Copyright Piacere - Food & Travel without rules! 2018 - Theme by ThemeinProgress
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Floating above the earth in the early morning feeling the cool air blowing against your face and blasts heat as the fire fills the balloon. For just a short time you escape from the world and your body and mind take in the wonders of the earth.
Photography Miami had a photo shoot at the Little Havana Festival, which is held the last Friday night of each month. I thought, well we will go for about an hour and then go to dinner somewhere, a good excuse to go into Miami. We arrived at 5:30 PM and left at 10:30 PM and probably would have stayed longer if it were not for an hour ride home.
Typical of the Latin culture, it was electric with music and dancing in the streets. As we have found in the past on our excursions to Little Havana the people are great and ambassadors for their neighborhood. Take time to talk to the locals, artists and vendors displaying their work on the streets and visit the galleries.
Around 8PM 1,000 bikers came rolling down Calle Ocho some wearing costumes, music blasting from their bikes, hooting and waving all the way. It was an amazing site and for a minute I thought I was in Beijing again.
We went to a Cuban restaurant with our group who helped us select a typical Cuban dish, with the waiter chiming in to help us make our selection. Later we were back out on the street listening to the Latin beat and watching people dancing.
The crowds got larger towards the evening, so I suggest getting the full flavor, go about 7PM and be sure to visit one of the many restaurants and galleries for a memorable evening in Little Havana
Some Street Photography
I felt like Paparazzi clustered in with a hundred photographers clamoring to photograph models in Wynwood. The Meet up Group “Shoot Miami “ arranged the shoot for their members. As word got out young and aspiring models arrived. It was a win, win for everyone. The models were offered the photos to create their portfolios and we worked on our skills shooting them.
The challenge for us was to work around the colorful art covered walls to set the scene for the models that worked along with the photographers to create interesting shots.
The models can view and select the photographs on the website and hopefully it will help to promote their career. Business cards were passed out, which gave both models and photographers the opportunity to make contacts for further shoots.
Wynwood, the art district of Miami was a perfect location as galleries line the streets, the coffee shop and restaurants were buzzing and music added to the colorful atmosphere.
The “Village by the Sea” showed how big it was yesterday when thousands of people created a sea of green along Atlantic Ave for the St. Patrick Day Parade.
People waited for hours securing their places along the street complete with picnics and well-stocked coolers.
Dressed in costumes and adorned with green beads adults and kids cheered as the parade marched by.
The police, military, fire department, business community, and local bands as well as invited guest groups handed out hats, beads and candy to children scrambling to catch them.
The expressions on the kids faces and the families and friends who gathered for the event to enjoy the day together made it the most fun for me.
And of course the beer flowed well into the evening.
They came for a celebration and Delray presented a display well worth waiting for.
Photo’s of the people who joined in the celebration.
I typically take an evening walk in one of the three preserves near my home. Green Cay is in Boynton Beach, Florida and is the home of many species of birds as well as alligators. It has a board walk over the water of about 1 1/4 miles.
The Little Blue Heron is one of the most delicate and beautiful birds in the reserve and typically lives in wetlands. The background is duck weed, which covers the water during the summer. It creates a colorful and unusual background.
Boca Raton hosted a Chinese New Year Festival at Mizner Park last weekend. The town has announced that it will be a yearly event. It featured performers from the The Chinese Association of Science, Education and Culture of South Florida (CASEC) and the Anhui Huangmei Opera Theater in China.
I was lucky to have gone to the Bejing Opera House many years ago and looked forward to enjoying this colorful spectacle. For many Chinese as well as other attendees, this probably was the first time they had the opportunity to experience anything quite like Chinese Opera.
The performers were outstanding and the costumes were authentic, beautifully decorated and very colorful.
The children were enthralled as they lined up along the stage to take photo’s with their phones. For those of us who don’t understand Chinese I’m sure found ourselves wondering what the excerpts from the plays and opera were all about, but it didn’t matter because the performances were magical.
I was photographing as two Chinese men told me the story that was being played out. The traditional dragon dance was the hit of the evening.
Enough said it is better to view the beautiful costumes and performers, so put this event on your calendar for next year.
Henry Flagler is an example that not everyone has to take the traditional route in life to be successful. We see it again and again that some people defy the norm and do great things. Having left home at the age of 14 he pursued his fortune in the grain industry, salt mining and production business. After joining JD Rockefeller and Samuel Andrews who founded the Standard Oil Company, He helped to establish the business trust, which made it possible to conduct business in many states from a single corporate office. Flagler started the Flagler Florida East Coast Railway and was a key figure in the establishment of agriculture and tourism in Florida. Henry Flagler’s name takes a prominent place in Florida’s history.
Whitehall, his winter home was built in 1902 and designed by John Carrére and Thomas Hastings in the Beaux Arts Style. The home, located on Cocoanut Row and Whitehall Way in Palm Beach is open to tourists. There is also a Café des Beau-Arts that serves lunch Tuesday through Sunday.
Complete information on the tours and the estate can be seen on the website http://www.flaglermuseum.us.
The slide show is a sneak preview of Whitehall.
The allure of West Palm Beach and its famous and luxurious Worth Ave is world acclaimed. Its palm lined streets, quaint allies, lovely courtyards and lanes lined with orchards and statues are charming and intimate. It is well known that the Rich & Famous from Hollywood to international socialites and business people make West Palm Beach their second home. It is where Old Money meets New, and where the Who’s Who in this special social network live and party. Beach life comes alive during the winter months and Worth Ave provides everything that is needed to cater to its famous residents.
We set off Sunday to watch “Who’s Bad” concert in honor of Michael Jackson at the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach Florida. Our “Meet up Group” enjoys hiking in South Florida but arranged this outing. Sounded great to me – listening to the great music of Michael Jackson next to the harbor among new friends.
We were beginning to have a serious cheese need so we headed off to “The Boys” in Delray to select some cheese to take along. It is always a difficult decision, as we adore cheese. The Boys has a nice selection and we decided on Reblochon (French), Emmentaler, (Swiss) and some Vermont Cheddar. With a bottle of Prosecco, (Italian wine) and a beautiful loaf of Ciabatta bread (Italian), how much more international can you get, we were all set for a late afternoon concert in beautiful sunny surroundings and great music.
When we go to these kinds of events, I like to keep it simple and cheese is always a good bet. I always pack cheese in foil as it doesn’t hold the moisture, which is damaging to cheese. I put a cold pack into a plastic bag and then the cheese and cold pack go into an insulated bag. I like to take the cheese out about 10 minutes or so before eating it as it should come to room temperature. Even in warm climate hard cheese will fare quite well. In this case I also choose Reblochon, one of our favorite, which is a creamy cheese. Packed this way it withstands the warm temperature very well. Of course you can’t just leave it sitting in the sun or it will melt, so don’t take it out until you’re ready to eat it.
Luckily my husband always carries a Swiss Army Knife, which has a corkscrew. You can’t imagine how many times people forget to take one and come looking for someone to rescue them. Well Bruno is always there, uncorking bottles and meeting new friends and enjoying a glass of wine with them.
Some fun photos
Delray Beach Florida is a community that knows how to have fun and that includes the pets. On Saturday an Easter Egg Hunt and Pet Parade attracted some curious customers! The kids as well as the adults who haven’t given up on the Easter Bunny gathered for the annual Easter Pet Parade. Some of the pets were a little unconvinced, but enjoyed all the attention.
Here are some of the cute participants who I’m sure loved all the attention.
With Security at its highest including checkpoints and thousands of Swiss military and police in high visibility, the World Economic Forum will again take place in Davos, Switzerland. Preparations start weeks in advance as this small village transforms itself from an idyllic ski resort to center stage of the world’s major news event. A cold snowy winter setting with steeple bells chiming seems like such an unlikely place for black limos and diplomats to be in deep discussions about the world condition.
Last year we were walking past one of the hotels, two diplomats were saying their goodbyes and one said, “well the passion is over, we leave Davos today”. The other responded by saying “the passion is still in Davos. This is a unique gathering place, allowing even the most difficult and passionate of themes to be discussed in a civil and thoughtful way. This really sums up what Davos is all about. The people of Davos are trained for this event and are experts in providing every service from the simple to the most exquisite. An agreement between WEF and Davos to build an extension to the Congress Center assures many future meetings will be held here.
The atmosphere is serious as people rush from meeting to meeting and the media weathers the cold interviewing dignitaries on the sidewalks and in the media center. Journalists from all over the world and visitors, some in their local dress make Davos their home and the people of Davos give them their most welcome attention in every way.
Guests and skiers mingle to enjoy the outdoor cafés and slopes bundled with scarves up to their ears and warm hats of all shapes and styles. Discussions continue while enjoying hot drinks under the sun overlooking snow-covered mountains and blue skies.
Davos-Klosters offers its guests the best in accommodations, restaurants and sports facilities. Many of the participants enjoy the superb skiing on Jakobshorn, Parsenn, Schatzalp, Pischa, Rinerhorn and Madrisa. Between Klosters and Davos there are 192 miles of expertly maintained ski terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. For those who don’t ski, Davos has Europe’s largest outdoor ice rink. There is Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, Para gliding, horse drawn sleigh rides and walking with awesome landscape to enjoy along the way.
If you get tired of all the meetings and sports activities visit one of the many cafés and restaurants. In the afternoon Kaffeeklatsch, Schneider’s or Cioccolino or any of the other cafés are meeting places where guests go to exchange the stories of the day. Enjoy ice cream or a cup of hot chocolate with rum or cappuccino with a selection of pastries. It is always hard to choose and you won’t be looked at strangely if you select 2 or 3 pieces. Afternoon coffee and pastry is a tradition in Switzerland and they never run out. Of course there are the chocolates if you tire of hot apple strudel with vanilla sauce, pastries and biscotti. Visiting a café is a sport unto itself, although you might need to visit a gym when you return home. If none of this interests you, you can shop.
Local dishes such as Fondue, Racllette, Rosti and Swiss regional specialties can be found in cozy rustic restaurants and stubli. Davos and Klosters cater to an international clientele and you can find restaurants in all price ranges offering gourmet cuisine. The Walserhof, with 17 Gault-Milau points, Gotshna in Serneus offering Swiss Specialties, or the Chesa Grishuna, and Silveritta “Italiano” all located in Klosters are among a long list of restaurants.
You can dance the night away to live music, disco or listen to Jazz and live piano music in hotel lounges and clubs. If gambling is your thing, there is a casino waiting for those who are looking for apré ski fun after a long day on the slopes. Others who haven’t had enough sports during the day can enjoy night snowboarding or skating.
Graubünden is a year round outdoor paradise. Davos-Klosters in the summer has beautiful landscape and the summer sports are unsurpassed. Many who attend WEF return to discover the area in summer. You can paint the beautiful landscape, or play tennis or golf, go rafting, hiking, mountain climbing, sailing, horseback ridding or camping and parasailing. The wellness centers are famous and are located throughout the region. Some have outdoor pools open even in the winter.
Many events such as antique car rallies, music concerts, tennis and golf tournaments are planned. The region is family friendly and many apartments are available through the local tourist offices or travel agencies.
The Glacier Express travels through the Graubünden region making stops in Klosters, Davos and St Moritz. Day trips with scenic routes of the mountains, steel blue lakes, and fields blanketed with wild flowers and cows peacefully grazing with the mountains as a backdrop are a train lovers dream.
The passion of Davos lives on after WEF’s curtains close and the mountain villages again return to doing what they do best, welcoming visitors all year round.
There is nothing like a hardy soup or stew to watch a football game especially if you are in a cold snowy part of the country. The best part is that you can prepare it in advance and then let everyone help themselves during the game without any additional effort from you. You can actually enjoy the game along with your guests. The casual atmosphere keeps things light and fun for everyone.
White Navy Beans with Ham is a Southern recipe given to me many years ago by a friend from Arkansas, and I have been making it ever since. It is filling, very flavorful and feeds a large number of people. You can make it ahead of time, even the day before.
I make a cheese bread to serve with it that compliments the stew. When I made this for my friend she couldn’t believe that she had been eating this for many years without the cheese bread. The bread is very easy to make especially if you can buy the bread dough from your local market. Stuffed with an assortment of cheese of your choice, it is oozing with melted cheese when you cut it and adds warmth and flavor to the beans and ham.
White Navy Beans with Ham
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hr. 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1 lb. dried white beans
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 onion, medium, chopped
2 celery small stocks, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 3/4 Pork Shoulder Daisy Ham (precooked)
3 cups water
In a large bowl put the beans and cover them with water and let them to stand overnight in the water.
In a large saucepan sauté the onions and celery and green pepper in olive oil until they are translucent.
Drained beans and put them in the pan cover them with about 2 1/2 cups water (you may have to add more water as the beans cook and increase in size).
Drained beans and put them in the pan cover them with about 2 1/2 cups water (you may have to add more water as the beans cook and increase in size).
Put in 2-3 bay leaves, add freshly ground pepper and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it cook for about 1hour. Remove the cover from the pan and cook for another 30 minutes, the beans should not be mushy but hold their shape; the final dish should have a little juice. Remove the bay leaves and taste for seasoning. Be careful in salting the beans as the ham will most likely be already salted. Allow the beans to cool down and remove any fat from the top.
Reheat the beans and ham. Remove the ham and slice it-serve the slices with the beans.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes @ 450ºF
Yield: 6 –8 Slices
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
2 lbs bread dough bought from you local market bakery department.
Note: Gruyère, Roquefort, Chève, etc. are excellent strong flavorful cheese that I like to use in this bread.
Note: A cheese selection of your choice (Gruyère, Roquefort, Chève, etc. are excellent strong flavorful cheese).
Take a selection of cheese, cut them into pieces. Oil the bottom of a pizza pan and spread the dough out into the pan. Fill the center of the dough with the cheeses of your choice. Take one length edge and fold it over the top. Do the same with the other. You can brush the loaf with olive oil, but this is not necessary. Be sure that the end edges are folded in or crimped.
Cooking the bread on a pizza stone would give it a nice crusty bottom. In this case, rub down the your surface lightly with flour. Begin to spread the dough out stretching it in a circle. Once it has started to stretch you can hold it with your hands and begin stretching it with your knuckles. Keep stretching it by pulling it around in a circular motion. Rub your wood pallet with flour, corn meal or semolina and place your dough on the board. Make sure that it moves on the board easily. Follow the directions as above and shake it off the palette onto the stone.
Cook in a 450º F oven for about 25 minutes. After about 20 minutes check the bread to see if the bottom and top are turning brown. If done, remove from the oven and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes letting the cheese to settle before cutting. If not the cheese will flow out of the bread when you cut it.
NOTE: Any selection of cheese can be chosen for this bread. I always use all the small pieces of leftover cheese in my refrigerator. Everything from goat cheese, blue cheeses, cheddar etc. will make wonderful bread.
The following is a previous post for Super Bowl Sunday Soup.
Super Bowl Sunday Soup – Sausage with Rosemary & Ditalini
What does tuna capaccio have to do with sports? We have what we call sports TV dinners. When there is a sports event such as the upcoming US Open Tennis Tournament, or a baseball, football world series, or the Olympics, these are TV dinner nights. No, not frozen TV dinners, but moving dinner from the dinning room table to the cocktail table. We don’t often eat in front of the TV, but a sports event is a good excuse. Not that we make it less formal, as we still have a nice table setting, candles and of course wine.
On these evenings when we want something easy but still special. We might grill pizza in our fireplace, make a fondue or a racellette with boiled potatoes and conichones. Sometimes we get a little fancier and have caviar with chopped egg yolk, chopped egg white and chopped onions, or smoked salmon with toast. But when we can get fresh sushi style tuna, it is tuna carpaccio every time.
We start by buying excellent quality fresh tuna; it is warped in plastic wrap and put into the freezer for about 15 minutes. During this time I toast pignoli nuts and let them to cool. Chop fresh basil and slice sun dried tomatoes. When I have black olives from Puglia I’ll slice slivers and put this aside.
When the tuna is just beginning to freeze, remove it from the freezer and slice it very thinly. Layer the slices by overlapping them covering the dish completely.
The next step is sprinkling the nuts, basil, sun dried tomatoes and olives if you have them over the top. For this dish I like the flavor of light extra virgin olive oil from Puglia. This oil is perfect for fish, as it doesn’t have the strong pungent Tuscan oil flavor that is great for salads but not for fish. Next I sprinkle a few large grains of Mediterranean Sea Salt over the top, use the salt very sparingly. The salt is crunchy and adds a nice salty flavor when you bite a grain of salt now and then.
A nice light good quality Prosecco pares very well with this dish.
For dessert I like to have a cool lemony sorbeto drink. In summer I mix some lemon sorbet with half & half cream and lemoncello and beat it in the blender. If it is winter it will be my homemade Limoncello. Limoncello helps to naturalize the salt and fish taste. It is perfect after a fish dinner.
And then with some nice placemats and a candle burning we enjoy our favorite TV dinner and the game.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 people as a main course
1 lb Sashimi quality tuna
8 Sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup pine nuts (pignoli)
Extra Virgin Olive oil (very light)
Sea salt (medium or large grain)
Put the tuna in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You don’t want to freeze it, but it should be at the point where it is just beginning to freeze. This makes it easier to cut paper-thin slices. Lay the tuna slices on a plate slightly overlapping them. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Toast the pignoli nuts in a non-stick sauce pan. This can be done without any butter or oil. Remove them from the heat as soon as they start to brown; let the heat from the pan continue to brown them. They brown very fast and can easily burn. Put them aside to cool.
Julienne the sun dried tomatoes and olives if you have them and set them aside.
Just before serving, sprinkle the tuna with the sea salt. It gives a very nice taste to the tuna and also adds a little crunch. Roughly chop several pieces of fresh basil and set them aside.
Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted pine nuts, basil and sun dried tomatoes over the tuna. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the top of the capaccio and serve cold.
A fresh dessert drink – Sorbetto Al Limone
Limoncello: Sorrento’s Liquid Gold
You hardly feel like cooking on hot summer days and yet fish and shellfish seem so perfect for light summer meals. They are also very easy and fast to prepare. I have a husband who just didn’t like fish but would eat shellfish. I solved this problem by taking him to a cooking class in Italy where just about all the dishes we prepared were fish. There were 4 chefs from a 5 star restaurant and just the two of us. I didn’t expect this, as it was a class at a hotel that we had gone to many times and advertised as a class for a maximum of 6 people. Seems we signed up for the first class of the season that started the beginning of June. Along the Adriatic, this is not high season and we were the only ones to register. The chefs wanted to do the class in any case, probably to test it out, how lucky was that!
I wondered how my husband was going to deal with eating the meals we prepared, as he really hated fish. My husband is a diabetic and it was important for him to change his diet that consisted mostly of meat. This class was the cure and he totally enjoyed every dish we prepared. He still eats meat, but today we have fish at least two or three times a week. The message is that if there is something you don’t like, it is worthwhile to learn how to prepare it. Many times you can find recipes that you never knew existed and will satisfy your taste.
The following is an easy recipe that is great as it includes greens, shellfish and pasta, what is there not to like!
Strozzapreti con rucola, patate e cozze
Chef Franco, Vieste (Foggia), Italy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings
1 lb. strozzapreti, cavatelli or pasta of your choice
1 bunch arugula (rucola in Italian)
1/4 lb. of potatoes
1 lb. of mussels
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Wash the mussels thoroughly and let them soak for about 1/2 hour in cold water, changing the water a few times. Remove the beard that is between the shells. Steam them in a small amount of boiling salted water. This will take 3-6 minutes; discard any that have not opened. Strain out all the liquid and reserve it for the sauce. Remove most of the mussels from their shells, keeping about 5 per person for garnish.
Peel and cut the potatoes into small squares, par boil them in salted water. Set them aside.
In a skillet, sauté the oil and onions until they become slightly translucent. Add the garlic and pepperoncino and cook a few more minutes. Add the reserved mussel liquid and boil it down to about half. Add the cubed potatoes.
In a large saucepan, cook the strozzapreti in salted boiling water. Three minutes before the strozzapreti is cooked add the arugula in with the strozzapreti and cook until the strozzapreti are al dente. Drain them and toss them into the skillet blending them until they are completely covered with the sauce.
The medieval village rests on a small hillside 7 km from Ventimiglia in the Val Nervia dominated by the ruins of the Chateau des Doria. The medieval bridge stretches over the Rio San Rocco river connecting the two sections of the town and is a symbol of Dolceacqua. Terraces (fasce) are carved into the hillside where olive trees, vineyards, flowers and eucalyptus grow. Art and history create a visual feast of beauty that caught the eye of Claude Monet who painted Dolceacqua and said that it was an “extraordinary picturesque village”.
The sunny Piazza Garibaldi acts a theater for feasts and events in the village such as the Festa dell”Olio Nuove (Festival of the new oil), and is lined with restaurants where you can enjoy the famous pizza made with local light olive oil. Stone pathways with arches connecting the buildings called “caruggi” (narrow paths) wind upwards through the stone village that protected its inhabitants from invaders and the weather. Small shops tucked along the caruggi house workplaces of carpenters, electricians, galleries, small B&B’s and agriturismi that cater to today’s residents and guests. Each day as we passed we could hear the sound of classical music combined with workmen’s tools as they go about their tasks.
The ancient village is slowly being renovated into charming apartments and rough stone spaces still await a loving owners to bring them back to life. Many French come over the boarder to enjoy the views, the famous pizza at one of the 15 restaurants, and mountain breezes that provide a naturally cool and pleasant environment during the summer months. This is mountain life and the pace is slow and peaceful. People meet in the café’s, drink cappuccino reading the newspaper in the mornings, and socialize with friends over a glass of wine in the afternoons. The fish man comes along in a small truck selling fish from the sea as people go about their business working in the shops or greenhouses that ramble along the hillsides and olive groves that seems almost impossible to reach.
The region has a culture of roses and floriculture with tangerine trees lining the streets and the sweet aroma from the multitude of flowering bushes. Although the region has been deeply affected by difficult economic times, 80% of Italy’s flowers are grown here.
Dolceacqua means “Sweet Water” maybe named after the very nice red wine called “Rosses di Dolceacqua” that has the deep red color of roses. Made from grapes grown in vineyards where their roots cling to the hillsides, it was highly revered by Napoleon Bonaparte and Pope Paul III who made sure that casks were shipped home.
Maybe it is the olive oil that is the sweet water of Dolceacqua. The silver green leafed olive trees covering the hills produce light yellow oil perfect for fish, wild boar and rabbit dishes typical of the cuisine of Liguria. Beer is also brewed here, and is deep yellow, served very cold in glasses similar to a Bordeaux glass. The beer is a perfect accompaniment to the thin-crusted pizza made in wood fired ovens covered with local dried salumi, porcini, fresh vegetables or shellfish, the best pizza I’ve had in Italy.
Just up the road about 4km is Apricale, one of the” Rock Villages” certified as the most beautiful villages in Italy. Stone houses and alleys lead around the castle housing artist’s workshops and painted murals. Paintings and stone carvings can be seen along the caruggi and doorways decorated with flowers that add color to the grey stone structures.There are a few B&B’s and restaurants in the center of the piazza where there is a washing trough and along the caruggi you can see the old village central oven. The village is also well-known for its summer theater. A local Balu tournament is held in June and July with 16 teams taking part. A popular Ligurian game using an elastic ball is played against the walls of the ancient village. The local players are even more popular then football players.
Sun showers light into the dark covered caruggi during the day lighting the painted and carved murals walls. At night it is the stars that light the ancient village, which seems to sit just below the sky. The villages were owned by the Counts of Ventimiglia, captured by Grimaldi until Andrea Doria liberated them. Apricale even has an American history as Giovanni Battista Martini fought at Little Big Horn and was the only living survivor.
Both Apricale and Dolceacqua belong to the prestigious “Associatione dei Borghi piu belli d’Italia”, (The Association of beautiful villages in Italy) and there is no doubt why many foreigners have bought apartments in appreciation not only of the villages but the life style of the mountains.
Ventimiglia is 7km, San Remo is 14km and the French border is 16km from Dolceacqua making this little village a perfect base for visiting the Alpe Liguri – the backdrop of the Riviera dei fiori is a refuge from the crowded beach towns along the Riviera. There are many apartments for rent by the week or weekend. Renting an apartment offers you the opportunity to experience village life and select some of the local cheeses, salumi, wines, foccica, bread and pastries to enjoy at home. The local merchants are very helpful and always happy to recommend local specialties. French and Italian are mostly spoken here and even though only a few people speak English you can always find ways to communicate with the friendly locals. There is little night life except for the restaurants and a few clubs, yet you are a very short distance to the sea side towns.
Cars are not allowed in the old villages anywhere along the Riviera, so be prepared to walk up hill or steep steps to reach an apartment or B&B. Villages have parking lots; some are free at the entrance of the village. Summer months are crowded with heavy traffic clogging narrow roads through the towns along the sea. The best time to visit the area is in May to Mid June or from September through the fall.
Pizza Verde Dolceaqua
Cook time: 200c (400ºF)
Time: 20-30 minutes
500g flour (1.1.lb)
5 tablespoons extra virgin ‘Taggiasca” olive oil
250gr water (1 1/4 cup)
40gr yeast (1 1/2 oz.)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 whole eggs
750gr chard (1 lb. 10 oz.)
150gr Parmesan cheese (10 1/2 oz.)
1 1/2 onions
Extra virgin olive oil
Black Taggia olives
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and a teaspoon of sugar and allow it to rest in a warm place.
Pour the flour onto a work surface and add the yeast mixture, and salt to the flour. Bring it together into a ball and knead it. Let it rest under a clean cloth, preferable woolen, of a bowl until in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Take the risen dough and knead a second time until you have soft dough and let it raise again under the cloth for another 2 hours.
Roll it out and put it onto a pan greased with olive oil and let it rest again before covering it with the greens.
Chop the uncooked chard and add the oil, salt, eggs, onion and cheese. Spread the prepared mixture onto the dough and sprinkle olives and whole cloves of garlic over the top. Cook in the oven at 200/300º (400ºF) for 25/30 minutes.
Michetta, The sweet bread of Dolceacqua
The story of michetta:
The Marquis Doria sent a young bride who refused to give herself to him to prison to die. The population of Dolceacqua rose up and forced the Marquis Doria (1364) to stop his abuse of power and on the 16th of August there is a festival to celebrate the event. The women of the village created the “michetta” now the symbol of love and freedom.
1kg flour, (2 lbs 3 oz.)
100g yeast, (3 1/2 oz.)
350g sugar, (13 oz.)
250g butter, ( 9 oz.)
Grated lemon zest,
Warm water and Marsala
Bake time: 200ºc (400ºF). until they puff up and have alight brown color on top.
Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the warm water and add it to the flour. Add the eggs, butter, lemon zest, salt and Marsala. Let the mixture rise for one hour and knead it. Shape it into an oval or knot shape. Place the michette on an oiled baking sheet and bake in the oven at 200ºc (400ºF).
Dampen the tops with a little water and dust with remaining sugar.
The polenta, porcini and truffles and Genovese pesto spaghetti were dishes we had for lunch at Locanda dei Carugi, Via Roma 12/14, Apricale, a small little inn and restaurant – they were excellent.