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- Cooking Lesson At Ristorante Marconi -- Sugo
- Letter From The Editor -- Back In The US of A
- Eight Cheeses, Three Wines...
- Ciao Amore...
- Isola dei Pescatori
- La 43rd Annuale Mostra Nazionale della Camelia
- Gray Morning Walk...
- A Lunch For The Festa Di San Giuseppe
- The Lungolago
- I'm Back In Stresa...
- News Bites -- Little Bits Of News From Stresa
- Eau de Cologne -- Made In Italy!
- A Last Look At Winter
- FYI - The Stresa Imbarcadero
- ▼ March (16)
I already had enjoyed a very memorable eight-course, cheese-oriented dinner at Marconi, read about it here, and so I knew the food was excellent. I then had the pleasure of attending a cooking lesson with Denis in his kitchen. During the two hour lesson we watched as he prepared seven different secondo piatti, meat dishes.
The first thing Denis prepared for us was this classic sugo recipe. The sugo, gravy, would then be used on many of the other dishes he prepared.
I made a pot of this sugo tonight. Very simple. Sedano, cipolla, e carota, celery, onion, and carrot, were chopped and put into a large pot with a meat bone, fresh rosemary, and about half a bottle of red wine. When the wine has reduced by about half, add a good amount of water to the pot, cover it, and let it simmer for an hour or so, until the liquid is again reduced by about half.
When he needs some for a dish, he uses a portion of the frozen, reheats it in a saucepan, and adds a slice of butter to thicken it.
Back in the Marconi kitchen, Denis let that pot simmer all through our lesson. The smell was wonderful, whet our appetites for sure, as he knew it would. For the dishes he prepared that evening he used previously frozen cubes. Fascinating evening, fantastic food. This is just my opinion, but what I took away from this lesson was that the essence of classic Italian cooking may be focused on the precision of the techniques, and the quality of the ingredients, rather than a new interpretation of a dish.
Now, I have my supply of sugo ready in my freezer. The question is... what should I make next to pour it over? Should it be Marconi's Bocconcini di Faraona Porchettati? Or their Filetto di Maialino con Mele Caramellate al Calvados?
During the nine-hour flight I watched a fascinating short film documentary called A Portrait of a Lady. It documents the day in October 2006 when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor posed for six hours to have her portrait done by the 25 members of The Painters Group in New York City.
The idea was this... what if 25 artists all painted the same subject, at the same time, same context, a prominent public figure, what would their 25 different impressions be? And the answer is... very different indeed. As one of the painters put it, "Every portrait involves three people: the subject, the artist, and the viewer." Very interesting thoughts about subjectivity and impressions, and you can read more about the documentary here.
Then it made me think, I was on a nine-hour flight remember, and had lots of time to think, about everything I had just seen during my time in Italy, all the hundreds of photos I've taken. And how, of course, what I see in them are my impressions and mine only. Maybe that's what makes other people's photographs so interesting... a glimpse at something we overlook even while looking at the same thing, like looking through their eyes.
So with all that in mind, I hope you continue to enjoy the photos I've taken and that I share here, and my observations. But I know you'll make them your own. My goal isn't to make you see what I see... but rather, to make you look...
Okay. So I think deep thoughts on long flights. But then my thoughts had to turn to more practical matters. I had an extra suitcase with me (lots of souvenirs), my cell phone was completely uncharged, and while I had many euro in my wallet, I had exactly 2 U.S. dollars. And that's why I found myself renting a luggage cart for $3.00 with a credit card and sitting next to it on the floor of the airport talking on my phone which was plugged into an electrical outlet, with my $2.00 in my pocket, eating the chocolate Easter eggs I had bought in Italy, while I waited for a ride home, and thinking what a great holiday I had...
A: As soon as I saw the window I knew it was Ristorante Pizzeria Nazionale, and you describe the restaurant so perfectly! I have eaten there a few times, always in the front room that you mention. I like it a lot also; I find it very 'real', not touristy at all...
This reader is speaking about Ristorante Pizzeria Nazionale, located at Piazza Dante Alighieri, 26, in Baveno. They don't have a Web site at this time, and unfortunately I don't have a photo of the exterior. As this reader says however, it's well worth a visit if you're looking for an authentic and well-priced Italian meal. My first Italian pizza was eaten here... I remember well that it had radicchio and bresaola on it, a combination I thought strange at the time, but of course it was delicious. Its location at the Baveno imbarcadero also makes it an ideal choice if you're using either the boats or buses as transportation.
Q: My sister and I are considering traveling to Stresa from May 23, 2009 through May 30, 2009 from New Orleans, Louisiana, in the U.S. What season is it in Stresa in May? Can we expect cool or warm temperatures?
A: As you can see from the chart below, the average temperatures in Milan during May are in the 70s, Farenheit, beautiful spring weather. But as you can also see, May is the month which receives the most rain. May 2008, was an unusually rainy May, with rain almost every day. Therefore, if you're planning to be in Stresa in May, hope for lovely warm temperatures, not too hot or too cold, with nice lake breezes, but be prepared also for some rain.
Eight dishes, eight cheeses, three wines, one espresso... this is what I ate for dinner last night...
Two thumbs up.
Two BIG thumbs up. We loved these.
Two thumbs up -- with some reservations.
Two thumbs up.
Okay. This is embarrassing. There should be a photo of Bocconcini di faraona alle erbe porchettati su crema di Pecorino di Pienza semistagionato here. But, um, we devoured them immediately when they arrived, forgetting to take a photo.
Obviously, two BIG thumbs up.
Biancomangiare al Castelmagno con miele di castagno e pere.
Two thumbs down. The flavor simply didn't work on this layered dish of pears and cheese.
Mixed review. One thumb up, one thumb half up.
I'm a little excited about this. So please forgive me if I've been eavesdropping a bit on strangers now and then. Like these three adorable ladies who were sitting at the next table to me at La Fontana in Verbania.
"Ciao, Amore...", she answers, in a sing-song voice. "Ciao, Amore...", her friends, in unison, mimic her, giggling. Then she says, "No, Amore, you clean the house today. I don't want to clean the house today, I'm at the bar with my friends!" This sends the other two into fits of laughter. They could be 10-year-old schoolgirls; I bet they had been 10-year-old schoolgirls together, once. Finally, the housecleaning plans are organized. The unlucky husband at home is given much to do. Which rooms need what works, what needs to be cooked. The friends interrupt often with suggestions. Finally, the woman ends the conversation as she began, sing-songing, "Ciao, ciao Amore, a dopo...", and her friends again chime in, so that he can hear them, "Ciaooooo Amoreeee... a dopooooo."
All that transpired in Italian, naturally. How cute they were, and how cool for me, that I got it, it clicked! Scusatemi signore, per essere maleducata. I'm sorry ladies, for having been rude. I apologize for the eavesdropping, but I'll always remember your conversation.
Could you spend a whole day on this little speck of an island? While most don't, while most tourists jump on and off the ferries like local stops and also visit the other Borromean islands, Isola Bella and Isola Madre, in one day, if you enjoy the slow approach, like I do, and have the time, like I did, si, yes, I think it's possible to enjoy several hours here.
These guys followed me through the narrow street until a cat scared them away.
Choose a restaurant. Many of course specialize in fish, but you'll find the usual assortment of pizza, panini, and pasta as well. Casabella, located just to the right of the boat station, is a Michelin 2009 selection.
What a difference a day makes...
This was my antipasto, sformato di formaggio con salsa di pomodoro fresco.
For my entree, from the selection of secondo piatti, I had the very traditional Milan dish, osso buco con risotto milanese.
My dessert was this torta di pane and an espresso.
All'Osteria Via S. Pietro, 575 Brovello, Carpugnino Tel. 0323 92 99 54
...And the lake looks much as I expected it to. Here it is, from the same spot that the winter photo was taken from. A beautiful day, with a brilliant, cloudless sky.
My first walk included this view, with the juxtaposition of the palm trees along the lake against the snow-capped mountains. An Italian couple stopped me in this spot to ask directions (and I knew and responded in Italian!)
The wishing-well in the center of town, freshly spruced up for spring... And early-season tourists at Caffe Torino in Piazza Cadorna...
I ate my first lunch here, a sandwich of prosciutto and formaggio, a glass of white wine, and che bel sole, beautiful sunshine.
I'll write more later... and often... But now, after sun and wine and sandwich and travel, it's time to rest a bit. A dopo... Later...
Stresa's mayor, Canio Di Milia, joins the blogosphere, becoming one of the first mayors in Italy to start his own blog, with which he plans to communicate with his constituents, record weekly video messages for them, and accept and answer their comments.
Sunday, March 8th marked the second annual Lago Maggiore Half Marathon, with over 2,300 participants leaving from Stresa and running to Pallanza. The winner was Ezekiel Jafari Ngimba, from Tanzania, with a time of 1 hour and 41 seconds.
If you don't feel like it's spring yet visit the Camelia Spring Show, March 21 and 22, at Villa Rusconi in Verbania. The two-day show will feature over 200 varieties of the Camelia, both antique and modern, music, a children's garden, sales of products and books, as well as the introduction of a new women's fragrance, based on the scent of Camelias, grenadine, and citrus zest, called "Fiori di Stresa".
Thanks, as always, to Stresa 2.0, www.stresaduepuntozero.blogspot.com, for my news information.
Events are provided by STRESA 2.0
- Where can I buy foreign newspapers in Stresa?
- Where can I eat breakfast in Stresa?
- Where are the public restrooms in Stresa?
- Is there a laundromat in Stresa?
- Can I rent a wheelchair in Stresa?
- Should I buy train tickets in advance?
- Are there any day tours to Switzerland from Stresa?
- How can I arrange a civil wedding in Stresa?
- How bad are the summer bugs in Stresa?
- Do I Need A Car In Stresa?
- Is there an Internet cafe in Stresa?
- Is there a supermarket in Stresa?
- Is it too isolated staying at an Isola dei Pescatori hotel?
- Will we need a car if we are staying at Isolino Camping Village?
- Are there any ethnic restaurants in Stresa?
- Can I buy tickets in advance for ferry or the cablecar?
- I was wondering if you might know or recall the name of this restaurant in Baveno?
IMPORTANT POSTS AND LINKS
- If You Have Only One Day in Stresa
- Top Ten Things to See in Stresa
- Alibus Shuttle From Malpensa to Stresa
- Driving Directions From Malpensa - With Photos
- Train Service from Malpensa to Stresa and Milano
- Linate Airport to Stresa Directions
- Milan Tram System Map and Transport
- Bus Schedule
- Stresa Boat Imbarcadero
- Stresa to Mottarone Cableway
- Bus, Train, and Taxi From Malpensa Airport
- Boat Schedule - English
- PosteItaliane - Postal service
- Trenitalia Site and Schedule -- English
- Weather Forecast
- Winter Trip to Stresa? Start Planning Here
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