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Intensivkurse: Cooking Vacations – Ciao from Cooking Vacations Italy

26 Settembre 2005 – by Source: PMQ

Cooking Vacations

Ciao from Cooking Vacations Italy, September is the ideal time to vacation in Italy without the crowds. As the Italians prepare for entrare, the official Italian term for preparing to return to work and school August, Americans come to Italy for their vacations. September also brings a plethora of sagras (the Italian word for feasts) that celebrate the harvest of a fruits, vegetables and fish.

This month, Cooking Vacations, Italian Cooking And Living & Alitalia have also cooked up something special for you: Pack Your Bags And Don?t Forget Your Apron; your chance to win a cooking trip to Italy.

PACK YOUR BAGS! (and don’t forget your apron)

Cooked up by Italian Cooking And Living Magazine, Alitalia and Cooking Vacations

Enter to win a Cooking Vacation in the heart of Tuscany at Villa Ortaglia!

Villa Ortaglia The Ortaglia Relais offers an exciting Tuscan culinary experience set in the hillside of Montepulciano. Throughout time Tuscany has been known for its diverse cuisine and now you can learn the secrets of Tuscan cooking in an intimate and authentic setting.

Terenzio is our friendly host and villa owner of Ortaglia. Chef Maria will teach you the secrets, history and culinary traditions of Tuscany with three diverse menus during your cooking program. There at the villa, you will see how he and his family harvest wine and olive oil.

Every class takes place in the country kitchen at Ortaglia, a beautiful farmhouse built in the 1600s that has recently been renovated. The renovation changed the farmhouse into a five-star luxury accommodation. Each suite is decorated with antiques, maintaining the traditional feel of old-world charm in the heart of Tuscany.

Terenzio welcomes you to Ortaglia and shows you a slice of the best hidden addresses in Montepulciano. Every visitor falls in love with the magical land of Tuscany, its food, wine and story.

To register to win a Cooking Vacation at Villa Ortaglia, cooked up by Italian Cooking And Living, Alitalia and Cooking Vacations: Go to www.italiancookingandliving.com/contest/ and register to win.

Cooking Vacations is dedicated to the food, art & music of Italy. We hope you will join us in Italy for one of our authentic cooking class adventures, and if you cannot, here is a little food for thought for the month of September.

During August, I have worked from Italy creating new and interesting cooking and wine programs for the months to come. I spent time visiting my family in Prata Sanita, south of Italy in the region of Campania; and Pico, central Italy in the region of Frosinone, while experiencing the magic of this wonderful land.

In addition to new cooking and wine programs, we will also have new Cooking For Kids. The children will learn the Italian language with music and lessons, while measuring & mixing in hands-on cooking lessons.

Chloe Lucia (my three-year old niece who is on my website) always cooks with my mom in the kitchen. She was my inspiration to start something for children.

Hope to see you soon in Italy!

Enjoy! Lauren Birmingham

September Notes

September 19th is the feast day of San Gennaro. He is the patron saint of Napoli and dear to the people of Southern Italy.

San Januarius (Gennaro) was Bishop of Benevento in Campania. Saint Gennaro together with his deacons Socius and Festus, and his lector Desiderious, was subjected to most atrocious torturing during the Diocletian persecution (A.D. 305) for refusing to worship pagan idols.

Ever since approximately A.D. 1389, San Gennaro?s dried blood was kept in a silver reliquary in the Cappella del Tesoro (Chapel of the Treasure) of the 13th c. Naples Cathedral (the ?Duomo. It liquefies (sometimes even boils) on his saint?s day and if it doesn?t, disaster is said to follow.

On this Saint’s day, his blood is kept in a vial in a silver reliquary topped by a crown and a cross. When the Bishop takes the vial to the Alter that holds the Saint?s head, the people, who gather by the thousands, pray that the blood becomes liquid once again. If the miracle takes place, the officient proclaims. ?Il miracolo ? fatto!? Then a Te Deum is sung and the reliquary is taken to the alter rail so the faithful can kiss the vial.

The feast of San Gennaro is celebrated simultaneously in New York?s Little Italy every year. Many Italians who came to New York City at the turn-of-the-century, took the tradition with them, and today the tradition carries as the Italo/Americans celebrate the feast day with a celebration of typical Neapolitan foods, music, a procession and mass.

Recipe Of The Month

Pizzette di San Gennaro Little Pizzas of San Gennaro This is a recipe for a small spicy pizza, popular on the feast of St. Januarius or San Gennaro and the other days that the vial of his blood bubbles.



* pinch of sugar

* 1/2 cup water, lukewarm

* 1 teaspoon dry yeast

* 1 Tablespoon olive oil

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 2 cups flour


* 3 large tomatoes (or 5 small)

* 4 anchovies (optional)

* 1/4 cup green olives

* 1 teaspoon oregano, fresh

* freshly ground pepper

* 3 Tablespoon olive oil


Add the pinch of sugar to the water, sprinkle the yeast on top and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and salt, stir and pour into the flour. Work the mixture to a smooth dough. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour in a warm location. Preheat oven to 425? F.

Roll out the dough thinly and cut out circles about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Brush each circle with oil and place on an oiled baking sheet.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on the circles with the anchovy fillet and the green olives. Sprinkle with the fresh oregano and some freshly ground pepper and brush with oil. (Dried oregano may be used if fresh is not available.) Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves: 10

Yield: 30 small pizzas

Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours

Table Talk


Zucchini, the colorful fruit that grows in a variety of shapes and colors from early spring to late summer, is celebrated in Italy during late summer in sagras (feasts of all kinds).

Zucchinis have a light and sweet flavor with flesh as delicate as a flower and a texture that makes it almost melt in the mouth. Zucchini’s many varieties offer the cook countless opportunities to prepare a varied menu of colorful summer dishes. Farmers’ markets are the best source of the freshest squashes and frequently offer unique varieties as well as those organically grown

Summer squashes, as well a winter squashes, are native to the Americas and belong to the family of curcurbita. Archaeologists have traced their origins to Mexico, dating back from 7,000 to 5,500 BCE. Explorers of the time, came to the Americas brought back what they considered strange foods. The zucchini eventually found its way to Italy where it was named zucchino.

Zucchinis are considered the tender, sweet, immature fruit of the curcurbita pepo which is eaten in its entirety. Cocozelle, a variety of zucchini that originated in Italy, is shorter, plumper, and striped. Today’s farmers are developing hybrids that are a visual delight. Some are round, some are yellow, some a combination of green and yellow, and some are a cross between zucchini and the fluted patty pan squash.

With their high water content (more than 95 percent), zucchini squashes are very low in calories. There are only 13 calories in a half-cup of raw zucchini, with a slight increase to 18 calories in the same quantity cooked. Nutritionally, zucchinis offer valuable antioxidants. They also provide some beta-carotene, trace quantities of the B vitamins, folic acid, small amounts of vitamin C and calcium, and a healthy content of potassium.

The zucchini plants have both lake and female flowers, a situation which requires insects, such as bees primarily, for pollination. If bee activity is low, female flowers are likely to drop.


Wines Picks

A’ del Bosco 2000 Curtefranca Rosso

Piedmont, Italy

Winemaker’s notes: Beautiful red color. Strong fruity fragrance and a nuance of herbs; robust with a highly refined structure. Easily drinkable and adaptable to many cuisines and dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon 25%, Cabernet Franc 19%, Merlot 27%, Nebbiolo 16%, Barbera 13%.

Priced at $22.99.

Argiolas 2002 Costera

Southern Italy, Italy

Winemaker’s notes: Intense ruby color tending toward orange with age. Full bouquet typical in varietals character. Warm and full-bodied on the palate, with excellent texture and ripe fruit flavors. Firm and pleasant tannins. This wine has aging potential. Recommended with roasted meats.

Priced at $22.99.

Banfi 2000 Cum Laude

Tuscany, Italy Winemaker’s notes:

Castello Banfi’s newest Super Tuscan cuvee, Cum Laude – Latin for “with honors” – combines 25% of a Banfi selection of the region’s historic Brunello grape, with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 15% Syrah. Each wine is individually vinified and aged 14 months in French oak barrels to develop its unique style, then masterfully interwoven with the others to achieve an elegant bouquet and full, round flavor Cum Laude is characterized by a rich color and soft, ripe fruit flavors. The wine is complex with aromas of juicy berries and spicy cherries, as well as clove, anise and black pepper. As a full-bodied red with dense tannins, it marries well with all red meats, hearty stews, pasta dishes and cheeses.

Priced at $34.99

Food For Thought

If you cannot make it to Italy, we bring Italy to you


Silent Cellar

Silent Cellars Wine Cellar CS 110D will keep your wines in the best possible condition, like those of a traditional wine cellar.

All models have digital temperature settings. The absorption technology guarantees storage without vibrations. The carbon filter will act as a natural barrier from odors that may have adverse affects on the wine.

Silent Cellars CS 110 D comes equipped with one storage shelf and one sliding shelf, with optional extra fitted or sliding shelves to obtain a customized cellar. It can stock up to 116 bottles, keeping them at the perfect storage temp. $2,699.99 each.


Spice Up Your Life

Peperoncino Afrodisiaco, a peppery red spice, will have everyone coming back for seconds. The organic product, made by local chef Salvatore at Ristorante Il Ritrovo in the hills of Positano, will turn an ordinary pasta into a one with a kick. Peperoncino Afrodisicaco is made by grinding the famous red chili peppers into flakes. Just add a little into any tomato sauce, garlic and oil or on top of bruschetta and presto!


Bella Napoli

Wrapped in red with Pulcinello dancing on its cover is Bella Napoli. The perfect music to celebrate San Gennaro?s feast with. Your heart will be swept away with Franco Ricci’s ‘Te Voglio Bene Assaie,’ and ‘Santa Lucia,’ Sergio Bruni’s ‘LaTarantella’ and ‘O Sole Mio.’ Bella Napoli is a mix of sixteen classic Neapolitan songs by Italy’s most famous artists.