Thursday, July 26, 2012

Potato Gnocchi Handmade

The gnocchi recipe Grandma Anna taught me reveals the secrets to a perfect dough. It has just three ingredients - boiled, starchy russet potatoes combined with a minimal amount of flour (too much flour and your gnocchi are going to be heavy), and a bit of salt - no eggs. Here's the video that shows us how Anna realizes this wonderful dough .So light and delicious that you may eat even two meals without feeling full up.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The secret of Paganini's "Campanella"

PAGANINI, Niccolò borns in Genoa, in 1782, his studies violin and guitar mandolin. 
He has only 12 years old, when starts to plays concerts writes form himself, to pay his musicians studies, his family wasn't rich. 
He has 18 when becames popular in all North Italy, but His fame as a violinist was only matched by his reputation as a gambler and womanizer. 

It's only in 1821 Niccolò Paganini plays in Vienna, and, after, becames famous in all Europe. 
His technical ability, and his willingness to display them, gained much acclaim from critics across Europe.
In addition to his own compositions, theme and variations being the most popular; also his technique becames popular, in North Italy, a legend talks his technique becames from 'a pact with Devil' because wasn't easy to reproduce all his technique.

In every concert, his fingers bleeds for the big work supported: in a particular concert the Turin's Governor asked to Paganini to repeat the last 'concerto', but him answer: "Paganini doesn't repeat" : that answer becames, in Italian language, a tipically "way of saying", used still now, that example to understand to you the big impact to all Italian society of Paganini's phenomenon. 

We can say, like many musicians say,  that in the music exist "before Paganini" and "after Paganini"; the only musicianhas had that big impact was for rock music and for electic guitar as Paganini, has had for classic music and for Violin strument has been Jimi Endrix with his guitar. 

 Another particulary alimented Paganini's legend that call him The Devil's Violinist,  is his violin, a Stradivari, called "Cannon" for his big power of sound. 

Uto Ughi one of the most important Italian violinist presents to us the last time the Paganini Concerto in B minor. Once called "The Bell" because there is a very witty dialogue between violin and orchestra bells. Paganini is a lot of fun to do these things original. He performed this last time, in all theaters of Europe enjoying the greatest success.

Paganini's genius lay not only within the limits of human transcendental virtuosity.
His deep and poetic aim is to make violin as a human voice.
Each string had its color, its hue, his feelings and dreams.

Uto Ughi in the video explains very well what is meant by "Tell Bell" and then perform the song in full.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pienza: a tiny Tuscan town with outsized Renaissance architecture and the best pecorino cheese in Italy

In the middle of the Crete Senese—the picture postcard Tuscan landscape south of Siena of rolling grasslands, grazing sheep, and marching lines of cypress trees—rises the tiny town of Pienza, famed for its sublime sheeps'-milk cheeses and its delightful Renaissance architecture.

Pienza is miniscule: just a nine blocks long and three blocks wide, still encircled by its medieval walls, and a population that—including the surrounding area—tops out at 2,231. However, what would otherwise be a scenic blip on the map has an outsized history and major draw in the form of its central piazza.
Thanks to the quirky ambition and deep pockets of a homegrown pope, the main square of Pienza—and the buildings surrounding it and stretching down the main street— were all completely overhauled by a Renaissance architect and laid out as an homage to all those paintings of "the perfect Renaissance city."

Pienza is famous not only for its architectures but also for the excellent sheep's milk cheese, or more correctly, ewes' milk cheese, pecorino, produced in the area. 

The surrounding rolling grasslands raise the sheep that provide Pienza with its other claim to fame—arguably Italy's best and finest pecorino cheeses, available in multiple styles and flavors at the handful of shops and boutiques in this tiny town.

Pecorino just means "sheep's cheese." It is often referred to by its nickname, cacio (pronounced KA-cho). This is no, however, the hard, salty/sweet pecorino romano you are used to grating onto your pasta back home. Though there are various stages of aged, hardened pecorinos on hand, the best pecorinos in Pienza are of the pecorino fresco, or fresh, variety, a soft, buttery cheese that brims with subtle flavors.
Many cheeses are also cured or aged in various wrappings or coatings, imparting still more flavors (some producers actually mix flavors into the cheese itself—bits of black truffle are popular—but purists scoff that this mars the taste and the cheese).

Until the end of World War II, Tuscans used the term "cacio", and indeed the cheese rolling competition held in Pienza on the first Sunday of September is know as"cacio al fuso" - literally, the cheese to the spindle. The aim of the participants in this popular festival is to see who can roll the cheese so that it stops closest to the spindle.

Ennio Morricone and Venice

Ennio Morricone and Venice.One of the many artists that makes Italy great

Song taken from the movie "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso", performed in the magical setting of San Marco's square in Venice and directed by Ennio Morricone himself.