Tag Archives: food

Ristorante I Carracci – showing off the cuisine of Bologna

I_Carracci_1_WEBRistorante I Carracci
Grand Hotel Majestic ‘già Baglioni’
Via Indipendenza, 8
Bologna
39-051-225-445
http://www.duetorrihotels.com
info.ghmajestic@duetorrihotels.com

It would be difficult to single out the most praise-worthy aspect of dining at I Carracci Restaurant.  The dome of its lovely ceiling is I_Carracci_3_WEBadorned with 15th century grotesque-style frescoes attributed to the school of the renowned Bolognese Carracci brothers, who are responsible for the frescoed ceiling in the hotel’s Camerino d’Europa.   The sage-green brocaded walls with oil paintings and gilded mirrors and the elegant tables are set to please and prepare diners for a leisurely, flavorful journey at the hands of master Chef Giacomo Galeazzi.

I_Carracci_5_WEB aOur departure begins with a sformato di parmigiano topped with tiny wild strawberries and aged balsamic vinegar, accompanied by a gem-like white wine from the very local Umberto Cesari vineyards. A plate of thinly sliced culatello, the most prized part of Parma prosciutto, arranged like a flower, follows and whets our appetites for the Cucina Bolognese that is about to begin in earnest with none other than tagliatelle al ragù and baked green I_Carracci_6_WEB alasagne alla Bolognese, served in a creamy bath of parmesan sauce. The courses, paired with select wines from the region, continue and we do not let guilt slip into any opening between the chef’s specialties.  This is food that impresses our taste buds, but satisfies the soul.  One can taste the passion.

For wine lovers and those who love the enchantment of an old wine cellar, the hotel’s Morandi Wine Cellar dates back to the 15th century, but is dedicated to Bologna’s 20th century artist, Giorgio Morandi.  The cellar can seat up to 24 diners for a more intimate dinner party arranged at long tables set beneath vaulted stone ceilings and surrounded by an impressive collection of Italian and International wines.

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

 

 

Ristorante Redibis – dining in an ancient Roman arena

Ristorante RedibisRistorante Redibis
L’Orto degli Angeli
Via Dante Alighieri,1
Bevagna
39-0742-361-756
http://www.ortoangeli.it

This restaurant belongs to the elegant Orto degli Angeli, an elegant “Residenza d’Epoca” in the heart of Bevagna.  It is situated in the cavernous remains of the curved, barrel-vaulted ambulatory that once supported the cavea of the ancient Roman amphitheater, dating to the 1st century A.D.  The food is extremely good, yet simple fare, as the chef adheres as faithfully as possible to recipes that date back to medieval times.  I chose a tasting menu that followed family recipes, originally created by the Mongalli family’s nonna.  These dishes, with an emphasis on the freshest vegetables and herbs, demonstrate how simple ingredients, when placed in the right hands, can be turned into recipes worth repeating and recording.  Thank goodness, grandma did.   Indeed, Julien, our waiter explained, using no more than four ingredients is the key to the success of these cherished recipes.

Although there are remains of ancient Roman amphitheaters in many parts of the world, in Bevagna, these intact stone galleries are incorporated into the medieval dwellings and are still “lived in” today, something that occurs nowhere else in the world.  So to sit at table in this 2000 year-old stone corridor, where the music is soft and the food simply good is a once- in-a-lifetime experience.  The Latin name, “Redibis,” however, wishes otherwise, as it means, “You will be back.”   I certainly hope so.

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

La Terrazza Bramante – a restaurant with a view

La Terrazza BramanteLa Terrazza Bramante
Raphael Hotel
Largo Febo,2
(Piazza Navonna)
39-06-682-831
00186 Rome
http://www.raphaelhotel.com

From the Raphael’s rooftop terrace, guests enjoy a panoramic view of the eternal city.  As one gazes upon the city, the cupolas, the bell towers, the graceful palaces and the ancient monuments are awash in colors, shifting and blending ever so softly as if by a watercolorist’s brush.  In season, the multi-level terrace, otherwise known as the Roof Garden “Bramante”, named after the nearby Cloister of Bramante, is open for lunch and dinner.

Whether dining on the terrace with its spectacular views or in the ground-floor restaurant “Relais Picasso,” one should not miss the chance to savor the cuisine of Raphael’s noted chef, Jean-Francois Daridon.  The indoor restaurant name’s pays tribute to Picasso, whose original ceramic works grace both the dining room and the entrance lounge of the hotel.  These precious ceramics are part of a vast art collection of inestimable value, collected by Spartaco Vannoni and now on display at the hotel.

dishes0002Influenced greatly by Picasso’s style and color palate, the dining table décor is delightful.  The chef’s wife, Franca, has created and hand-painted each ceramic dinner plate in vivid colors and whimsical designs, giving an air of festivity and elegance to each table.  It is not easy to choose from Jean-Francois’ culinary creations, but we chose to select from his Mediterranean temptations.  The “saltimbocca” nearly leaps into one’s mouth as it should, but start, as we did, with his signature fettuccine verdi with mushrooms and peas.  And don’t end the evening without trying his famous apple Tarte-Tatin, a dessert that has been on Raphael’s menu for thirteen years.

 

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

 

Il Vinattiere di Chambord – a wine dinner in an old palazzo

Il_Vinattiere

Il Vinattiere di Chambord
Grand Hotel Entourage
Piazza S. Antonio, 2
34170 Gorizia
Tel: +39 0481 550235
info@grandhotelentourage.it
http://www.entouragegorizia.com

 

Located below the southern slopes of Gorizia Castle, the Grand Hotel Entourage is the restructured 16th century villa of the Strassoldo family, a palazzo with a long and unique history.  During its most recent renovation, which lasted a decade, careful attention was paid to the safeguarding of the architectural and artistic heritage of this famous palazzo and the present owners are justifiably proud of their achievements – not only for the successful conservation of this historical building but also in the realm of the first-class hospitality they offer.

The hotel has many temptations.  Namely, its cozy wine cellar named “Il Vinattiere di Chambord.”  In a relaxed and warmly rustic atmosphere, we allowed Ennio, the sommelier, to select the wines we enjoyed with a simply satisfying supper, a tasting menu that began with a sformata di zucca, a pumpkin soufflé blanketed in a cream of melted Montasio cheese with a hint of truffle oil.  The bocconcini of veal in a local red wine simply melted in your mouth.  For finer dining and banquets, there is the very atmospheric Bearnaise Restaurant, located on the ground floor in vaulted rooms, the oldest part of the structure, dating back to 1481.  It’s hard to imagine that these rooms once served as the stables.

 

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

 

Trattoria Volpelli – truffle treasures

Trattoria VoTrattoria Volpelli - winelpelli
Via Cortonese, 14
Loc. Calzolaro
06019 Umbertide (PG)
39-075-930-2305
http://www.trattoriadavolpelli.com
info@trattoriadavolpelli.com
Owner: Marco Caproni
Chef: Irina Caproni

Some of Umbria’s most precious gems are wrapped simply and hidden in the most unexpected places. Trattoria Volpelli is one of them. In the tiny town of Calzolaro, on the outskirts of Umbertide, this family-owned trattoria is unpretentious, its owner modest, its food genuine. Owner Marco is a tartufaio, which means he knows a thing or two about truffles, taking time to explain to us the varieties and their seasons. And he is deeply passionate about preparing dishes that celebrate this prized tuber. He is also knowledgeable about the meats, especially pork, and wild game of the Umbrian/Tuscan countryside and he knows just how to grill them. Simply.

An antipasto platter of hot and cold crostini and salumi is as colorful as a painter’s palette, brought to our table as an introduction to Irina’s culinary talents. The best part of the meal, without a doubt, are our primi, a half serving each of hand-made tagliatelle al tartufo – featuring the Scorzone, or black summer truffle – and delicate gnocchetti with fresh porcini. “Add nothing but un filo, a ‘thread’, of olive oil,” Marco advises and we know not to add any Parmesan, even though he has placed some on our table.

A bottle of a Sangiovese under their own label serves us well. We share a portion of Marco’s mixed grill of pork as he shares the secret to grilling meats to perfection, using lard flavored with sage for chicken, with rosemary for lamb, and with wild fennel for duck. I think we are going to have to return!  Irina, his foreign-born wife, has learned well from her time in the kitchen with Marco’s mother. Thank you Irina, for your skills, Marco for your truffle passion, and the dog who helps you find them.

 

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

A memorable dinner at the Pauline Borghese Restaurant

Pauline Borghese Restaurant

 

Pauline Borghese Restaurant
Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa
Via G. Frescobaldi, 5
00198 Rome
39-06-854-421
http://www.parcodeiprincipi.com

 

Located in the quiet residential area of Parioli, the Parco dei Principi garden offers a beautiful haven from the bustle of the city center.  Just one street separates its garden from the world-famous Villa Borghese Park, designed as a formal garden in 1605 for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the first of its kind in Rome.

We enjoyed a pleasant passeggiata through the Borghese gardens on several occasions during our stay at the Principi and particularly enjoyed our visit to the Villa Borghese Galleries to see the Canova sculpture of Pauline Borghese.  This we did before dining at the hotel’s Pauline Borghese Restaurant, named after Napoleon’s famous sister.

Taking inspiration from traditional recipes, Chef Gianfranco Calidonna uses regional ingredients in simple yet unusual ways, never compromising their flavors or textures.   Like a master conductor, the Maitre D’ arranged our travel from appetizer to dessert wine, as we sampled the chef’s variations of specialties from more than one region of the Italian peninsula.  Sommelier Riccardo helped select the wines that were to accompany us on our journey through the menu.  A glass of chilled Agricanto from the Veneto was a perfect ending to a thoroughly delightful meal, one of the best we have had in Rome.

During the summer months light lunches and snacks are available every day beside the pool.  From 12:30 until 3:30, a poolside Sunday brunch is offered.
copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com

Golden Moments – Golden Views

Golden View Open Bar

Golden View Open Bar
Via dei Bardi 58r (Ponte Vecchio)
50122 Firenze
39-055-214-502
info@goldenviewopenbar.com
www.goldenviewopenbar.com

A golden moment, a golden wine, and above all else, a golden view – of the Ponte Vecchio and its shimmering reflection in the waters of the Arno.  This Florentine restaurant/wine bar opened in 2001, dining rooms perched over the river, offering unobstructed views of the old bridge.  The décor is contemporary, sleek yet understated; a perfect visual balance for the fabulous view framed by large windows that slide open this evening to welcome a summer breeze.

Golden View -Chef Edo diGiulioChef Edo di Giulio manages to keep everyone happy with his culinary skills and cheerful presence in the dining room when he comes to check on his dinner guests.  His cooking is superb, novel re-creations of traditional Italian dishes, featuring specialties from the land and the sea – a spaghetti with shellfish for my friend while I feast on tagliolini Amiata, a thin pasta with a beef and veal ragù, and peas and porcini mushrooms, a dish inspired by nearby Monte Amiata.  A Pinot Bianco sees us through to meal’s end, desserts that were stellar creations made by their in-house pastry chef.

Golden View Bar - fruit dessertThe young waiters and waitresses are friendly, energetic and speak enough languages to communicate with an international clientele. The Golden View is open from 11:00 a.m. until the wee hours of the morning – continuous hours to cater to every wish – a family craving pizza in the middle of the day, business friends discussing their affairs over a glass of wine, ladies enjoying a sweet pastry and a coffee together, or sweethearts celebrating a romantic evening.

Golden moments…

 

copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com