The Sacred and the Profane

August is a special month in Italy: the entire country closes down for about 2 weeks and it all looks like a Hollywood set -- where did all the people go? To the beach, to the mountains, but no one stays in town! It is also the start of the harvest time, and that is…

Swept Away…

Everyone should take a sailboat trip around Italian islands at some point in their life.   Now when Domenico Modugno sang 'Nel blu dipinto di blu' this is what he was talking about!   A recent cruise around the Egadi Islands off of Sicily's western coast (departures from Marsala or Trapani - both fantastic small…

Che mondo sarebbe senza Nutella? or A world without Italy?

When we were children, there was an ad: Che mondo sarebbe senza Nutella? Would it be a world worth living in? I guess the question I want to ask, along with the fabulous planners of the Italian Pavilion at Expo, is: Is that even conceivable? A visit to the Milan Expo - which, by the…

Writing About Wine… Since 1300!!!

Sunday was the big Cantine Aperte event: throughout Italy, vineyards opened their doors to the curious and the thirsty, and explained their production to the masses. For those of us who were urban-bound, events like the presentation of a reprint of Arnaldo da Villanova's Trattato sui vini: Liber de vinis delighted the mind and the…

A University with Taste

I finally made it to Pollenzo the other day,to the famous Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche, a.k.a. l'Università del Gusto (Taste University)! What better pilgrimage to prepare for today, May 1st and the opening of the Expo in  Milan dedicated to the theme of Feeding the Planet (more about that in a future post!) I toured…