The recipe for this week is for a dish that we've been eating almost every week for the past month, ever since the tomatoes and zucchini have been abundant in the garden. We are literally drowning in garden vegetables which is why I concocted this cold pasta dish (we might also consider it a 'pasta salad' although it does not contain anything creamy like mayo). A great recipe to make ahead of time since it has to cool in the fridge for at least a couple hours and I always find that it tastes better the day after. Anyways, have a good end to the week everyone!
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet fellow friends (old and new!), Chelsea and Yuriy, on the Ligurian coast. We are so lucky to be able to drive from Bergamo to Portofino in less than three hours and so when I heard this jet-setting couple was headed down to Italy from Paris, I just knew I had to jump on the chance to meet. I love seeing friends from home while abroad. It might be the surreal-ness of it, the way it makes the world feel so small. It might be the fact that they somehow quench my thirst for home- the familiar accent, the way they talk and laugh, and the ease that comes from being in the company of people that grew up where you did. Whatever it is, it's always a pleasure. Massi and I drove down Saturday morning and immediately claimed our spot at the beach in Camogli (the photo above is of the beach and shoreline). We spent the entire day there like the Italians do, only breaking to re-hydrate with ice cold Moretti beers; it was scorching- a heat so indescribable the only way I can do it justice is by saying we only managed to leave the water momentarily for five or ten minute spurts.
We had booked a hotel using AirBnB for the very first time- being as scalding as the weather was, the entire Ligurian coast was booked full and the remaining prices were astronomical. We paid a cool 55 euros for an apartment tucked away in the hills behind Camogli and it was perfect. considering prices were running almost triple that for a single night in a hotel. We even managed to drag ourselves out of our beach stupor to wander around Camogli before heading back to freshen up for dinner. Our original (overly idealistic) plan was to meet up in Portofino, but having driven there and having no luck with parking, we back-tracked and decided on Santa Margherita Ligure, which to be honest, is devastatingly cute and probably underrated next to its famed neighbor. After an aperitivo of beers (tonic water and lemon for heat-stroked me), the four of us meandered over to our 9 o'clock reservation at Ristorante da Antonio (check it out on Trip Advisor because it was wonderful). The ceiling of the restaurant is draped with vines and they offer you pink prosecco to start. Our dinner was done Italian-style, something like three or four hours later, we were the second-to-last table remaining, glowing from the good food, company, flowing wine, all encompassed bit of magic that Italian summer nights seem to create. The limoncello was perfect and I had moscato-drenched peaches for dessert, one of my favourites thusfar. For even more photographs of our weekend, follow my Instagram (@questadolcevita)!
and the spring,
and first love,
all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.
- Bertrand Russell
Don't you agree? x
It seems that the weather in my Canadian home has been pretty odd and I found these photos on Facebook yesterday that were taken in and around Calgary, thought they were beautiful (sorry for lack of credits, not sure who they belong to!). Look at those colors!
I’m playing catch-up with the blog, so this post is not about this weekend which we spent at the seaside near Portofino, but instead about the weekend before that where we took Massi’s blonde girlfriend up into the mountains. Italians do one of two things when there’s a heat wave- they escape either to the mountains, or to the seaside, there’s really only those two options; it’s almost unheard of to stay in the city, or if you do, you’re spending the entire day in front of your air conditioner wishing you were in the mountains or at the sea...
I had just bought a new motorcycle jacket (my first) and evidently I have excellent taste in motorcycle wear because I guess the brand I chose is quite popular (in addition to pricey, I can attest to that!). So this was the jacket’s debut- a quick jaunt to Passo San Marco. Massi calls it the “top of the world” and it really is worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. The views are just incredible, the drive up even more so. I found it endearing that there was a food truck up at the top, they were advertising every variation of food made with mirtilli (blueberries), so I assume they are in abundance up there at this time of year.
Next post up: our sun-filled weekend on the Ligurian Coast meeting up with friends from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada!
Happy Wednesday everyone! I'm counting down the days until the weekend because I think we'll be trying to join the masses at the seaside. Anyone have any suggestions for a day or two-day trip from Bergamo? We are very likely going to have to go with the beaches of Liguria (straight south of Bergamo) since I'm unwilling to sacrifice beach time with car time! Anyways, this recipe is adapted from one that Massi's mom was planning on making from the publication Sale e Pepe which originally called for acciughe instead of prosciutto. I substituted prosciutto because it's what we had in the fridge and I thought anchovies might over-power the mild figs of the season. It might sound like a strange combination, but we loved it...the figs have almost a "meaty" texture and weren't overly sweet so somehow, they blend into the dish perfectly.
As I'm sitting here with my glass of wine, it came to my attention that I've inadvertently discovered the most ingenious, foolproof way to decide if you're in a good place in your life. Here it is:
If you're drinking your glass of wine completely for the sole purpose of pleasure, congratulations, you've found your bliss.
I remember back in Canada, always thinking to myself...once this shift is over, I'm going to have me a glass of red wine the size of my head. My group of pharmacist friends and I even had weekly meet-ups, appropriately dubbed "Wine Wednesdays" that were specifically to vent and de-stress. While seemingly totally normal, I would like to point out that this is not normal in Italy and actually, it's probably a sign that things aren't so hunky dory. However, it's a trademark of our generation in America- this fascination with being busy and then having to "pencil-in" 2 hours in a week to then de-stress and start the spin cycle over again. If you think I'm exaggerating, I'm really not. Italians do de-stress of course, but in a much healthier way- perhaps by working in their vegetable patch (like Massi), having a lovely, slow dinner every night, taking a stroll outside, or meeting friends for an after-work aperitivo (which stays surprisingly classy). But wait, you might be saying...you're just always happy there in Italy because everyday is Wine Wednesday. While I can't deny that we sure do enjoy a glass or two in the evening, Italians drink wine for one reason only- to complement the flavours of their food (well, that and for general health purposes). Wine is the equivalent of a multi-vitamin here. God, I love Italy. x
I apologize for not being more regular with the humpday recipe, but it always seems like Wednesday comes and goes and before I know it, it's Thursday. So here we are, on another lovely but not as scalding hot, Thursday evening. Why not pop into your garden or the local market and take advantage of the zucchini season? Zucchinis are mind-boggling to speak about when switching between Italian and English because for some reason, in English they are called zucchini...in Italian...zucchine (feminine in gender rather than male). BOH. See you in recipes for this great recipe that takes just 30 minutes and makes a perfect all-in-one summertime meal!
This has been by far one of my favourite articles that I have written for Pink Pangea which is why I wanted to share it with readers of the blog. Here's just a sneak peek, you'll want to click here to read the full article on the original site...
Congratulations, you’ve landed yourself the coveted Italian man, the epitome of a Latin lover. I wouldn’t call this a rude awakening per se, but if you’re a foreign signorina with no Italian roots, you may run into quite a few stark cultural differences in your relationship with Mr. Perfetto. This is nobody’s fault, it is simply the contrast between upbringing and expectations in Italy. Of course, this article is based on my personal experience of being the WAG of a born-and-raised Italian man for the last seven years, and based on discussions with Italian girlfriends of Italian men. Here are a few pointers as to what Italian men expect (or “appreciate”) from their main squeeze:
Housewives of Italy.
In Italy, you have to be able to do it all–work and keep a perfect house, all while looking like Sofia Loren circa late 1950s. I applaud all you WAGs out there, I truly do. A lot of Italian men are heinous neat-freaks and perfectionists when it comes to their house. This is due to the fact that their mothers, and grandmothers, and great-great grandmothers took great pride in their homes and therefore your Italian man has grown up in an impeccably kept household and expects the same for his own.
Watch your wine.
While in other countries, men may not care in the slightest if you enjoy a little too much out in public, in Italy, both men and women tend to keep themselves under control while drinking. In all my experience with Italy, I have never ever seen an Italian girl drunkingly stumble in her Ferragamos.
Link to the original article: http://www.pinkpangea.com/2015/06/italian-men-the-unofficial-guide-for-wives-and-girlfriends/
Ciao all! My newest collaboration just went live yesterday- so honored to have been asked to be one of JJ Caprice's "Savvy Travelers" for the Summer Travel Series where the site is featuring a different country every week:
Each week for the months of June, July and August we will spotlight a different country. Inspired by summer travel and adventure, our goal is to explore the globe, one cool city at a time. Each week we will feature country-specific content including Q&A's with savvy travelers who have visited, content from natives who want to share their favorite local spots, destination-specific outfit guides, travel tips, food recommendations and more. Let the wanderlust begin!
Let the wanderlust begin indeed. Click here to read my Q&A (or click the screenshot above!) and be sure to check out www.jjcaprices.com for hand-picked (by Jen personally), locally-sourced gift ideas from all around the globe.
Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned freelance writer, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.