Monthly Archives: August 2010

Buon Ferragosto!!!

Tomorrow is a big holiday in Italy, Ferragosto, or the Assumption. This is a celebration of the Virgin Mary. All over Italy it is a day in which people relax, get out of town (una gita fuori porta), and have a big meal. Last year I arrived in Milan on Ferragosto on my way to visit friends in Liguria. There was no one around. The city is always completely deserted on this day. This year I’m in New York, working at the Maslow 6 wine shop in Tribeca. Surprisingly, many people have come into the shop tonight and the wine bar next door is chock full of people. On a Saturday night in August I would have expected the city to be empty. I’m going on a little trip tomorrow to a non-wine producing country in Central America. I’m excited and need a rest. Even if I no longer live in Italy, Ferragosto for me is a holiday and a day to relax. Perhaps I will blog from my trip but perhaps not. Happy August. Today almost has a slight chill in the air, wow, the school year is about to start :). I always think of the calendar as the school year with Summer being a discreet period of time. Enjoy these next weeks. I know I will.

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Auguri Nikki and Fabs

I was lucky enough to participate in a dear dear friend’s wedding last weekend. We all had a great time with much alcohol, sunshine, food and merriment and more importantly, the happy couple seemed very happy, as it should be. Nicole was a beautiful bride and she and her family are very resourceful. One of the ideas for the wedding which I loved was her wedding cake.

Scott, a very close friend of Nicole’s family for many years, made her cupcakes which served as the wedding cake. While I know cupcakes are all the rage, I had never heard of anyone using them for a wedding. It was a fabulous idea and the cupcakes were delicious. Here’s a picture of the beautiful cascade of Scottcakes.

Scott sells his cakes in Provincetown, Massachusetts where I will be spending a week at the end of the month. I’m thrilled to be able to have more of them. It would be fun to do the wedding over as well but I guess that would be a bit expensive

Auguroni Nikki and Fabio. Cento di questi anni e tutto quello che volete della vita.

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La Notte di San Lorenzo – The Night of the Shooting Stars

August 10 is officially known in Italy as la notte di San Lorenzo or the Night of the Shooting Stars. This is because, apparently, tonight if there were clear skies, one could see many shooting stars. I always thought this was very poetic but somewhat of a myth. Until I went sailing in the Mediterranean some years ago on August 10. I saw tens of shooting stars and it was indeed magical. I have no idea why this is the case, from a scientific point of view, but effectively everyone in Italy looks to the sky on this evening to make a wish on a shooting star.

There is also a very famous movie called the Night of the Shooting Stars by the Taviani Brothers. I love that movie and most that have to do with World War II.

Recently I had the pleasure of translating for Giovanni Taviani, the daughter of one of the brothers, at an event hosted by I-Italy in New York. She runs a great documentary film festival in Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. Salina is a magical place and Giovanna, a fascinating woman.

Salina is the island where Il Postino was filmed, that wonderful film with Philippe Noiret and Massimo Troisi about Pablo Neruda. Salina also has the best granitas, especially the one made from Almond milk or latte delle mandorle. I went sailing around those islands and am a very big fan despite having encountered 100 knot winds….yes 100 knots.

I wish I could go to the festival that starts on September 12 but I think it may have to wait until next year. Giovanna’s own film was very interesting and I hope she gets to show it to a wider audience in the United States. I’ll be looking up at the sky tonight. Remember you can make a wish on every star you see, as many times as you want. Sounds like a good deal to me.

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Vinitaly Comes To New York on October 25, 2010

As many in the food and wine trade know, Eataly, the 36,500 square foot Italian marketplace on 5th and 23th will open at the end of August. The marketplace is a collaboration between the Bastianich family (Lidia and Joe), Mario Batali and Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti and his son Nicola. The Eataly concept was first launched in Torino.

The store will open to much fanfare and the Vinitaly event promises to bring big crowds. In an interview I did with Joe Bastianich earlier this year, he noted that there are 7 restaurants of varying kinds within the marketplace. I’m excited to see the inside. I pass by the store often but haven’t been inside yet.

Vinitaly Day will be held on Oct. 25 at Eataly in New York. The day will include a series of trade panel discussions followed by a tasting for the trade and then a charity tasting event for consumers with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

I love Vinitaly in Verona and look forward to the latest Vinitaly Tour which this year will have stops in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

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