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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trieste's Best Bakery: Pasticceria Penso

This is an excerpt from the longer article Eat Your Way Through The Friuli--Venezia Giulia Region of Italy by Elisabeth Antoine Crawford, author of Flavors of Friuli: A Culinary Journey through Northeastern Italy:

My fondest memory of Trieste will always be the day I first stepped into Pasticceria Penso. My timing seems predestined -- I arrived on a blustery February morning just as a few dozen chocolate cakes were being pulled from the oven. I was immediately invited back into the cozy kitchen to watch their transformation into Torta Sacher.

The patriarch of the family-run bakery, Italo Stoppar, doused each layer of cake with Maraschino liqueur, then spread on a thick coat of apricot preserves. His son Antonello drizzled the top with dark chocolate ganache, which was soon followed by a garnish of chocolate sprinkles around the sides. This was just the first of many such mornings; the next year, I arranged for an apartment across the street, so that I could spend countless hours observing their techniques-and sampling every cream-stuffed, chocolate-glazed, fruit-filled morsel I could possibly devour.

Read more about Elisabeth Crawford's favorite sweet spot

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get One Hotel Night Free In Italy and Beyond With JDB

I've long been a fan of JDB Fine Hotels & Resorts. Judy Baer and her team have a knack for representing truly unique and charming hotels in Italy and beyond. I often learn about a special new property from their offerings or see a place that I've reviewed (and loved) make it onto their list. JDB is a fantastic operation and offer great deals and add-ons for the properties they represent.

That's why I wanted to let you know about a really unique deal they are offering. Book three of four nights in 2011 at one of their participating properties and receive one night free. JDB SmartStart: One Night Free offers must be prepaid, are non-refundable, subject to availability, and are valid on bookings made between September 1, 2010 and February 15, 2011 for travel throughout 2011. One change of date is permitted, subject to approval by the hotel (restrictions apply).

Dozens of fantastic Italy hotels are on the list for the one-night free offer, including some of my favorites: Villa Mangiacane in Tuscany, St. George in Rome, Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo in Florence and Ca' Sagredo in Venice. JDB encourages you to work through your travel agent in using their services.

September 2010 Issue - Dining in Friuli, Exploring Verona

The September 2010 issue of Dream of Italy is out! Paid subscribers can login to see the PDF version (or read the articles on Web pages). Become a subscriber today (you'll get immediate access to this issue and nine more over the coming year, online access to nearly 75 back issues and some incredible Italy travel discounts, too! Here is what is in the current issue:

Eat Your Way Through Friuli–Venezia Giulia
Tucked away between mountains and sea in Italy’s northeast corner, tiny Friuli–Venezia Giulia boasts one of the country’s most distinctive regional cuisines. With influences from Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia, the Friulian people cleverly merge local ingredients with spicesfrom foreign lands. Learn about the best restaurants in Friuli.

Recipe from Friuli-Venezia Giulia: Gnocchi di Zucca (Butternut Squash Gnocchi)
Fall is the perfect time of year to cook this Friulian specialty - gnocchi made from butternut squash. One of the delightful flavors of the Friuli region of Italy.

Verona: So Much More Than Juliet’s Balcony
Sure this lovely city in the Veneto is known most for Romeo and Juliet, but there's so much more to Verona. Explore historic piazzas, the well-preserved Roman ruins and captivating museums here in Verona.

Where to Stay and Where Eat in Verona
We've got a selection of charming small hotels and family-run restaurants that you must visit!

In Verona for A Special Occasion?
Whether its a wedding or a business meeting, we've got the perfect palazzo for you to hold your special event in Verona.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great Place for a Spa Day in Rome

Sometimes running around Rome takes its toll. So much to see, so many miles to walk. If you're looking for a place to relax and rejeuvenate in the Eternal City, our friend Rebecca Winke tells us about her secret haven in Rome - Acquamadre Hammam. I can't wait to try it on my next visit to Rome.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dream of Italy Leads Readers to The Butcher of Panzano

I love hearing feedback from subscribers when they use our articles to help them with their travels in Italy. We first wrote about "the Butcher of Panzano" Dario Cecchini in 2004 when he was becoming famous the world over as a Renaissance man with absolutely his lucious cuts of meat and a store worth a special pilgrimage. Earlier this year, our friend Judy Witts Francini wrote a terrific new article about how Dario has put truly Panzano on the map encouraging new stores and places to stay. (His sister is opening a bed & breakfast in the town.)

Subscribers Peggy and Boyd Rapp wrote to say that the article led them to Dario's who was thrilled with the coverage (I later received a very nice thank you e-mail from Dario - what a gentleman.) Here is what the Boyds had to say:

Just wanted to let you know that we visited the artisan butcher, Dario Cecchini in Panzano as was published in your March 2010 “Dream of Italy” newsletter. We showed Dario the article and he immediately call his wife Kim (who originally is from California and thus speaks fluent English and Italian) to come over and meet us. We proceeded to show her the article and they were both so excited to read about what you had written. They particularly wanted to show the article to the rest of their family, because they have been trying to get them involved in the notoriety of the town.

They ushered us through the kitchen through a secret door (!) in the wall upstairs to the outside patio. We were greeted by a joyous chef and a helpful waiter. In the glorious sunshine and ambience, we enjoyed MacDarios and what was called a “Welcome” platter along with the best house wine-amazing! It was the kind of experience we were hoping to be a part of on our trip through Italy-spontaneous, local, and genuine. It made our trip! So, thank you, for sharing your experiences that we might also partake. Can’t wait to go back! Grazie! (Peggy is to the right of Dario in this photo.)

Did you know that our paid subscribers receive exclusive discounts for Dario's gourmet products (15% off at LovefromItalia.com) and Judy's Florence market tours (10% off)? Subscribe today to receive a list of discount codes!