Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 things I love about Canada


1. People are nice

Some might call it the typical North American shallowness but I always prefer a smiling face to a grumpy one. No matter how heartfelt it is. And who expects a deep conversation about true feelings or politics in a store or with a one-time-acquaintance anyways?

2. Canadian things are pretty

I mean just look at the flag, the national anthem, Canadian symbols like the beaver, maple leaf and tree, the moose (less pretty but very much loved), the loony coin…


3. Canadians take their sports serious

They do, playing it themselves and following their favorite teams. Again I think it’s friendlier. More fans, fewer hooligans.

4. The cultural variety

Natives, French, Scottish, Irish, British, German, Italian… – you find the traces of these cultures in architecture, language, names of towns and people, food and festivities. Yet in a very special “Canadianized” way.


5. Nature

Huge lakes, high mountains, endless forests, icy landscapes with polar bears, rivers, coasts, waterfalls, national parks… and all of them are exceptionally beautiful. There are 7 cultural and 9 natural properties inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage list.



Monday, July 30, 2012

palatable pesto

pesto - another delicious and simple delicacy of the Italian cuisine.
...and what is pesto? It's a creamy yet flakey green paste, which does not only make an excellent pasta sauce but also refines meat, fish, salad, vegetables and caprese. The best part is: it's easily made of basic ingredients.

You need:
200 gram ( 7,14 oz) fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pignolia (pine nuts)
3 garlic cloves
100 gram (3,57 oz) Parmesan cheese
                 or 50 gram Parmesan and 50 gram sheep cheese
salt to taste
1 tablespoon pepper (corn)
100 milliliter high quality olive oil

Cut the fresh basil and use mortar and pestle on everything except the oil until you have little flakes. Add the olive oil for a creamy consistence.

Please keep in mind that the fresher and better the ingredients you use, the more delicious your result!

variations like tomatoe pesto soon to be posted, stay tuned!


monday motivation

Sunday, July 29, 2012

pretty patio




piazza vs. patio

Sitting outside while enjoying your coffee, drink or meal in summertime is part of almost every country's culture. Italy and Canada are no exceptions and again, it's the "how" that differs a great deal.

Thanks to our industrious and a little megalomaniac ancestors in Italy, there's a romantic and beautiful piazza around every corner in Italian towns. Typically these piazze show glorious monuments of noble men, facades of the wealthy family's splendid recidences which overcame the centuries and opulent fountains. Tourists come from all over the world to snap pictures of every little detail and ornament so that the most famous ones are usually more than overcrowded. But, as said, there are umpteen in every city so you can always catch a free table and live la dolce vita.


But what does a folk without ancestral construction-mania do? Right, they create their own, brandnew places to meet friends and live the life called patios. Every house, restaurant and bar has its own outdoor area, furnished to attend the guests' needs of relaxation and party hunger.

What's your favourite piazza or patio?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The issue with the kissing

Italians are affectionate and passionate people. No doubt about it, you can tell for example by the way they talk (look here). And they're not afraid of some physical contact, I've already mentioned it here. But how are folks from other, less exuberant countries affected? And even more interesting, how do these victims of Italian heartiness react?
With some malicious joy I introduce North Americans to Italians. That's one of the best examples for the vast cultural discrepancy and it's like a classic Charlie Chaplin sketch: so old and predictable, but every single time amusing! As you probably know, Italians kiss each other on the cheek when they meet for the first time and every single time they run into each other afterwards. It's more like a touch of the cheeks than a smack, but still, for our Canadian friends it's a shocker. The feelings you can read off the kiss-attacked person's face usually range between terror, bewilderment and sheer incredultiy. Those who dont get used to it, come up with the most ridiculous schemes to avoid the kissing. And some learn to love the custom (think of guys, all of a sudden introducing themselves to every pretty girl). 

 Berlusconi vs. Bush


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Live Italian: How to use Italian gesture!

Part 2: A dialogue in pictures

"Everyone but me is totally birdbrained."


"C'mon! We have to pull it together!"


"No, YOU have to pull it together."


"And don't call me, when you need help."


"What the f***?!"


"Take that, b*****s!"

(Obviously, Berlusconi used this very inappropriate
gesture at a political gathering in South Tyrol)

"Oh God, help me!"


"Basta! It's enough now!"


Whatever you say, Silvio...


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Live Italian: How to use Italian gesture!

Part 1

Italians like speaking a lot. They say what they think and feel as often they can, and as loud as they can. They express emotions pretty much every moment, they are awake. And if not by speaking, they have developed a unique body language. The most flamboyant facet of this body language is the typical Italian gesture. And who would demonstrate that better than our jolly politicians:

In the following picture, people "are putting horns" on Silvio Berlusconi, he is "cornuto", which can mean, that he is being cheated on, or simply that he is an imbecile.

Umberto Bossi from the political party "Lega Nord" is an angry man, and makes that very obvious with his gesture saying "Go f*** yourself!"...isn't he charming?!

Beppe Grillo from the "Movimento 5 stelle", an oppositional party to everything, tells them: "I'm gonna take you down!"*
*literally it means "I'm gonna make your ass this big" with the hands referring to the size of...well, let's not be that literal!


Monday, July 23, 2012

10 golden Italian coffee rules *

  1. All the fabulous foamy forms of coffee are to be drunk in the morning.
  2. After meals, Italians drink espresso, which is just called “caffè”, or “macchiato”. Careful:  
  3. That doesn’t stand for the big latte macchiato but for espresso macchiato, which is caffè with some creamy milk foam on top. Literally translated that means “spotted coffee”. Latte macchiato is a warm glass of milk with foam on top in which the “barista” drowns a shot of espresso. 
  4. Drink the classic kinds of coffee. The iced “café shakerato” is as exotic as it should get. “Venti quad shot, 1 pump Vanilla, 2 sugar in the raw, soy, non-fat, extra dry cappuccino” might be exactly your taste but has nothing to do with Italian coffee. What’s dry cappuccino anyways, I always thought it’s martini that you order “dry”?! 
  5. Caffè deca stands for “decaffeinato” and is coffee without caffeine. You can order any kind of coffee in the “deca” version. 
  6. Caffè orzo is barley coffee. Try it and judge for yourself. 
  7. Many Italian bars adapted to the trend and offer coffee to go, but it’s definitely not part of the tradition as the size of a caffè is so small that you can drink it in two sips. 
  8. If you want more or less water in your caffè order “lungo” for more water and “ristretto” for less water. 
  9. Caffè corretto (“correct/proper coffee”) is caffè with a shot of liquor, usually grappa, sambuca or brandy is used. But don’t feel restricted, your taste is the limit… 
  10. The quality of the coffee offered in a bar depends on the coffee brand, the machine used, with how much strength the coffee is pressed into the filter of the machine, the science of the milk foam and the expertise of the “barista”. Suppliers and coffee academies even offer courses just about “how to make the perfect coffee” in many different variations and with topics like “milk art”.

morning thoughts


Friday, July 20, 2012

the bad ass rapper lady

Imagine a conversation held in English. Now imagine a sophisticated older lady, who owns a big classy hotel, ranting about her c**k. Wait a moment, of course she meant the guy in the kitchen, the gourmet cook. But then try and keep a straight face, while someone is pronouncing that just like a bad ass rapper would call a defining male body part. She goes on and on about how hard he is usually working to please the guests but lately doesn’t meet the expectations. About how the c**k should therefore be told off and checked upon regularly. Imagination running wild? Don’t forget to keep a straight face!


5 souvenirs to bring from Italy

  1. A bottle of wine – Of course! If you prefer red wine get a bottle of Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino (there is a vast selection: the producer Tenuta la Fuga offers a cheaper possibility to get a multi-award winning bottle) and if you like white wine better, a Pinot blanc from South Tyrol (Alois Lageder or Stroblhof are great producers) should do it.
  2. Parmesan – Original, matured Parmesan is something wonderful – some flakes in the salad, pure with some chutney or grated over pasta, it's simply delicious. Never get the pre-grated stuff, it's normally made from the rind of the cheese.
  3. Cured meats – Salami, Parma ham, Speck...yummy!! Careful though: customs wont let you take it into Canada if you declare it. So it might be better, if you just eat as much of it as you can get, while you're in Italy.
  4. An original pasta recipe – Make sure you ask an Italian for a original pasta recipe. It's not only nice to have, but if you write it down on a nice piece of paper and combine it with an original bottle of olive oil, it makes a great, personal gift!
  5. A tan – No matter what you're doing – hardcore sightseeing or a gastronomic tour, make sure you take the time to sit in the sun at least once a day and drink one of those wonderful coffees: a macchiato, a cappuccino or an espresso. Cause only then, you will be able to experience, what the Italian way of life is really about.