The polar vortex has returned to my little corner of the world and set a frozen panic in place that needs a visual image of warmer times. I’m offering this proverbial sign of spring – the swing. This one is called Adagio.
This hand-woven basket swing made of brightly colored rope cord from Italian designer Francesco Rota, will bring a smile to your face as you remember the nostalgic thrill of swinging higher and higher.
At Italyin30Seconds we try to bring the best of the Italian lifestyle to our readers with a written shot of espresso to inform, educate and encourage you to experience Italy. We know you’re busy so we try to do this in 30 seconds or less. When we saw this Lilliputian moka pot, weighing in at 3.9 grams we knew we found our poster child.
A piccolo coffee maker probably no bigger than a coffee bean. The creation of Italian silversmith Pietro Marmo it only makes 10 drops of coffee at a time. Hardly enough to fuel our espresso driven life but a metaphor none the less for the small drops of sweetness to be found in la dolce vita of Italy.
View a brew.
Professional and amateur musicians alike who appreciate the sound, look and feel of a handcrafted guitar consider 3 Italians from New York to be their “guitar heroes”. Sometimes referred to as the “da Vincis of the guitar world” John D’Angelico, James D’Aquisto and John Monteleone together created a body of work that includes some of the world’s greatest guitars.
In the late 19th century Italian immigrants in the United States brought the traditions of Neapolitan mandolin makers and the violins from Cremona to the streets of New York with craftsmen who followed the well-regarded methods of their homeland. Soon their skills were translated into New World rhythms and the sounds of Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Dion were played on D’Angelico guitars. Artisan skills were passed down from apprentice to student and today the tradition continues with an exhibition of guitars at the Metropolitan Museum of Art made by D’Angelico and his apprentice Jimmy D’Aquisto and his succesor John Monteleone.
The names of artists who have purchased and played guitars made by the above masters is said to read like the Who’s Who of American music including Paul Simon, Janis Ian and other performers who play on these legendary instruments.
The Italian language is the most romantic language in the world. The high percentage of Italian words that end in vowels give the language a musicality with sounds overflowing into unrestricted puffs of air flowing over lips, teeth, tongue and throat. Italian is a phonetic language, which means that it is spoken the way it is written. Every vowel is pronounced no matter how many of them are in a row. Such as the word aiutare where each syllable is pronounced rapidly but distinctly (AH-EE-OO-TAH-RAY). Separately yet flowing into one another without any pause. A pretty romantic description of a language.
Today is St. Valentine’s Day, a day when love is in our hearts, minds and lips. Here are a few “love” phrases in Italian that you can use to create an Italian inspired Valentine’s Day.
Ti amo = I love you (To be used with your significant other)
Ti voglio bene = I love you/I like you very much (To be used with family and friends)
Mi piaci = I like you
Mi piaci tanto = I really like you
Ti adoro = I adore you
Tu sei il mio bello/la mia bella = You are my handsome/beautiful one
Sei l’amore della mia vita = You are the love of my life
With the 2014 Winter Olympics starting on Friday I thought it might be interesting to find out something about Russian wine. It seems the Russians and their Baltic neighbors (Georgia, Slovenia, and Romania) have been enjoying the fruit of the wine since the time of the ancient Greeks. It wasn’t until the 1800s that Russia began to produce wine commercially but without much success due to nature, the departure of French winemakers during the Revolution and heavy government restrictions (Gorbachev’s 1980s anti-alcohol campaign dampened Russia’s spirits).
Russian wine country is around the Black Sea, near enough to Sochi. In September 2014 a trade exhibition and international conference called Wine Vodka Sochi is planned for the area to promote and explore the “beverage” industry in Russia. It’s clear from the name of the conference that wine will be competing with vodka, Russia’s most famous alcoholic beverage. There are bars that serve wine in Sochi, like the private and exclusive Bubble Bar at the Swissotel Sochi Krasnaya Polyana, but as to the local neighborhood enoteca with vini della casa, ;wine lovers in Sochi may have to settle for a silver or bronze when it comes to the enoteca event.
Think pink as in wine selections for Valentine’s Day. Our Italian inspired choices all have one thing in common, the color pink. Four wines, four different expressions of the Italian Rosé chosen for their excellent enogastronomical versatility meaning they are a perfect food pairing whenever a white wine is “too little” and a red wine is “too much”
Here are our picks to introduce you to world of Italian Rosé Wine.
Selection 1. Ferrari Classic Method Sparkling Rosé – crisp and sharp from the foothills of the Alps not far from Lago di Garda in the Trentino region. The pale red rose colors in the glass have a bouquet of blossoming flowers, red berries and wild strawberries.
Selection 2. Banfi Rosa Regali Brachetto d’Acqui from Piedmonte- I have written about this wine on more than one occasion because I have sweet memories of drinking it. A “delicious bottle of silky rose colored bubbles”. The food wine pairings go from the sublime to the simple including this breakfast casserole that would be the perfect pairing for a Valentine’s Day breakfast.
Selection 3. A Tuscan Rosatello from Ruffino – with notes of raspberries and strawberries, the bottle label is a romantic splash of pink.
Selection 4. Serra Lori Isola dei Nuraghi from Sardinia – described as being reminiscent of unsugared strawberries and cream. This wine with notes of mint, pomegranate and licorice has many nuances.
Nuova Simonelli, an Italian company with a global presence in 109 countries worldwide, has been chosen to supply professional espresso machines for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Russia is a booming market for Nuova Simonelli. At the beginning of October the company sponsored a barista training course in Moscow and were welcomed by the Russians who have been showing a greater interest in Italian coffee bars and espresso in particular.
Nuova Simonelli is not new to the Olympic spirit. In the winter of 2010 Nuova Simonelli partnered with Illy to bring the culture of coffee to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. This year espresso enthusiasts will have a choice of venues that serve a high voltage shot of espresso brewed with professional Made in Italy machines.