Dreaming of Carnival Venezia 
From the vineyards of Veneto to the rolling hills of Umbria
and onto the island of Ischia.

While we count down to Carnival Venezia, February 11 to 28, we have just published our new culinary tours in Verona, Umbria and the island of Ischia (read on below and more to come).
And while we choose recipes, photos and scribe new tours to come, the scent of Venetian cenci, golden ribbons of flash-fried dough dusted with confectioner's sugar waft in from our kitchen. It's almost hard to concentrate when our test kitchen keeps bringing sweets to our desks.
But in just a few days, we are off to Venice for Carnival. The nine hundred year old event transforms the city called La Serenissma, into an outdoor stage. The attraction was celebrated since 1094, under the doge Vitale Falier. However, in 1797 the King of Austria outlawed the festival, the wearing of masks was forbidden and the party was over. In 1979, Carnival Venezia was reinstated with all its merry-making, elegant evening balls and mask wearing and parades, carrying on with food, wine, music, dance, art and concerts in palazzos throughout Venice.
Winding waterways, a gliding gondola near a quay and Carnival masqueraders hiding behind a golden Venetian mask is Carnival in Venice!

Happy Cooking 
Table Talk
Verona, Umbria & the Island of Ischia
Peruse, cook & savor our new culinary tours 2017
- we'll be adding lots more too

Executive Chef Michele invites you for six days in the countryside of Verona. Stroll the grounds of your 15th-century castle and pick fragrant sage, lavender, and rosemary from the castle garden for Chef Michele's masterful cooking lessons. Experience sublime local wines, traditional Veronese dishes and a delicate, sweet ham so beloved they throw a festival just to celebrate it. Join us for a romantic culinary adventure in the land of Romeo and Juliet, the place Shakespeare called "fair Verona".  

Join Chef Patrizia and her family in the countryside of Assisi as they open their family recipe book and share traditional Umbrian recipes, dating back to the Etruscans. Hands-on cooking classes teach you how to prepare recipes from the region, while immersing you in the history of a land called Italy's Green Heart. Visit the garden and pick seasonal ingredients that are used in the cooking class. Much of the organic produce used during the cooking classes is from the farm

Mamma Concetta and Papà Salvatore welcome you for a week of cooking and relaxation on the Island of Ischia. Long ago, the Romans found solace in the island's volcanic landscape - all-natural thermal baths, island flowers, the freshest seafood and miles of beaches, all created by Mount Epomeo. Today, the island features a series of thermal gardens in full bloom, where guests may take a dip in the all-natural hot springs and enjoy spa treatments catered to their personal needs. Join us for an unforgettable stay on the Island of Ischia

Happy Cookers At Cooking Vacations  

Recipes From Our Kitchen

Polenta Verde
Delallo Veneto
Umbrian Pollo Umbriaco
~ Umbrian Drunken Chicken

Coniglio all'Ischitana
~ Ischian Rabbit

Cenci Frittelle Di Carnevale
~ Carnival Fried Pastries

Sip & Swirl 

Polenta Verde Delallo Veneto    
Paired with:
Inama Soave Classico
100% Gargenega, this Soave Classico offers floral notes of chamomile and elderflower that match well with the polenta and cheese. Mineral notes keep the palate clean and there is a little sweet almond on the finish.
Umbrian Pollo Umbriaco ~ Umbrian Drunken Chicken   
Paired with:
Bocale Montefalco Rosso    
Choose Umbria's famous Montefalco wine to accompany this delicious boozy chicken dish. Deep ruby red and with a slight violet tinge, this Montefalco offers up sumptuous blackberries, currants, spice and vanilla - a well structured wine that will drink a treat.

Coniglio all'Ischitana ~ Ischian Rabbit
Paired with:
Casa D'Ambra Per'E' Palummo  
This name of this wine made on the island of Ischia, literally means 'dove's foot'. It has an intense ruby color and exhibits plum, cherry and wild fruits with just a touch of mushroom which makes a great pairing for this slightly gamey rabbit stew. There is also a sapid minerality which comes from the volcanic soils in which the grapes grow.

Cenci Frittelle Di Carnevale ~ Carnival Fried Pastries
Paired with:
Acinum Prosecco Extra Dry  
What better way to wash down these frittelle than with a bottle of bubbly? This Prosecco combines floral notes, spice, pineapple and a little exotic fruit. Its fresh, zesty finish makes this an ideal partner for these tempting fried sweets.

With Love From Italy

Organic Thermal Olive Oil Face Cream ~ Serpico Biocosmetics
Restore, relax and indulge in organic face and body products created by Alessandro Serpico, former professional ballet dancer, from the island of Ischia. Serpico has created a one-of-a-kind product line using the purest thermal water, olive and mineral mud from his homeland.        

From the heart of Verona is Venchi
and just in time for Valentines Day
Not only one of the world's premiere chocolateries, creating Gianduia bars, chocolate spreads, blocks and gelato too - but also chocolate pasta!Chocolate pasta is the brainchild of Venchi in collaboration with Campofilone Pasta Company in Marches. Better than dessert!   Visit them at 
Need an Italian wake up call?
This complex and sophisticated caffè will brighten up your day
Authentic Italian espresso relies on a crafted blending of the finest Arabica coffee from a variety of sources. For over three generations, the Bizzarri family has been evolving and improving on the enduring craft of Italian espresso, combining the artistry of the blend with the precise science of the roast to create signature blends that reflect the passion and personality at the heart of the Italian caffè.
Visit them at   caffeumbria.com 

aly On A P late

Flavors Of The Season
By Germaine Stafford

Germaine continues her roundup of what's happening in the culinary world in Italy and gives you her restaurant tips, book recommendation, and a list of seasonal foods for February.
What's In Season?  
Sea Bream
Swiss chard
Brussels sprouts
Broccoli rabe

Mangiare Bene

Dining in Ischia
Giardini Poseidon Terme
In between swimming and sailing, check into Poseiden Terme garden, Ischia's natural sea and well-being outdoor spa for a swim, spa treatment or dip into one of its 20 pools.

Eat well at any one of their three dining options.

il Restaurant Fauno
Lo Snack Bar 
Cibo & Vino

Book Corner  
The Dog Who Ate The Truffle:
A Memoir of Stories and Recipes from Umbria
By Suzanne Carreiro     
An authentic culinary journey - part memoir, part cookbook, sharing the lifestyle of the Umbrian people, places, and cuisine.
Veteran food critic Suzanne Carriero spent a year and a half in Umbria. And this book shares her experiences with local cooks on ancient recipes, traditions, and the people who pass them on.
She writes of Umbrian life, from buying a rabbit in the country and making torta di Pasqua for Easter, to reading the Italian wine label, and drinking cappuccino after lunch - a taboo in Italy. The Dog Who Ate the Truffle immerses the reader in the local life of Umbra's people, cuisine, and lifestyle. Her stories are colorful and are accompanied by traditional recipes.
Buon appetito

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Lauren is always cooking & writing from Positano, Italy,
while welcoming cooking guests from around the world.

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