andrea bocelli

here's the big man himself...



before i flew home, i went to go see andrea bocelli in concert at a private theater located in lajatico, his home town. i had a taxi come and pick me up from pisa and take me to this remote location in the middle of nowhere. i received a special gift from the four-one events group which included bottles of wine, honey, truffle oil, and a truffle compote. very nice gift.

the concert began at 21:00 (9:00 PM) and didn't end until 1:00 AM. I didn't get back to my hotel until 2:00 AM and then i had to get up to go to the airport at 5:00 AM. i didn't get any sleep.

the concert was absolutely amazing. amazing doesn't even describe actually how good bocelli was. the man didn't sing off key at all, not to mention the fact that he plays the piano and the flute. the repertoire were popular cinema songs....mamma, torna a sorrento (la mia preferita), etc. supposidly there were 10,000 people there. my seat was jaw dropping, i was oh so close to maestro bocelli. definitly, definitly, definitly, an experience i will always remember.

more videos to post...


fresh as fresh can be

while going into the fridge to look for some more eggs to make the pasta, i found what i needed...

but when i opened the container, i stumbled upon this....

an egg with bird poop all over it...not to mention the fact that the rest of the eggs still had feathers stuck to them . i guess this is what you get in italy when you buy extra fresh eggs.


cioccolato italiano

1/4 cup of good quality unsweetened cacao powder (such as Pernigotti)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Potato starch (corn starch in the US)
3 1/2 cups of milk

In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Whisk over medium heat until smooth. Continue whisking until the mixture is warm and has thickened (about 5 minutes). Serve with a dollop of whip cream if desired.

middlesbrough college

for one week i taught a group of british first-year culinary students how to cook. these kids were so much fun to cook with. they got a kick out of me trying to speak in my british accent, AND they even said that i sound like i am from london. i knew i was good at that accent. anyway, i enjoyed getting to know these kids and the last day that i worked with them, they wrote me the sweetest note ever. love the british people.
2 other chefs (enzo and nando... nando calls me his sous chef)

-this is sonia the owner...she LOVES me and gave me a veeeeeery nice gift-

-me and luisa...she calls me her little bambina-
(see recipe for torta di limone glassata)

-the british kids-


cinque terre, liguria

i had never been to cinque terre before, but only had heard good things. cinque terre is on the coast of liguria (a northern region) and consists of five small fishing villages. with that being said, i had a four day weekend so i decided to head on over. i have decided that this place is the prettiest in italy. every village was stunning. so glad i got to go. i sadly couldn't make it to portofino, but on my next trip to italy....i'm renting a boat.
i wanted so badly to rent a little boat and go sailing all along the coast


the train ride was 3 1/2 hours from siena which wasn't that bad. i left friday in the morning and stayed at a bed and breakfast friday so that i would have all of saturday to hike the villages. well, that hike ended up taking me 4 hours because i had to hike 7 miles of stairs. those 7 miles were the hardest 7 miles i have ever done. picture being on the stairmaster for 4 hours in the heat of the sun. but the views....definitely well.worth.it.


san gimignano

had a day off from work, finally, and was able to visit this gorgeous town an hour away from siena.

i took a walk all around the city wall and this was the view at every angle...vineyards galore

the streets of siena are similar to san gim, but are cobblestone...these streets were a whole lot easier on the feet
its so common for groups of old men to congregate and mingle during the afternoon

these small little trucks are everywhere....farmers and the locals drive them