  public baths and a 4th century Etruscan temple.  The temple is dedicated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and healing.

Stay at Villa San Michele in Fiesole and ask for the Michelangelo Suite. This Orient Express property was a former 15th century monastery that was designed by Michelangelo. Fabulous cooking classes are only available to hotel guests with “Guest Chefs” from many other world-class hotels www.villasanmichele.com. Another option is Italy’s Top Spa (19 miles northwest of Florence) www.termemontecatini.it.  After your spa treatment, take the Funicular to Montecatini Alto for a panoramic vista all the way to Florence.

see above

see above (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

see above

see above (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides and

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

3 Comments

Filed under Ancient Rome, Brunello di Montalcino, Brunello Wine, Chianti Classico, Christmas in Italy, ebooks, Fiesole, Fiesole Italy, Florence, Franciscans, IPad, Italian Architecture, Italian art, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, oenogastronomic, Roman Amphitheater, Roman Architecture, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, vino con vista

Buon Natale and Christmas: Feast of Saint Ambrose and Holiday Events in Milan Italy

Skull of Saint Ambrose, archbishop of Milan, i...
Image via Wikipedia

Milan was founded by the Gauls in the early 4th century B.C. and grew rapidly following the Roman conquest in 222 B.C.  By 1277, Archbishop Otto Visconti imposed hegemony over the city and 130 years of Visconti rule ensued. Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351-1402) was a generous patron of the arts and initiated the construction of the magnificent Gothic Duomo made of white marble with 135 spires www.duomomilano.it.

December 7th is the Feast Day of Saint Ambrose, the Patron Saint of Milan. He was born in 339 and consecrated as the Bishop of Milan on December 7, 374. He served as the Bishop until his death in 397. This eloquent bishop was instrumental in spreading

Crypt of bishop Ambrose and two marthyrs, Sain...

Crypt of bishop Ambrose and two marthyrs, Saints Gervase and Protase. Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, Milan. (bodies aren’t totally sharp because they are behind a bad quality sheet glass) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christianity and you can visit his mortal remains in the crypt of the Basilica of Sant’Ambroglio.

Drawing based on a statue of St. Ambrose

Drawing based on a statue of St. Ambrose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He is also the Patron Saint of Bologna. St. Ambrose is one of my favorites because he is the Patron Saint of learning and students., The “Honey-Tongued Doctor” is portrayed with a beehive and bees in his iconography which symbolizes wisdom. He is also the patron saint of  candle-makers and bee keepers.

The “Fiera di Sant’Ambroglio” is the city’s antique fair and takes place in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio from December 7-22. This event coincides with “The Fiera degli Oh Bej-Oh Bej.”  This is a traditional annual outdoor street market held in Milan to honor Saint Ambrose from December 5th to the 8th. For 400 years it was held in front of the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, built by Ambrose between 379-386 which is one of the oldest churches in Milan.

Benefattori dell'Ospedale: i Duchi della Milan...

Benefattori dell’Ospedale: i Duchi della Milano quattrocentesca (Francesco Sforza e Bianca Maria Visconti) nell’atto di donare al Papa (Pio II Piccolomini) il bozzetto dell’erigenda Ca’ Granda (Photo credit: renagrisa)

This year the Festival will be held in The Square in front of Castello Sforzesco on Via Dante. Francesco Sforza, husband of Bianca Maria Visconti, became lord of the city in 1450. He ruled from the imposing Castello Sforzesco fortress until 1535. Today, the castle serves as a museum. Francesco Sforza built the present castle where the Visconti castle originally stood. The palace contains several art museums. The Torre del Carmine serves to enclose the fortress of the Visconti family. Michelangelo’s famous “Rondanini Pieta” (1564) can be admired in the Castello Sforzesco.

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco (Photo credit: viiruone)

Mangia and have a “Vino con Vista” at the festival where you buy interesting gifts from over 400 stalls and can enjoy a porchetta sandwich, cioccolato con panna montala (hot chocolate) and some “Vino Brule” (mulled wine).

Here’s a recipe for Vino Brule

A bottle of red wine

1/3 cup sugar

3 cloves

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 stick of cinnamon

1 lemon peel

Stir wine over medium heat. Add sugar to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Salute!!

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, by night

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, by night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

December 7th is the official opening of the Opera Season in Milan at Teatro alla Scala which opened in 1778. Visit the Museo Teatrale that features vintage opera posters and a remarkable array of opera costumes. For tickets visit:  www.teatroallascala.org

Attend the Epiphany Parade of the Three Kings from the Duomo to the Church of Sant’Eustorgio on January 6th.

Milano castello sforzesco natale

Milano castello sforzesco natale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Milan has an interesting wine bar called La Cantina di Manuela on via Cadore with outdoor tables for people-watching or a nightcap. Try a Rosso della Costa Collina del Milanese or Bianco dell Costa Collina dell Milanese with some Castel Magno cheese. The Lombardy region’s specialty wine is fizzy Franciacorta. Most of the wineries in Lombardy are outside the heavily industrialized city limits in towns located between the Alps and the Apennines including Bergamo, Sondrio, Brescia, Pavia and Mantua.

Milan Duomo

Image by underflowR via Flickr

Bloomingdale’s Christmas Tree

Buon Natale and Happy Holidays from www.vino-con-vista.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a comment

Filed under Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, Bianca Maria Visconti, Buon Natale, Buon Natale Italy, Castello Sforzesco, Christmas in Italy, Duomo of Milan, ebooks, Francesco Sforza, Italian Architecture, Italian art, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Lombardy, Michelangelo's Rondanini Pieta, Milan Italy, Milan Italy attractions, Northern Italy, oenogastronomic, Renaissance Art, Renaissance Artists, Saint Ambrose in Milan, UNESCO, vino con vista, Wine, Wine Festivals, Wine Festivals in Italy, World Heritage Sites

Ospitalita Italiana: Top Chicago Italian Restaurants certified “Authentic”

Equestrian statue representing Garibaldi, La S...

Image via Wikipedia

English: Italian statesman Giuseppe Mazzini

English: Italian statesman Giuseppe Mazzini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1866, four years after s...

Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1866, four years after surviving a bullet wound misdiagnosed by Partridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leonardo da Vinci replica at Fabio Piccolo Fiore in NYC

Leonardo da Vinci replica at Fabio Piccolo Fiore in NYC

Rome: Spanish Steps

Rome: Spanish Steps

 

phil stefani's 437March 17th was the official date of the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification (1861-2011).

Happy Birthday Italy

Chicago celebrates Italy's 150th birthday

The Risorgimento was a movement led by heroic Italian patriots like Camillo Cavour, Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi. Their efforts resulted in the establishment of the Italian nation. Although Napoleon attempted to unify Italy, his defeat led to oppression and dismal economic and political turmoil. Today Italian national brands like Armani, Versaci and Ferrari are a reflection of Italian ingenuity and quality craftsmanship.

Thank God they didn’t unify the culinary traditions that celebrate the diversity of the historical influences and regions of Italy. The cuisine is the cornerstone of signature dishes around the world.

Coca Pazzo's Tarimi Su

On March 17th,  Fulvio Calcinardi, the executive director of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Milan Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International awarded 18 Chicago-area restaurants with the “Ospitalilita Italiana Quality Seal.” Here’s a video from the Chamber of Commerce that describes the Award Criteria http://youtu.be/NFzOZmZ-a0I

Chicago Osptalita ItalianaThe Italian Quality Seal Award recognizes authentic Italian Restaurants and is granted by the Italian Government. This honor is bestowed for their authenticity and culinary contributions to Italian Culture. I love that this event took place on St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know that St. Patrick was the son of a Roman?

The Quality specifications are determined by Italy’s National Institute of Tourist Research and was launched in Italy in 1997.  The project was extended beyond Italy’s borders and each establishment must meet 10 stringent criteria and submit proof of their authenticity.

The award ceremony took place at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Little Italy on Taylor Street in Chicago. Participants were able to taste the cuisine of many of Chicago’s premier Italian restaurants where the chef’s lovingly prepared some of their signature dishes.

Taylor Steet in Chicago

Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

The seal was created in 1997 and generated a list of criteria that includes proof of authenticity. It is like a “Baldrige Award” for authentic Italian restaurants and esteemed Italian chefs. Each restaurant must employ at least one Italian speaking employee and the menus must be written in proper Italian. At least 20% of the wines must be DOP-certified and the head chef must be proficient in authentic Italian cooking . They must submit at least five recipes with the region and ingredients that inspired the menu.

The 18 Chicago-Area Restaurants that earned the coveted award are:

Ospitalita Italiana Chicago

I love these Italian Restaurants!

  • Spiaggia Restaurant, 980 N. Michigan (Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano)
  • Piccolo Sogno, 464 N. Halsted (Chef/Owner Tony Priolo)

Piccolo Sogno in Chicago

piccolo sogno quality award

  • Coco Pazzo, 300 W. Hubbard (Executive Chef/Partner Chris Macchia)

Coco Pazza Quallity AwardCoco Pazzo in Chicago

  • Merlo on Maple, 16 W. Maple (Chef Luisa Silvia Marani)

    YUM!

Merlo on Maple in Chicago

  • Tocco, 1266 N. Milwaukee (Chef/Owner Bruno Abate)

Tocco in Chicago

Tocco Restaurant in Chicgo

Porchetta cooked to Perfection at Tocco

Vivere at The Italian Village, 71 W. Monroe

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival

Italian Expo 2011 121

Volare, 201 E. Grand (Chef Massimo Campagnini)

Volare Restaurant in Chicago

Volare Restaurant on Grand in Chicago

  • Pelago Ristorante, 201 E. Delaware (Chef/Owner Mauro Mafrici)
Pelago Ristorante in Chicago

Mauro’s Pelago Restaurant is one of my favorites in Streeterville on Delaware

Pelago Restaurant in Chicago

Mrs. Mafrici from Pelago Restaurant in Chicago

  • Quartino, 626 N. State (Chef/Partner John Coletta)
Quartino Restaurant in Chicago

John wrote a great CookBook

Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush, 437 N. Rush (Executive Chef Federico Comacchio)

  • Riccardo Trattoria, 2119 N. Clark (Chef/Owner Riccardo Michi)
  • 312 Chicago (Chef Luca Corazzina)

312 Chicago's Chef Luca Corazzina

  • Via Carducci La Sorella, 1928 W. Division (Chef Luis Hernandez)
  • Vivere (at Italian Village), 71 W. Monroe (Chef Robert Reynaud)
  • La Cantina (at Italian Village), 71 W. Monroe (Chef Robert Duerscheidt)
  • Ristorante Agostino, 2817 N. Harlem (Chef Anna Fiasche)
  • Sergio’s Cucina Italiana, 280 N. Rohlwing Rd., Itasca (Chef Sergio Abate)
  • Gaetano’s, 7636 W. Madison, Forest Park (Chef Gaetano Di Benedetto)
Ravioli at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Ravioli at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

Linguini at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Linguini at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

 

The wine and Prosecco were provided by Casa Vinicolo Zonin

Italian Wine and Prosecco

Italian Wine  A great time was had by all!!!

Here are a few Italian restaurants that I like with alfresco dining that were not recognized with a formal award:

1. Anteprima is located at 5316 Clark Street in Andersonville

http://www.anteprimachicago.net/

2. Zia’s in Edison Park and Zia’s Lago Vista on Ashland in Lakeview are both outstanding! The latter has plenty of outdoor seating

http://www.ziaslakeview.com/

3. Club Lago’s northern Italian cuisine has been around for over 60 years at 331 W. Superior in River North.

http://www.clublago.com/

4. Viaggio At The Park on Fullerton in Lincoln Park also has an outdoor seating area

http://www.viaggiochicago.com/

5. Topo Gigio in the heart of Old Town on Wells Street has plenty of outdoor space. It has been around for over 25 years.

http://topogigiochicago.com/

6. Autre Monde in Berwyn, was founded by four Spiaggio alums has a patio and greenhouse. http://www.autremondecafe.net/

7. Due Lire on 4520 N. Lincoln in Lincoln Square http://www.due-lire.com/

 

Buon Appetito!!

Dr. EveAnn Lovero loves her Ducati Motorcycle

Dr. EveAnn Lovero loves her Ducati Motorcycle

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Vino con Vista Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com.
 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a comment

Filed under Attractions in Chicago, Buon Appetito, Buon Ricordo Restaurants in Piedmonte, Chicago, Chicago Restaurants, ebooks, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian restaurants in Chicago, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy ravel, Italy Travel Guides, michelin guide to chicago restaurants, Michelin Restaurants in Italy, oenogastronomic, Restaurants in Italy, Travel and Tourism, Unification of Italy, vino con vista, Vino con Vista Chicago, Wine

Top Attractions in Vino con Vista Venice: A UNESCO Site in Italy

English: Interior of the Basilica di Santa Mar...

English: Interior of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, facing the high altar. Photo taken by Necrothesp, 15 May 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Basilica di San Marco, Venice

English: Basilica di San Marco, Venice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Basilica of St Mary of Health in ...

English: The Basilica of St Mary of Health in Venice, Italy Italiano: Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia Русский: Собор Санта-Мария делла Салюте в Венеции, Италия (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Prophet Baruch in Santa Maria della S...

English: Prophet Baruch in Santa Maria della Salute Venice by Tommaso Rues Italiano: Il profeta Baruch, scultura lignea attribuita a Tommaso Rues nella Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute a Venezia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Four Evangelists on the Church Santa ...

English: Four Evangelists on the Church Santa Maria della Salute (Venice) by Tommaso Rues Italiano: Quattro Evangelisti sulla facciata della Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute attribuiti a Tommaso Rues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Piazza San Marco where you can find the elaborate St. Mark’s Basilica with 5 portals and magnificent mosaics. Saint Mark is represented by the winged lion surmounting one of the tall 12th century granite columns. Get tickets for the Basilica San Marco at
http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/BSMjesusFlashEng.bsm

This enchanting city is an architectural masterpiece with domes, spires and campaniles. St. Mark’s basilica and the Doge’s Palace constitute the fulcrum of Venetian religious and civic life.

Saint Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) is the location of some of the major attractions in Venice including: the Campanile Bell Tower and the Clock Tower, the Palazzo Ducale http://palazzoducale.visitmuve.it
the Correr Museum
http://correr.visitmuve.it/en/home/
and the Sansovino Library.

Lavishly adorned palazzi like Ca d’Oro and Ca’ Rezzonicone line the Grand Canal. These palaces are embellished with Baroque magnificence and elegant Rococo detail. Gondolas and Vaporetti (water buses) transport residents and exuberant tourists through paradise via waterways.

I love the cafes in the square. The Caffè Florian opened in 1720. It is the oldest cafe in Italy and has hosted Lord Byron and Casanova. This is the perfect place for a Vino con Vista!
Not far from Piazza San Marco lies Campo Santo Stefano with the church of the same name. The gorgeous church of Santa Maria della Salute has a prime location on the mouth of the Grand Canal.

Visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection www.guggenheim-venice.it inside the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. I love Gallerie dell’Accademia www.gallerieaccademia.org inside the  Scuola Grande de la Carita.

The Ca’ Rezzonico http://carezzonico.visitmuve.it is another fabulous palace that has been converted into a museum. Venice is a very popular tourist destination. Purchase a museum card or Museum Pass to avoid long lines at key sites in Venice.

 

Italiano: Collage di varie foto di Venezia

Italiano: Collage di varie foto di Venezia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Venice and its Lagoon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy

“Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world’s greatest artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and others.” UNESCO

Ca' d'Oro, Venice facade. Français : Ca' d'Oro...

Ca’ d’Oro, Venice facade. Français : Ca’ d’Oro à Venise Vue de la façade. Italiano: Ca’ d’Oro Venezia Facciat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View to Santa Maria della Salute over the Gran...

View to Santa Maria della Salute over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the fall of the Roman Empire, mainland refugees settled the sparse islands to escape waves of invasions. These residents harvested seafood from the canals of the Adriatic Sea for sustenance. Eventually, they became sailors and then wealthy sea merchants. This gateway to the Asia became a major maritime power in the 10th century. Exotic spices like saffron, cinnamon and curry fueled the Venetian Empire. Salt was a crucially important profit center for the Venetians. The term salary is derived from the Venetian practice of being paid in salt. The extraordinary profits earned through trade, filled the coffers of the patrons of the flourishing artists. Marco Polo (1254-1324) was a prominent Venetian explorer who traveled to Asia.

Venice.

Venice. (Photo credit: Valerio “Dokka” D’Introno.)

 

English: Venice - Doge’s Palace – Porta della ...

English: Venice – Doge’s Palace – Porta della Carta. Italiano: Venezia. Palazzo Ducale. Il doge di Venezia Francesco Foscari inginocchiato davanti al Leone di San Marco (simbolo di San Marco evangelista, protettore di Venezia), al di sopra della gotica “Porta della Carta” (il gruppo scultoreo è però replica ottocentesca del rilievo originale, distrutto nel 1797). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The work of Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese adorn her magnificent buildings.

There are four bridges to cross the canal: the Ponte dell’Accademia, the Rialto Bridge (the oldest and most famous of the bridges), Ponte degli Scalzi (the Bridge of the Barefoot) and Ponte della Costituzione.

Walk to the top of the Bridge of Sighs for a great view of the lagoon. On the other side of the lagoon, you can meander around the Castello neighborhood where you will find the churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and San Zaccaria. While you are there, visit the Church of San Giovanni in Bragora.

I love to visit the islands: Burano is famous for its lace; Murano for glass;  Pellestrina, has sand dunes and Torcello, my personal favorite is one of the oldest human settlements in the area.

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Giusto Le Court, main altar in Basilica di San...

Giusto Le Court, main altar in Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute Italiano: Giusto Le Court, altare prinicipale in Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute from ...

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute from the Grand Canal. Taken by User:Reywas92. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides. To learn more about Venice and Northern Italy read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides

English: Taken from the Rialto Bridge, a lone ...

English: Taken from the Rialto Bridge, a lone gondolier takes his gondola up the Grand Canal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under ebooks, Italian Architecture, Italian art, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Northern Italy, oenogastronomic, Renaissance Art, Travel and Tourism, Venato, Venice, Venice is the "Mistress of the Sea": A UNESCO Site in Italy, Venice Italy, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites

Juliet’s Balcony makes Verona Italy the Vino con Vista City of Love

Juliet's purported balcony, in Verona. Beneath...

Image via Wikipedia

Giulietta

Giulietta (Photo credit: Luciana.Luciana)

Mass-produced colour photolithography on paper...

Mass-produced colour photolithography on paper for Toy Theatre; Romeo and Juliet (background and surroundings removed) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quotation from Romeo and Juliet and a Portrait...

Quotation from Romeo and Juliet and a Portrait of Shakespeare on the right-side Pillar of Gates of Verona, next to the entrance to the Museo Maffeiano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: verona arena italy 2009

English: verona arena italy 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An 1870 oil painting by Ford Madox Brown depic...

An 1870 oil painting by Ford Madox Brown depicting Romeo and Juliet’s famous balcony scene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
Mass-produced colour photolithography on paper for Toy Theatre; Romeo and Juliet (background and surroundings removed) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Verona

Verona (Photo credit: IK’s World Trip)

If you have seen the movie “Letters to Juliet” with Vanessa Redgrave and Amanda Seyfried you are familiar with the story of Juliet’s balcony and the Club di Giulietta. The letters that are addressed to Juliet are read and answered by local volunteers.

Vanessa Redgraves’s long lost love Lorenzo in the movie  is actually her husband in real life.

English actress Vanessa Redgrave at the press ...

English actress Vanessa Redgrave at the press conference for the film Coriolanus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mass-produced colour photolithography on paper...

Julia/Giulietta, Zweitguss 1974 nach dem Origi...

Julia/Giulietta, Zweitguss 1974 nach dem Original des Künstlers Nereo Costantini in Verona, ein Geschenk der Partnerstadt Verona (oder der Sparkasse Verona) an München (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The movie was filmed in Juliet’s hometown of Verona. Did you know that you could go to Verona and leave a message under her balcony at the 14th century palace? Look at all the documents under the picture in the post. Her secretaries will respond to your request offering advice about your Romeo. You don’t actually have to go to Verona to leave a letter, you can email the letter seeking romantic advice to her secretaries. The volunteers at the Juliet Club (Club di Giulietta) will answer your letter. On  Valentine’s Day you may win a prize. Every Valentine’s Day a prize is awarded for the most beautiful letter. The prize includes a weekend trip to Verona. Juliet’s Club is financed by the city of Verona and was the subject of a book by Lise and Ceil Friedman.

The Capulet’s House (Casa di Giulietta) has a balcony, a courtyard and a bronze statue of Juliet. For good luck, stroke Juliet’s breast on the bronze statue. If you write your name and your loved-ones name on the wall, it is believed that your love will be everlasting.

The historic city of Verona has pastel candy-colored buildings. It was founded in the first century B.C. and is located at the foot of the Monte Lessini on the river. Verona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an outstanding example of a military stronghold. Verona is the second most important art center in the Venato region outside of Venice.

Verona has developed progressively and uninterruptedly for over 2000 years. The top row of the Roman Amphitheatre offers a panoramic view over the town and on a clear day the Alps are visible.  The amphitheatre continues to serve as an opera house. Verona’s arena serves as a venue for an annual Shakespeare Festival. It was completed in 30 AD.

The Giardino Guisti is one of Italy’s most famous gardens and offers a beautiful view from the “monster balcony.”  Verona flourished under the 124 year reign of the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries and as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries. Several seminal stages of European history have been preserved in this magical city. Tour the museums to view masterpieces from the medieval and Renaissance periods.

When you go to Verona to send your letter to Juliet, have a seat at a café in the Piazza dei Signore and order a Rosso Veronese, Soave or Valpolicello Classico as you gaze at the imposing statue of Dante. Think about Shakespeare embellishing Romeo and Juliet’s love story in this romantic “City of Love”. Sign up for cooking lessons at Villa Giona, associated with the Allegrini Winery, to seal the deal with Miss or Mr. McDreamy!

Dine at Osteria Sottoriva on Via Sattoriva and try some asparagus lasagna. Arche and Il Desco offer outstanding regional cuisine. There are two Buon Ricordo restaurant options near Verona: ( 1)  Gardesana in Torri del Benacoke on the eastern Riviera of Lake Garda is located at Piazza Calderini, 20 (www.hotel-gardesana.com). Order the whitefish filet in sweet and sour sauce and gaze at the glistening lake from the terrace and (2)  Ristorante 12 Apostoli on Vicolo Corticella S. Marco, 3 (www.12apostoli.it) offers a delightful duck breast in Amarone wine. This restaurant has a 250 year history.

Verona has a long and strong history of wine production with high quality and high productivity.  On the Veronese Riviera, Lake Garda is synonymous with the Bardolino red wine zone and winery tours can be arranged at the Enoteca del Bardolino and at the Wine Museum of the Zeni estate. The Valpolicella appellation was declared 2009’s winemaking region of the year by Wine Enthusiast. Amarone and Recioto wines were upgraded to DOCG status. Amarone is my favorite Italian red wine. It is made from the partially dried grapes including: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.

Amarone from Verona

Amarone from Verona

Deutsch: Zwei Flaschen Amarone della Valpolice...

Deutsch: Zwei Flaschen Amarone della Valpolicella Italiano: Due bottiglie di Amarone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In April of each year, Verona hosts “Vinitaly.” It is the country’s largest wine exhibition where you can taste thousands of wines from around the world. www.vinitaly.com   Here are some red wines you want to try in Verona:  Amarone della Valpolicella,  Bardolino Superiore, Cabernet Franc e Sauvignon, Chiaretto del Garda, Valpolicella and Raboso del Piave. To learn more about Italy read Vino con Vista Travel Guides www.vino-con-vista.com

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

and iBookstore

If you are planning a trip to Vinitaly or Verona, consider these hotels:

Byblos Art Hotel Amista (15th century villa) Hotel Gabbia Doro (in town)www.hotelgabbiadoro.it Due Torri Hotel Baglioni (14th century building)www.baglionihotels.com.On Lake Garda, stay at the Grand Hotel A Villa Feltrinelli www.villafeltrinelli.com
Enhanced by Zemanta

19 Comments

Filed under ebooks, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italian Architecture, Italian art, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Juliet's Balcony in Verona, Michelin Restaurants in Italy, oenogastronomic, Restaurants in Italy, Roman Amphitheater, Roman Architecture, Travel and Tourism, Venato, Verona Italy, vino con vista, Wine, Wine Festivals, Wine Festivals in Italy

Buon Appetito: Michelin Stars in Vino con Vista Italy

Casamicciola, Ischia, Italy.

Casamicciola, Ischia, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti in Ven...

English: The Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti in Venice, Italy alongside the Grand Canal. Nederlands: Het Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti in Venetië, Italië aan het Canal Grande. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detail of the rooftop of San Marco cathedral i...

Detail of the rooftop of San Marco cathedral in Venice, Italy. Venice patron apostle St. Mark with angels. Underneath is winged lion, mascot of Venice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detail of a lion, monument to Dante Alighieri,...

Detail of a lion, monument to Dante Alighieri, Piazza Santa Croce, Florence, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Front of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside th...

Front of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls – Roma – Italy. Italiano: Facciata della Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura a Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grumello del monte, Bergamo, Italia

Grumello del monte, Bergamo, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chef’s all over the world dream of Michelin Stars. There are 6 Three-star, 37  Two-star and 229 One-star restaurants in Italy.

Here are the new MICHELIN STARRED RESTAURANTS IN ITALY:

The new Three-Star restaurant in Italy is Da Vittorio. The existing 3 stars are:

1. Dal Pescatore di Canneto sull’Oglio (Mn)

2. Enoteca Pinchiorri di Firenze

3. La Pergola di Roma

4. Le Calandre di Rubano (Pd)

5. Al Sorriso di Soriso (No)

New Two-stars in Italy:

Antica Corona Reale – Cervere (Cuneo)
Piazza Duomo – Alba (Cuneo)
Il Pellicano -Porto Ercole (Grosseto)
La Madia – Licata (Agrigento)
Met dell’Hotel Metropol – Venezia
Il Mosaico – Casamicciola Terme, Ischia (Napoli)
Il Trenkerstube – Tirolo (Bolzano).

New Michelin One- star restaurants in Italy:

Andreini – Alghero in Sassari. ( I’ve written about how much I love this one!!)

Kleine Flamme – Vipiteno (Bolzano)
Ortica -Bedizzole (Brescia).
Maxi – Vico Equense (Napoli).
Roof Garden – Bergamo
Vicolo Santa Lucia – Cattolica (Rimini).
L’accanto -i Vico Equense.
Baldin -Genova.
Hotel Cinzia (Vercelli).
Al Vigneto – Grumello del Monte (Bergamo).
Osteria del Pomiroeu – Seregno, Milano.
Sissi – Merano.
Antonello Colonna – Roma
Glass Hostaria – Roma.
Castel Fragsburg – Freiberg (Merano).
La Fenice – Ragusa
Le Robinie – Montescano (Pavia).
La Meridiana – Piove di Sacco (Padova).
Caffè Le Paillotes – Pescara.
Hostaria del Mare (Modena).
Il Piastrino – Pennabilli, Pesaro.
La Fornace – Barbablu di Noli (SV).
La locanda di Bu – Nusco (Avellino)

English: The Palazzo Comunale (right) and Duom...

English: The Palazzo Comunale (right) and Duomo (left) in Modena, Italy. Italiano: Palazzo Comunale (a destra) e Duomo (a sinistra) di Modena. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Buon Appetito, Buon Natale, ebooks, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Michelin Restaurants in Italy, oenogastronomic, Restaurants in Italy

The Royal Wedding Menu Savors the Flavors of Vino con Vista Monaco

English: Photograph taken at the 2009 Monte-Ca...

English: Photograph taken at the 2009 Monte-Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. Pictured: Albert II and film producer Arick Wierson. Location. June, 2009, Monte-Carlo, Principality of Monaco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2002 Monegasque commemorative coin

2002 Monegasque commemorative coin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: General view of Monaco

English: General view of Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the

the “real” Monte Carlo Casino – France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monaco is nestled in the  French Riviera along the sumptuous Meditteranean Coast. There are more that 170 restaurants in Monaco’s small but mighty epicurean paradise. A plethora of dining options include charming sidewalk cafes and quaint brasseries in Old Town  as well as Michelin-starred establishments in landmark hotels. Monaco has plenty of   gourmet menus with signature dishes that offer fresh and flavorful options.

Bouef and Potatoes in Monaco

Pasta with clams in Monaco

Mussels (Moules) in Monaco

Culinary accolades in Monaco

Street Cafes in Monaco

Menu in Monaco on Rue Caroline

Monaco’s cuisine is a flavorful fusion of southern French ( Provençal and Nicoise ), Italian and other Mediterranean influences.  These influences on Monaco’s palate generate a plethora of savory options that meld French Provencal with many locally-produced products. Stuffed zucchini flowers, truffle and fois gras tortes and Provençal-style artichokes braised in wine with olive oil are other Monégasque favorites. In Monaco, try some traditional Monegasque specialties including:

*Barbagiuans, a crisp, baked or fried puff-pastry-filled fritters treat with Swiss chard, ricotta, leeks, garlic and herbs usually served as an appetizer

*Fougasse, a small, sweet bread flavored with oranges and decorated with nuts, raisins and anise

*Swiss chard pie, layers of pastry filled with a mixture of Swiss chard, parmesan cheese, parsley, eggs, onions, and rice

*Socca, a thin pancake made from chick-pea flour and olive oil

*Stocafi, dried cod stewed in tomato sauce and flavored with black olives  .

Sleek new hotels like the Fairmont Monte-Carlo and the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel have recently opened new restaurants in the Principality of Monaco.   The Fairmont Monte-Carlo’s restaurants allow guests to savor the flavors of Monaco: (1)  L’Argentin is a meat-lovers favorite in the Fairmont with wood and charcoal spits for roasting and grilling; (2) breathtaking Mediterranean views are available at Le Pistou located on the hotel’s panoramic terrace with Italian and regional cuisine (www.fairmont.com/montecarlo). You may also want to try Bar & Boeuf,  Alain Ducasse’s second restaurant in Monaco.

Five of Monaco’s restaurants have collectively garnished eight gourmet Michelin stars.

The Michelin Man

Yoshi in the Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo earned their first Michelin star this year. Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo  has a Michelin star and is also located in the  Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo (http://www.metropole.com/). Le Grill is located in the Hôtel de Paris and  Chef Sylvain Etievant”s rooftop restaurant has incredible “Vino con Vista” panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea  and was recently awarded one Michelin star.  Le Vistamar at the Hôtel Hermitage has earned chef Joël Garault a well-deserved Michelin star with the bonus of having spectacular “Vino-con-Vista” views of Monaco’s harbor.  Try the romantic Michelin star-rated La Coupole in the Hôtel Mirabeau with classic French cuisine.

The incredible menu at the Royal Wedding was prepared by three-star Michelin Chef Alain Ducasse who presides over Ducasse’s acclaimed Le  Louis XV.  His Michelin-starred restaurant is located in Monte-Carlo’s Hôtel de Paris and features a legendary wine cellar. His opulent restaurant is in the luxurious Hotel de Paris has more than 600,000 bottles of valuable vintages.  Ducasse was born in France but officially became a citizen of Monaco three years ago.

Ducasse has a collective total of 19 prestigious Michelin stars with restaurants in Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and France. His elegant “Vino con Vista” Jules Verne restaurant in Paris France is perched on the legendary Eiffel Tower. He also runs restaurants in the United States  in Las Vegas, New York, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Alain Ducasse was assisted by Franck Cerutti Executive chef of the Hôtel de Paris.  A total of 285 staff members including ten chefs and 54 cooks; seven pastry chefs and 14 pastry cooks prepared the Royal Feast. Nearly all of the ingredients used to prpare the royal feast will be sourced locally. Some of the vegetables will be sourced from Prince Albert’s farm.

The following menu and wine list was released by the Government Office of Tourism:

***Alain Ducasse Menu for the Royal Wedding Dinner of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Miss Charlene Wittstock   with the Wine List  (Saturday July 2nd 2011)

 Created by Alain Ducasse and Monte-Carlo SBM for the Princely Wedding

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckTqeYHsuo8

“As a starter, the Barbagiuan

It’s a natural guest, a full member of every family in Monaco. Traditional prelude, eaten with the fingers, the summertime Barbagiuan is served warm in a fabric presentation box. Under a silky crust of delicate rissoles stuffed with swisschard, spinach, leeks, onions, parsley, basil, marjoram and chives,blended together with sheep’s milk ricotta, egg and Parmigiano Reggiano, beats a meltingly soft green heart.

Tender Vegetables, Tomat olive and marinated golden mullet, Poutargue (Bottargo)

The dish is large, oval and generous. The food is arranged to portray a landscape typical of the coast ofthe Riviera. First, Roma tomatoes cooked until soft and smooth, slices of beetroot, zucchinis “Trompettes” and rawturnips, just marinated in olive oil, salt and ground pepper, on which stand cooked fennels, flakes of celery heart, radishes and mushrooms, a stick of cucumber, tomato confit and yellow and white semidried peaches, all sprinkled with fresh almonds, courgette flowers and borage, sprigs of celery, wild purslane and chervil. Guérande Fleur de sel, extra virgin olive oil and organic black Sospel olives complete this masterpiece of nature, conceived as a real example of plant architecture.

Then, a thinly sliced filet of golden mullet simply served raw, marinated in olive oil, Guérande sea salt and black Sarawak pepper, capers, lemon thyme from Nice and lemon zest from Menton, all seasoned with flakes of bottarga from Martigues, in translucent, fragrant petals. A subtle play of layering and the association of softness and crunchiness. Part sea, part hills, a synthesis of local produce and a relaxed lifestyle. The golden mullet, known as the “daurin,” fished by Gérard Rinaldi, a member of the last fishing family in Monaco, is highly migratory and travels along the Nisso-Ligurian coast from east to west from May to July. It is rarely fished. Every year it offers itself for our delectation, like the little seasonal vegetables, which are deliciously tender and naturally sweet.

Small spelt, seasonal vegetables with herb pistou

Small spelt, an ancestor of wheat grown in Haute Provence, is cooked as a riso with diced carrots,onions, celery and mushrooms sweated in olive oil, mixed with raisins, girolle mushrooms and haricotbeans from Lantosque. Carrots and turnips, artichoke quarters, spring onions and leeks, peas and fava beans, green beans and flat green beans are sautéed and moistened with vegetable stock, then arranged on the spelt. The acidic cooking juices with rocket and basil are pounded in a mortar to make a herb pesto topped with some toasted pine nuts. Real bounty from the earth, this is a tribute to cooking that is healthy, modest and tasty, from the local terroir. An essential approach, a return to the source of nutritional values. Playing on textures and subtle cooking, this small pale spelt is as tender as could be.

Local fish in a delicate bouillon with marine flavours

On a base of new potatoes cooked in saffron broth, a rich catch of fish is a concentration of the flavoursof the Mediterranean. The famous shelled gamberoni “rossi” from San Remo, fillets of rock mullet,calamaretti stuffed with gamberoni meat, cuttlefish and lemons from Menton, filets of capon, seabream, Saint Pierre, denti and rock octopus tentacle. Everything is moistened with a fish stock madefrom rock fish, cooked like a fish broth with saffron. Wrapped in sunshine-coloured spice from the terroirs of Haute Provence, mixed with white onions, garlic, dried fennel, fresh tomatoes, moray and conger, demoiselle, green wrasse, ballan wrasse, goldsinny wrasse, rainbow wrasse, weeverfish, small black and brown rockfish and eriphia crab – localfishing is invited to the feast.

Three mini crostini, one of which sings the praises of the juices from red mullet liver, capon andanchovies; the second of rouille, the third of spider crab meat and coral, complete the bouquet of marine flavours that explodes in the mouth. The whole sea has shaped this amazing dish. Abundance and feasting recall mythical scenes on the ancient shoreline, sparkling with light and saturated with blue. This is an expression of memory, the universal message of a Mediterranean that represents the concepts of mutual exchange and sharing.

Red fruits bursting with sunshine, Rocagel milk ice cream

In an elegant crystal coupe, on a delicate, lightly sweetened strawberry jelly are placed wildstrawberries and raspberries picked early in the morning and a velvety scoop of ice cream made with milk from the Rocagel and a spoonful ofwarm strawberry juice. A flaky palmier biscuit accompanies the exquisite sweetness of this seasonal fantasy.

Refreshing and soft, in symbiosis with the season, this dessert with red berries radiates the colours of the Principality. While banners and flags flutter in the wind in the gaily bedecked streets, the subtle milk ice cream and the flavour of sun-drenched berries are a gentle introduction to the long-awaited moment – the wedding cake.

Red currant and vanilla wedding cake

Silky and flowery. On a soft biscuit base with almonds, a delicate red currant compote and a light mousse of vanilla, covered in a layer of white chocolate and some gooseberries. Forming a cornucopia of pearly sugar, the wedding cake presentation piece unites the flowers of the Riviera and the majestic Protea, the emblem of South Africa, in tribute to Princess Charlene.

An ephemeral pleasure, the crowning glory of a dinner that is intended to be both simple and precious;jellied fruits with lemon and limoncello to surprise and delight the guests for one last time while the sky over the Principality is lit up with bursts of colour.

 The Table Setting

A place of honour for the art of the table

An enlargeable basic map of Monaco

An enlargeable basic map of Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The china, selected and created especially for the tables, which are dressed in white tablecloths, is present but discreet, forming part of the spontaneous “ballet” of this great dinner.

The guests are served by 200 Maitre d’Hs, chefs de rang and commis – a precise choreography of agile gestures, porcelain and crystal treasures that cast sparkling reflections on the festivities.

In a combination of modern design and culinary tradition, five little sourdough rolls are arranged on a narrow porcelain dish in front of each guest. Miniature loaves set out in a row, gently shaped by Jean-Paul Veziano, a baker in Antibes, and baked at the Hôtel de Paris a few hours before the dinner: round rolls with olives, floury hand-shaped focaccia from Nice, michettes (Provencal bread rolls) with oil and bread with borage form a harmonious palette of flavours, symbols of life and the perpetuation of the craftsman’s skills.

Splashed with blue, in a very simple style, the china bowl, created by Pieter Stockmans for the delicate fish bouillon, is naturally clear. It is deep, and delicately evokes generous fishing and the clear waters that surround the Principality. For an evening of magic, Alain Ducasse and the Pieter Stockmans studio have redesigned the world in blue, white, and light. From cobalt blue, which is so characteristic, to the pure white porcelain, the dish represents an aesthetic language where motif and material are one and the same.

Alain Ducasse’s recipe gave rise to the search for a specific shape of bowl. Design and creativity come together – a duo in honour of the arts of the table. A delicate coupe in Saint Louis crystal holds the dessert of red berries topped with milk ice cream. The “Bubbles,” a slender, stemmed coupe, reflects a lifestyle that has its sources in the great tradition. This alchemy in glass from the Royal Factory dedicates its exquisite finesse to the celebration of the royal wedding. A resplendent recipient for a dessert in the Principality’s colours, it marries perfectly with the little white napkins edged with red berry fruits.

Wines in Unison (The Wine List)

Aware of how the soul of wines reflects their terroir, Gérard Margeon, head sommelier at Alain Ducasse’s restaurants and Noël Bajor, head sommelier at the Louis XV, have spent many months meeting exceptional small-scale growers and exploring vineyards to find wines to accompany the meal.

The selection is the fruit of their intuition and insight, but is also symbolic and reflects their meetings.

Western Cape Chardonnay, Anaïs vintage 2009

A wine from Orrance, 100% chardonnay, charming and gourmet

A white wine from South Africa will open the dinner as a tribute to Princess Charlene. A classic Cape wine, it is a perfect accompaniment to the starter of tender vegetables and golden mullet.

Bellet Le Clos, Le Clos Saint Vincent 2009

Bellet wine, 100% Rolle, lively, elegant and youthful

The small spelt and seasonal vegetables blended with a herb pesto complement the subtle nuances of a fresh white wine with a mineral taste. It has been developed by Gio Sergi, who uses biodynamic farming methods that are helping the Bellet appellation to evolve.

Bellet, Cuvee Baron G, Château de Bellet 2008

Bellet wine, 40% black folle, 40% braquet, 20% grenache, harmonious and smooth to accompany the locally caught fish bouillon. This astonishing red Bellet is a young vintage, elegant but very light, generous and fruity. At the Château of Bellet, Ghislain and Catherine de Charnacé form a link between Nice and its hills and their personal stories of persistence and hard work.

Château d’Yquem 1996

Appellation Sauternes, harmony in complexity

A Château d’Yquem with a remarkable aromatic potential takes the stage with the coupe of red berry fruits and Rocagel milk ice cream. Thanks to ideal weather conditions, this great, classic vintage fully respects the balance of a Château d’Yquem. A mystery of nature – time has no mastery over this sweet wine. With its very long finish, it holds the promise of a moment of happiness.

Perrier-Jouët Champagne, Cuvée Belle Epoque 2002

Legendary bubbles. A flute of Perrier Jouet’s iconic prestige cuvéee Belle Epoque 2002 champagne rounded off the dinner with the wedding cake and its delicate covering of white chocolate. The foundation of the House of Champagne Perrier-Jouët in 1811 was itself  born of a marriage between its founders Pierre Nicolas Perrier and Adèle Jouët 200 years ago. An elegant and romantic flower champagne bottle for a fairytale Royal wedding.

Facts & Figures

1,600 barbagiuan, 150 kg of fish of ten different varieties, 100 kg of mullet for a delicate carpaccio,

300 kg of tomatoes, 50 kg of strawberries, 20 kg of wild strawberries, 30 kg of raspberries in every

variation of passionate red, 100 litres of milk for a creamy dessert, 750 delightfully soft limoncello

sweets, 2,000 majestic sugar flowers, the crowning glory of 250 hours of work for the seven- tier

wedding cake, 1.50 m in diameter and 2.50 metres high.

The staff Alain Ducasse and Monte-Carlo SBM

In the kitchen, Alain Ducasse will be assisted by Franck Cerutti Executive chef of the Hôtel de Paris and Bruno Caironi, consulting chef. Both where part of the opening team of Le Louis XV in 1987.” (Office of Tourism, Monaco)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

The Casino de Monte-Carlo

The Casino de Monte-Carlo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a comment

Filed under A Royal Wedding in Monaco, Attractions in Nice France, Belle Epoche Architecture n Nice France, Belle Epoque Architecture, Cathedral of Monaco where Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier III, CInque Terre, Cuisine of Monaco on the French Riviera, ebooks, IPad, Michelin rated restaurants in Monaco, Monaco on the French Riviera, Monico on the French Riviera in France, oenogastronomic, vino con vista