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Seewis is in the Prättigau/Davos Region of Switzerland. The language spoken is Swiss German and it is located high up on the green pastures of the alps. Homecoming of the cows in September/ October is celebrated with great fan fair, cow bells, älpen horn, folk music and local specialties such as bundnerfleisch (air dried meat), raclette, alpen kasse, the regional cheese. It is a traditional event played out throughout Switzerland. Small family run farms blanket the alps and this festival highlights local traditions, costumes and the spirt of the alps.
I joined in the festivities and created a video I hope will give you a little bit of the atmosphere of the Vehaker, the return to the barns from the upper alps.
The vibrant street life of Paris is magical. The only way to really experience the city is to walk and view the impressive architecture, art and monuments. Stroll through the gardens, visit the museums and walk along the Seine. Feel the magic atmosphere where cafe life is the center of social life. Romance is what Paris is all about in every aspect of life and known as “The City of Love”. Everywhere you look Paris awakens every emotion!
Come with me on short walk and visit one of my favorite cities in the world, Paris.
The pebble-paved streets wind through Haut-de-Cagnes’ narrow alleyways past stone houses, artist’s studios, restaurants and a few shops. The Chateau Grimaldi, a fort built around the 1300 dominates the village overlooking the sea. Replicas of canvases by well-known artists who painted this romantic place are stationed at the locations of the scene. The clay colors of the roof tiles, grays of stone walls, colorful vines creeping up the sides of the ancient buildings seem to be growing where ever they can find a little earth. Haut-de-Cagnes is a heritage site, classified as a “Monument of France”.
When I first walked up the pebble streets some 30 years ago, I thought I was stepping into a Renior canvas. Brush strokes and pallet knives created this village from the imagination of a genius painter I thought. Of course it must be, because Renoir lived and worked in Les Colette just around the corner from Haut-de-Cagnes. The panorama over the hills and blue Mediterranean gave him inspiration and his canvases reflect the colors and vegetation of the region. So this must be where I am, in one of his paintings. Then, when I came back to reality, I saw that Haut-de-Cagnes was a real place, with real people, and real stone buildings and flowers and I was going to stay here forever. Well I almost did and have visited it many times.
Painters lived in this region of France such as Picasso, Chagall, Monet, Erté, Rodin, Bonnard, Matisse and Modigliani who spent time with Renoir – just to name a few. All conspired and enjoyed each other’s company in this medieval world. The village reflects the romanticism of the past and you wander through the streets appreciating the beauty that they saw. Today you can visit Renoir’s home, now a museum where you can see why he was in love with Cagnes-sur-Mer.
In recent years there has been a revitalization of Cagnes-sur-Mer and in many ways it has improved along the sea. A boardwalk goes on for miles all the way to Nice. Restoration of the beaches and buildings has brought new life with little seaside restaurants that serve both French and Italian specialties. The city is charming in the area of the market place where people seem to be stationed all the time in the café’s. Maybe they are really sculptures by Renior who probably joined in this typically French pastime of café life. Sometimes I feel they are purposely placed there so visitors think that relaxing and drinking espresso or a glass of wine is all people do here. There are many new apartments in the center of the city, which I suppose is to be expected, and in some ways nicer architecture then some other towns. The town has all the shopping you need with outdoor markets and excellent boulangeries. Years ago it was possible to find small boulangeries and boucherie (butcher shops) in Haut-de- Cagnes, but they are long gone. Many foreigners have bought apartments and live part-time here making it difficult for small shops to survive. But they have also renovated the apartments and have played a role in keeping the village alive and free from commercialism.
There is a parking lot in Cagnes-sur-Mer, a paid parking garage in Haute-de-Cagnes and parking along the streets, but the chances of finding parking is slim. The public parking lot in Cagnes-sur-Mer is a quarter the price of the parking garage and with very good bus service to Haute-de-Cagnes. The shuttle bus leaves every 15 minutes from June to September from the Castle and can be taken from several places along the route to Cagnes-sur-Mer. From here you can catch buses to other destinations along the Côte d’Azur. The shuttle is free and the bus service is inexpensive and a good alternative considering the lack of parking in Nice or Cannes.
By some stroke of luck Haut-de-Cagnes has survived tourism. You quickly appreciate this when you visit St. Paul de Vence. It hurts to think that such a beautiful village that inspired so many famous artists is now a big commercial mess. The people of Haut-de-Cagnes and all those who settled there saved this magical place from the sickness that takes over when people only see dollar signs. This could have easily happened here, but instead it has stayed the same and you feel like you are going home every time you visit. This is the village where I could easily see myself getting lost in forever and many new residents have. It’s simplicity and charm just carry you through life as though you have nothing else to worry about except stepping around the palate knife and paint strokes that created it.
Vence and St Jennet are easily reached and are a nice side trip. Vence has done a lot of restoration and in fact has replaced its fountains with ones dating back to its origins. Many guests visit the perfume factories in Grasse. Collectors search for perfume bottles that are now collectables at some of the weekly outdoor markets.
I will only mention two restaurants in the village and one in Cagnes-sur-Mer that we found worth visiting. Le Fleur de Sel we did not visit because it was closed for vacation, we have dined here in the past and I was told that it was good and under new management.
You won’t find many restaurants in the village but a few stand out. Chef Stephane Francolino, owner of Entre Cour et Jardin, told us that many Italians fled to France during WWII and settled in the region mostly in Grasse to work at the perfume factories. Since we had just come from Dolceacqua, Italy, his hometown, it was an interesting connection for us. The region’s culture is intermingled with Italy and its cuisine reflects this. Entre Cour et Jardin is a lovely little restaurant decorated in the style of the village with paintings adorning its walls and in one corner a typical French fireplace. The chef’s menu reflects his love of travel and his creativeness in combining his roots with his cooking. He is the cook, waiter and owner and takes pride in his relationships with his customers, who he calls his family. Stephane and his restaurant are as enchanting as the village and exactly what one would expect to find here.
Thank you Stephane for this lovely recipe.
Entre Cour et Jardin
102 Montée de la Bourgade
06800 Haut de Cagnes
Tel: 04 93 20 72 27
Fax: 04 93 20 61 01
Crème de foie gras et fruits
(Cream of goose liver and fruits)
Yield: 40 glasses
Bake: 15 minutes @ 212ºF
250 g (9 oz.) of stuffed goose liver terrine
1 egg yoke
90 cl. (3 1/4 oz.) cream
Pimient d’esplette (Basque chili pepper)
Mix all the ingredients.
Put a raspberry and some raspberry coulis (puréed and strained raspberries) at the bottom of the glass, and then add the preparation.
Bake approximately 15 minutes in the oven at 100º C (212º F)
Put them in a cool place for 2 hours. They can be refrigerated for a few days.
La Goutte d’Eau
108 Montée de la Bourgade
06800 Le Haut de Cagnes
Phone: 04 93 20 81 23
La Goutte d’Eau has contributed a wonderful typically French “tarte au citron”. I will test the recipe and post it at a later date. I loved it because it has a light citron flavor, not overwhelming, with an Italian meringue topping. The little outdoor eating area is very pleasant in the evening and owners run back and forth to the restaurant to serve its guests outdoors. They are fun and it is a casual restaurant with an atmosphere so typically French.
23, Place Sainte Luce
06800 Cagnes Sur Mer
The restaurant is located next to the left of public parking lot in Cagnes-sur-mer. Its contemporary setting is a surprise, as the outside looks quite old with a small outdoor terrace seating area. The food was very good and even on what one would have considered an off night; it was completely booked with locals.
Le Cagnard Hotel
Rue Sous Barri
06800 Le Haut de Cagnes, France
Le Cagnard Hotel, our choice for many years has come upon some difficult times. Still beautiful, it’s one time one star Michelin restaurant has been closed. But I remember my first encounter with Madam Barel showing me each of the 4 rooms and 2 apartments so that I could choose my favorite room (They have many more rooms now). There were huge tulips on top of the antique chest and on stools placed around the hotel. It had a small elevator that never seemed to stop at the right floor and has a beautiful restaurant with its painted ceiling tiles (now opens to view the stars). I remember the New Years Eve we spent here with a fire glowing in the large fireplace and the huge selection of chèvre for dessert. This is where I was introduced to chèvre. On our 10th anniversary of visiting Le Cagnard, Madam came into the dinning room as we were having breakfast and insisted that we join her for a bottle of champagne to celebrate our 10 years of visiting her. We never made it back to Switzerland that day and she has remained in our memories of Haut-de-Cagnes. This year we opted to rent an apartment which we find a more interactive and interesting way to enjoy a place that is a home away from home.
Impressions of Haut-de-Cagnes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Vence, St. Paul-de-Vence, Saint-Jeannet
Traditional Italian food of Easter typically includes: capretto o agnello al forno (roast lamb), carcioffi fritti (fried artichokes), pizza rustica (a pie stuffed with ricotta, sausage and hard boiled eggs), la colomba di Pasqua (a dove-shaped sweet bread). Taralli, cassatelli, biscotti di pignoli, pena di Pasqua (sweet bread with hard-boiled, pastel colored eggs baked in the center), and torta di ricotta (Ricotta cheese cake) are prepared in every Italian home.
Chocolate Easter eggs are a special treat for children in Italy. The “uovo di pasqua” – a large decorative chocolate egg that comes with a gift inside are beautifully wrapped in elaborate and colorful decorative foils weighing from a few ounces to about 18 pounds. Stores are filled with “uovo di pasqua” creating a psychedelic and festive atmosphere. In past times, parents would take the gifts to their cioccolataio (chocolate maker) and it would be placed inside the chocolate egg.
The taralli is a treasure from Apuglia and are eaten any time of the day. Simple yet delicious recipes are created with eggs and flour. Fennel seed, black pepper, red pepper flakes and wine added and formed into oval or round shapes. In southern Italy, taralli come in many sizes and flavors. These are typically referred to in Neapolitan dialect as “scaldetelli” little boiled things. Many, but not all taralli are dipped in boiling water before being baked creating a nice sheen on the outside. Some are baked and brushed with egg wash. Taralli are biscuits or snack food, but can also make an appearance as a dessert after a meal is over and dunked into wine. In our family they are the star of the Easter desserts along with the Ricotta Torta and Torta di riso. They are traditional desserts that make each and every day special and holidays a delight for everybody. The Italians have a saying “no matter what the argument it can be resolved over a glass of wine and handful of taralli”.
The Easter egg taralli (as I call them) are only made at Easter and have no other flavoring. Typically, taralli are not frosted, but there is a version called “Charmel” that are lightly frosted with a confectionary glaze and sprinkled with tiny colorful sprinkles. Egg taralli are hard, but as light as clouds. Our recipe for egg taralli are boiled and then baked turning a warm caramel color. I make large quantities of them and serve them in an Italian hand painted bowl from Apuglia. Taralli dunked in “Vino Santo”, a sweet Italian white wine coming from the Tuscany is like floating in air. Very appropriate for Easter!
Easter Egg Taralli
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes at 400ºF or until light brown
Yield: 5 Dozen
7 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons oil
Add the salt to the flour in a large bowl. Mix the egg and oil into the flour and form a ball. This step can be done in a mixer. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it is smooth. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel. Let it rest in a warm place for an hour.
Roll out pieces of dough into 6” x 1” cylinders. Take each piece of dough and bring the ends together to form a doughnut shape. Press the ends together with your thumb.
Fill a large saucepan with water and let it to come to a boil. Drop them one at a time into the boiling water. When they rise to the top, remove them to a dry board or kitchen towel. Make a cut along the outside edge of the doughnut. This allows them to rise.
Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in a 400ºF oven until they are a light golden brown. The taralli will be hard on the outside, but light and airy on the inside. They are not sweet, but more like a biscuit. They will store in an airtight container for weeks.
Serve them with “Vino Santo”, a white sweet wine from the Tuscany.
In “Deserts”: A Frosted Taralli, Charmel are an Easter Specialty
In “Food”: Taralli: An Italian national biscotti
in “Biscotti”: Double Dip Wine Taralli
Torta di Ricotta e Riso
Ricotta is typically made from the whey of mozzarella, provolone, and other cheeses in Italy. It is made from sheep’s, goat, buffalo and cows milk whey. It is a sweeter, dryer cheese then the version made in the US, which is made of cow’s milk. It is lighter and is naturally low in fat. Used in many dishes in Italy such as cassata, biscotti, pizza, and pasta i.e. lasagna and ravioli, Ricotta is the favored cheese in Easter dishes in Italy. Calzone, Pizza Rustico, cassata, torta di riso, cannoli are made in every household on Easter.
Torta di Ricotta e riso is an Easter specialty in my family. Some might call this a calzone or pizzagaina, but we call it a torta or pie. If you are a vegetarian this torta is the original recipe and requires no adjustments as it contains only rice and ricotta. I have added a little lemon zest to the original recipe. This happened by mistake one Easter as I had in my mind another of our Easter recipes and mistakenly add the zest. I really liked it and kept it in my torta recipe. You can use orange zest also, which goes very well with Ricotta. We also make a pizza rustico, ravioli and a torta de formaggio or Italian Ricotta cheesecake.
Torta di Ricotta e Riso makes an impressive luncheon dish.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes @ 350 degrees
Yield: 4 loaves. 8-2” slices per loaf
7 cups flour
2 eggs (allow them to come to room temperature)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm to mix as needed
2 lbs. whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Dough in a food processor
Make the dough by mixing the eggs, and flour, baking powder, shortening and salt in a food processor using the dough utensil. Add the water slowly and allow the dough to form a ball. Remove it to a board and knead it for 15 minutes until it becomes smooth. Cover it with plastic wrap or with a clean kitchen towel.
Put the flour on a board and make a well in the middle. Add shortening and salt and baking powder. Put the eggs in the middle and using a folk, begin to bring the flour into the well until you have all the mixture and flour blended into ball. If you need to add water, do so but only a little at a time. Knead and set-aside covered with a cloth or plastic wrap.
Cook the rice for about 20 minutes until done and allow it to cool. While the rice is cooking prepare the ricotta mixture. Mix the ricotta, eggs, and lemon zest (zest is optional) and salt. Combine the rice after it has cooled with the ricotta mixture.
Roll the dough out to a 12”x 8” oblong shape. Place the filling in the middle and fold the dough over the filling in an envelope shape. Crimp the edges by folding the dough over one section at a time starting at one end. Brush with an egg wash (egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water beaten together) and bake until golden brown. Cool before cutting the torta.
The country with its dramatic landscape, lakes, rain forests, jungles, volcanoes, markets and welcoming people is in transition. Its colonial cities such as Granada and Leon are colorful, a photographers paradise.
The population is 95% catholic and there are many churches; a colorful country with buildings, doors and dwellings painted in bright tones. Tourist are discovering the culture and beauty of the country and there is a transition under way.
Those who are not afraid to experience adventure, traveling the country by car can be very rewarding. The landscapes with cone shaped volcanoes, lakes, beaches and pastures are dramatic.
Although the infrastructure is only just beginning to be developed, there are a few good highways and many of the roads are challenging but drivable. We traveled from the North-west to the South-west of the country, parallel to the Pacific Ocean coast line, visiting the major inland cities.
Although the driving is slow it also allows you to see rural life and stop at the small food stands along the way. I highly recommend renting a car and experiencing the country and culture.
It should be said that speaking Spanish is a must. Although you can find a few people in the cities, particularly in the hotels that can speak English.
I can’t say enough about the warm nature of the people. In general they live in dwellings that are built from any type of material that can be found, many with dirt floors and within their property they are cleaning and sweeping to maintain an orderly environment constantly.
Their dwellings are often built in the jungle under trees for shade, smoldering fires are lit to keep bugs away. They are friendly, and more then willing to engage in an attempt to converse, or have you take their photo.
They love music, dancing and being together with family. Their neighborhoods are a close community of people and they are hard workers.
It also must be said that the common areas are filled with trash and my guess is that the country doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle trash removal. The beaches, crowded with locals all the time, are not well maintained. High-end condos for foreigners are in the process of being constructed along the coasts, but the small villages, small hotels, restaurants and roads are inadequate to handle large numbers of tourist.
Having said this, we ate in the local restaurants and found the food to be not only delicious and fresh, but we totally enjoyed everything about them including all the local activity and entertainment.
It was fun to spend time being locals for a little while. The food is very inexpensive and there is no need to eat at higher end restaurant. We visited cantinas, small little eateries, beachfront restaurants and the local markets and never had a problem.
It is always best to be aware of eating in local places, it can be risky, but although we brought along all the medication we needed, we never had the need to use them.
Adventure travelers will find hiking, volcano sliding, zip lining, surfing and many other sporting adventures to explore. There are 25 volcanoes, 9 of which are active. Hiking them opens dramatic panoramas in every direction.
It is time to visit Nicaragua now and enjoy this interesting country before progress changes it.
A traditional sweet bread made at Christmas time, panettone was created in the Lombardy region of Italy and is the undisputable holiday favorite. Scholars have traced panettone back to the middle ages. The dome shaped sweet bread is traditionally made with candied fruits, zest and flavored with liquors. Today you can find it with chocolate chips and other ingredients. It is less like a cake then light fluffy sweet bread. The use of natural yeast results in a dough that rises slowly. The rising time can be as long as 48 hours. The long leavening contributes to the long shelf life, which can be as long as 6 months. Italian bakers take pride in the age of their leavening and some are maintained over many years.
It is eaten in Italy with a glass of white wine and in earlier time generally served as a dessert. Panettone is recognized in Italy as a very special greeting gesture of the Christmas season. Restaurants and shops offer panettone to their customers as a Christmas greeting and they can be found in all bakeries and markets in all sizes. At Christmas time you can be overwhelmed with gifts of panettone and I often use them to make panettone bread pudding or French toast for my overnight guests and I also freeze it. Panettone has become so popular that you can find it year round not just in Italy but all over the world.
They are baked in greased paper molds, which is removed like a cupcake. The greased paper molds help to maintain their freshness. The molds are available on Internet sites as well as metal panettone pans. The disposable molds are traditional and I prefer them to the pans. Usually packaged in brightly decorated boxes or colored decorated foils in blue and red – they are stacked high in markets.
We make panettone in smaller paper molds similar to cupcake cups but larger, and individually wrap them in cello wrap. We sell them as wedding favors, for parties and business conference breaks. Make them yourself and give them as Christmas gifts to special friends and family.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: Yield: 375ºF for 35-45 minutes
Yield: 12 Panettone cups
2 1/4 teaspoons. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 pinch of sugar
4 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups raisins, soaked in dry Marsala, rum or brandy for 30 minutes
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
6 oz. unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup candied fruit, mix with a tablespoon of flour
1 orange zest
1 lemon zest
1 teaspoon flour, to mix with the zest
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tablespoons water
Combine the yeast, pinch of sugar and water and mix well to dissolve the yeast. Let it stand for about 10 minutes in a warm place such as the oven to activate. When foam appears on the top of the water, the yeast has been activated.
Put the flour, sugar, salt, butter and eggs in the large bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Mix the dough with the dough hook at low speed. Add the yeast mixture slowly. When all the ingredients are incorporated, increase to medium speed or until the dough forms a ball.
Spread a little flour in a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free place to rise for 4 hours. It should double in volume. Remove the dough and knead it for 5 minutes and return it to the bowl. Cover and let it rise again until it has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Strain the raisins and press down on them to remove the liquid. Lightly flour the work surface. Punch down the dough and make a large circle with your hands. Sprinkle the raisins, candied fruit, orange peel and lemon peel over the dough. Fold the dough over the mixture and knead it lightly until all of the ingredients have been incorporated. If you are adding the citron and/or zest, mix with the flour and add it to the dough.
Divide the dough into 12 round equally sized balls, approximately 4 1/2 ounces each. Butter each of the panettone cups lightly and place a ball in each cup. Cut a cross into the top with a knife. If using scissors make a small cut in both directions on the top or each ball of dough. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle some almond slices over the top. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until it has doubled in volume again.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Bake the panettoni for 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Allow them to cool on a wire rack. In this case we don’t have cups and we are cooking several cups.
Note: The Panettone can be made in one or two molds to make a larger cake. They are wonderful gifts as they have a long life and can be beautifully packaged.
My grandmother would make biscotti for days before Christmas and hide them in an armoire in her front hall under lock and key. If she allowed any of us to get close to them, they would have disappeared long before Christmas. But if we asked her nicely, she never said no. She took the key out of her apron pocket and unlocked that treasure chest filled with sweet, spiced biscotti and handed you some of your favorites.
She had a small white sideboard with a roll-down top. Here she made all her biscotti and that sideboard was our first stop when we entered her kitchen. We could never understand how so many wonderful desserts could be prepared on such a small surface. When I was young I remember her cooking on a black iron stove and blocks of ice being delivered for her wooden icebox. She was in her element even through she wore herself out during holidays. Her family showed their appreciation by filling her home with all their kids in a flurry of noise feasting on all her specialties made with a strong dash of pride. The variety of cookies, cakes, stuffed artichokes, pasta and breads, that came from that kitchen was like being in Grandma’s Christmas Wonderland. We all loved and looked forward to these holiday reunions.
The tradition continues with members of our family preparing their favorite biscotti for events such as wedding, showers and holidays. Every child in our family begins to take part in this tradition at an early age. You don’t have to encourage them, as they can’t wait to get their little hands in all of that dough. It is a way to bond with the kids and make them part of a family tradition. We know that future generations will enjoy these recipes and get to know a little about Grandma and our heritage.
An Italian family can have many versions of the same biscotti and every person takes great pride in their recipe. Pizzetts are a family recipe that is used on almost every tray we make. Pizzette are a double chocolate biscotti scented with spices, roasted almonds, orange zest, expresso and chocolate chips. They are the star attractions on our cookie trays for Christmas and every special event. You can make these cookies in advance and freeze them for up to 2 months unfrosted.
My Christmas greeting to all my readers and let me know if pizzettes are on your Christmas dessert table.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes @ 375ºF
Yield: 4 Dozen
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup roasted almonds, cut in half
4 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate. chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground clove
2 teaspoons baking powder
Zest of one orange
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup warm water, orange juice or coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn sryup
2-3 tablespoons Brandy or Cointreau, Grand Marnier or tablespoon Kahlua
Mix the cocoa powder into the water or juice. Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl including the nuts, add orange zest, almonds and chocolate chips. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and the water cocoa mixture. Slightly beat the liquid while in the center well and begin to bring in the dry ingredients (you may have to add a little more liquid if it is too dry). Gradually add vegetable oil to form the dough. You may need to wet your hands with oil. The Dough will be thick and will have an oily glaze. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut small portions and roll out the dough in the form of a cylinder. Pat down the top and cut into 1” slices on a diagonal to form a diamond shape. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 375º F for 8-10 minutes. Do not over-bake the cookies as they will be become dry and hard.
Melt the chocolate with the butter over a double boiler or in a microwave oven. Add the liquor a little at a time. Taste and add more if needed. The original recipe did not include liquor and is fantastic just with the chocolate, butter and a little syrup.
Frost the cookies when they are completely cool.
Since I have so many hits for this recipe during the holidays , I decided to post it again. Hope you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy my Uncle Vic’s recipe.
Every year on Christmas Eve, we gathered at Uncle Vic’s house for our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner. As family and friends arrived, he would greet them with a cup of his famous Glugg. The aroma of Glugg filled the house with the wonderful scent of spices. Coming in from the cold New England winter and greeted with a warm cup of Glugg instantly made you feel that you were home. With the fire glowing in the fireplace and the family gathered around snatching a piece of fried fish, the festivities began.
He always had the biggest Christmas tree that he cut down himself. Covered with old antique ornaments and everyone’s gifts stacked under the tree, we could hardly get into the living room. The house was open to anyone who didn’t have a place to go and filled with fun as each person arrived bring their homemade biscotti as everyone gathered around to see them being added to our dessert table.
He handmade all the ornaments that were placed outside and inside the house. Christmas was his time to give his family a memorable evening. We carry on this tradition to this day, passing our traditions to our children and remembering those who taught them to us.
The original recipe came from a friend of my uncles and over many years he tweaked it and made it his own. My uncle has long passed, but his daughter and granddaughter continue this tradition and we toast Uncle Vic every Christmas Eve with his famous Glugg.
Uncle Vic prepared bottles of Glugg and presented everyone who visited during the Holiday’s with a bottle to take home. This recipe is best started a few weeks in advance as you want the spices to meld together creating a rich aroma.
The effort of preparing a homemade gift to present to friends is a special way saying Happy Holiday’s and this spicy wine really hits the spot on a cold snowy night.
Uncle Victor’s Old Fashioned Glugg
Cook Time: 30 minutes on high, 10 minutes on medium heat
Yield: 2 1/4 gallons
2 oranges sliced
3 oz. dried prunes
1 lb. seedless raisins
6 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
12 -14 whole cloves
1 large can frozen grape juice
1 gal. Port wine
1 gal. Rose wine
1/2 gal 80-100 proof grain alcohol (80 proof vodka may be substituted)
1 quart cranberry juice (optional)
OTHER THINGS NEEDED
Cheesecloth approx. 24” by 24”
Place the orange slices, frozen grape juice, raisins, prunes, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds and cloves in a large saucepan. Add just enough water to cover. Boil the mixture until the raisins are plump with liquid; about 30 minutes on high. Add small amounts of water as the water reduces from boiling. You may also add some Port wine to enhance the taste of the fruit if you plan to use it to compliment a dessert or ice cream.
Let the fruit mixture cool and then place the cheesecloth in a large strainer to cover the inside and overlap the top. Carefully pour the mixture through the cheesecloth to remove sediment. This will have to be done a few times until the liquid is clear of sediment. Set aside the fruit.
Return the liquid to the large saucepan. Over medium heat, add the Port and Rose wines and the vodka and stir. Taste to see if it needs more sugar and add according to taste. You can add the cranberry juice if you like a more tart flavor. Heat the mixture until it is warmed through; approximately 10 minutes.
DO NOT BOIL.
Your Glugg is ready to be served. Enjoy!
• Glugg can be reheated anytime
• Save empty wine and liquor bottles for storage of leftover Glugg.
NOTE: Left over fruit may be turned into a delicious Holiday preserve.
The International Black & White Spider Awards were announced November 5th in a world-wide presentation online. Two of my photo’s were nominated.
11th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from National Geographic, Washington DC; The Armory Show, New York; TBWA, Paris; Victoria Film Festival, Canada; Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels; Studio Hansa, London; Fratelli Alinari, Florence; Australian Centre for Photography; Young & Rubicam, Lima; and Anthem Worldwide/Marque Branding, Sydney who honored Spider Fellows with 627 coveted title awards in 31 categories.”It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,556 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. ”
The Gelmersee Bridge
Located in Oberwald, Switzerland above the Grimsel Pass is Gelmersee (lake). The bridge is situated at the entrance of the Gelmerbahn mountain railway to the Gelmersee. It is a pedestrian bridge suspended over the Handeggfall with a spectacular view of the dramatic falls.
The Raymond & Maria Stata Center
The Raymond & Maria Stata Center was designed by Frank Gehry. Located at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts is the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Departments as well as student dorms on the upper floors. The exterior tiles reflect the surrounding landscape and creates a visual picture of the activities of student life in the area.
This year’s harvest is in full swing in the Bünder Herrschaft.
Last year I had the fortune of photographing Jürg Obrecht and his team harvest and process the grapes.
With urgency and passion, the activity was intense as the temperature in the evening was beginning to drop.
Not a minute could be wasted in getting the grapes into the crushers and vats.
The moment to harvest is decided with experience, gut and closely watching the weather.
Jürg took over his father’s winery (Weinbau & Weinhandel) in 1997. Along with his young family he built a team of talented people to develop and create innovative and traditional wines.
Added to the production of his own 17 acres of vineyards he buys the harvest from another 50 acres of vineyards in Jenins and Maienfeld.
Surrounded by spectacular views of the Alps he produces excellent and award winning red and white wines.
Jürg modernized his production with the newest techniques and equipment to generate top quality wines.
Eighty percent of the grapes he grows are Pinot Noir, the rest are mainly Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Sylvaner.
I thank Jürg and his team for tolerating my camera and me and for the lovely glass of wine.
It was hard to shoot and drink at the same time, but as always I found a way and completely enjoyed the experience.
For more information of the Fünf Dörfer – The 5 villages along the Wine Route of Maienfeld Switzerland
Umbra’s hilly landscape is known for its many medieval hill-top towns that are surrounded with olive groves and vineyards as far as the eye can see. Stretching from Perugia to Spoleto it is a rich agricultural area producing olive oil, black truffles and wine. Tourists will also find beautiful textiles items such as scarf’s and linens produced in the region.
I was impressed to discover the renovation of some of the hilltop towns that today are being occupied, not only by part-time summer residence, but are beautiful vibrant communities. This trip we set out to visit Spoleto, Montefalco, Trevi and some of the restored towns such as Campello Alta and Castello di Postignano.
We found the lovely Argriturismo Pettino in Campello sul Clitunno, after driving along a windy road overlooking the valley, on top of a mountain. The food was outstanding with homemade pasta, perfectly grilled meats, local specialities and black truffles collected by the family around the surrounding mountain. However a warning, after drinking wine and eating large and delicious meals, driving down the mountain could be a risk, so staying at Argriturismo Pettino is a good idea.
Nonna, who was there before breakfast and stayed until after the dinner service was a joyful woman who loved to talk to the guests. I got to know her a little during my stay and one morning she was making homemade ravioli, I really wanted to stay and help her, but we were going to visit Spoleto that day and I had to make a choice, Spoleto it was. But I was in heaven at dinner eating the best ravioli I have ever had that evening.
As I left Umbria, a plan began totake shape in my head about how I was going to return, but that will be another trip and another story.
Enjoy some of the photo’s I took of the landscape and look for a future post about Montefalco and Spoleto.
I had hopped that I would have the opportunity to bring to light through my photography images and story of Bipolor and Identity disorders. Black & White Photography Magazine gave me that opportunity when I won a Spot Light Award with my portfolio “Lost Identity” and my experience with someone dear to me afflicted with these disorders.
Black & White Photography Magazine Article
lnsights may come to an artist in unexpected ways and for unpredictable reasons. A photographer might start a project not knowing where it may eventually lead, but at some point, in the midst of shooting, will realize that it has come to represent something other than the initial concept. Such is the case with Patricia Turo and a body of work she has titled Lost Identity.
Turo began photographing models in a studio, rear-lit, their shadows falling onto a translucent screen. lt was an appealing visual idea, but the reason behind it was not initially apparent to her. As Turo explains, “At this time, someone in our family that I loved dearly was struggling with bipolar and identity disorder. The turmoil she experienced was devastating to her and to those who loved her. I felt totally lost and helpless in trying to understand the emotions, depression and struggle that she was experiencing. I found myself grieving because the person I loved I could no longer identify with.”
“lt wasn’t until after I had taken the photographs and uploaded them that I realized that the mood of the images helped me to understand what she was going through. lt is hard to explain the emotional impact the images had on me. I was struggling to understand how she must have been dealing with her disorder, and up to this point I couldn’t imagine it. The photographs helped me to grasp the depth of her feelings.” The history of art is filled with depictions of artists or their subjects facing mental disorders. Van Gogh’s self-portraits, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and Francisco de Goya’s disquieting depictions in his Los Caprichos prints are several that come readily to mind. Visualizations of people suffering from these terrible diseases of the psyche are difficult to look at, as well as difficult to portray. That is why some artists use metaphors to represent them. And in many instances it is through metaphor that we may get a better understanding of the dissociation inherent in these disorders. Turo says, “Of course, we could never really put ourselves in that place, so the images helped me imagine what it must be like. They enlightened me, which helped me to have compassion in dealing with the difficult events that occurred in regards to her. ”
Turo’s photographs also help lend us some enllghtenment regarding the agony of a dissociative illness. ln all of the Lost ldentity images we see that the silhouette projected onto the screen is human and female. She is at times in sharp relief and at other times blurred and indistinct, suggesting the nature of her internal struggle. Her gestures and postures often appear defensive and broken, helping us to interpret the representative shadow as being separate and alone. The screen between the figure and viewer alludes to the divide between those overwhelmed by their disorder and those loved ones left on the opposite side, able only to observe what is coming to pass.
Although we understand that the true nature of any internal disintegration can more accurately be depicted through clinical images. For most of us it’s the metaphor that allows a more sympathetic and emotive understanding, and because ultimately, unless an artist has suffered from a mental disorder, she or he can never really know how to express it, except through analogy. lt’s through this approximation that the artist may deliver, to the viewer, a sense of the experience.
“l wanted to use the photos to bring visibiity to the issue of bipolar and identity crisis, ” Turo explains. ” I hope that others viewing them and who have had the same experience will become more aware of how desperate the person affected is and the helplessness that the whole family feels. Love and support are vital durlng this time to bring that person to a place where they can stabilize, find themselves and reconnect.”
– Larry Lytle
Black & White Photography Magazine, issue 115 can be found in bookstores world-wide or ordered by contacting the magazine.
The Bernina Pass is one of Europe’s highest alpine passes at 2253-metre-high. It is located in the Canton of Graubünden and The Bernina Express runs from Chur, Davos, St Moritz through Valposchiavo to Tirano in Italy.
The stunning and rugged landscapes and pristine ice blue lakes provide magnificent views of the Alps. Alp Grüm (2,091 m) is the first station south of the Alps situated above Largo Palü. The train negotiates 55 tunnels and 196 bridges. The highest point on the RhB is 2,253 metres above sea level, where you will find the Ospizio Bernina.
The route takes you on a journey into Swiss German, Romanish and Italian villages, cultures and languages. It offers a unique experience of Alpine life in small villages as well as the glamour of St Moritz. It is considered one of the world’s most beautiful train trips.
The Radishes Bahn is one of the Largest Network of Rail systems in Switzerland except for the Swiss Federal Railway. RhB section from the Albula/Bernina area (the part from Thusis to Tirano, including St Moritz) was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008.
Enjoy some of the landscapes along the Bernina Pass.
Information can be found on Wikipedia, Eurail.com – (http://www.eurail.com/europe-by-train/scenic-trains/bernina-express),the Rhaetian Railway at https://www.rhb.ch/en/panoramic-trains/bernina-express and My Swisshttp://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/search/index.cfm?phrase=Bernina+Express%2FBernina+Pass
I have written several posts in the recent weeks with recipes that make great gifts. Giving something you have spent your time and effort on is always a great way to show people the importants of their friendship. During the holidays I prepare several of my favorite recipes-those that lend themselves to the spirit of the holidays and prepare gift packages for each of my friends.
Buying different dishes from flea markets for example or funky containers can be fun to search for during the year. You can also cover boxes with textiles or glue wrapping paper and items you find at a craft store to make your own unique packaging
I make my own greeting cards with photo’s that represent the items I include in my gift and print them on a photo internet site. Print out the recipe in colored script and rolled them up, tied with a ribbon. If I am using a bottle of lemomcello – I add small cordial glasses. With Crocante con Mandorle (Italian almond brittle), I might find a nice candy dish at a flea market, or package it in clear cello bags. Many craft shops or restaurant supply stores have items like this and if you keep an eye open for them year round you can buy them when they have sales and store them away for your holiday gifts. Handwrite your labels, or design your own label on an Internet site. It is easy and fun to have your own label on your homemade items.
Here are some of my suggestions from past posts that you might consider for a special Christmas gift.
Crocante con Mandorle – Italian Almond Brittle
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes or until the thermometer reaches 238ºF, hard crack stage
Yield: 2 pounds
4 cups whole almonds, roasted
3 cups sugar
4 drops almond oil or
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light corn syrup
OTHER THINGS NEEDED
TOASTING THE ALMONDS
Heat the oven to 400ºF. Place the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast them until lightly golden brown (about 15 minutes) and set aside.
PREPARE THE COOKIE SHEET
Prepare a separate baking sheet and brush it with almond oil or 1 teaspoon almond extract. If you have a Teflon baking mat, place it on the baking sheet and brush it with the almond oil. If you are using extract, first brush the sheet with butter.
COOKING THE BRITTLE
In a medium or heavy-bottom saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat until it registers 238ºF on a candy thermometer (hard crack stage). When the sugar and water turn to liquid add the honey and corn syrup and 2 drops of almond oil or 1 teaspoon of extract (almond oil is stronger). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use a glass of cold water and after about 15 minutes, drop a little of the syrup into the cold water. If it turns into a hard ball the candy is done. If not, keep cooking it and testing the syrup until you get a hard ball. Do not stir; brush the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water when necessary. This will prevent hard crystals from dropping into the candy. Once the sugar begins to brown, watch carefully and remove from the heat as soon as it reaches the desired golden deep copper color.
Immediately add the toasted almonds into the candy and stir quickly to coat them. They should be completely covered with the syrup. Work very fast at this point, as the candy will begin to cool and turn hard. Spread the brittle quickly to an even thickness in the pan. Let the almond brittle cool completely and then break it into pieces by dropping the sheet on the counter. At this point you can wrap each piece in cellophane wrapping paper or serve on a candy dish.
Note: Whole almonds are used in Italy and I find more flavorful. Sliced almonds are easier to eat; it is a matter of taste. This brittle is very hard. Roasted hazelnuts are also used in this recipe.
As summer approaches and people head for trips to Euorpe, be sure to visit Annecy if you are visiting France.
Annecy is in the southeastern part of France. It lies on northern tip of Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie surrounded by mountains where goats and cows quietly graze in alpine pastures. Farms along the route produce and offer chèvre for sale and beautiful chateaus can be seen behind tall majestic trees.
During the 1400 hundreds, it was in the possession of the Genevois and the Princes of Savoy and later under Sicilian, Sardinian, Spanish, Austrian and finally French rule. You can clearly see the influence of these countries in the cuisine. The production of salami can be found in shops and farm stands throughout the region. Some stuffed with hazelnuts or rolled in crushed peppercorns and herbs. Large ones, small links, soft and hard varieties are produced by small farms in the area.
The old village (Annecy-le-Vieux) rambles along the Canal du Thieu where passages along the streets are lined with colorful houses and flowers. It is a strange beauty in a way, as many of the houses look as if they will crumble into the canal at any time. Paint clings onto the buildings, but losing its battle. This tableau of colorful buildings precariously leaning in all directions is simply charming. The arcades are lined with shops with traditional crafts, antiques, dried flowers, and chocolates. The small restaurants that are tucked into these houses serve foie gras de carnard, fondue Savoyarde, salade du chèvre chaud or poisson du lac. You think, should I chance walking up the narrow stairs; the scent of the Savoie specialties lures you up to small restaurants with views of the canal and cafés below.
There is a farmers market on Saturdays with vendor stands throughout the old city. Along the street crowded with people waiting to make their purchases, you can find local specialties such as kraut and saucisson cooked in large copper pots, fromage melted on large crusty pieces of bread, freshly made local breads, pastries as well as fresh fish, fruits and vegetables. There are many antique shops and once a month there is an antique market along the arcades (check the web page for exact dates).
Locals fill the large park located at the lakeside on the weekends. Children enjoying the carousel beg to go on again and again. There are ball games and people just taking in the sun or enjoy the day with friends and family outdoors. Artists painting the unique village create memories for tourists of Anncey for many years to come.
Brasseries line the narrow passages along the canal and the specialty of plateau fruits de mer is our favorite. My husband and I actually enjoy going to Anncey on a grey day and even light rain. Sitting in a brasserie with a large plateau de fruits de mer and a bottle of local white wine is one of our favorite ways to spend a rainy day.
Anncey is a romantic resort town. If you are visiting France or the French region of Switzerland, take a side trip to Anncey. It is about 1 hour from Geneva and 5 1/2 hours from Paris.
Check the Anncey tourist web site for more history, cultural events and markets.
The recipe below is from France Monthly.Tartiflette is a typical “Savoie” dish. www.francemonthly.com
Preparation time: 50 minutes
2 1/2 lbs of potatoes
1 medium onion (larger or smaller according to your taste)
1/2 lb Canadian bacon
1 Reblochon cheese (or 1 lb of Swiss Gruyere)
3/4 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons oil
Salt and Pepper
The recipe recommends that you use a cheese from the region, called “Reblochon”, and a white “Savoie” wine. This wine is very difficult to find in the United States and we therefore advise you to use a bottle of white Burgundy (Chablis, Saint Veran, Macon Village) or of Muscadet (from the Loire region).
If you cannot find the Reblochon, or prefer a milder cheese, Swiss Gruyere can be used. To accompany this dish we recommend a green leaf salad.
Peel potatoes and boil or steam for 20 minutes. Peel onion and cut into thin slices.
Heat large frying pan with the oil and sauté the onion slices. Cut bacon into small cubes and add to pan. Cook on medium heat until onion slices are soft (10 minutes). Stir as needed.
Add potatoes that have been diced and pour white wine over it.
Salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cut the Reblochon in two halves across its thickness. If you are using Gruyere, slice in thin strips.
Put half of the potato preparation in a round ovenproof dish.
Place half of the Reblochon (or Gruyere) cheese side down, on top.
Cover with remaining potatoes and finish with the second half of the Reblochon (or Gruyere).
Place in 350º F oven for 20 minutes
Deep fog was not in my plans when I awoke at 5:30 AM to shoot the sunrise at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Center in Delray, Florida. I thought this could be interesting anyway and drove to the stables. I could barely see the horses slightly visible through streaks of mist moving silently over the corals.
The atmosphere was mystical as I drove up to the racetrack.
I could see trainers leading their horses in and emerging out of the fog.
And then the sky started to turn pink, then bright gold, it looked like they were trotting to reach the rays of sunlight casting gold light on their coats with their mains floating in the air.
It was captivating watching this unfold and my plan to shoot the sunrise turned to capturing these beautiful animals and their trainers.
It became a passion and I returned many times.
I know nothing about harness racing except to have attended a few races in the vineyards not far from our home in Switzerland. I began to see personalities in the horses and the relationship between the horses and trainers.
The trainers even seemed to look at their young horses in amazement.
The power of their limbs and their gracefulness has lured me back many times.
The trainers, owners and staff are engaging and have accepted my presents, although sometimes wondering what I’m doing so early in the morning taking photos. As they leave to go up North for the summer, I will miss my visits to Sunshine Meadows and look forward to their return in October.
Spend a few moments with me and enjoy these beautiful animals and their trainers.
The day started with some rain and then the sky opened up with bright sunshine on Wynwood’s colorful wall art.
The international community has descended on the streets as artists and visitors alike speaking many languages open galleries and take paint brushes to the walls of buildings.
Connecting collectors and introducing new collectors with galleries and artists is in full swing.
It isn’t surprising that art fairs spread in satellite exhibitions around Miami with artsy Wynwood being one of the most popular.
The transformation of what was once a manufacturing district into an artist canvas with painters creating colorful images on everything from cars, buildings, walls and even garbage containers.
Photography, sculptures and experiential art have attracted an international community of artists and collectors.
Basel House and other pop up galleries displaying emerging artists draws tens of thousands of art lovers and opens up a world of “must see” art.
As the show begins and the parties start until the wee hours of the morning, I took to the streets to watch and join in the excitement.
What people are doing on the streets of Wynwood.
Division of Forestry and Johathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, Fl had a Fire Fest with a controlled burn. The focus is on fire safety and the importance of forest management.
The growth of community development close to wildlands and the growth of vegetation has made the management in these areas riskier and complex.
Tribal, federal, state, and local governments partner in the management of these areas and community preparedness strategies.
Inviting the public to talks given by the firefighters and a demonstration of an actual controlled burn is an effort to educate families to get involved in the use of the community wildlands and its wildlife.
Safty is of key importance as large numbers of families joined the fest for a day of activities.
Look for information on their website for the next Fire Fest. http://www.floridastateparks.org/jonathandickinson/
Each year Scott Kelby hosts a worldwide photo walk. Organizers from photo clubs around the world select a location in their area to highlight . This year PBC Photo Walkers, a group that I’m a member of, choose Green Cay in Boynton Beach, right in my back yard. I joined about 50 photographers to photograph the nature preserve at sunset. The park is about 1.5 miles of boardwalk with various plants and wildlife abundant and easily photographed. The challenge is that the selection is not the best location for a sun set meet and this isn’t the best time of year to photograph animals or birds, as the migration has not yet begun. But having said that, it is important to search of interesting shots and challenge your skills.
There is a contest by Scott Kelby that the photographers can participate in and the selected photo’s will be posted on his website.
Here are some of the images I shot.
The miracle and beauty of a leaf as it trembles in the breeze and soaks up its last rays of sun.
A leaf lives for a moment in time absorbing nutrients and sunlight creating oxygen.
A dead leaf falls from a plant but nourishes the earth so that new growth can be created.
A leaf has a purpose, a beauty in life but also in death.
Look closely at how its colors change from green to tones of rust, red and yellow.
A dead leaf forms, lines, curves and contortions that create wild and lovely shapes.
The Death of a Leaf.
Brickell has grown into a major cultural area with theaters, such as the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, the Carnival Studio Theater, Adrienne Arsht Theater and other Performing Arts centers. Also found in the area is the Perez Museum, under construction the Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium and nearby the Children’s Museum and many others. Creative and exciting architecture and public areas beautifully adorned with palms, flowers and parks provide leisure spaces for visitors.
Brickell Village is a small neighborhood in the middle of this beautiful area overlooking the sea where many restaurants and cafes cater to locals w ho enjoy evenings and weekends with friends. As a photographer what fascinates me is the way the contemporary architecture mingles with the “Miami Style,” as I call it, which is a combination of Spanish and Art Deco buildings.
Buildings of glass reflect architectures that seem to be alive with the flavor of the Latin music that is heard in the clubs and restaurants. The shapes, lines and colors dance to the rhythms of the culture of the area. Recently I have taken images of the buildings that show how these architectures reflect the style of the area.
My image “The French Countryside” will be exhibited at the Palm Beach International Airport from July 9th to October 8th. The photo won a Merit Award in B&W 2014 Portfolio Contest and is currently published in the June special issue.
It is very exciting for me to have the opportunity to participate in this exhibition and display a location that I have loved and enjoyed for many years. Please stop by and enjoy the exhibition.
For more photo’s of this beautiful countryside go to my blog post: http://turosdolci.pturo.com/the-french-countryside/
The first Miami Summer Music Festival began with a performance by young talented musicians from around the world selected to study in Miami. They are challenged to perform in symphony, opera, chamber concerts, piano recitals and competitions in order to develop their ability to adapt to the world stage.
The opening program under the direction of Conductor – Michael Rossi, and Stage Director – Robert Dundas was captivating. The program of Richard Strauss, Don Juan, tone poem for orchestra, Op.20, Franz List, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major and Giacomo Puccini, Sour Angelica was beautifully performed.
Ryo Kaneko, winner of Miami Summer Music Festival Piano Competition was commanding. And Suor Angelica performed by Marinel Cruz was captivating. Along with a cast of vocalist and young musicians, these students will take the stage in performances with world-renowned orchestras well prepared due to the dedication of music professionals and incubators such as the Miami Music Festival.
Last nights performance was at the New World Theater in Miami. Designed by Frank Gehry, the theater is a unique ultra modernistic design that embraces high tech acoustics and visual accessibility in the round.
Miami is a culturally rich and diverse city that embraces a dynamic artistic environment. This program started by Michael Rossi along with FIU and MSMF Opera Institute is worthy of the publics support.
Some images of the theater.
(Stop the slideshow bymoving the cursor over the picture)
Two of my photo’s were accepted in the juried contest of Johathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound Florida.
June 20th – July 21st
Entry Fee $5
If you enjoy outdoor sports, this is a wonderful park for biking, equestrian, hiking, water sports, fishing and camping. It has a very interesting history and some remnants of its roll in WWII are still evident.
There are wonderful photography opportunities of the train track and expansive views from the lookout tower.
Johathan Dickinson State Park
Kimbell Education Center
16450 SE Federal Hwy
Hobe Sound, FL 33455
Black & White is a leading photography magazine that conducts photography contests in Single Image and Portfolio images yearly. The magazines distribution is 35,000 worldwide. With about 9,500 images submitted in the 2014 portfolio contest, three of my images won a Merit Award and are included in the Special Edition #104 due in the Newsstands soon. It is an honor to be among the outstanding photographers who won this year.
My photos were taken in the Burgundy region of France. Having lived in Europe for many years, we most often traveled on the back roads and through the countryside whenever possible. The French countryside is my favorite, and to me the most romantic. I am absorbed with the tranquility, graceful fields filled with sunflowers, vineyards, quite villages and elegance of the architecture.
I have written a blog post with additional photo’s that I invite you to view.
The following three photo’s are published in the magazines 2014 Portfolio Contest Winners Special issue.
Grassy Waters Preserve is located in West Palm Beach, Florida offering 23 miles of wetland trails for nature seekers eager explore the wetlands.
The Cypress Board Walk, Hog Hammock Trail, Apoxee Trail and Owahee Trail are just a few trails I’ve hiked with my hiking group.
An array of nesting birds and other wild life such as alligators, deer and turtles etc. can be seen in the wild. Flowers, wetland hammock, cypress swamps, pine flatwoods and vast views of beautiful landscape sometimes with herds of deer off in the distance can be seen.
The reflections of a variety of trees are a photographers dream.
School programs, hiking, canoeing, kayaking with one of the naturalists is available through the nature center. Trail maps and any information you might need can be obtained through one of the staff members.
I advise checking in with the center if you are not an experienced hiker. Even for vacationers, hiking through Florida’s wetlands is not only a learning experience, but seeing Florida and all its natural beauty.
Grassy Waters Preserve 8264 Northlake Blvd. West Palm Beach, Florida 33412 (561) 804-4985
Water takes on many forms and colors. It moves gracefully in the path of least resistance. Without it we could not survive and yet we take it for granted. My interpretation this week is water floating eternally where ever life exists.
You might think that finding the color red would not be much of a challenge. I searched for a subject in a flea market, set-up a still life, went to the theater, shopping area and finally walked the length of Atlantic Ave in Delray, Florida before finding my subject. In February there are plenty of hearts, roses and a variety of other red items for Valentine’s Day but that was not what I wanted to shoot. I found my subject next to a railroad track where a group of Harley Davidson motorcycles were parked.
Wakodahatchee is considered one of the best sites to view birds in South Florida. Located in Delray, it has ample parking and a ¾ mile boardwalk that takes you over the top of wetlands where you can view alligators, turtles, fish and many different species of plant and bird life.
Saturday morning I joined my photography group to photograph birds. I’m not an early morning person and getting to the reserve at 7AM was an effort. When I arrived, I was very surprised to see that the parking lot was almost full, who else but a bunch of avid photographers would get up so early in the morning. I soon found out that the mornings are magic.
My group was already set up with huge lenses and having a great time enjoying each other and sharing technical information on how to shoot the birds. The sunrise was spectacular and the birds were active building their nests.
This is one of our favorite walks in the evening, but I am now a convert to morning walks.
Enjoy some of the birds of Wakodahatchee.
I found my inspiration for my motion movement photo thanks to a friend who invited our photo group to his studio to shoot a model.
Florida has thousands of parks and reserves that offer magnificent opportunities to view wildlife and enjoy sport activities. Riverbend is located in Jupiter, (Palm Beach County), and is 680 acres of subtropical terrain, waterways and miles of trails.
The park offers wonderful hiking, bicycling, horseback riding as well as water sports like canoeing and kayaking. Riverbend is a unique blend of outdoor activity opportunities lending itself to both young and seniors.
The self-guided trails are easy to follow and you will want to stop along the way to take in the beautiful views and reflections along the Loxahatchee River and the bird life that make it their home.
There are Chickee huts with picnic tables and grills available for your picnic outings. The park is open everyday from sunrise to sunset and has a visitors center equipped with trail maps and equipment.
If you are a visitor or longtime resident of Florida, visiting Riverbend Park is a wonderful blend of nature and sporting activities.
On my usual evening walk in Green Cay Wetlands, I stopped to look at a Anhinga bird. The birds are common in South Florida and swim underwater to capture fish. They are comical as they sit on a stump or tree spreading their wings in the air to dry. I noticed the beautiful pattern on its wings against its black body and thought this might be my close-up shot.
This week I took everything from a jogger running, flowers, birds and electricity wires. Saturday I went to a Macro photo shoot where I had to shot lying flat on the grass trying to photograph a water drop. It was the perfect low-level shot.
Starting this week I will participate in the Shoot Miami 52 Week Photo Challenge. Each week a theme will be posted on the website and the participants will post their photo’s. Each week a photo will be selected and at the end of the year there will be an exhibit.
This weeks challenge these is “Self Portrait”
Scary, crazy and tons of fun, Lincoln Road put on their Halloween Party that was a wild and fun evening. From infants to seniors and pets, the costumes were innovative and crazy. The crowds had a wild time interacting with each other and photographing the craziest of them all.
Some photo’s I managed to take surrounded by crowds of goblins, witches and really way out creative homemade and wird outfits and characters.
BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS HONORS PHOTOGRAPHER Patricia Durr-Turo FROM The USA.
LONDON October 28, 2013 – Amateur photographer Patricia Durr-Turo of the USA was presented with the 8th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee in two categories, Photojournalism and Silhouette at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photo Show. The live online ceremony webcast Saturday, October 19, 2013 was attended by photography fans in 75 countries that logged on to see the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.
The awards international Jury included captains of the industry from the Tate in London, Heffel Fine Art, FoMu Fotomuseum, FTM Advisory, Camera Work, Art Stage Singapore, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris, to Fratelli Alinari in Florence who honored Spider Fellows with 246 coveted title awards and 938 nominees in 14 categories.
“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 9,456 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. Patricia Durr-Turo’s “Umbrellas,”an exceptional image entered in the Silhouette category and “The State Fair Lady”entered in the Portraits, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present her with the title of “Nominee.”Portraits
BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.
Contact: Patricia Durr-Turo
Category: Silhouette “Umbrellas”
Website Link: thespiderawards.com/pre-party.html
Yesterday some hundred photographers participated in the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk. These walks were scattered around South Florida but The Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk is organized every year at locations around the world. I choose to go to one of my favorite places in Miami, Wynwood Art District. Several models arrived with outfits from th 80’s, the theme for the event. Our models did a great job modeling for this group in the sun until late in the afternoon. It is always difficult to take photo’s with such a large group, but meeting photographers from around Florida and dinner at one of the local restaurants makes it worth the effort.
There is one woman that I have photographed before who arrive with an unexpected guest. She managed to make being pregnant look wonderful and sexy. She is colorful and full of fun, so forgive me if I added a few more photo’s of her then anyone else.
I’m always looking for the perfect Latin look.
And there always has to be Black & White.
This little guy just could’t wait until it was over.
As we flew over Iowa and I looked down at the patchwork of cornfields, I wondered what would keep our interest on our drive back to Atlanta.
The harvest was a few weeks away so the farms were devoid of activity and people as is often the case in farm regions I have been in. I had my ITunes ready for a long drive with my favorite music.
We picked up some fruit, fresh bread and pastries at a wonderful and very large farmers market in Des Moines and purchased cold cuts and drinks at a local market for a picnic lunch. We might not find a restaurant on the way back and we thought we would find a nice area to stop for lunch. As it turned out we drove down a small country road and enjoyed our lunch along side a corn filed. Well how appropriate was that.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t as dull as I had expected. The beauty of the barns, silo’s and movement in the sky was mesmerizing. As in other trips where we encountered farmland or vineyards, it is quite, peaceful and farmers have meticulous respect for the land. The clean shiny silos and white barns provided breaks of interest as well as the human element that sometimes gets lost in long distances of endless landscape.
The striking difference from the farmland I’m use to seeing in Switzerland, France, Germany and even Italy was the flat the terrain. Yet the deep green corn reaching for the sun, white barns with silver metal roofs glistening in the sunlight, and round metal silos created unique images.
Life seems timeless, as if nothing had changed.
Yet we know that these farms are hi-tech and provide food around the world. Iowa produces more corn than most countries and corn can be found in many products such as animal feed, starches, oils, sweeteners and even ethanol (Iowa Corn Growers Association).
I have found that if you look hard enough, you often find beauty in unexpected places.
My print was selected In an international juried contest conducted by Ocean Wave Gallery in Ft. Lauderdale. Fifteen hundred photographs were submitted and 45 were selected. It will be exhibited at Artist Haven Gallery in the same location and then moved to Ocean Wave Gallery until November 1st. If you are in the area, stop in and visit this exciting exhibition.
Ocean Wave Gallery/Art Haven Gallery
2755 East Oakland Park Blvd. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Surrounded by Pilatus, Birgenstock, Stanserhorn and Rigi mountains, Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne. Steamboat traveling along the lake float by deep green hills, villages with half-timbered-houses and grand mountain views. Ancient guildhalls, churches and frescoed buildings create a romantic and colorful cityscape.
Covered bridges span the River Reuss that flows through the town. The most famous being the medieval Chapel Bridge, the pride of the city and one of the oldest covered wooden bridges in Europe. In the summer white pink and red geraniums run along the entire bridge on both sides and swans swim gracefully along making even the tourist activity and bustling city seem moody and peaceful. The bridge was restored to its original state after a fire destroyed some of the medieval paintings that adorn its wood ceiling.
The Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus) is one of the largest transport museums in Europe. Switzerland is well known for its efficient transport system and the history of it can be viewed in this modern attractive museum. It offers many hands on activities for children both inside and on the grounds. Next to the museum, in the same complex, is the Hans Erni Museum, one of Switzerland most prominent artists. He celebrated his 100th birthday in 2009 and is still painting. I have heard that sometimes he can be seen strolling around talking to visitors.
Cafes are scattered all along the cobble stone streets of the city and the lake, a favorite place to have lunch or dinner in the summer time. We ate at the Old Swiss House known for its schnitzel cooked in a pound of butter. I was reluctant to order it, as I’m not a fan of butter, instead I ordered venison, which was outstanding. After tasting my husband’s schnitzel, I knew that I would have to go back. It was tender without a strong butter flavor, fresh farm butter makes a difference. The restaurant was built in 1858 and the interior is cozy and formal with carved wood, stained glass and paintings. The prices are steep, but the quality is worth it. www.oldswisshouse.ch
Lucerne with its ancient buildings is a modern city hosting many business events in its large conference center. It has an active nightlife with bars and restaurants offering entertainment with international, as well as traditional menus. Restaurant prices run the gamut from very expensive to reasonable.
Only about 1 hour from Basel and Zürich, it can be a day trip or better yet stay a few days to get the full experience of this stunning city.