Perfect Holiday recipe and Give the Gift of Travel
this Spring to Piedmont
Ciao a tutti!
Just in time for Christmas, we’re coming to you with some news about chocolate , hazelnuts and an amazing flour-less cake recipe to knock your Christmas stockings off!
Is there anyone who can resist the wonderful combination of dark chocolate and hazelnuts?!  The origins of this delicious combo are rooted in Piedmont, the elegant region in the northwest of Italy and one of our favorite places to visit. Groves of deep green hazelnut trees cover the hills of the Langhe south of Torino, which has a long history of making chocolate. 
The Savoy family ruled Piedmont for several hundred years and their alliance with Spain brought cocoa from the new world. The first license to produce chocolate was granted in the 17 th century in Torino, and since then chocolate makers from all over Europe, but especially Belgium and France, have come to Italy to learn the art. 
It was a pastry chef for the royal family of Savoy who first hit on the idea of mixing ground hazelnuts together with chocolate when he was short of cocoa, and the marriage of the two made history! From the classic pyramids of Italian gianduia to the finest Belgian chocolates and industrially made Nutella, the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate is a winner. 
Every spring on our tour of Piedmont, we begin the week in Turin (Torino) with a visit to an artisan chocolate maker, a behind-the-scene look of how chocolate goes from raw cocoa beans to finished gianduia for sale in the shop.  Lots of chocolate tasting is involved! Another classic chocolate specialty in Torino is the bicerin , a hot drink of melted chocolate, espresso and cream, best enjoyed in one of the beautiful historic cafes that this elegant city is famous for.

We are taking a group to Piedmont May 21-28, 2020 and we have some open spots. Sign up before January 15th and we’ll give you a discount of $400/person! The spots will go quickly, and you'll have to wait until 2021 to travel with us there. We'd love it if you joined us!

We wish you the best this season has to offer , filled with friends and family, great wine and something yummy cooking on the stove

Buon appetito!
Gina and Mary

Torta al Cioccolato e Nocciole
(Chocolate & Hazelnut Chocolate Cake)
5 ounces good quality dark chocolate (bittersweet or semisweet), chopped
6 T unsalted butter
1 T brewed espresso
1 T hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)
½ C sugar
½ C whole toasted hazelnuts, finely ground*
3 large eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter and flour an 8” round cake pan. In a large pan set over simmering water combine the chocolate with the butter, espresso, liqueur and stir until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in sugar and ground hazelnuts. *Tip: Grind the hazelnuts with half of the sugar. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.

In a clean stainless-steel bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir 1/3 of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining egg whites until fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center out clean. Let the cake cool completely on a rack before inverting it onto a platter. You can finish the cake for serving with powdered sugar on top, or a ganache and seasonal berries.
 This Month's Italian saying... 

"Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai.”

Never count years or glasses of wine!
Give the Gift of Travel this year!
A food and wine adventure in Italy with us would be a great gift this holiday season! Our culinary tours are all inclusive during our week together. We'll take care of all the details and you can enjoy a relaxing vacation immersed in all the delights of Italy.

As mentioned above, we have a special early bird price for our Piedmont tour in May (21-28th).
Our Tuscany tour June 6-13th have just 2 spots left. Contact Mary for your booking form. or call her 972-342-8308

For the Fall, there are open spots to Puglia (October 4-11) and the Tuscany weeks (Oct 17-24 and 24-31, 2020) . Contact Mary to get more information and get registered! Click here for the dates and details on our website.
What We're Drinking with Christmas dinner!
Wines from Piedmont, of course! Gina is drinking a 2015 Nebbiolo d’Alba from our friend Chiara Boschis, one of the leading producers of Barolo and famous for increasing organic vineyards in the region. Mary and Michael will be serving Barolo from Ceretto , one of our favorite wineries to visit in Piedmont The most elegant and important of Italy’s grapes, nebbiolo is light in color but deep in flavors of red fruits, leather, roses and anise ; it goes beautifully with holiday meals of roasted beef, pork or duck and we’re all glad we shipped some home on our last trip to Piedmont!
Serralunga Castle
Gina Stipo and Mary Stipo Potter | Ecco La Cucina | 1-972-342-8308| Email | Website