Christmas in Camogli and the Cappon Magro
Cappon magro is an elaborate and rich Genoese salad of seafood and vegetables over hard tack arranged into a decorative pyramid and dressed with a rich sauce.
The foundation of a cappon magro is a layer of hard tack biscuits (“gallette”) rubbed with garlic and soaked in seawater and vinegar. Then a pyramid is built up layer by layer.
Each layer may consist of one or many vegetables, fishes, or seafood. All recipes include boiled white fish, a lobster, green beans, celery, carrots, beets, and potatoes. Some authorities insist that black salsify is essential. Other seafood and vegetables may also be included. Each ingredient is boiled separately, cut up, and seasoned with oil and vinegar. Each layer is dressed with a sort of cross between salsa verde and mayonnaise; it consists of parsley, garlic, capers, anchovies, the yolks of hard-boiled eggs, and green olives ground together in a mortar with olive oil and vinegar. The pyramid is topped with a lobster capped with its coral. The sides of the pyramid are garnished with green olives, botargo, capers, anchovy filets, crayfish, artichokes, and quartered hard-boiled eggs
Happy New Year from Casa Chiesi
Since we are visiting friends in Rome, we decided to do this quick video to thank everyone for your support in 2016 and wishing everybody a great 2017!
Love Nazim and Betti!
A visit in Umbria : The wonderful countryside
One thing we love of our dear friends in Italy is that on the whim of a moment an invitation gets extended and we find ourselves catapulted in beautiful Umbria. Since we tend to spend Christmas in Camogli with the whole family we wanted to be able to take a break somewhere else for a change and Renato, Paola and their son Carlos (who is the photographer behind these blog post photos) came to the rescue.
Renato’s parents have a beautiful country house in Umbria (which is close to Todi, to be featured in a Casa Chiesi article soon) roughly 4 hours and 20 minutes away from Camogli, so yesterday we embarked on a nice drive between occasional fog and bright sunshine arriving at destination at 5 pm.
On our arrival, we found out that the country mice (or rats in this case) had eaten through the plastic tubing of the brand new heating system and the house was as cold as ice (love the Foreigner song reference). Our guest had arrived two hours before so we had the installers figuring out what was needed to fix the unit and get the house heated. They will be back today.
No big deal since we made a nice fire, bundled up, wine and cold cuts along with great conversation heated up our souls. That and a nice visit to the local trattoria for a wonderful evening with friends.
Happy Holidays from Casa Chiesi
Happy Holidays greetings from Casa Chiesi!
We are closing out the year with happiness and joy for the progress that we are doing with our Italian Blog (mainly thanks to the support of some great folks around the world. Again THANK YOU and let’s continue together in 2017 with the same push of these last two years!
Love Nazim and Betti!
Here comes the fog again
On of the mysteries of life that I encountered upon my arrival in Italy in 1992 was a phenomenon which is alien to folks that come from Florida or at least Miami, my previous hometown prior to moving to Milan.
Yes… You got it…. The dreaded fog! Bear in mind that I hate driving especially during the nighttime or when there is a typical downpour (which in Miami was a standard due to the tropical nature of the place!). But nothing prepared me towards the encounter with a dense fog that engulfs your car as you are driving on an Italian highway.
This morning we decided to drive down to Genoa (where I work as a consultant) and then on to Camogli where Betti’s mom lives. It had been years since I came across the banks of fog that are typical of the Italian “pianura”.
One thing that has always surprised me is the amount of folks that drive in the fog way above the speed limit with a total trust that the fog is of a consistent nature. When I mean consistent I am referring to a distance that from which you can at least see the red headlights of the car in front of you (roughly 50 meters away). When I first encountered this meteorological wonder I would freak out since the visibility between banks of the stuff would vary from 6 meters till practically 20 inches off my windshield forcing me to stick my head out the window and follow the white stripe painted on the asphalt!
Luckily this morning the density was way better than that of around 20 years ago (blame it on global warming?) so we were able to make it down to Genoa safe and sound….but boy I hate driving in the fog!
Tripe : A Genovese tradition by way of tripperias
After spending more than 23 years commuting between Milan and Genoa due to work I was always fascinated by the old tales of the traditional “tripperias” that existed in this magical city which is Genoa.
For those who might be a bit nervous of Tripe as food to consider bear in mind that it is a typical staple in traditional Italian cuisine although it is a bit of an acquired taste since we are basically talking about the inside of the cow’s stomach.
Obviously after so many years and with the thought that such a long, long tradition had faded with the wind it takes somebody like Betti to come over one afternoon, pick me up at the office and surprise me with a quick visit to one of the last one’s still existing barely 3 blocks away from my office: Tripperia La Casana
A place stuck in time which dates back to 200 years ago run by Francesco Pissani and Gabriela Colombo we proceeded to stock up on fresh cuts of tripe to take back to Milan and put in the fridge for the coming winter season which is when this staple gives out its best. Look for a future recipe from Betti in the coming months.
If in Genova they are located at:
Tripperia La Casana
Vico della Casana, 16123 Genova
Telephone: +0039 010 247 4357
A visit to Cenova : The Stone Town
Taking advantage of a nice 4 day break from work (It was an official Holiday on November 1st) we decided to visit our friends in the small town of Lavina to prepare a new Casa Chiesi Learn with Us regarding a project that revolves around the spice called Saffron (coming soon!).
While we were in this wonderful location of the Ligurian Alps we came across the wonderful and quaint town of Cenova, up high in the mountains, which is famous for its beautiful stone constructions that are highlighted with decorative stone beams sculpted at the door entrance of each structure and that date back to the early 1500’s.
Located roughly 20 minutes from the town of Albenga I was quite fascinated on noticing that diverse families from Belgium, France and Germany had restored some of these buildings and established second summer homes. Crossing paths with a local resident I asked how was it during the Winter and she indicated that it was not as bad as it seemed since the town is constantly exposed to sunlight due to its position on the opposite side of the valley.
In the case that you ever venture towards this portion of the Ligurian Riviera we invite you to take a small detour and visit this wonderful jewel perched high up in the Ligurian Alps.
Cenova on Google Maps:
Here is a video that goes into detail regarding the decorative beams that are spread out through the town of Cenova:
Casa Chiesi on RossBrand.tv : Lifestyle Blogging in Italy
Super honored and happy to be on today’s Livestream Universe with Ross Brand! We will be talking about Lifestyle Blogging from Italy.The show starts at 3pm ET over at Livestream Universe on Firetalk at the following link.
Ross Brand is a former radio on-air personality, reporter and show host who fell in love with broadcasting again after spending a few days in October 2015 watching shows on Blab. Ross immediately started the @livestreamuni Twitter account to share news and upcoming livestream broadcasts. More info at http://livestreamuniverse.com/. Daily livestream updates and monthly shows, including #LivestreamSports, #AskTheExpert and #LivestreamNews.
Too bad that Betti is over at Eden, Utah living the make-up cowgirl life!
The tragic Italian Earthquake
As you can all imagine we are full of sadness as we watch the images that are coming out of Central Italy which was hit with a devastating Earthquake last Sunday in the early morning that totally wiped out the small town of Amatrice along with heavy damage in additional cities close by.
We would like to thank all our friends of Casa Chiesi for the message of support and love from all over. We were on the Ligurian coast in the city of Camogli which is further north (about 4 hours away) from the area affected.
Betti and Nazim
Casa Chiesi : Summer Holidays
As most of you know (or maybe not), Italians are quite serious when it comes to taking a vacation during the summer. What tends to occur is that you get between 2/3 weeks of a break from work which is another reason why I love this country. This year we have been traveling and researching new topics for Casa Chiesi so we expect to be back in September refreshed and ready to go.
In the meantime here is a quick hello from way up in the mountains above Clusone, Italy.