Monday, May 31, 2010

An Italian Favorite - Tiramisu

I made Tiramisu with Heidi the weekend we stayed at her bed and breakfast. It was delicious and I wanted to share the recipe of this favorite Italian dessert.


24 ladyfingers biscuits

2 cups cold espresso coffee

6 separated eggs

6 tbs sugar

500 grms (about 2 cups) good quality mascarpone

few drops orange liquer or extract

150 grms (about 10 tablespoons) coarsely ground bittersweet chocolate

30 grms (about 6 teaspoons) Marsala wine or Sherry


Blend the egg yolks with the sugar and then beat until yolks turn pale. Add mascarpone, orange extract, and liquer. Stir gently. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture using a metal spoon.

To prepare the ladyfingers, quickly dip each cookie in the espresso.

Arrange half the cookies in a layer, in the bottom of a rectangular serving dish.

Cover with the mascarpone/egg mixture and sprinkle with the grated chocolate.

Add another layer of cookies, and repeat the layering as before. End with mascarpone on top! Best if prepared from half a day to a day in advance.


"Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold."
-Judith Olney

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Up North

It was Easter Monday - a national holiday - when we packed up and headed North for our week-long field trip to Northern Italy. The holiday traffic accompanied us on our day-long trip. Another thing that accompanied us was bus trouble. Since everything was closed we had to call in the local mechanic in a random town to come in and fix the bus. After a few rounds of the game "psychiatrist" and other guessing games, we were on our way.

First stop: Modena, home of balsamic vinegar! Acetaia del Cristo is a famous producer of balsamic vinegar and is known for its precious, genuine, and fully natural product. The traditional Modena vinegar is produced in the family's country house and has been for generations.

This vinegar is thick and tastes bitter and sour. It is very odd.

Taste test with gelato - interesting, but delightful.

Next time you drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette look at the back of the bottle. It will most likely say, MADE IN MODENA. :)

After our vinegar tour, we headed to Verona as the sun was setting.

Beautiful morning in Verona

The Swiss Alps

Verona is mostly known as the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Lauren, Mary Hester, and me with Juliet

Me and Laura Beth

Next stop was to Como - home of the lake and yep, George Clooney! (Unfortunately, we didn't run into him.)

View from funicolare

View from our lunch table

Me, Lauren, and Mary Hester in front of Lake Como

A tour of Northern Italy would not be complete without a couple days in the fashion capital of the world - Milan!

The Duomo

Group in front of the Duomo

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - luxury shopping mall

One of our days in Milan was dedicated to arcitecture and interior design. Max, our professor of design and contemporary architecture gave us a tour of the Portaluppi Foundation and presented a lecture on architecture.

Piero Portaluppi is a famed Italian arcitect

This unique family home, nicknamed a “Jewel of Milan,” was built between 1932 and 1935 by Portaluppi with updates by Thomas Buzzi. It is a mark of the Milanese achievement and dedication to the principles of modernity.

Villa Nicchi-Campiglio

Milanese Models

Photoshoot set-up by the pool

Inside the house...

As you can see, the house has a combination of modern/contemporary elements and traditional elements. The overall city of Milan is the same way - they are many traditional aspects of the city, but there is also very modern and contemporary.

Outside a contemporary art musuem with Madelin, Mary Hester, and Britani

One day we toured the fashion scene with Veto, a hip young fashion guru

Veto took us to 10 Corso Como.

Carla Sozzani opened 10 Corso Como in 1991 and has made a name of herself. She owns and is constantly reinventing her unique and always expanding collaborated selling spaces grouped around a beautiful courtyard. You will find this top shop in the off-center part of Milan, Italy. It is a 13,000 square foot complex, which includes the Galleria Carla Sozzani (a photography and design gallery), a bookstore (design books from all over the world), a boutique for men's and women's clothing and accessories, hard-to-find imports, and must-have luxury goods. There is also a café and the restaurant.

No pictures's one from the Internet.

Canal that goes through the city

Veto took us by A-lab fashion designers. These are up and coming designers and are really modern and really cool people. Laurel bought a dress and Mary Hester bought a little jacket!

The group with the designers - can't wait to see their work on the red carpet some day!

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." -Coco Chanel

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Shoe In

Anyone who knows me, knows I love shoes. So, naturally I LOVED going to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence. I mentioned in my post on Tuscany that I wanted to share more on Ferragamo with you because it was so great!

Salvatore Ferragamo was born in Naples, Italy in 1898. He grew up around the shoe-making business, and before he was a teenager, Ferragamo knew that's what he wanted to do in life. At 16, Ferragamo went to the US. He started a custom-made shoe business in his twenties. Due to the birth of cinema, he was frequented by Hollywood's filmstars. He returned to Italy in 1927 and set up his first workshop in Florence, where he only became more and more popular. To read a more detailed account of Ferragamo's life, click here.

Marilyn Monroe was one of Ferragamo's many clients. Others include: Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Katherine Hepburn, Madonna, and Drew Barrymore.

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." -Marilyn Monroe, client

One exhibit was dedicated to the film, Australia, starring Nicole Kidman. Kidman wore Ferragamo shoes in the movie. Click here to read about it.

We weren't allowed to take photos inside the museum (lame!), but I took the liberty to snap a few...this is my best one.

The big exhibit was the Creativity in Color exhibit. A reviewer describes it this way when he writes, "Today, the Ferragamo Museum exposes objects that tell the story of this great designer, who had to innovate and disrupt the fashion footwear, insuperable object of vanity femminile.The exhibition is precisely the relationship with Salvatore Ferragamo shoes and with colors. Lo stylist, in fact, has always loved enhance his creations, using more colors, especially shades decided and bright colors rather than classical. Dynamic shapes, intense colors, materials, details, have made only the production of Ferragamo, who through his creations represented personality and style."

Below are some shoes that we saw in the exhibit. Notice the materials he uses and how the fashion and design of the shoes were before its time. Ferragamo was brilliant in creativity. One fashion columist explains that "Ferragamo completely innovates the world of footwear, creating the famous cork wedges, and replaces the leather and steel, new materials such as wood, cork, raffia, synthetic resins, creating real works of art."

Sandal with black grosgrain cloth upper decorated various colored grosgrain ribbon, 1930

Sandal, upper composed of padded gold kid bands, platform sole and heel in layers of cork covered with different color suede, 1938, worn by Judy Garland

Pink Moccasin in satin decorated with beads and strass, 1967

And my favorite part of the exhibit was Ferragamo's Shoe Color Wheel...

Ferragamo ads are fabulous...

"I love feet. They talk to me." -Salvatore Ferragamo