Aperitivo in Milano

August 8, 2012

Americans traditionally think of happy hour as a time to enjoy discounted drinks once the workday is over. Italians however, have an entirely different (and far better) concept for these pre-dinner, post-work hours. I was first introduced to aperitivo, or drinks with complimentary food, in Milan a couple years back when visiting my friends. I imagined bowls of chips, pretzels and popcorn. I should have known better that this would be a disgrace to the Italian culture, and rather we would feast upon an open buffet of various pastas, meats, cheeses and vegetables. Fast forward to 2012, and I found myself once again in Milan, enjoying an evening with friends at Luca e Andrea Cafe on the Naviglio Grande. Although meant for just a warm-up to dinner, their macaroni and cheese and pasta salad left me far too full for anything else.

Cocktails on the canal

Pasta, couscous, chicken and vegetables 

Navigli

Pasta

Macaroni and cheese

 

 

Breakfast on the Beach

August 6, 2012

Now if only I could transport myself from the office back to Cinque Terre on this lovely summer Monday morning for some breakfast sandwiches on the beach… Have a wonderful week! x

Ham and cheese sandwich

Bar Eden Gelateria

Ham & Cheese

A Taste of Cinque Terre

August 2, 2012

You can’t get much more Italian than starting off a morning with an espresso, taking a mid-day break for pizza, and cooling off with some gelato. After parting ways with France, it was Italy-bound to the little tourist destination known as Cinque Terre, most famously known for their five cliffside towns, breathtaking views and crystal clear water. Our first day we decided to hike from the town of Monterosso through the cliffs to Vernazza. Breaking a sweat and working up quite the appetite, here is all the deliciousness we were able to enjoy along the way.

Espresso at a sidewalk cafe

Espresso

 

Croissants

 

Lemons for some fresh squeezed lemonade

Honey filled croissant

Pizza

 

Gelato

Gelato

Chocolate Milkshake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moustiers Sainte-Marie

July 31, 2012

From a distance, you could easily mistaken the ancient architecture of Moustiers Sainte-Marie for the gorgeous cliffs that rise up behind it– but take a second look, and it’s actually a vibrant hiker’s town with restaurants and exquisite pottery boutiques. After a long day’s drive, it was time to settle down for some local wining and dining in the center of town. The welcoming signs of Restaurant Les Comte had us sold. We thoroughly enjoyed a delicious burger and pesto pasta while admiring the camper’s vibe around us before calling it a night.

Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta

Restaurant Les Comte and a pottery boutique

Burger and Fries

Around town

Fries

Moustiers Sainte-Marie

 

 

 

 

 

Crillon Le Brave

July 26, 2012

The fresh air and rolling hills, the winding stone corridors, the hourly chimes of the bell tower and the to die for menus are all part of Crillon Le Brave, the quintessential Provencal destination. What was once ruled by Henri IV’s fiercest generals during wars of the 16th century has now evolved into one of Travel + Leisure’s top European hotels for 2012. And well deserved, my time spent there could not have been better. Lounging poolside, a relaxing massage and the impeccable service was all quite lovely, but of course my favorite was the fantastic food shoot that took place with the help of chef, Phillippe Zemour. After our morning at the market, it was down to business in the kitchen. Known for their elegant and refined style, the menu is all locally sourced offering a true flavor of southern France. Although it was difficult to leave, it’s certainly on my list of places that I no doubt will return to once again.

Setting the table on the terrace

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Artichoke

Gratin of fish soup

Fricassee of seasonal vegetables, fingerling potatoes and bearnaise reduction

Roasted bull fillet, fricassee of seasonal vegetables, fingerling potatoes and bearnaise reduction

Hotel entrance

Roasted shop veal, green asparagus from olivier’s garden, stuffed potato with white truffle

Terrace view

Bocce ball

Roasted shop veal

Pool area

Asparagus

Fresh bread and rosemary

Seabream in salt crust

Seabream in salt crust

The view

Vegetables from the garden in barigoule refreshed, bacon shavings from bigorre, coriander reduction

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Fresh vegetables

Fried cherry with basilic

Fried cherry with basilic

Apricot tart

Apricot tart

Monday Market in Bedoin

July 20, 2012

The small village of Bedoin, at the foothills of Mont Ventoux, comes alive on Mondays as locals, cyclists and visitors enjoy the weekly farmers market. As part of the photoshoot for Crillon Le Brave, I ventured over with their chef, Philippe Zemour for some fun candid shots browsing– and tasting– the local produce, meats and cheeses. After a successful morning in town, it was back to the hotel for an afternoon of cooking and shooting. More to come soon!

Morning at the market

Crillon Le Brave’s chef, Philippe Zemour

Samples of cheese

Lavender

Fresh produce

Oll & Spices

Chef Philippe Zemour & Crillon Le Brave

Foie Gras and meat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch at La Coquillade

July 18, 2012

While driving from Crillon Le Brave to Moustiers Ste Marie, I was told to stop for lunch at La Coquillade, another one of France’s Relais and Chateaux accommodations. While I was slightly unsure if I translated the French scribbles into my GPS accurately, I relied on my surroundings, and was positive that we were driving into the middle of nowhere. But sure enough, in the midst of wine country, signs sprouted up and we were in luck. The dining room was actually closed due to a birthday celebration for the owner, but they were kind enough to allow us lunch in the pool area. A perfect mid-day break, we lounged poolside, taking in the gorgeous views while trying some local rosé, a fresh salad and gazpacho.

Heirloom tomato gazpacho

Fresh caprese salad

Salad

Tomato spread on toast

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