Category Archives: high life

Take Me to the Capital of Chocolate!

Did you know?

Italians tend to eat chocolate only in cold seasons and after Easter they seem to switch to chocolate ice cream. Who would want luscious rich melt-in-your-mouth addictive cocoa goodness all year around? Not Italians as it turns out.

But in Turin, this is not the case. According to Anna Lebedeva, Turin is the capital of chocolate — all year round.

So where to go? She has you covered!  Of the five that she recommends, I would first make a beeline for Peyrano.  It is that hazelnut cream and grappa filling that gets me. The Torta Peyano sounds pretty good too!

a cake filled with chocolate cream, orange marmalade and coated with dark chocolate.

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What do you think?

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Hot Soup on a Cold Night in Montreal

The story starts off this way

On a dark and windy night last December, in the middle of a brutally cold snowstorm in Montreal, where everybody was speaking French and acting like it was no big deal, I ate one of the greatest bowls of soup I have had in years.

The greatest bowl of soup? Hmmm …  of course, one is supposed to visit Montreal in winter. It is a place where the cold is an attraction. But, the author points out, you need to know where to stop over. Where to warm up. And where to chow down.

Read on! And you may need to check out the ginger rose fizz at Damas.

What! You are being sent to Toronto! No problem BA has a city guide for Toronto. Go for it!

Christmas in Bressanone

Here is the grab

With the two bell towers of the Cathedral guarding over the colorful stands, and mountains sprinkled with snow framing the piazza where the stands are set up, the Christmas market in Bressanone may very well be one of the most photogenic in all of Italy. Add the Christmas lights and decorations put up in the pedestrianized streets of Bressanone’s medieval center, and even the most jaded person won’t be able to not feel at least a little bit of holiday spirit.

Here is the link. for more

And this is a cool image

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Go for it!

NY Eats – Supermoon Bakehouse

In general, I would not travel for pastry. For a great dinner, perhaps. But not for a croissant.  And yet, when I read Dave Lebovitz’s loving description of his trip to the Supermoon Bakehouse in New York, I wavered.

From the outside looking in

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Inside

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And here is a — errr — something

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I will be headed over to NY soon for other reasons, and will make a point of stopping over — even though it will be a bit out of the way for me.

Passito di Pantelleria and More!

Sadly, many Americans tend to race off after a meal. They are in a hurry to do something other than to enjoy the pleasant moments when dinner conversation tends toward the more mellow and friendly topics, and one feels at peace with the world.

The Italians know better. They will not rush a meal. And when it is over, they will linger of a digestiva. Perhaps a glass of Passito di Pantelleria?

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Of course!

But there is in fact, a large selection of digestivas to choose from. Here is a fun primer.

Next step – off to the wine store to see what there is to enjoy!

Harvesting Olives in the Veneto

First, some background

The volcanic region of the Colli Euganee in the Veneto produces high quality extra virgin olive oil which is certified DOP. (Protected designation of origin) There are several producers, of which probably the best is the Frantoio di Valnogaredo, which can be found in the lovely small village of the same name, a place where you could easily be in the 18th century instead of the 21st. Valnogaredo has an elegant 17th century villa once owned by the Contarini family. What was once the barchessa (another useful piece of vocabulary), an adjoining out-building for housing carriages, agricultural machinery and a barn, is now an independent frantoio, bought and run by the Barbiero family since 1960. (The present owner’s father worked for the Count in the 1940s.)

This is the time of year when olives are harvested and turned into extra virgin olive oil. You can capture the feel from this fun article!

And if you are curious, why not order some  fine products from Frantoio di Valnogaredo!

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Pausing in Praiano at the Casa Angelina … and more!

The Amalfi Coast is loaded with very cool places to visit. Sadly, most of the really fun things to do are shut down in November. But now is the time to play for next year. May is the perfect month to go, with fewer tourists and great weather.

And you might consider stopping over at the quiet town of Praiano.

Praiano is an ancient fishing village that was the favorite summer retreat of first-century Roman emperors and the medieval-era doges (dukes) of the maritime Republic of Amalfi. Whitewashed homes with terraced gardens cascade down dramatic stone cliffs; historic sites and natural wonders pepper this hilly expanse of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and small boutiques sell locally made wares, all minus the tourists who throng the streets of Praiano’s better-known neighbors.

And if you do, the place to stay is the Casa Angelina. It looks like this

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Add inside?

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And the rooms?

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Ok. So if this is not enough, there are other great hotels on the Amalfi Coast. Here are a few.

Go for it!