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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.