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Monday, November 19, 2018

Venice : Cats and Pest

Dear readers,

In Venice we are getting ready to celebrate the Madonna della Salute, which will take place November 21st.  I will share all about this major celebration in Venice in my next BLOG.

But what do cats have to do with this celebration?

The recurrence of the Feast of the Madonna Della Salute originates from the great epidemic of the bubonic plague that struck the whole of northern Italy between 1630 and 1631. It’s the same one described by Alessandro Manzoni in his renowned romance "I Promessi Sposi" – The Betrothed. The transmission of the terrible disease in humans can occur through the sting of the fleas on rats.  

At the time of the Serenissima, cats were also embarked on boats that left for long voyages to the East. Yes, just the cats were part of the crew and represented an excellent defense against rats. Over the centuries the commercial traffic increased and, with them, the risk of embarking the notorious rodents. 

So the Venetians began to select very combative cat breeds, for example by importing "Sorians" from Syria. But the problem remained, so they even organized expeditions in Dalmatia to fill the ships of cats to be then left free between streets and squares of Venice. The grateful Venetians loved their cats, so the city became a paradise for this noble animal.

Despite the efforts the plague spread and decimated the population of Venice, but the cats remained and became a piece of the city's history, a part of the myth. Now we see very few cats , but the ones that remain are very satisfied with their long naps under the sun and their fed stomachs watching the gondolas pass by. The authentic cats of Venice are the biggest cats you will ever see, beautiful and friendly.

Look for them next time you are in my hometown. 
They are part of our Venetian history.

And if you would like to see Venice with me check the link here below to join me next year.

Much love,


To join me on my Fan Trip to Venice and the Veneto region in May 2019 visit 

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Friday, August 3, 2018

How to make an easy and delicious pasta

Dear readers,

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful summer time. We had peaks of 109F here in LA, 41C for my European friends. But the weather is dry, so it's not so bad.

Today I want to share a very simple and quick pasta dish to prepare with a fresh and particular taste. Something  you need to try: Tagliolini with lemon.

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
  • ½ pound fresh or dried tagliolini or linguine
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra cheese to serve on the side
  •     fresh parsley 

How to make Tagliolini with lemon

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Heat the heavy cream in a skillet and add the lemon zest.
  3. Drop the linguine into the boiling water. Cook pasta al dente. Drain.
  4. Add the pasta and lemon juice to your heavy cream and stir until just heated through. Add the Parmesan and the parsley and toss. Serve with additional Parmesan and lemon zest on the side. 

Voila’ your Tagliolini lemon dish is ready to be enjoyed.
WINE TO COMBINE: Beaujolais Village
Buon appetito e buon weekend,

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