Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A cool loft in Cologne and making pizza with old friends ..

No Cologne visit would be complete without a dinner with these two! Back in the olden days Petra and Feli, wardrobe stylist and DJ respectively, used to be our next door neighbors. Now they own a cool loft in the heart of Cologne, an art filled industrial space built out to their needs with an open kitchen, lots of cool details, a glorious bathroom and a hidden green oasis on the roof terrace above.

We started the evening off with bubbly and nibbles, catching up on life in the old vs. new world, while watching Feli do his pizza dough magic ...

Friday, September 11, 2015

An alfresco kitchen, {mostly seafood} moments and meals with Italian friends

Il Baciarno Agriturismo Maremma cooking classes

This magical place, hidden in an olive and oak grove on the slopes of a small hill town in Tuscany's Maremma region, already made an appearance on the blog earlier this summer, when our dear friends Clelia and Andrea generously hosted the first half of a 'culinary gemellaggio' at their tiny agriturismo in Vetulonia.

Apart from that memorable dinner with new friends, we were fortunate to spend a few days with Andrea, watching him return from the coast with the morning's catch and effortlessly turning the freshest local fish and crustacea into his refined culinary creations. Many meals and even more photos, so here are, in no particular order, favorite captures of some of these moments and meals at Il Baciarino, prepared in Andrea's fabulous alfresco kitchen and served on their incredible view terrace ...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Sicilian lunch in the shade of the fig and carub tree ...

On the tail end of an epic Italian road trip {following roads less traveled from Toscana through Campania and Basilicata to Calabria} we eventually boarded a ferry to our final destination ~ Sicilia!
After a day of exploring Mount Etna's lush green valleys {& savoring the ultimate pistachio gelato in the pistachio capital Bronte}, we took in Catania, wandering its amazing fish market and exploring its baroque sights.

And in Catania we met up with our friend Luca for an exploration of Sicilia's South, stunning Siracusa and the Val di Noto, slowly making our way West - and eventually arriving at Il Paradiso, his family's enchanted summer house outside his hometown Mazara del Vallo ...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making Gnocculi con Pesto alla Trapanese in Mazara del Vallo { recipe }

Pesto alla Trapanese Recipe

I have to admit, if there is one thing that always intimidated me in the Italian kitchen, it's handmade pasta. For some reason I always associated it with a high maintenance dough, special tools, tricky timing - but, most of all, with very little cooking fun.

While cooking with Silvana Mannone & her family in Sicily earlier this summer, I was finally converted! With just two ingredients we made enough Sicilian gnocculi to feed a battalion! And while Silvana shared the secrets for the perfect gnocculi, her husband Giovanni was kind enough to let us in on his interpretation of a classic pesto alla Trapanese - so both of these recipes I am happy to share here ...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Italian road trip & finding gems along the way {Il Mulino del Porticello}

Mulino del Porticello Capo Vaticano Ricadi

A last minute search for accommodation in Calabria turned into a favorite highlight of this summer's Italian road trip

We were en route from Basilicata to Sicilia, only looking for an overnight stay along the way, when we spotted this incredible family compound near Capo Vaticano on AirbnbAfter browsing just a few photographs we booked for the next day. And after an exhosting day of driving and sightseeing along the way we found our way down a rugged country road to the grand surprise that was Il Porticello

Airbnb Mulino del Porticello Capo Vaticano RicadiIl Mulino del Porticello Capo Vaticano Ricadi

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Il Gemellaggio Toscano {part 2} & an enchanted garden in Montalcino

If you have been following this blog, you may recall another Tuscan dinner earlier last month, part one of a so called "gemellaggio" - a twinning of sorts based on the European concept of connecting two regions, sharing experiences, recipes and making new connections along the way.

We full heartedly embraced the concept with our friends Clelia and Andrea of Agriturismo Il Baciarino when we accepted the invitation to a dinner in Raffaella Cova's enchanted garden outside of Montalcino.

Follow along on Instagram ...


all photos © dinners with friends

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