Yesterday we arrived at our friends house in the Casentino area of Tuscany. So how do we start our week in Tuscany? By going back in time and having lunch at Trattoria Filetto in the town of Stia which is a family run restaurant that is stuck in the 1950’s! As I sat down memories of my first trip to Italy invaded my brain! The table cloth, the bottle of red wine on the table, the Bakelite telephone on the wall! I knew that when we would arrive here we would find so many traditional not modernized locations like this one! And the food? Authentic, simple and cheap ($15 per person which included 2 dishes and a bottle of good Chianti!) Great way to start our week here!
Yes! They are at it again! Every year the Chiesi sisters decide to embark on the task of making fresh Tomato sauce that is used all year around and I have to admit is of superior quality than the supermarket brands.
The only issue: It is a huge endeavor which requires purchasing 200 kilos of tomatoes, gas burners with propane tanks (not a fun ordeal in my opinion). The funny part is that each year Betti says that it will be the last time we go through this….and just like clockwork when the Holiday comes up they do it again!
So finally we are on our third day of Holidays (the first two days involved sleeping…sleeping…and more sleeping). This morning we decided to go down to Pianello since we will have guest over for dinner tonight so we had to catch up on provisions. This week we also expect to make 200 kilos of tomato sauce this weekend (yes, Betti is nuts!). Next week on the 15th we leave for Tuscany (somewhere close to Poppi) where we stay with friends and do some more Ingredients for Casa Chiesi.
Last night I had the pleasure of being a guest on one of my favourite Hangout Events on Air called “Lights, Camera, HOA” A place for newbies to practice. I was interviewed by Meloney Hall, Rayne Dowell and Sheila Strover who really made me feel at home! We covered the essences of running mobile Hangouts on Air and the new live stream tools Meerkat and Periscope.
Watch the Youtube video of the Hangout here:
This weekend we decided to visit the Vintage market called Popcorn Garage (do not ask me about the name cause it makes no sense at all!) upon the advice of our daughter Zoe who is fed up with staying at home after her hospital release at the beginning of the week. Set in the beautiful context of the Idroscalo at Linate (roughly 30 minutes away from Milan right by the Linate Airport runway) this is a typical Sunday market full of hipsters selling nice Vintage articles. I tend to come to Magnolia cause it also serves as a concert venue for major groups on tour during the summer here in Milan.
Yesterday I received a phone call from my better half (Elisabetta) who was down in the Saturnia Terme resort doing make-up for a shoot of a Woolrich commercial. Since she had two hours to kill she decided to give this Periscope thing a try (For those of you that do not know Periscope is a mobile/tablet App that lets you live to stream connected to your Twitter account). I have been doing Periscope and Meerkat for the last two months (we started by doing a Meerkat with our friend Mia Voss when she was here in Italy) showing interesting backdrops from Italy along the lines of what we offer here on the Casa Chiesi website.
Obviously, those of you who know Betti remember her as a witty and funny presence via our YouTube channel so I thought it would be an automatic to have her jump on the platform. But I sensed some resistance over the phone (“I want to do this with you…What if nobody tunes in…etc, etc). Well after a bit of coaching she did her first Periscope and load and behold she was hooked! I quote from the scope:
Wow! Hi, New Zealand! Thanks for watching!
Thank you for the hearts!
Yes, we will get some wine very soon and relax.
and so on…
Obviously with the excitement of the scope she totally forgot to save for replay purposes (In fact she is bummed out about not watching the replay…but hey now she is convinced and is brainstorming some ideas for Casa Chiesi!).
Check us out at @casachiesi.com on both Periscope and Meerkat
If you want to see what the whole fuss is about on your regular computer check out this link
So I get back to work after a nice 4 day Italian Holiday break (It was the Festa della Repubblica on June 2nd) to find this nice surprise on the kitchen table. Mint Cream Liquor! Based on Betti’s famous (our friends are going nuts over this stuff and some prefer it to Baileys!) Lemon Crema (if you missed that recipe check out the YouTube video here In this new version you just substitute the Lemon peels with fresh garden picked Mint.
Last Saturday it was great to work on a Bridal Show with a twist: instead of the typical Bride styling we went for a semi-elf in the forrest….but a very elegant one.
If you happen to pass by Malpensa Airport on your vast travels you might just happen to stumble upon an exhibition of our dear friend Andrea Rovatti regarding food, buildings and friends. Obviously, when he asked me to pose for one of the portraits at the show I could not imagine what the final photos would look like. When a friend asks you to bring your favorite gold jacket (the one you used for your wedding on Miami Beach 23 years ago!) and then to pretend that two mandarin fruits could be earphones…well I was quite confused!
Today was the opening of this show and I have to say that I am delighted to have been a part of it. By the way, that gold jacket that I am wearing is starting to be a kind of icon in town. Friends have asked me to lend it to them, wear it when I go on stage at the Don’t Tell My Mom storytelling event or just to bring it along when we have an aperitivo. Maybe I should seriously consider renting it out!
If you happen to pass by Malpensa Airport here is more info on the show:
Portraits of Milan Malpensa Exhibition info
Every year on the first Sunday of May the town of Camogli celebrates a huge sagra (festival) that revolves around the frying of enormous amount of fish in a huge skillet (and we mean gigantic!) along with the traditional burning of a huge “falò” which is a themed structure built out of wood. Usually, they tend to be two structures which involve the preparation and participation of the local population (grown-ups and kids) in the building of these wood structures that are in the evening set on fire.
This year the subject matter was a shark and Noah’s Ark. As you can imagine the town is packed over the weekend when this event occurs so we avoid going to it like the plague!. But thanks to the collaboration of Betti’s sister we can offer these shots from the 2015 edition. Enjoy!
Photo credits: Simona Chiesi