Throwback Thursday

Occasionally I will go back over previous posts to see what I was doing around this time in other years. Earlier this week I looked back at this week in June 2009 and came across a post announcing the birth of a young man who has just turned 12 this past week. It’s hard to believe!

I also came across a visit we had made to what I called The Pope’s Tile Store in the heart of Vatican City. I made a short video, of dubious quality, at the time. I was new to playing around with that sort of thing so the narration and style do leave something to be desired but it does give a peek into a area of the Vatican that most people don’t know exists. To see the video just left click on View Original Post below and I suggested expanding the video to full screen.

Willy Or Won't He

Every so often I get a chance to visit something here in Roma that is not accessible to the populus generalus: the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel after hours with a small group; the Headquarters of the Knights of Malta; a long buried Mithraeum; the monastery garden at St Croece; the Scavi under St Peter’s; and just last week the Mosaic Factory in the Vatican City.

Not to make it sound too exclusive, these sort of special visits are available for everyone, it just takes some fore thought, some planning and a bit of knowing how to arrange it.

Next on the list – this coming Friday a visit to the Vatican Gardens with our friend Cathy.

Interesting note: One of the major tasks the Vatican Mosaic Factory faces on a monthly basis is replacing tiles in the dome of the Basilica. While up there many tourists have a…

View original post 14 more words

Throwback Thursday

…. to a post from April 21, 2009 in which I recount my attempt to recreate a Neapolitan Easter Dessert.

I realize it’s a bit late for Easter but as I was decanting a cocktail recipe my friend Yannis posted on his website the smell of essence of orange reminded me of a kitchen adventure from our time in Rome. My friend Marco the Neapolitano was good enough to share his family recipe for La Pasteria and I was foolish enough to believe that it was a simple task. Oh foolish man!

This is a two parter and the link to – spoiler alert) – the IMHO “triumphant” conclusion is at the bottom of the first post.

Willy Or Won't He

I first encountered Pastiera, the traditional Napoletano Easter dolci, when we were doing an “Italian theme” Easter dinner back in 1990.  My friend John was delegated to make it using a recipe from the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Back in those days many of the ingredients were hard to find and the “wheat berries” had to be bought in a health food store and the lengthy process of cooking them followed. John wasn’t too confident that this such a great idea for a desert and made an angel food cake as well. As I recall the “pastiera” was considered to be a bit on the exotic side.

I wasn’t to encounter it again until I moved here four years ago and then only really became familiar with it after meeting my friend Marco, the Napoletano.  Two Easters back he talked about it – and how he had…

View original post 527 more words

Throwback Thursday

When I look at the pictures my blog buddy Mitchell posts over at Moving with Mitchell I am green with envy. Here in Charlottetown we are beginning that ecky time where it snow, then it rains, then it snows, then it thaws, then it snows. Whereas his recent pictures of their town, halfway between Malaga and Marbella on the Mediterranean basks in a Spanish spring. I know! I know! An unfair comparison but I’m tired of winter.  And if one more person reminds me that it’s been a short one they will get a snowball – if there is snow that day – square on the back of their head.  If there’s no snow then I will simply stick out my tongue at them.

His picture of the flower market in their town centre had me reminiscing about our visits to Spain.  We came to the Iberian peninsula late in our travels and regretted not having spent more time there in the past but god willing, the vaccine does its job, and the Hillsborough don’t rise we’ll get back there one day.

In the meantime I thought I’d wander down memory lane to our first visit to Barcelona and maybe do a little marketing.

Willy Or Won't He

(Keep in mind that a left click on any of the photos will “embiggen” them for a closer look.)

I often feel overwhelmed in markets, not the big sterile supermarkets but the European-style covered markets. There’s such a choice of things and the displays can be works of art unto themselves. There are many local markets here in Rome but the one nearest to us is a bit of a disappointment, doubly so after a visit to Mercat de la Boqueria on the Ramblas in Barcelona. I’m sure there are markets as splendid here in Roma but I just haven’t come across them. La Boqueria has a long history as a local market and even though it is now crowded with gawking tourists, like me, still serves the needs of the people in the area.
The glass, wrought iron and tin archway give only a hint about what’s…

View original post 345 more words

Throwback Thursday – Sweet Bolognese

A week or so ago my friend Anna mentioned a trip she took to Bologna at the beginning of 2020. And as always she took some incredible photos of city and, being it was Bologna and Italy, of the food. And of course that included a primi that is synonymous with that magical city: Tortellini.

This brought to mind a weekend jaunt in December 2010 with our friends Carol Ann and Craig to celebrate Carol Ann’s birthday and an evening stroll through the Quadrilatero steps away from Piazza Maggiore.

We ate in several great restaurants and being Bologna had tortellini as both a primi and surprisingly a sweet. I wrote about the history of the pasta and the pasta rica on our return to Rome that December:

Willy Or Won't He

If there is one pasta that is associated with Bologna  it’s tortellini – those little crescent shaped packages filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. There appears to be some dispute as to whither the dish originated in Bologna or Modena but chances are you’ll see them on the menu in most towns in Emilia.  Often they are served in broth, dressed with cream or ladled with a meaty ragu.

However those wily Bolognese don’t just think of tortellini as a primi – take for instance this tempting plate in the picture. You really wouldn’t want to smother these in hot broth, cream or ragu. Chances are that would turn them into a gloppy mess of .. chocolate.

These incredibly rich white chocolate confections are the work of the people at Drogheria Gilberto on Via Drapperie; a sweet shop nestled among butchers and bakers and, believe it or not, candle makers…

View original post 205 more words

Throwback Thursday – St Petersburg

A posting of a photo of the Cathedral of the Savour on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg by my friend Vicki had be looking through the files on my old Mac for photos from the three days we spent there back in June of 2012. One of my favourites sites was the little Church of St John the Forebearer at Chesma which I wrote about on June 28th of that year. The day we were there the church was closed in preparation for a wedding so we was unable to see the interior. I thought I would revisit that post and having found a few pictures of the beautiful iconostasis I updated the post and have reposted it as a bit of a Thursday Throwback as well as Armchair travel.

Willy Or Won't He

The inspiration here was not things Turkish but a Russian victory over the Turks on July 7, 1770. The destruction of the Turkish fleet at Chesma was the final victory in a battle that had begun on June 24, 1770, the Nativity of St John the Forerunner (the Baptist) and it led to the construction of one of the most delightful churches in all of St Petersburg. Even amongst the bonbon colours and decorations of so many of the buildings in the city and surrounding countryside the Church of St John the Forerunner at Chemenskaya stands out as one of the most elegant confections imaginable.

In 1774 Catherine the Great ordered a palace be built as a rest stop on the route from the Winter Palace in St Petersburg to the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Geographically it is almost at the half way point between the two but it…

View original post 1,330 more words