choose your destiny

martedì 15 dicembre 2009

''tuscany to piemonte'' con i duci di dicembre....

Here is a montage put together for our dukes of december trip 2009.
we departed from
headed into tuscany to
taking a train north arriving in
another train to piemonte for culinary adventures in
Alba &
and then to do snowboarding in
leaving for a stop in
back to
and finally
home sweet Rome....

''tuscany to piemonte'' with the dukes of december 2009 from croosadabilia on Vimeo.

the dukes of december: a brief explanation 
in 2009 when my good friend antonio massimiano stayed with me
in rome while i was living there.  i quit my job in december to travel...
we had been planning for a while, and were super stoked...
we then traveled as the dukes of december...
nico contenta
antonio massimiano aka
il stupratore, e mangiacozza
after this trip it was decided it was only necessary to make this an annual duke outing...
join us in 2010...

 on the set for ''na cica de caffè.  florence, december 2009

for the link of ''na cica de caffè'' short film, CLICK HERE

domenica 13 dicembre 2009

enoclub, alba

Upon arriving into Alba,  we were taken out to dinner by a local to one of his prefered places the enoclub. A stacked wine list, and menu consisting of simple traditional piemontese dishes, as well as some modern takes from the kitchen.  A very clean, contemporary, and stylish restaurant, right in the center of Alba in the Piazza Savona, 4.  We sampled a few dishes like the steak tar tar, with black truffle shaving, a beauty of a cheese platter shown below, and drank a la spinetta barbera d'alba gallina 2006

Piazza Savona, 412051 AlbaItaly

sabato 12 dicembre 2009

cucina mantovana!

   2nd stop, on our dukes of december trip. Anto and I charged it to mantova, lombardia from montecarlo in tuscany today, for a brief culinary excursion, before heading to Alba.  We checked into the hostel, then jetted up to see the palazzo tè.  After we cruised into a bar for a light apperitivo.  we tasted some ciccioli mantovani, which are little unctuous fried bits of pork goodness. They paired right gorgeously with a slightly chilled glass of local lambrusco mantovano. We had a reservation at trattoria due cavallini, for the famous tortelli di zucca, which in the mantova style, is always made with mostarda mantovana (pictured above) in the filling.  Then, a secondo of stracotto di cavallo con polenta (a sort of horse stew over polenta, pictured below). Whenever i see horse on a menu, I jump right at it. Afterwards we spotted a pasticceria right by the palazzo ducale. We indulged in some blazing local pastries like la sbrisolina and torta di tagliatelle. The last mission was to grab a jar of precious mostarda di mantova to go, usually pear or apple in a spicy mustard syrup but also comes in every fuckin' variety imaginable!  the dukes signing off...

martedì 8 dicembre 2009

pinche lampredotto!

On a brisk december morning on the 8th me and Anto rolled into florence, stoping a few hours before cruising to Montecarlo.  This was the first stop on our trip from Rome going north. Whenever making our way into Firenze there is always the necessary stop at the lampredottaio, for a panino con lampredotto.  This is a local type of tripe, but it comes from the fourth and final stomach of the cow, the abomasum.  Other tripes come from the first three chambers.  I fiortentini have had this specialty for years, dating back to the 1400's when it was a poor and working class food.  You can smother this beautiful sandwich with a salsa verde, and salsa piccante.  There are some fine enotecas and specialty food stores to discover near the san lorenzo daily market.

After a cruise through the center we stopped at a favorite place of mine, vineria casa del vino hidden behind the market close to the mercato centrale building. For me it is an ideal place to chill out with some local vino and food.  It is quite a simple place.  Basically sandwiches, and a wide variety of crostini, and a nice selection of wine by the glass/bottle, or take away.  There isn't heaps of space to sit, but is is nice and cozy. Below is a staple of the tuscan diet, crostini di fegato, which we had this time, with a text book chianti colli fiorentini from fattoria poggio romitaA perfect fruit packed well balanced wine that goes grand with this type of simple tuscan cuisine, only 2 euro a glass, and 7 a bottle.  Another not to miss enoteca is Zanobini (Fratelli Gino E Silvano S.N.C.) on Via Sant'Antonino, 47.

mercoledì 11 novembre 2009

virgin olive oil in montecarlo... the making of the precious golden liquid

Here are fotos from our trip in november me and anto made to Montecarlo in tuscany to see some friends including Maurizio Pasi and his daughter Yoko.  We came during the olive harvest, Anto picked olives for a week earlier, then i joined the crew, to take the olives to the frantoio to be pressed.  Maurizio , besides being head of the wine farming for fattoria di montechiari, which make some of the highest quality wines in Montecarlo, he is an extraordinary person, with a thousand stories about traveling the world.  Always an adventure here in Montecarlo.  In september they have a sagra del vino, a wine festival which this year included an off the charts miss italy show! guarda che roba!
above, maurizio proudly places his keg of freshly filled extra virgin olive oil, in his cantina.

sabato 22 agosto 2009

sappada, hidden treasures...

In the northern part of Veneto, province of Belluno, in the italian dolomites, not far from Austria, you will find a town called Sappada.  Then you will find ristorante laite.  Whenever im in sappada visiting my friends Giacomo and Filippo Kratter, we always make sure to reserve a spot here. Giacomo and Fil are the shit, they know how to live it up and party hard and it is always an unforgetable experience.

 Above, one of my favorite dishes, la lepre (wild hare), served with violet mashed potatoes and mysteriously delicious and delicate fried pepper and zucchine.  Then some very thinly sliced and fried melanzane. Followed by the infamous dessert, campo. The first course, was a pasta i can't even attempt to give justice.  The name was much to complicated to remember, after all of that wine. It involved a home made pasta, very delicate, triangular in shape, with a local type of green stuffed inside, a shaven cheese, and a very memorable touch of cinnamon, which alltogether had an unprecedented texture, taste,  combination on the palate! We had about 7 different wines during dinner, including this rare radikon, ribolla gialla. 


a stunning display of local cheeses.  if you look closely the sign says latte crudo, non pastorizzato.  which is unpasteurized, a much harder to find product in America, along with the chicken with its head still attached in a supermarket, which for some reason is forbidden.

with giacomo and friends, a Valle Isarco Muller Thurgau Aristos 2007 aristos and local speck wrapped around a type of grainy rye bread, typical of sappada. 

going porcini hunting, is the best way to work off the hangover you might have from that last shot of grappa the night before.  no porcini's this hike, shit out of luck. above is federica with a ''fungo gialletto'', second to the porcino.

A trip to Sappada in august isn't complete without attending the annual festa della birra.  Massive debauchery and bordello with beautiful local ladies and good beer!  A few years ago i managed ten straight nights untill the festival ended. This year was a much briefer trip. tranquillo...

sabato 30 maggio 2009

cantine aperte, montalcino, toscana 2009

At the end of may, i took off with some mates, to Montalcino to taste the 2004 brunellos. 
Every year in italy, usually the last sunday in may all of the wineries open their cellars to the public for free tasting and tours. it is called cantine aperte (open cellars) and is part of the movimento turismo del vino its quite a beautiful thing.

we left from rome early as shit, and after going the whole night without sleep, me and my mate piovanelli, were a shot pair. we were also unaware, there wouldnt be sleep this night either as the hotel we were shooting for was booked. we would have an epic time trying to sleep 4 people in jacopo's freezing, and quite miniature car later that night.

That morning, we cruised into montalcino with a couple bottles of wine to get the blood flowing. we first got to the caparzo estate followed by altesino, donatella cinelli colombini, and then tenute silvio nardi. it was pissing out like a mother fucker.  but still a good ass time in montalcino. we managed to get tours of all the estates, and after silvio nardi, we went to check out the center of montalcino. after an unsuccessful attempt to try and sleep we sat in a dark soggy car at 6am, and decided since we were up, we should check out siena before heading back to rome.  still raining harder than ever, we took a quick stroll and gunned it back to rome, and out of the fucking rain.
Here are the photo's from the trip...
 (above: starting the trip off with a stop at mario tornatora in rome, for cornetti and a textbook cappuccino. below: jeffery's Ford Fiesta that became our home for a couple of days.)
(above: photo's from caparzo, below: onto altesino)
 (below: the driver gets hungry and thirsty too! we feed jeffery on the way to donatella...)

(above: quite stoked on the bottle of 2001 silvio nardi brunello di montalcino, i picked up with jeffery... turned out to be a keeper. below: foggy and mythical palazzo in the center of montalcino. 2nd below: a shot from siena, at the end of the trip.)

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