Travel Tips

Travelling To Salento? Here Are The Top 5 Things To Do In Brindisi

Visiting the Southern regions of Italy is a one-of-a-kind experience, with delicious foods, incredible sights and immersive activities. In the region of Apulia, specifically in the heel of Italy’s boot-shaped territory, lies a magical and interesting area: Salento.


Beautiful geographic features await you, but you’ll also find some of Apulia’s main cities by visiting the region of Salento. The best way to explore all Salento has to offer, is to choose a main city to use as a base for your travels, a starting point from where to visit other small towns and touristic sights.
While not being overly popular or a hugely renowned tourist destination, Brindisi stands as one of the most beautiful cities in lower Apulia, and its position will allow you to visit many neighboring locations with ease. Brindisi has lots of activities and sights to offer for anyone looking to visit the city as well as its surroundings, and staying here will mean you’ll have a lot of options to satisfy all of your needs.
There’s lots to do and see in Apulia, but we want to give you a few tips and suggest some things you might enjoy for a truly immersive journey in Salento, and for a great experience while exploring the city of Brindisi.

Take a stroll through marbled streets and enjoy the seafront
Brindisi itself has many beautiful locations that you can visit (between a meal and another!), as you stroll along the city’s streets all the way to the seafront. There are many incredible and impressive churches, dating from the 11th to the 14th century, such as the Duomo (the main cathedral of Brindisi), the Church of Santa Maria del Casale and that of San Benedetto as well as many others. But you can also visit other places that will amaze you, like the Aragonese Castle, also known as “Forte a Mare” (Sea Fort), and Castello Grande.
Within the territory of the city you can also find natural areas and Regional Natural Parks, if you want to enjoy the local flora and fauna. If you prefer to discover more of local history and culture, museums are in the city center.

Visit Torre Guaceto and go for a swim

 

#salento #puglia #apulia #torreguaceto #puntapenna #brindisi #italy #adriatic #mediterraneansea #southofitaly

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Of course visiting Apulia also means enjoying the sea, and to do just that you can rely on the marine reserve of Torre Guaceto. It’s a beautiful beach located in a protected area and you can go for a swim, go snorkeling, go on treks and hikes and take part in other activities that are being organized along the reserve. Remember to respect the environment, an you’ll have a wonderful time in one of the most beautiful beaches near Brindisi.

Eat local foods – like pizza fritta!

There are many traditional dishes and snacks that you can try while in Apulia and Brindisi, you just need to take a look around food stalls, bars and restaurants. Perhaps the best example of local cuisine is that of fried pizza (pizza fritta), which can be found around pizzerias in Brindisi.
One of the names that comes to mind when thinking about pizza fritta is the Pizzeria Romanelli, located in the city (Via Santa Lucia, 3 – Brindisi). With a long history in deep frying, this restaurant, established in 1949, also has a branched to the States, with a location in Houston, Texas. The pizzeria is also a good bet if you’re just looking to eat a great (regular) Italian pizza, but since you’re already here, you might as well go all out and sample your first (and perhaps best) pizza fritta ever!

Enjoy regional cuisine and explore new tastes

 

#braceria #puglia #brindisi #salento #bombette #bbq #meat #italy

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As already established, Apulia has great dishes and produce to offer. An excellent idea for a meal while in Brindisi would be to have a taste of great meat courses while enjoying Al Fresco seating.
The Braceria Semeraro offers a cozy and homely environment with a few tables inside the restaurant and a number of tables outside on the terrace. Book a table in advance if you’re able, because the place can get crowded. The Braceria is the lovechild of a butcher’s and a restaurant, where you choose the cuts you want to have, which will be cooked for you so that you’ll be able to enjoy them at your table. It accounts for a very unique experience, and there’s no menu, so be prepared to choose from the variety of different meats and cuts.

Visit nearby Ostuni by car rental

By renting a car, you’ll be able to visit many beautiful cities and locations not far from Brindisi, such as Ostuni. The city is full of tourists during summer, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the Old Town, Ostuni’s Cathedral and other landmarks.

Life Is Too Short For Not Living in Italy

iCub, a child-like humanoid designed by the RobotCub Consortium, taken at VVV 2010

Italy is generally a beautiful country with lots of promises and attractions. Many people from across the world know Italy for its exquisite recipes and romance. The wine, the food and coffee is just out of this world. Even the simple act of walking in this part of the world has a way of cooking up ideas with wishes that this feeling should last forever. If you are considering moving to Italy, it just might be the best move ever. Here are a few advantages of moving to Italy to psych you up.

Inspired by this Ted talk by La Stampa multilingual journalist Ioanna Merope Ippiotis we decided to write our own version on why is better to live in Italy than the Us, and the UK.

1. Networking

Italy has relatively fewer opportunities compared to UK and US. For this reason, Italians have perfected the art of networking, and they spend a lot of time trying to make connections with likeminded people. Whatever your reason for moving to Italy, you will need to stay open minded and interactive to build a supportive network around you.

For starters, and if you can afford it, consider working for little or no compensation at first while targeting to meet new people who will potentially open new doors for you. The best part is you won’t have trouble making networks because this is what Italians do best; they are best at personal relations. Sending cold letters to potential employers doesn’t work well here; Italians prefer networking as their first method of finding a job.

Although there is a partial believe that it’s not what you know, but who you know, you can easily turn this around to your advantage through your networking or marketing skills. There are lots of professional networking platforms and organizations such as Ecademy.com, the American Women’s Association of Rome, Benvenuto Club of Milan, among others. Depending in your interests and location, you should find some if these groups and join. Once your face becomes familiar, people will start to trust you and it will be easier to land jobs and business deals.

 

2. Mark Zuckerberg watch this space.

For many Italy is a paternalistic society lacking of innovation, constantly stuck in cycles of recession or low economic growth. But it is often this lack of opporunities that generates the most creative ideas. As we seen worldwide after the 2008 financial crisis, there is a new wave of innovations, and Italy is not immune to that. From Arduino to the Reggio Emilia food innovation programme , Italy innovation spans from 3d printing technology such as the delta wasp project  to intelligent robots such as the ICub created by the Italian technology institute.

Italy was alredy an innovator in the 60s,70s with many fields such as cinema, design, and fashion, and it is doing it again now. So why only look at the US, and UK for jobs or investment opportunities?

3. Cheaper cost of living

The general cost of living can greatly fluctuate depending on whether you plan to live in the north or south. The northern part of Italy tends to be wealthier compared to the south, for this reason, prices in major cities such as Rome and Milan are considerably higher than in the rural areas. In between, there are medium cities and cultural lifestyles that offer a bit of both. In other words, this country has something for everyone.

You will, however, be pleasantly surprised to note that the cost of living in Italy is generally low compared to most cities in UK and US. Whatever your preferences and tastes, the cost of living in Italy is not a high as many people may expect. Many people who come as tourists leave with the impression that Italy is an expensive country to live in. However, if you keep off tourist hot spots, you will not have to spend a fortune to enjoy life here.

Again, the cost of living will depend on where you choose to settle and your lifestyle. Real estate and accommodation will probably be your biggest expense, so by avoiding major cities and choosing small to medium towns, you can save quite a lot. Other living expenses such as food, fuel, and health are fairly consistent across the country. On a wider scale, we can say that the country has a relatively stable economy, salaries are generally reasonable and standard of living is high compared to other EU countries.

If you want to compare the cost of living of your country with Italy try to have a go on this site.

4. Less violence

Most Italian cities are reasonably safe, and security should not be on your list of concerns. However, as an extra layer of security, always get to know your neighbors. Italians look after their own, so the more people you know the safer you will stay. When it comes to moving around cities, especially at night, there are a few neighborhoods that are best left alone. There are a few cases of petty crime in some Italian cities and you can easily fall prey to pickpockets especially if you don’t speak Italian.

Again, as I have mentioned, security is not a major issue here in Italy. Additionally, there is no binge drinking culture that are known to cause violence and personal security issues in cities in the US and UK. 

Also so far Italy has been spared by terrorist attacks that are plaguing countries like the UK and France. Amongst other reasons experts claims that  migrants are less likely to live in ghettos in Italy than in other countries, this leads to a drecreased marginalisation and better integrations, therefore a less violent society with lower inequalities.

 

4. Weather and foods

It’s globally known that Italians take their foods really seriously. The quality of food you get in any restaurant or supermarket will normally be superior to what you can expect in the US. While you have to really search for good food in the US and UK, you have to equally search for bad food in Italy. Generally, the Italians have the best supermarkets. And even the smallest food stores in the smallest towns have a great spread of vegetables, fruits, cheese, and meat.

The strict food laws here prevent excessive use of chemical pesticides, colorings or preservatives. This makes their food quality and safety exceptional. When it comes to their restaurants, you will love the locally grown, fresh foods that making eating here such as delightful experience. The convenience of frozen pizzas and fast food are rare here, and dinner actually lasts for hours.

While many visitors imagine that the weather in Italy is dry and sunny throughout, the climate here actually varies based on location. If you are planning to settle in Milan for instance, you will have an entirely different weather calendar compared to someone living in Palermo. Generally, there are not torturing extremities that can make life unbearable or uncomfortable during your stay here.

 

5. Surroundings and moving around

No matter where you decide to settle in Italy, you will always be surrounded by incredibly rich natural beauty and heritage. After a while, you will absorb in the culture and rich history and start to appreciate your beautiful environment. With time, you will never want to step on a treadmill as there is always plenty to see when you walk around. It’s surprisingly quite easy to move around as most cities and towns are well connected. Additionally, major cities are never far away from the mountains and sea and you can enjoy the view as you speed past in the high-speed trains.

 

6. You will Live longer

Seriously, though, remember when I said Italians take their foods seriously? Aside from strict food regulations, locally grown fresh foods and minimal junk and fast foods, the Mediterranean diet seems to have taken this country by storm in the last two decades.

For starters, the Mediterranean diet essentially incorporates all the basics of healthy eating. Most of these diets include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and limit unhealthy fats. So if you want to live a few more years in better health and fewer medications, please carry on with your relocation to Italy.

 

Digital Fabrication Helps The Bees With An Opensource Beehive

 Did you know that one in every third food bite you consume depends on successful pollination of plants, specifically attributed to pollinators like bees? According to scientists, if we are to overlook this continued decimation of the bee population, then that time is not far away when we may find ourselves at a huge irreparable loss.

This calls for an undertaking from our parts to protect bees and their beehives, who are on a rapidly decline due to climate change and various other reasons. This very need led to the formulation of an open source beehive project  and resulted in the creation of an open source beehive, the design of which is open to use and modification.

What is Open source beehives all about.

oepnsource beehive=
Top bar open source beehive

Their main goal is to build and facilitate a group of citizen scientists, to understand the reason behind the rapid decline of the bee population; which as of yet, remains a mystery. There are some points that need to be taken into cognisance, these points would help us better analyze this project.

Furthermore, these set of digital files ( the usage of which has been presented below), could be used on a CNC machine to replicate these stylish beehives. One such beehive would follow the best beekeeping practices, as well as create a conducive environment for your bees!

1. The beehives so designed are known to respect best beekeeping principles, which, in turn, create a facilitating environment for our bees and help them grow as well as work to their maximum potential.

2. They also use a field data logger mechanism which assesses the audio and video inputs provided by the bees. Such an input helps the project observe the state of the bees, and prods you into taking corrective measures if necessary.

3. After that comes the beehive classification algorithm, which is used to observe and analyze the various audio signals emitted from the beehive. Such input, one obtained, would help characterize as well as segregated the behavior shown by the bees, tallying it from a long list of beekeeping practices. This list includes intimidation on various factors like swarming, moth invasions or the worst possible case – Catastrophe ( theft or invasion ).

4. Also, there is the buzz box hardware, which could be installed non-intrusively in the beehive. This piece of hardware would help keep a tab on various factors inside and outside the beehive. It would help you track the temperature, battery charge, barometric pressure, and hive vibration. All of this data could be easily accessed on your smartphone and would help you in keeping a tab on your bees.

5. Finally, there is the buzz box phone app, which is meant to provide you with notifications as well as readings of your bees behavior. All of this could be gotten on your smartphone and is easily accessible to read and refer to. Also, if any significant change is noticed, an intimation would be provided to you almost instantly, which would make your life far easier

Why do our bees need help

To understand this important point, we have to understand their importance to us. If bees wouldn’t have been there to pollinate our crops, hard labor related pollination would cost us over 300bn$ ( Global estimate ). Now, that isn’t a small figure to pay no heed to; also, as have been asserted above, they provide us with a third of our food!

There are many factors and facets behind the rapidly declining population of the bees. Some have been enunciated below, this would help you better understand the reasons attributed to it.

1. Pesticides

Pesticides are a major “buzz kill”. Jokes apart, excessive utilization of pesticides in agriculture has lead to the creation of an unhealthy environment for our bees. There are many pesticides that are known as the bee-killers, but there have been no concrete steps taken to prevent their usage. Albeit, they are usually ignored, for the greater good, or something like that!

2. Mass agriculture

Wild pollinators need more than agriculture-related plants to work. Due to the explosive decline in forests, grass and shrubs, bees find themselves at a loss of a place to call their “home”. Also, intensive agriculture commands more than 35% of the ice-free surface area, with it growing year-on-year.

3. Climate Change

The much talked about topic of climate change would have adverse effects on the growth of the population of wild pollinators. This erratic change in temperature, rainfall, and many other factors leads to a confusion in pollinators about the ongoing season.

4. Parasites

Parasites like Varroa mite have, over the years, led to a rapid loss of bee colonies. If research is to believed, then they are as inimical to bee health as are pesticides usage. When pollinators contract such parasites, they tend to experience a rapid decline in their immune system and find it hard to fight and fend off minor diseases. Now, that leads to an unaccounted number of deaths in pollinators.

What can an Open source beehive do

With the ever-growing grasp of technology over our normal lives, it would be wise to use this knowledge in preserving something that means so much to us. If we are able to create an healthy environment for our bees, then it would, in turn, also benefit us in the long run. Furthermore, such steps taken by an open source project  are always steps in the right direction, as it allows people to participate, modify, and collaborate on such an importa issue.

A decimation of their population due to climate change, pesticides, pathogens etc. could lead to a massive loss of our food security. Hence, Citizen science or public participation in scientific research is the need of the hour. If all of us come together to provide our opinion on the subject, then that time is not far away when the bee population would be more robust.

Also, when we utilize the help of technology, it becomes much easier for us to keep an observant check on bees and their conditions in beehives. This would also aid us in fending off any unwanted attack on them!

‘FICO’ Foodie Fun Park by Eataly Bologna Soon to Open

Eataly, the leading name in food retail for Italian cuisine, produce and culinary traditions, will soon be opening an exclusive theme park, unique in its kind: FICO – Eataly World. The project for this foodie fun park was born in 2013 and ever since, Eataly has focused its efforts into developing and expanding upon the initial idea until this year, and the park will be finally ready to open by the end of 2017.
The name of the park, ‘FICO’ comes from the acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, Italian Farming Factory in English, and it will represent over 2000 companies and will host 40 farming factories for a surface area of 11.000 square meters between farms and cultivations. The total surface of the park, located in the CAAB (The Agricultural Center in Bologna), is of 80.000 square meters. FICO will include educational courses and itineraries spanning through the farms and classes located across the park. The park also includes congress centers, restaurants and a market area to showcase produce from the territory, and products and ingredients of the Italian culinary tradition.

 

Benvenuto a Eataly!

What is the vision behind the project?

The mission and the vision behind this grand project is to teach and showcase how all parts of production, from the cultivation and breeding of raw ingredients to the final dish that can be prepared and brought to the dinner table by using them to their full potential, are equally important, not only for the excellence and quality of the final product, but for the development and ethical use of the territory of Italy.
FICO will not just be a park for foodies and tourists to enjoy food in all of its parts, step by step, but it will also be an educational experience, to learn with a new approach notions that are often underappreciated. FICO will be a bridge between generations, teaching young people the traditions and the lifestyle of those people who grow, process and bring food to our tables every day. The objective is to make people get more in touch with the natural environment in which we live and which is fundamental for our sustenance. This will be done at the park through activities and games that will cover the entire food production chain of the Italian agro-food industry.

What will you find at FICO?

Tourists, business partners and children visiting FICO will see the process of growing the raw ingredients in person, and touch with their own hands the produce and results of the farming done at FICO: they’ll have a chance to experience how biodiversity is a valuable asset in the growth of the raw materials and resources. Then, they will be able to join workshops to experience the processing of the ingredients according to local methods towards the creation of food and wines. Individuals, groups, children and families will be entertained with educational and hands-on tours and classes, and there will be many different types of restaurants and street-food stalls to choose from to try the products and dishes at the end of the educational experiences available at the FICO –Eataly World foodie park. But the options for people visiting the Fabbrica Italiana Contadina don’t end here. An extended area of 10.000 square meters will house an organic market and traditional craft stores, so that small and medium businesses of Italy will be able to showcase their manufacturing and crafting arts.
The best Italian companies, sponsoring the park and represented by it will be featured inside the context of a 4.000 square meter event and convention center. This area, at the heart of the park, will host conferences, team-building experiences and food-themed meetings for Italian partners and visitors from all around the world.

When will FICO open to the public?

The opening date hasn’t been released yet, so the best way to know when the park will open is to subscribe to FICO’s newsletter. You can also use the contact form at this link http://www.eatalyworld.it/en/contact-form to get in touch with the park’s team, or you could add FICO on social media through the name “Eataly World” and follow its development and hear the news about the park and it’s inauguration by following the hashtag #eatalyworld.
In the meantime, as we wait for this incredible foodie fun park to open its gates, we can get acquainted with its location and how to reach it.
The CAAB that hosts FICO grounds can be reached from Bologna’s Marconi international airport. Take the shuttle to Bologna’s central railway station and from here you can take the bus (line number 35) and in 30 minutes you’ll reach the FICO Eataly World gates (CAAB bus stop). If you’re going by car, use the motorway and FICO is located at the following address: Via Paolo Canali, 1 – 40127 Bologna.

How To Get a Reservation at Osteria Francescana? Actually, You Can’t

osteria francescana met Bottura

Or rather, you can try. But it might be more complicated than you’d imagine.

The world-famous award-winning, (three) Michelin star holding restaurant has become a celebrity of its own – one everyone who decides to visit Italy has at least once thought about eating at. And with good reason, since the dishes served by Chef Bottura at the Osteria Francescana find their roots in traditional, top-quality Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting to make a move towards the future, innovating and presenting products and produce with a refreshing, new look. The only problem? Booking a lunch or a dinner can be quite the process.

The Osteria’s Fame

In the past few years, Massimo Bottura, the chef behind the Osteria Francescana, has been praised and regarded by the culinary world for a number of reasons: for being true to his roots in his style, mission and choice of ingredients, for bringing innovative ideas – literally – to the table, and for creating new dishes that contribute to create a unique dining experience.
Thanks to this, Chef Bottura’s fame has skyrocketed to the Olympus of Italian haute-cuisine, making his restaurant, one of the most exclusive in Italy, and the best restaurant in the world, according to “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016”. The waiting list to book a table is of four months, so if you need to book for a specific date, or period of time (based on the days you’ll be in Modena), you need to be prepared.

How to Book

First of all, as we already established, the restaurant is fully booked, and sold out, for the next 4 months. New reservations start on April for the month of July, and so on.
At this link, http://www.osteriafrancescana.it/reservations/ you can see the reservations’ calendar with available dates and, if you skip forward using the arrows, you can see the instructions about booking a table: reservations open on a certain date and time, so if you want to get in early on the waiting list, prepare to call, or email the staff accordingly.
By making a reservation you are in fact inquiring about booking a table, and the Osteria will get back at you in the next 96 hours – enough time to sort the tables and pick clients from the waiting list for that date. If someone cancels their reservation, that’s all the more chance you have for your request to go through, but it can be though.
Being flexible with dates and times is a great way to get in the Osteria’s “good graces” and your reservation is more likely to be confirmed. A great way to show the staff you’re fine with multiple dates, and okay with going either at lunch or dinner is making a call.
For a successful call, remember to be nice and accommodating. Ask the staff if there’s something that can be done to fit you in, pointing out your availability.

More info can be found clicking on the following Quora and Tripadvisor links. Along with inquiries about how to make a reservation and how to contact the restaurant, you can also find other tips, reviews, and frequently asked questions about the Osteria’s dress-code and more.
https://www.quora.com/How-hard-is-it-to-get-a-reservation-at-Osteria-Francescana
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/FAQ_Answers-g187803-d1160010-t918838-I_ll_be_in_Modena_in_a_few_months_how_did_you.html

Alternatives to the Osteria Francescana

Of course managing to find a spot at the Osteria can be done, but if you couldn’t book a table in time, or your reservation didn’t go through, don’t fret: there are more fantastic dining experiences to be had in and around Modena that’ll be sure to leave you a great memory (and after-taste) of your visit to the city.
Here are a couple of alternatives that you can rely on for a great lunch or dinner out, and don’t forget that the internet is always available if you need to look up restaurants and osterie on the spot. Or, you could just look around, and you’ll see plenty of quaint little places with great local and traditional menus.

The Osteria Franceschetta

Chef Bottura also manages this Osteria, with the collaboration of other famous chefs. The menu is rich of interesting, fusion-style dishes that still find their roots in Italian and local, Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting a twist in the presentation, tastes and colors.
Choosing this restaurant will make it so that you’ll still enjoy an incredible experience alongside Bottura’s ideas and creations but in a different ambient, with more affordable options that those of the Osteria Francescana, and a more relaxed booking experience.
Reservation is advised, and can be done through the Osteria’s website:
http://www.franceschetta.it/en/

L’Erba del Re – Award-winning Restaurant in Modena

This restaurant can boast one Michelin star, along with many other awards and great results achieved through the years. If you couldn’t get into Osteria Francescana, the Ristorante L’Erba del Re is an excellent alternative, with traditional and innovative dishes, made with locally sourced and top-quality ingredients. Tasting menus for a well-rounded culinary experience are available.
http://www.lerbadelre.it/

Sherry Wine tour in Jerez – Best Bodegas – Andalusia Spain

If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.

– Alexander Fleming

Gonzalez Byass 25

What comes to your mind when you hear the word, Sherry? Something that is sweet and dark? Some drink that shows up only on exclusive occasions before returning to the confines of the drinks cabinet, till next time.

Let’s get into it. Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine with more than 3,000 years of rich tradition to accompany. Wine when added to a distilled spirit (i.e. brandy) becomes a Sherry.

The word itself is an Anglicization of the Spanish word Xeres. The exclusivity of Sherry can be gauge from its protected designation of origin status in Europe. All the Sherry wines must legally be from the geographical region of Andalucía known, also known as the Sherry Triangle. Additionally, the words Jerez / Xérès / Sherry are registered by Spanish wine producers and anyone using them outside the production area will face legal consequences.

The thin layer of yeast placed on top of the sherry wines barrel is called Flor, it splits all wines produced by the Sherry Triangle into two principal categories.

The process starts with fermenting the must, extracted from the white grapes produced in Southwestern Spain. This is achieved by adding  yeasts or pie de cuba.T his results in a young wine with an approximate 13.5% alcohol. Additionally, right after the fermentation, flor will start developing on this young wine. Flor is a thin layer of yeast on top of the sherry wine barrels. This waxy foam of layer protects the wine from air exposure and keeps the character of the Sherry intact. After that, a carefully quantified selection is made to fortify the wine by adding a distilled spirit to it.

Oxidative Sherry

This Sherry is brewed partially or entirely without flor i.e. Amontillado and Oloroso.

In recent years a lot of research has been put in place to decode the microbiology of sherry wine making and the impact of a flor veil on top of the Sherry wine barrels. All of this is because of the fame attained by the biologically aged Sherries.

Wine aficionados opine that to cherish the real character and blossoming taste of this wonderfully idiosyncratic wine; it’s essential to serve it with the right kind of savory food.

3 Types Of Sherries To Try.

“If it swims, serve Fino; if it flies, serve Amontillado; if it runs, serve Oloroso”

Jeremy Rockett, Marketing Director of González Byass – Spain’s most well-known sherry bodegas.

FINO

Fino in the Spanish language means refined. It is traditionally the driest and also the palest type of Sherry. It is consumed soon after the bottle is opened because air can cause them to lose their characteristic flavor in a matter of hours.

It is said by wine aficionados that no wine blends that well with savory food than a properly aged Fino Sherry. For that very reason, an ice-cold Fino is a natural companion of Tapas (wide variety of Spanish appetizers)

That’s why the cuisines and wines of Andalucía have developed a very close bond over the centuries.

AMONTILLADO

Amontillado is a type of Sherry that after being aged under flor is then exposed to oxygen. It results in a Sherry that is darker in color than Fino, but is comparatively lighter than Oloroso.

Amontillado is naturally dry by nature. Although, occasionally sold with medium to light sweeteners. The sweetened Sherry cannot be labeled as Amontillado.

This type of Sherry is generally served chilled and mostly with food like chicken or rabbit. Traditionally, it is served with a thin gravy soup.

OLOROSO

Oloroso in Spanish means scented is a type of Sherry that’s been aged for a longer period of time than Fino or Amontillado resulting in a richly blended and darker wine containing alcohol levels between 18 to 20%.

Oloroso is not for the weak hearted as they are the most alcoholic Sherries. They are also dry by nature. Just like Amontillado, more often than not Olorosos are served in a sweetened form known as Cream Sherry. However, these sweetened versions cannot be labeled Oloroso.

Jerez

THE BEST BODEGAS IN JEREZ

Oxford defines bodega as a cellar or shop selling wine and food, especially in a Spanish-speaking country or area.

BODEGAS TRADICION – website

Cozy, friendly and quintessentially Spanish. Bodegas Tradicion prides itself in bottling only the most refined and fully-aged wines capable of giving sensory pleasures to its Winers and Diners.

The Bodegas Tradicion guarantees that their wines include no artificiality of chill-filtration, sulphites, cooked-wine, cold stabilization or caramel while maturing and bottling their signature wines.

The beauty of their Sherries is that they taste as good alone as they do with the right kind of dishes.

LUSTAU – website

Lustau’s origin goes way back to 1896. When, Don José Ruiz-Berdejo started operating a winery in his backyard to sell them to the bigger houses that bottled and exported the wines.

In the 19th century founder’s son-in-law, Don Emilio Lustau Ortega started expanding the business and the range of wines produced. Later in 1990, the Lustao Company was sold to Luis Caballero. That sale further allowed the company to grow and allowed it purchase six bodega buildings which were restored in 2001 and 2003 and now house all of the Lustau Wines.

Lustau markets as many as 40 different wines found within 8 categories and ranges. They are particularly famous in foreign markets i.e. the USA.

SANDEMAN – website

Despite its increasing popularity, experts believe that wine tourism movement is only operating at 20% of its projected potential and can easily be double in the near future. It can be said that SANDEMAN is playing its significant role even in that 20% wine tourism.

A crucial factor escalating the movement is wine roads, through wine-producing regions and through the major spring event of Open Cellars which attracts millions of tourists.

These Sherry Wine Tours in Jerez offers an opportunity to see how and where wine is made and can also spot the difference by tasting it at its source.

These tours also offer visitors an opportunity to get to know about the traditions and culture blended into wine making and the country life.

One can say that while the primary focus of the tourists is on tasting sensuous Sherries they also, subconsciously discover the uniqueness and scenic locales of Spain.

To conclude proverbially in Spanish,

Friends and wine should be old.

What To Do (and Eat) in Bologna in February

Carnevale di Cento 2010 (Carro dei Ribelli)

You would think February to be a pretty uneventful month. After all, the Holidays have just come and gone, so what in the world is left for me to see out there? If you’ve booked your trip to Italy and are finding yourself in Bologna during February, fret not – there is plenty to see and do.
Aside from the fact that you could be about to experience a super-romantic Valentine’s Day with your significant other during your Italian Holidays, between fine wine, delicious dishes and the perfect spots around the city for a date, February is also the month that will see Carnival celebrations and parade get out onto the streets.
While not quite as flashy as Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro world-renowned parade, in all cities of Italy you’ll be able to see wonderful and colorful displays of masks, costumes and fun activities!
But first, let’s take a look of the traditional and regional treats that you’ll only have a chance to enjoy during the Carnival season.

What To Eat

Zeppole,Frappe,Castagoli

As you might have noticed, food is a very important part of Italy and its traditions. Food marks a convivial and festive moment, and Carnival is the perfect moment to enjoy a number of sweet and interesting seasonal treats and desserts (which also help to really get in the mood to celebrate). Sweets are a staple of Carnival so be ready to party to the rhythm of a sugar rush.

Sfrappole

The name of this deep fried ribbons of dough is widely discussed in Italy, since each region and province (or even city) calls them by a different name. Known to the English-speakers as “Angel wings”, the pastries are served with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Optimal sfrappole should be crispy, while also melting in a sugar paradise in your mouth. You’ll find these and other seasonal sweets in most bakeries or grocers, which are also supplied by local bakeries so that each treat will be produced according to the tradition.

Castagnole

Still deep-fried, still favored with a dusting of powdered sugar, the castagnole take their name from “chestnuts”. Not because it’s an ingredient, just because they’re round as a chestnut, golden and will fill you with energy. You might find these in a variety of types: with custard or chocolate filling, soaked in Alchermes liqueur or covered in honey.

Tortelli fritti

“Fritti” as in “fried”. This is another caloric treat that is sure to entice your sugar receptors. These pastries are truly a regional tradition and as such are a bit more complex and ingredients vary from bakery to bakery, from family to family. But mostly, they’re fried buns eaten plain or with a filling, and optionally a dusting of powdered sugar. Among the fillings you might find custard, home-made jams with raisins and such. Every tortello is a surprise!

But remember, food stands at every corner also mean it’s a great opportunity to taste other dishes and savoury treats both seasonal and regional.

What To Do

So, now that you’re energized and ready to go out in the city, what is there to do in Bologna?
Carnival will last from Thursday 23rd to Tuesday 28th of February, so here are the main parades and events to attend in cities around Bologna and in the city itself.
The Carnevale di Cento, in the city of Cento (province of Ferrara), is among the most famous celebrations of Italy. As such, it’ll last from Sunday 12th of February to the 12th of March with samba dancers, food stands and catwalks and contests for the best masks.
Most cities’ parades showcase floats decorated according to themes or pop culture, but in the city of Comacchio (Ferrara) the “Carnevale sull’acqua” will feature literal floats parading over the waters of the city’s canals on Sunday 19th an Sunday 26th of February. Don’t miss the seafood and fish delicacies, and the activities for children!
To enjoy true traditional seasonal dishes and treats, you can pop by the Carnevale di San Pietro in Casale. The town in the province of Bologna will offer catwalks and parades of beautiful masks and plentiful food stands for every taste.
If you’re more interested in seeing floats and buskers than masks and costumes, the Carnevale dei Fantaveicoli, an eco-sustainable parade in Imola that will take place on the 26th of February is the event for you.
On the other hand, if you enjoy traditional and Renaissance-style costumes and the idea of a more historic re-enactment of Carnival parties from the 1400’s, be sure to check out the Carnevale Rinascimentale Estense from the 23rd to the 26th of February. No floats will welcome you, but just the wonderful costumes inspired to noble and historical figures of the city of Ferrara and it’s court. Buskers, jugglers and street artists will entertain you as you wait for themed events and shows to take place on the last day of Carnival in the Piazza Municipale.
There’s plenty to choose from, and anything goes, as long as you can truly experience the exhilaration and festive atmosphere of Carnival with foods, entertainment and masks.

A Week In Bologna? 7 Pasta Delicacies For You!

Bologna is a beautiful city in Northern Italy. You can take pictures with the leaning tower, wander through the streets of Quandrilatero, visit the Museum of History and enjoy Bolognese specialties. Bolognese pasta delicacies lure many tourists every year. I am listing down the best pasta dishes you must try in Bologna and where to find them. If you spend a week in Bologna, you can try one special pasta dish every day.

A Bologna classic... Lasagne. The best I ever had. Ever.
Lasagne in Bologna? Hungry now!

Tortellini.

Tortellini name after the belly-button as they do appear like a navel. There is an interesting story about how Tortellini came into existence. Once, Pope’s daughter, Lucrezia Borgia stayed at an Inn in the town of Castelfranco Emilia. The Innkeeper finding her extremely beautiful, tried to peep through the keyhole in her room and got a glance of her beautiful navel. Impressions of her navel never left the mind of the Innkeeper and he made Tortellini during the euphoric state he was unable to get out of.
Tortellini are delicious and generally served in broth of chicken or beef. Generally, they contain a mixture of meat and sometimes cheese. These small parcels filled with so many different flavors are so delicious that you will keep craving for more even if you are full.

Where to try
You can try delicious Tortellini at Trattoria Anna Maria, but make sure it’s not Monday, as they are closed on Monday.

Lasagne

One of the finest Italian cuisine, you just cannot afford to miss this one while you are in Bologna. The key ingredients for Lasagne are Bolognese sauce and fresh pasta. Many places claim to be the birth place of Lasagne, but generally, Bologna is accepted as its place of origin. Sheets of Lasagne Pasta are layered with Parmesan, bolognese sauce, bechamel, etc. and baked to produce the best flavors for your taste buds. Some people also recommend to let the lasagne settle for one day and expect a better texture and flavor on the second day.
Lasagna appears to be as a tower of food and they are, so maybe the architecture of Bologna inspired the cooks to build a tower of foods.

Where to try
A restaurant, not so far from Downtown, with an amusing decor, Osteria Satyricon serves amazing Lasagne.

Tortelloni

They are stuffed mainly with with ricotta cheese and spinach, look like Tortellini, but 2-3 times larger in size. They are generally served with melted butter, Parmesan and sage or ragu. Though Tortelloni sound and look like Tortellini, but they taste entirely different. Extremely thin dough is rolled and being larger in size, obviously more fillings go in Tortelloni. Tortelloni contains mainly veggies and ricotta and generally easier to digest as greens contain more fibers. Other than ricotta and spinach, other ingredients like  parmesan, nutmeg find their place in the fillings of Tortelloni.

Where to try
Ristorante Diana, located close to eight square parking August.

Passatelli

Passatelli means, ‘to pass them through’. A special tool, iron for passatelli is used to give it its typical form. Pasta dough balls are pressed and cut when they are around 4 cms long. Passatelli are composed of stale breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese and eggs. They are prepared in broth traditionally, but nowadays preparation may include tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, prawns and many other ingredients. Passatelli are poured into boiling chicken stock and it lets them absorb all the flavor from the stock inside out. They are eaten generally in the evening.

Where to try
Trattoria dal Biassanot. It is advisable to book a table in advance, especially if you are planning to go there on a weekend.

Tagliatelle

They look like flat ribbons and prepared with egg pasta. It is said that a court chef took inspiration from Lucrezia D’Este’s hairstyle at her marriage and then keeping that in mind, prepared ribbon like pasta and tried to match the hair of Lucrezia with his dish. Later on, it came out to be a humorous story cooked by Augusto Majani.
A gold replica of tagliatelle has been kept in glass case at the Chamber of Commerce, Bologna.

Ragu’ is one of its main ingredients and you can find many different variations of it throughout the Italy. There is no one variety of ragu’ which is better than the rest, it simply varies with individual preferences. Tagliatelle go particularly well with meaty and earthy sauces and that’s why Bolognese sauce is the most served sauce with Tagliatelle.

Where to try
You can try them at Osteria Dell’Orsa near Piazza Maggiore. They don’t accept reservations and open everyday from 12:30.

Cannelloni.

Cannelloni at Ti Piacera

Fine pasta sheets are rolled into cylinders and make them suitable to contain all kinds of fillings from spinach, and ricotta being the most traditional. It is browned in the oven to bring out all the flavors of ingredients and topped with besciamella before being served. 

Where to try

Antica Trattoria del Pontelungo, located in the outskirts. You can make reservations for your convenience.

Rosette

These rolled pasta hold together the flavors of cheese, ham and egg to let you savor all the goodness in each bite. Some people also like to add nutmeg in the ingredients. These rolled and cut pieces of pasta containing the goodness of Parmesan, ham and other ingredients are cooked lightly in the over for 20 minutes before they are soft and delicious.

Where to try
Trattoria Aldina, located in the Modena Town Centre, just 20 minutes by train from Bologna, Open only for lunch, no reservation taken. In a lovely ambiance, you will find your rosette even more delicious.

So, let your taste buds go for a joyride with the ingredients of these awesome pasta delicacies in Bologna. I am sure, your love for pasta will bring you back to Bologna over and over again, just like many fellow travelers. I am sure after trying all the listed dishes, you will fall in love with Pasta all over again. All the suggested restaurants provide a very distinct ambiance that certainly make your food more delicious in an unknown way. So, not just beautiful places like Piazza Maggiore, San Luca or Archiginnasio will bring you back to Bologna, but the food will compel you to travel to Bologna again.

Travel Agent Tip: How To Avoid a Poor Deal For Your Travel Money.

What is the best way to get travel money and how do I avoid getting a poor deal?

Preparing to go on holiday can be a stressful time. Deadlines to meet, clothes to wash and bags to pack – there’s lots to think about.
One thing that often gets left until the last minute – but never gets less important – is sorting out your holiday money. Getting it isn’t difficult, but knowing where to go for a good deal is.
So we’ve done a bit of research and put together a guide. Follow this and avoid any nasty financial shocks when you get home.
Never exchange money at the airport.
This is a super-easy rule to follow: Simply don’t use bureaux de change at the airport to exchange your currency. Ever.
It might seem like a convenient option, and it is, but the exchange rate is always horrible and at that late stage what other choice do you have but to accept it?
Don’t be fooled by a sign that reads “0% Commission”, the fees are often hidden in a poor exchange rate. This is a good rule to follow in general: When a sign reads “0% COMMISION”, it’s usually too good to be true.
Using your UK debit/credit is super-easy but can be super-expensive.
Of course, you may get to the airport, see those poor rates and decide to use your UK card abroad. More and more travellers are opting to take their regular debit/credit cards away anyway.
This is by far the easiest option and requires no effort whatsoever apart from packing your wallet. The thing is – you’ll often spend a considerable amount on fees.
Let’s take a Halifax debit card, for example. If you were using your card in Rome – they would charge you £1.50 for each point-of-sale transaction and/or £1.50 for every ATM withdrawal. On top of that, a 2.75% conversion commission is charged each time. Costly.

Don’t exchange abroad

Of course, you could just do the exchange once you reach your destination. The problem is you’re still going to have to hunt around for the best rate.
Spending the first day of your holiday scanning for the best deal doesn’t sound like much fun, wouldn’t you rather be having a glass of wine and picking at some olives?Also, what about paying for your taxi from the airport?

Prepaid cards are usually the cheapest way.

Prepaid cards are cards that you load up with currency before you go and use when you’re on holiday like a debit card here.
Imagine a prepaid card is like a pay-and-go mobile contract. You can’t spend until you’ve loaded it with money but there are lots of benefits once you have.
Like a pay and go – you can track exactly what you’ve spent and how much you’re spending. You can also ‘top up’ anytime. The rates are much better than most other options and unusually, rates are fair and transparent.
The guys at Money Saving Expert know their stuff, they’ve reviewed all of the UK options. 
We really like WeSwap which is a prepaid card with a difference.
Instead of buying money from a trader and selling to you – like most banks and bureaux do, WeSwap actually swaps money between travellers heading in opposite directions.
Swapping is obviously much cheaper and therefore so is WeSwap. They noe have 200,000 travellers in their community and just raised over £2 million in crowdfunding.

Beware of dynamic currency conversion

Cash machines and some vendors will ask you when making a transaction whether you wish to make it in pounds or in the local currency.
It very rarely pays to make the payment in pounds. This is due to the fact that the overseas vendor is making the conversion, usually at a less than favourable rate.
In short, always select to pay in the local currency.
If you’ve already swapped into Euros – which you will have done with a prepaid card – you don’t need the ATM to convert because you’ve already done it! This is just a way for the local bank to try and make some extra money.

Don’t take a packet of cash, it’s not 1997.

A surprising amount of people still nip down to somewhere like the Post Office or M&S, swap all their money and take it in their suitcases.
Not only are these traditional providers often expensive – how often do you walk around with hundreds and hundreds of pounds in your wallet in the UK?
Even if you hide a few hundred Euro under a mattress, in a ball of socks or inside the curtain it’s not exactly bullet proof. If it doesn’t get stolen, it is easy to lose and you’ exchange rate would have been poor anyway.

Keep an eye on the markets and watch out for elections.
It is worth keeping an eye on the FX markets in the lead up to your trip and bearing in mind the potential impact of politics.
Two surprise election results had volatile consequences on the FX markets in 2016. Firstly, the British public voted to leave the European Union, and secondly the American public voted Donald Trump as their next president.
Both of these decisions had a negative impact on their respective country’s currency. Basically, markets don’t like uncertainly and new leaders and political change often mean uncertainty.
Shrewd travellers may have exchanged some money pre-election so as not to be affected by the result. Obviously this isn’t very practical but it helps to have a little knowledge of these things so you can make a measured decision.

Christmas Markets in Bologna

If you find yourself looking for something to do to pass the time, to explore and live the city during your stay in Bologna, there’s nothing better than to take a look at the many, varied Christmas markets dotting the streets during the month of December.
Sheltered by the arcades and towering architecture of Bologna, you’ll be free to stroll to the various locations that will house different markets and displays of antiquities, hand-made crafts and gifts. And don’t forget that the city has many other things to offer, and that you can enjoy to add a little something more to your experience: food stalls, bars, restaurants and cafés will offer unique treats of wintertime, perfect to soothe you and warm you up.
If, indeed, you’re looking for trinkets, gifts or even more special objects and mementos of all kinds, keep an eye out and be sure to be around when these Christmas markets take place.

Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia (Ancient Festival of Saint Lucy)

Untitled

The Ancient Fair of Saint Lucy will take place along the arcades of the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi: it’s a tradition for the city, and the region, and it’s the epitome of Christmas markets and Winter shopping. Lasting until the 26th, you’ll have plenty of time to revel in the Christmas atmosphere of the city’s Christmas tree, food stalls with typical Winter treats, a thriving and lively market with all sorts of objects and gift ideas and exhibitions with hand-crafted creations.

Fiera di Natale (Christmas Fair)

On the right side of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, at the core of Bologna, the traditional Christmas Fair will be taking place for the whole month of December until the 8th of January, allowing visitors and tourists plenty of time to take a look at the many stalls offering all sorts of gift ideas, trinkets, hand-made objects and even sweet and savory Winter-time snacks.

Natale a Porta Galliera (Christmas at Porta Galliera)

Piazza XX Settembre in Bologna will be the location for a small Christmas market that will last all the way to the 1st of January, giving you a chance to go shopping for late presents, or to buy interesting items even after Christmas. There’s a carousel to entertain children, as well as food stalls to entice everyone.

Handicrafts in Via San Giuseppe in December

For the month of December, lasting until the 24th, two markets displaying hand-crafts and hand-made products will be taking place along Via San Giuseppe: they’re the “DecoMela Art” and “Colors” markets, showcasing creations made of wood, natural materials, leather, gems, glass and stones, bijoux and jewelry as well as cloth items. Be sure to visit Via San Giuseppe and its hand-crafts market if you want to find unique and custom made gifts for your friends and family, or even just something to decorate your house with.

Mercato Antiquario (Antiques Open-Air Market)

A great display of antiques, trinkets and knick-knacks, both meant for the Winter holidays as well as home décor all year round, will be taking place on Sunday 11th and the weekend of Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th along Via Santo Stefano. The Traditional Bologna Antique Market is a staple in the city’s Christmas traditions and the location, in the square in front of the Basilica di Santo Stefano, makes the experience all the more suggestive.

La Piazzola in December

Aside from the weekly appointments on Fridays and Saturdays, the Piazzola will offer a dedicated Christmas market full of incredible stalls with displays of many different trinkets and gift ideas during the month of December. Be sure to hop by the Piazza VIII Agosto on Sunday 11th and Sunday 18th to see the Christmas ideas on offer for what concerns clothes, shoes, accessories, pottery, jewelry and more.
Fiera dell’Antiquariato (Antiques’ Fair)
From the 12th to the 24th of December, the Fiera dell’Antiquariato will be waiting for you to come by and take a look at an amazing display of original and valuable antiques to purchase as Christmas gifts for yourself or your loved ones. The antique market will take place at the heart of the old town center, under the Voltone del Podestà. Looking around the stalls, you’ll be able to find antiques, modern-antiques, knick-knacks, unique objects and paintings.

Villaggio di Natale Francese (French Christmas Market)

You have time until the 21st of December to head over to Piazza Minghetti to enjoy the wonderful display of stalls and decorations that make up the Christmas market, with its mesmerizing atmosphere and French setting that will be sure to captivate you. Enjoy typical French gastronomic specialties and products such as fine wine, cheeses and baked goods, and save some money to purchase delightful trinkets and accessories to gift or to decorate your home for the holidays with.