Wine

Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the most unusual and beautiful cities in the world. Imagine a city but on Trees. These trees support the city over the lagoon. Venice has many touristy sites in Piazza San Marco that should be seen at least once. After you have done the tourist thing, go to the back paths of Venice. Explore, get lost, find new areas and enjoy the real Venice. There are many bridges and many of them have steps but it is worth the effort. Discover hidden churches, bars, restaurants, islands and markets. This is where the Venetians live.

Many bars serve Cicchetti, which is a form of Spanish Tapas unique to Venice. Some bars will give you free small plates with the purchase of a drink. Others will charge a small fee. This is a way to try several Venetian dishes and discover new favorite ones. This way of eating is cheaper than in the restaurants especially around Piazza San Marco.

Come watch the YouTube video below and walk with Rory and I around the touristy and back areas of Venice. We also go to Murano to see glass blowing and the Lido to walk around and see the beach. We missed the Venice Film Fare by a week, which is held on the Lido Island.

You get to these Islands and the Train Station & Airport vis vaporetto (Water Taxis).

Ciao,
George

Categories: Airplanes, Beach, BLOG, Bread, Cafè, Carnival, Cicchetti, Eating, Eating Italian, Flights, Food, General Travel, Glass Blowing, Godola, Grand Canal, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lido, Murano, Pasta, Pastry, Piazza San Marco, Planning a vacation, Romance, Saint Mark's Badoge Palace, sea, Smart Phones, tapas, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Valporetti, Vaporetto, Venice, VLOG, Walking, Water Taxi, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barcelona Spain and Sagrada Famila

Barcelona Spain is on the Mediterranean Sea and has a beach and sea port. This city is famous for its architecture, food and wine. It is well-known for its Gaudi architecture. The most famous one is his Sagrada Famila. It is not yet complete but you can tour it. This is the most beautiful and unique church in the world. It looks like it was made as a sand castle. You can tour the two towers, the outside and the inside of this church. Spend time here and take it all in. It is easy to get to on the Metro.

Come visit Barcelona and Sagrada Famila with us in the YouTube video below:

-George

Categories: Barcelona, Beaches, BLOG, Europe, Food, General Travel, Hotels, Rioja, Sagrada Famila, Spain, Trains, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, W Barcelona Hotel, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aristocampo Restaurant in Trastevere Rome, Italy

wants good Italian food in Italy. Often you get trapped by tourist restaurants that serve American Italian food and not real Italian food. If you are looking for the real thing and want to experience real Roman food then go to Aristocampo restaurant in the Trastevere district of Rome, Italy.

Trastevere is a wonderful area to walk around. Great churches, architecture and restaurants. Aristocampo is in this wonderful old section of Rome. Sit inside or eat out on the street as we did. Watch my video below on this establishment:

-George

Categories: BLOG, Bread, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Pasta, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Trastevere, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seville Spain

Seville Spain is a wonderful old city with great architecture like the Alcazar and Seville Cathedral. Its narrow streets invite exploration. Walk, get lost, discover new things. When you are hungry, stop at a small tapas restaurant or bar. Order some wine or beer and a few tapas. This is a great way to explore Spanish foods.

In the morning get Churros dipped in chocolate. You will never want to leave. Another all day favorite is a Spanish omelet. It is made with potatoes and onions. This is a real treat any time of day.

Come walk with us arround Seville, Spain:

 

– George

Categories: Beer, BLOG, Cafè, churros, Europe, Food, General Travel, Planning a vacation, Romance, Sevilla, Seville, Spain, tapas, Trains, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Madrid Spain

Madrid is the capitol of Spain and is a wonderful city to walk, sites, eat food and drink wine. Tapas are the specialty for lunch and snacks before dinner. These are small portion plates that can be shared. Order several and try many new or old favorites from Spain. We order several tapas and some wine or sangria and make it a meal. For breakfast there are many options but a national favorite is churros dipped in melted chocolate. How can you say “No” to this?

When flying into Madrid’s airport remember there is the metro and the Renfe trains (c1, c10, etc). They are two different systems with different entrances and fees. If the metro does not go close to your hotel, try the Renfe lines.

Come wander around the small streets of Madrid, museums, the Palace, the Botanical Gardens and so much more:

– George

Categories: BLOG, Botanical Gardens, Cafè, Chocolate, Church, churros, Eating, Food, General Travel, Hop on Hop off Bus, Madrid, Metro Travel, Museums, Spain, tapas, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spain and Italy

This is a summary of out trip to Spain and Italy and gives details on how we planned the trip. Rory and I travelled to Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Venice and Rome. How did we plan this trip? How many days do you need in each place? How do you get from one city to the next?

these questions and more are answered in the YouTube video below:

Ciao,

 

George

 

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, an Museum, Architecture, B&Bs, Barcelona, Bars, Beaches, BLOG, Bocca della Verità, Cafè, Eating, Europe, Flights, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Itinerary, Madrid, Metro Travel, Museums, Orvieto, Pasta, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Seville, Sistine Chapel, Spain, Spanish Steps, The holidays in Europe, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Villa Borghese, VLOG, Wine | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Plan a Trip to Europe

Planning a trip to Europe can be expensive and frustrating. In this video I give ideas for saving money, planning and creating a trip that will be fun and memorable. Don’t spend your time running around a city and traveling between cities. Enjoy life in Europe. Be a European while you are there. Make contact with locals, communicate, observe life around you. Enjoy the museums and sites but also savor the food and wine. Watch the Europeans around you. How do they live their lives?

The video below will help you plan a memorable and rewarding trip to Europe. Buon Viaggio…

Ciao,

George

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, Bars, BLOG, Cafè, cornetto, Eating, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Flights, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Itinerary, Metro Travel, Money, Mountain Towns, Museums, Panini, snow, The holidays in Europe, Tour Groups, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Weather in Europe, Wine, YouTube | Leave a comment

Naples Style Pizza at Home

Naples is considered the birthplace of pizza. It started in the late 1700’s. Early pizzas had things like tomatoes, cheese, anchovies and garlic on them. In 1889 after Italy became unified, King Umberto & Queen Margherita visited Naples. Chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a new pizza for the Queen and named it after her. It was to have the colors of the Italian flag: Red – tomato sauce, Green – Basil and White – Mozzarella Cheese.

This pizza was not known outside of Naples until around 1940’s. Today it can be found all over the world. The original style, still made in Naples, uses a wood burning oven (between 600 & 750 F), 00 pizza flour, live yeast, fresh basil, EVOO and buffalo mozzarella cheese. It is thin crusted and light. Each person gets a whole pizza, which is NOT sliced and eats it with a fork and knife or takes a slice in the streets of Naples in paper. It was street food for the poor.

 

ORIGINAL NAPLES PIZZA RECIPE:

Making the dough:

Mix flour, water, salt and yeast. Pour a liter of water into a dough making machine, dissolve 50-55 g of salt, add 10% of the total amount of flour you are planning to use, then dissolve 3g of yeast, and start mixing gradually adding the remaining 1.8 Kg flour until the dough reaches the desired texture and consistency, defined as “Il Punto di Pasta”, smooth to the touch and very extensible .

Rising:

Let the dough rest on a marble slab or a wooden surface for 2 hours covered with a damp cloth and then divide into individual ball-shaped portions of 180 grams each.

Set aside in a container to rise for a second time for 4-6 hours at room temperature.

Rolling:

Use your hands and with a round motion roll out the dough on a marble slab covered with flour until it becomes 3 mm thick with a 1-2 cm edge.

Filling:

Take about 60g to 70g of chopped tomatoes and using a wooden spoon place in the center of the disk of dough.  With a spiraling motion, spread the tomato over the surface.  Then add a pinch of salt on the tomatoes, 80 – 100 g of DOP buffalo mozzarella, cut into strips and some basil leaves. Again with a spiraling motion starting from the centre, add 4 to 5 grams of extra virgin olive oil.

Cooking:

Cook in a wood- brick oven at a temperature between 450C° to 480C°, rotating the position of the pizza frequently to make sure the heat is spread evenly.

Eating method:

Use your hands and enjoy the taste of Italy!

 

Our Pizza:

Often, we make our own dough, but today we were testing some prepared doughs from both Trader Joes and Publix Supermarket. We also make our own pizza sauce from marzano tomatoes, but sometimes you just have to have a quicker alternative:

Dough Balls from Trader Joes and Publix

Sauce – Premium Organic Paesano Tomato and Basil (available at Costco)

Buffalo Mozzarella from COSTCO

Fresh basil from our supermarket

We brought the dough to room temperature, divided it into two balls and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then on a floured surface, we pressed the dough out in all directions from the center to form a circle. You then grab a side of the dough and pull out and fold back over your hand to increase the size of the pie. This is continued all around the pie several times until it is the size you want (around 10”). The center should be paper thin and thicker around the edges. The Trader Joe’s dough was the best to work with and had the best results, forming a larger pie without tearing. The Publix dough was a bit more delicate, but also made a very good pizza.

Next ladle some sauce on pie in center and spread it out in circles around pie. Then season the sauce with Parmesan cheese and garlic (if desired). Next place the fesh basil and finally the Buffalo Mozzarella cheese. Then sprinkle some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) over the top.

Pre heat your oven to 500-550 with a good quality pizza stone in it. After it reaches temperature wait another 15 minutes to allow stone to reach the temperature. Use a pizza Peel to slide the pie onto the stone. It should only take about 5-6 minutes to cook. The edges should be brown and check bottom so it doesn’t get to dark.

The crust edges should be crispy but the bottom center should be soft. Take pie out of oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing or serve whole like in Italy.

If you are doing a second pie, allow oven to reach temperature again before putting it in.

Enjoy…

 

Below is a video VLOG of us making this pizza …

 

– George & Jo Febish

Categories: BLOG, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Cheese, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Naples, Pizza, Ristorante, Southern Italy, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Differences between America and Italy

Here are 12 differences between America and Italy. They are not all the differences but some to consider on your trip. Italy is a wonderful country with great people, food, wine, museums and countryside. It is a different country with different customs and ways. These are not good or bad just different. Be aware of differences and don’t be shocked.

The YouTube video below goes through the 12 differences:

– George Febish

Categories: BLOG, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Fish, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Shopping, Supermercato, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How we spend our time in Italy

We recently went to Italy to spend a relaxing time at our condo in southern Campania. Normally we take an extra week and travel to some other area of Italy but this time we just wanted to relax at the beach and enjoy Italy. This is a story about our local area, the people and the food. It is also a story about how Hurricane Irma caused us to have the longest trip home ever.

Watch the video VLOG below and follow us through this interesting trip to the mezzogiorno:

– George

Categories: Airplanes, Autostrada, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, Blue Flag Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Dolce, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Planning a vacation, resorts, Ristorante, Romance, sea, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, WiFi, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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