Friday, February 23, 2018

Bologna and Emilia Romagna Food and Wine Traditions

Bologna Modena Ferrara and Dozza 3 nights and 4 days itinerary
Bologna Arrival and private transfer from the Bologna airport or train station to a Farmhouse in the countryside. Lunch and guided tour of the city center. Dinner with typical dishes from Emilia.
The Food Valley full day excursion and visit to  some of the best Emilia food producers:
Langhirano - Prosciutto di Parma production plant and food tasting
Reggio Emilia - Parmigiano Reggiano Dairy with explanation of the production cycle
Modena – Acetaia (vinegar loft) and the aging process of traditional balsamic vinegar.
Cooking Class and Ferrara morning cooking class: how to make tagliatelle and tortellini - 3 hours. Lunch at the Farmhouse. Afternoon transfer to Ferrara and guided tour of the city center, a wonderful example of Renaissance urban planning that preserves its historic center intact and included in Unesco’s World Heritage Program. Dinner at a Ferrara restaurant.

Dozza Medieval Village Transfer to Dozza Imolese. Guided tour of the 13th Century medieval village and castle; visit to the Emilia Romagna regional enoteca. Typical lunch in a restaurant in Dozza.  Afternoon transfer to Bologna and end of program.

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Bologna and Emilia 
Romagna Travel
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Historic Neighborhoods of St Louis Missouri

St. Louis is home to blues music, a brewing tradition and Cardinals baseball. The city was destined to become a beer town. In addition to the large German and Irish population, there was plenty of water, rail connections, limestone caves, and an entrepreneurial spirit that provided the foundation for the city’s beer business. Today, the tradition continues as St. Louis is home to several microbreweries and brewpubs.
Ballpark Village is a seven block, 10-acre entertainment plaza comprising Cardinals Nation, a venue that combines a Cards-themed restaurant, rooftop deck with views inside the stadium, and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum; a Budweiser brew house, complete with beer garden and displays of St. Louis’ brewing history.
St. Louis Cardinals catch an exciting Major League Baseball action and cheer for the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-time World Series Champions.  You can also take a Stadium Tour.
4 Hands Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in the LaSalle Park neighborhood.  Specializing in crafting unique ales that push the level of creativity and flavor.  At any one time, 10 different ales will be available.
Schlafly Bottleworks free tours of St. Louis’ favorite brewery includes an exhibit on the history of brewing in St. Louis, the brew house, bottling plant and tasting rooms. 
A Town for Music Lovers
The National Blues Museum is a world-class cultural attraction. Legendary Blues icon Buddy Guy, Grammy Award Winners Robert Cray and Derek Trucks, and film and TV star John Goodman support the project. It explores the Blues and celebrates the genre as the foundation of all modern American music. The facility educates guests in an entertaining environment that includes high impact technology driven experiences, a 100-seat theater, artifact-driven exhibits and public programming.

BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups stop in and catch award winning live music nightly with local and national acts. Broadway Oyster Bar is where you can catch the best in local and national bands.

Route 66 has become an icon of American culture and history. Established in 1926, this semi-transcontinental highway stretches 2448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Route 66 entered American folklore with the famous song written by Bobby Troup who urged us all to ‘get our kicks on Route 66’.

In St. Louis You Will Experience American and European Traditions
Downtown St. Louis has undergone a myriad of changes and modifications since its days as a garment and shoe manufacturing center. The Loft District is home to major corporations, small businesses, residential lofts, boutiques, galleries, restaurants and nightspots. The neighborhood’s evolution has returned the once proud historic buildings to service.

The Gateway Arch soars 630 feet above downtown St. Louis. America’s tallest man-made monument offers a 30-mile panoramic view of the Mississippi River and the city; it was built to honor President Thomas Jefferson and his vision of a continental United States.
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The Central West End is over a century old and full of charming sidewalk cafés, galleries, antique shops, restaurants, boutiques and pubs. Adjacent to the commercial district, it is characterized by tree-lined streets, stately turn-of-the-century homes and the family apartment of playwright Tennessee Williams, setting of his play The Glass Menagerie.

Cherokee Antiques Row minutes south of downtown St. Louis, it offers six blocks of independently owned and operated antique, collectible and specialty shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafés. The Cherokee-Lemp History Walk takes you through 200 years of history, with mini-histories displayed in the windows, on fences or facades of 26 buildings that detail charming Victorian architecture and the families that ran the businesses from the 19th century through the 1950s.
Lemp Mansion Home of Beer Barons and the Most Haunted House in America
Clayton is home to the St. Louis County government as well as boutiques, galleries, hotels and restaurants known throughout the region.
Webster Groves is an enclave filled with century-old homes and a mélange of architectural styles with cultural offerings, cozy restaurants, and boutiques. Over 300 of the community’s homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood includes the 1857 Hawken House, built by inventors of the rifle that explorers took to the western frontier, Webster University and the Loretto-Hilton Theatre.
Soulard is the city’s oldest neighborhood. Its historic streets, lined with red brick townhomes, are located five minutes south of the Arch. It is named for Antoine Soulard, a Frenchman who surveyed colonial St. Louis and is home to historic churches, built by St. Louis’ immigrant communities. Soulard marks its French heritage with an annual Mardi Gras fête; revelers also flock to the neighborhood in the fall for Oktoberfest. The Farmers Market has been operating since 1779.
Laclede’s Landing is where 19th century architecture meets 21st century dining and entertainment. The Landing is a collection of historic riverfront warehouses that have been converted into nightclubs and restaurants.
Grand Center is the cultural hub of the region. There are few districts in the United States that have the intensity and caliber of arts offerings as Grand Center with its 12,000 theatre seats, 1,500 cultural events, and a dozen galleries and museums.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Gragnano Italy Pasta and Wine Traditions

Mountain and Sea Air Spring Water and Sunshine are Key to Pasta Quality
Gragnano is a hill town 30 Km south of Naples, overlooking Pompeii and Vesuvius, just outside Castellammare and it port in Naples Bay; it’s location halfway between Sorrento and Amalfi is ideal to visit Sorrento, Capri, the Amalfi Coast as well as the countryside of the Campania region of Italy.

Pasta Tradition making pasta in Gragnano is an ancient art form that involves history, culture, patience, secrets and traditions. The town’s main street was laid out expressly to capture the mountain breeze mixed with sea air back when pasta makers hung spaghetti on drying rods like laundry. Now, heaters are used to dry the pasta at 122 degrees Fahrenheit for two days, resulting in a nuttier aroma and a chewier feel.

A History of the Valley of the Mills

The Valley of the Mills is famous for its spontaneous springs and Gragnano’s water is important for its therapeutic and diuretic properties. It is also a favorite destination for tourists who sip delicious water in full contemplation of the area’s landscape while its artistic patrimony is reflected in the many centuries-old churches such as Corpus Domini, which houses one of the largest canvases in Europe - over 400 square meters.

Gragnano's Pasta Factories Contributed 10 Percent of Italy’s Production a Century Ago

The Gragnano Pasta Cooperative represents small producers in the area; it holds that the dough should be made solely from Italian wheat, be pushed through perforated bronze plates to mold it, and that the resulting strands, sheets and elegant shapes must be dried at temperatures no higher than 122 degrees. Higher temperatures burn the dough.

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Greco di Tufo is one of Campania’s finest whites and is perhaps the oldest wine in all of Italy. Greco refers to its Ancient Greek origins, after those who first brought the grape to Italy and cultivated it on the slopes of the Vesuvius. The first written account is found in a poem fragment from 6 BC in Pompeii. Written on a wall, it reads: You are cold, Bice, truly a piece of ice, if even the Greco wine could not warm your heart last night.
It is Cultivated in Tufo, Santa Paolina, Prato di Principato Ultra, Montefusco, Altavilla Irpina, Chianche, Petruro Irpino, and Torrioni. Only the hillsides of these areas are considered suitable for this wine as valleys and points of lower elevation are humid and lack the necessary sunlight and mountain breezes. To be considered Greco di Tufo, which has had DOC appellation since 1970 and DOCG since 2003, 85% must be of Greco di Tufo, with up to 15% coda di volpe. The wine can also be a sparkling spumante.

Greco di Tufo is not a mild-mannered wine. With zesty, fresh flavors of peaches, pear and herbs, coupled with restrained aromas of almond and apricot; a fully dry white wine with a sharp minerality. It is these distinct notes that place Greco di Tufo one step above the two-other great white Campania wines, Falanghina and Fiano di Avellino. Some believe that it complements mild dishes nicely, such as seafood, rice and pasta in butter or white sauces; others think that it pairs perfectly with strong dishes of veal, chicken, and cheeses.