Monday, November 30, 2009

A Taurasi Thanksgiving

I love Avellino, particularly a little town called TAURASI. This town, home to wineries such as Cantina Caggiano, wine tasting events such as Anteprima Taurasi and the late, great Fiera Enologica Taurasi, has called me back on several occasions since I pulled into its centro storico several years ago. Whenever I go, I have to stop by Giuseppe’s.

Everyone knows Peppe. He runs a little agriturismo called ‘Agriturismo Taurasi’. Hard to find on a map, but worth the trip. I took my folks there last week for Thanksgiving. No turkey, but we stuffed ourselves on antipasti that just kept coming to include, onion soup, a prosciutto and salami tray, eggplant parmagiana, and asparagus with prosciutto rolled in cheese. A few choices on the menu for the first course. I chose cavatelli con asparigi while Dad and David had fusilli con ragu. Our second course, agnello alla brace (lamb cooked on the barbecue) was everyone’s favorite. No room for dessert this trip. But there was room for the house wine-an aglianico (of course).

So, if you find yourself in the area, stop by for a bite to eat. They are closed Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday. I highly recommend calling to reserve a table, especially on Sundays. The number is 333 4967971. Tell them Karen sent you!

Trippa and Champagne -Ciao Vino, November 27

Last Friday, November 27, most Americans were recovering from a Thanksgiving meal, or shopping. I decided to take the opportunity and attend the champagne tasting at Ciao Vino. The weather on Friday morning wasn’t the best, but inside the Enoteca, a packed crowd enjoyed themselves as we were introduced to Bruno Paillard and 5 of his top French champagnes. This was my first ‘champagne’ tasting and a great eye opener.

We tasted 5 different champagnes; Brut Première Cuvée brut S.A, Rosè Première Cuvée S.A,Brut Assemblage Millésimé 1996, Blanc de blancs Millésimé 1996, and Blanc de blancs Millésimé 1995. Each champagne was a treat, and unique. My favorite was his Brut Assemblage Millésimé 1996, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinoit Noir. I really enjoyed the aroma of pane di spezie or bread with spices. There was also an aroma of caffè and candied fruit, a first for me. Another noteworthy offering was Rosè Première Cuvée S.A. 100% Pinot Noir, a brilliant rose color with small, tiny bubbles. This champagne would be great for all courses of your meal (except dessert), particularly if you are serving carni bianche and formaggio.

Mr. Palliard’s champagnes are not easy to find, meaning they are not on the shelf of our local supermarkets. He produces 500,000 bottles a year, with 80% going to top class restaurants. The rest are to high end enotecas. Click on his site, to learn more about Mr. Paillard as his champagnes. Click on to the Ais site here to see some photos of the event.

Weekend at the Museum 2

Here is the rest of the program for the month of December.

December 6, 2009 h 10.00 e 12.00

Museo di Capodimonte

Ballo a corte: una favola ‘reale’: A ball at the court, a royal fairy tale

A tour and show withSalvatore D’Onofrioand Rosanna Gagliotti for young and old.

An invitation to the ball at the palace of King Ferdinando and Queen Maria Carolina. A great chance to visit the apartments and appreciate life in the court during the Bourbon period.

December 7, 2009 h 10.00 and 11.00

Museo di Villa Pignatelli (Mergellina)

Un abitare aristocratico: The aristocratic life

Musical accompinament by Sergio Colicchioand Antonio De Rosa

Visit the grand rooms in the apartment which belonged to Rosina Pignatelli. dell’appartamento di Rosina Pignatelli, to include her library, dining room, and ballroom with beautiful music in the background.

December 8, 2009, h 10.00 e 11.00

Certosa e Museo di San Martino (Vomero)

Aspettando il Natale: Waiting for Christmas

Music by the Ensemble SineNomine for young and old.

Get into the Christmas spirit by rediscovering the great Neoplitian nativity scenes.

December 12, 2009, h 10.00 e 12.00

Museo di Villa Pignatelli

È pronto in tavola!: Dinner is served!

Show and tour with Rosanna Gagliotti and Loredana Piedimonte for young and old.

A triumph of fruit, cakes, pastries, bread, fish and shellfish, quail and poultry. The visitor will, in the midst of the “Ritorno al Barocco. Da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli”:” Return to the Baroque, From Caravaggio to Vanvitelli” exhibit, have an opportunity to help two unusual characters get lunch on the table!

December 13, 2009, h 10.00 e 12.00

Certosa e Museo di San Martino

Viaggio nella storia: A trip through history

Show and tour with Massimiliano Foà for young and old

The words of Le Goethe and the diaries of other famous travelers of the Grand Tour will accompany the visitors into history and the myth of Naples, amongst kings,plagues, eruptions and miracles, seen through the exhibit “Ritorno al Barocco. Da Caravaggio aVanvitelli”.

December 19, 2009, h 11.00

Museo di Capodimonte

Disegnare per guardare: Drawing by watching

Led by Caroline Peyron for young and old

A different way to discover Neapolitan painters from Michelangelo Merisi, Caravaggio a Francesco Solimena, presented in the exhibit “Ritornoal Barocco. Da Caravaggio aVanvitelli.” Basically, you will get the chance to learn about the painters while drawing the works of art yourself. I went on a similar tour last year. It was a great experience, so this time I will be taking my 9 year old son.

20 e 26 dicembre 2009, dalle h 11.00

Museo Duca di Martina

L’opera prende forma; The work of art takes form

Theatrical interpretation by Malatheatre

The gallant scene in the paintings of Filippo Falciatore and the groups of plastic and porcelain of Capodimonte, presented in the “Ritorno al Barocco.Da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli”, exhibit will take ‘form’ in suggestive tableaux vivants.

27 dicembre 2009, dalle h 11.00

Museo di Capodimonte

L’opera prende forma; The work of art takes form

Theatrical interpretation by Malatheatre

The Flagellation by Caravaggio, which begins the journey into the exhibit “Ritorno al Barocco. Da Caravaggio aVanvitelli”, with great artwork by Neapolitains of the 1600s and 1700s which will come to life in a tableaux vivants .

All visits will have guides on behalf of Progetto Museo

For info contact tel. 0812395653 - 0812395666 (M-F h 9.00-17.00)

The tours are free but some require museum entrance. It is worth checking out.

(Let me know if you want a pdf copy of the brochure in Italian by emailing me at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Will this Wine Age or Not?

Consistency. Tannins. Sulfites. Acidity. Those are the key aspects as to whether a wine will age well or not. Last Friday night’s Winerdi’ at Ciao Vino, owner and professional sommelier Fabrizio Erbaggio and our ‘favorite’ enologist Vincenzo Di Meo were the hosts of the evening. Our crowd learned, through a guided wine tasting, what to look for when buying a wine. Many Americans who are stationed here often buy a few hundred bottles of wine to take back to the states when it is time to leave. The info that Fabrizio and Vincenzo shared opened many eyes.

For example, sulfites are important. Some wine buyers are afraid to buy wine with sulfites. Vincenzo explained that all wines have at least some small amount of sulfites. Sulfur dioxide is used by winemakers to keep freshly pressed wine from spoiling. It keeps down the activities of the yeast and bacteria and preserves the freshness of the wines. Modern technology has allowed the use of significantly less sulfur than was used in the past, but some is necessary to make a stable wine. Vincenzo shared of a brutto experience he had when shipping his Falanghina to the states. The wine made it to New York, and it kept its flavor. The trip from New York to California was another story. By the time it hit the west coast, it had lost ‘something’. This is important. Often during the wine making process, enologists have to ‘play’ with the level of sulfites in wines that will be shipped to the states because they may not make the journey otherwise.

Other characteristics discussed were the tannins. Tannins are a naturally occurring substance in grape skins, seeds, and stems. They are primarily responsible for the basic bitter component in wines. Tannins give the wine its astringency. The more tannins, the better it will age, though it is considered a fault when there is too much. Fabrizio discussed acidity; which is a term used on labels to express the total acid content of a wine. You know, that tart or sour taste in your mouth. The higher that is, the better the wine will age. The level of alcohol in the wine is important for aging as well. Here you are looking for wines with around 12-12.5 % alcohol. Fabrizio discussed aroma, color, and consistency as well.

During the lesson, we tried 2 whites and 2 reds. Here we were able to compare and contrast the features we talked about. The wine list? Our two whites were Ribolla Giallo 2008 from Dorigo (Fruili) vs. a Chardonnay 2008 from Tormaresca (Puglia). And in the red corner, St Magdalener 2008 from Alto Aldige (a red that would go great with fish-no tannins) vs. A Chianti 2006 from Castello di Rampella (Umbria).

So at the end of the evening, after stuffing ourselves with the now famous Ciao Vino buffet, we walked away with vital information to use when we are stocking our own wine cellars. Great job Fabrizio and Enzo!

Champagne wishes...

Ciao Vino and Ais Napoli have something great in store for us this Friday, November 27. They have invited Bruno Paillard, a respected champagne maker from Reims, France. Bruno will tell his story of how over 30 years ago he sold his old jaguar, to follow his dream, producing champagne. His hard work and dedication is impressive. In fact, his champagne has conquered the planet!

What better place than the cozy ambiance of Ciao Vino’s living room to share his experiences. What better place than Ciao Vino to try great champagne such as Brut Première Cuvée brut S.A, Rosè Première Cuvée S.A,Brut Assemblage Millésimé 1996, Blanc de blancs Millésimé 1996, and Blanc de blancs Millésimé 1995.

Followed will be a buffet with tripe and mozzarella.

The cost is 30 Euro, show time, 1130 am. For reservations, give Fabrizio a call at 081.5090425 – 3337267080 or email

Enoteca Ciao Vino
Via Madonna del Pantano, Varcaturo (Na)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sneak Preview Vitigno Italia, December 1, 2009

Last May, a couple of friends and I spent a lovely afternoon exploring the ‘Egg Castle’ downtown and – wine tasting. The event was Vitigno Italia 2009 and has called Naples its home for the last few years. This event is an opportunity to taste wines from all over Italy and meet the producers face to face. We had a blast. Well, on the 1st of December, at Hotel Excelsior, Anteprima Vitigno Italia will be held. This event is a sneak preview of what will be presented next spring. About 100 wineries will be represented with over 500 wines. From 1800 to 2230, you can wine taste until your hearts content. I suggest that afterwards you take a stroll and stop for a late dinner at one of the many different restaurants splattered along the waterfront or in the neighboring San Pasquale area. For more info on which wineries will be there or directions, log on to

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Enoteca CiaoVino,
December 4,2009
2000 hrs

This time we will focus on Chianti. Sangiovese was a great grape and always will be! Lets discover together the great chiantis.
The evening will consist of a guided wine tasting of 4 chiantis followed by a super buffet. The cost of the evening is 25 Euro.
To sign up or for more info, contact or call 348 590 7349.

Torre Gaia Should Never be Forgotten

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. His name is Luigi (or Louis) and is a sommelier at Torre Gaia. I met him when our wine tasting group visited one cold day in March. I had almost forgotten about Torre Gaia. I’ve driven by it numerous times since then and have seen this beautiful estate on my way to St Agata dei Goti (Bn)or to a friend’s country home in Melizzano (Bn). Anyway, we started talking and he encouraged me to take a look at the web site to see what is going on. Here’s what is up:

Saturday, November 28
An evening dedicated to dance with an ‘appertivo’, 15 Euro
Sunday, November 29
KIDS EAT FREE ( children 10 years of age and under)
Adults will enjoy a fixed menu for 25 Euro
There will also be a ‘Vinolandia’ for the kids. A workshop where they can learn how wine is made, etc.

It was unclear by reading the brochure on the web site if wine was included in the price. If you would like to make reservations, contact them directly at 0824 97 83 74. Visit their site at

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Someone pulled a scam!!! BEWARE!!

If you are on my andiamotrips mailing list, you probably received an email on Saturday morning from me saying that I was in Scotland, out of money, blah, blah, blah. Well, IT WASN'T ME!!! This pass week, I was fooled into giving my yahoo password to who I believed was YAHOO CUSTOMER SERVICE. They were not, they have taken over my account and have access to my mailing list. I do have a hard copy of my address book and will be sending out info to all with my new address, etc. I apologize to those who received the email. The blog is safe so continue to check it for upcoming info. If you want to get in touch with me, leave a message on the blog. Have a great weekend. I know I will. My parents just arived from the States and I haven't seen them in 2 years!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Thanksgiving weekend to remember.

Several years ago, I wanted to take advantage of the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend. My husband, Italian, did not have the weekend off since it is an American holiday. I chose Avellino since it was far enough away, but close enough to home if you know what I mean. After an extensive web search, I stumbled on an agriturismo by the name of Tenuta Montelaura. There I had one of my first experiences with a hospitable family run business. Alone with my son David, who was 5 years old at the time, we were treated like one of the family. There I had one of my first glasses of aglianico. I had my first taste of a classic Italian recipe, pasta and pumpkin with potatoes. As we enjoyed homemade pizza in front of a roaring fire, I was reminded of what I love about Campania. David loved seeing the animals as our hosts Raffaele (Lello) Tornatore and Flavia Pappalardo took him under their wings to see the goats, pigs, and chickens.

Since then, I have been back several times, including a New Year’s Eve dinner with my folks from the states as well as the first official Andiamotrips bus trip back in 2006. I’ve run into Lello on several occasions in Taurasi, where he is also part of the coop Antica Hirpinia and professional sommelier.

These memories came to life while searching the net the other day. Tenuta Montelaura is having a dinner the 27th of November based around pork, a popular meat this time of year in the region. The menu (in Italian ) is as follows:

Crostino caldo di pariata di maiale del quinto quarto
Ramata di Montoro ripiena, al mosto cotto di Aglianico
Arrotolata di spalla affumicata su “viscuotto di criscito”
Ricottina calda di “Laticauda
Lagane di castagne al profumo di alloro e
Sgranocchiata di piedino e orecchio di maiale
Bocconi di gola,patate e “pepaine curate”
Torta di nocciole con fonduta di cioccolata

The wines:
Coda di Volpe Vadiaperti 2007
Fiano di Avellino DOCG Villa Raiano 2007
Irpinia Aglianico Terredora “Il Principio” 2006
Grappe di monovitigno (Aglianico,Fiano e Greco) e distillato di fichi Carpenito ( Tufo)
Mandarinetto e Nocino Tenuta Montelaura

The price for the evening is 30 Euro. Reservations must be made by the 23rd by calling 0825 762500 or 3475652164.

Meet the Producers- Enoteca Mercadante, November 19

If you haven’t made it out to Enoteca Mercadante on Corso Vittorio Emanuele yet, here is a chance to do so. Francesco and Stefano have an evening lined up that will be one to remember.

Trabucchi d’Illasi” located between Valpolicella and east of Verona is an organic winery. The land has been owned by the Trabucchi family since 1924, but their first wine was bottled in the seventies. As they present their wines, Mercadante’s chef, Luca Pipolo, will prepare dishes designed to match perfectly with each glass. The menu is as follows:

Spiedino di gambero lardellato con zuppetta di fagioli di Lamon


Risotto radicchio e Monteveronese


Brasato di manzo all’Amarone con stufato di verza e polenta croccante


Semifreddo al torroncino e caldo di fondente gianduja

The wines:

Margherita bianco ‘08

Valpolicella Sup. S.Colombano ‘05

Amarone della Valpolicella ‘04

Recioto della Valpolicella ‘05

The cost is 35 Euro per person. The evening should begin around 20,30/21,00

To reserve a place call:

Winebar 081 680964

Stefano Continisio 334 7807377

Francesco Continisio 393 4110761

Chocolate Anyone?

December 4 – 8, Mostre D’Oltramare (a few steps from the soccer stadium), a special event will be held for chocolate lovers. This event is called SHOWCOLATE-the first of its kind in Naples.

The event begins on Friday, December 4 at noon with the grand opening ribbon cutting. From that point on there will be a series of chocolate tastings, presentations, and demonstrations from chocolate factories such as Gay-Odin and Antica Cioccolateria Monaco. Chocolate experts will be on hand to present professional ‘chocolate tastings’ at scheduled times throughout the weekend. (Saturday at 1700, 1800, and 1900. Sunday at 1100, 1800, and 1900 by reservation only. You can reserve by going to the web site at The cost is 7 Euro.)

Other events include a Choco beauty and relax: which is a massage and beauty treatment with chocolate at the la SPA Ulysse STAND 126-127 – Included is a caffè, limoncello, and chocolate tasting. There will also be a chocopizzeria, body painting in the ‘attractions’ area, as well as plenty of other attractions for the kids.

For more info, check out the web site (Italian only, but easy enough to follow) at

Vomero Wine and Shop

Many of us have discovered Vomero, thanks to its great market (Piazza degli Artisti) and its great shopping. Well, get ready to rediscover Vomero as Centro Commerciale Vomero presents Vomero Wine & Shop. This celebration of two favorite pastimes will be held the 19th through the 20th of November.

On those three days, while you're (window) shopping, you will have the opportunity to try wines from various wineries from the Campania region.

So, here’s an idea; take the funicolare up to Vomero and stroll along via Merliani to via Alvino, via Bernini and via Scarlatti, piazza Fuga e piazza Vanvitelli, via Luca Giordano, via Piscicelli.
About 30 boutiques will participate as well as compete offering a glass of wine, cheese, cigars, chocolate, etc while you ‘shop,’ Store windows will do their best to attract your attention as well as compete for the prize of “Miglior Vetrina Wine&Shop”.

Here is a list of the participating shops as well as the wineries they have hooked up with.

BENETTON - Via Scarlatti, 117 – Quartum Cantine Di Criscio
CASUCCIO & SCALERA – Via Scarlatti, 120 - “Pelle di…Vino” - Mustilli
HARMONT & BLAINE - Via Scarlatti, 135-137 - Villa Matilde
GOLDEN POINT – Via Scarlatti, 157 – “Underwear … frizzante” - Carputo Vini
DE SANTIS - Via Scarlatti, 160 – “Borse, accessori e … vino” - Tenuta Matilde Zasso
DE’ NOBILI - Via E. Alvino, 35 – “Civette & Vino” - Cantine degli Astroni
TAMMARO BLUE - Via E. Alvino, 56 – “Vino Blu” - Masseria Venditti
PISAPIA SPORT - Via Merliani, 5 – “Lo sport…di vino” - Tenuta Matilde Zasso
TRIX PELLETTERIA - Via Merliani, 22–24-26 “Bags & Wine” - Fontanavecchia
ARCOIRIS - Via Merliani, 28 – “Notte e Vino” - Cantine Federiciane
MANDILE GIOIELLI - Via Merliani, 33 -“Vini … di lusso” - Fattoria La Rivolta
SPATARELLA UOMO - Via Merliani, 49/b – “Cachemire & Vino” - Feudi di San Gregorio
PIO BARONE - Via Merliani, 51/a - 51/b - "Simpatia & Vino" - Tenuta Cavalier Pepe
REVELATION Sport - Via Merliani, 70 – “Sportwear e Vino” - Tenuta Adolfo Spada
MORGAN DE TOI – Via Merliani, 80 - "Morgan, look di...Vino" - Masseria Venditti
ARCHIVIO STORICO – Via L. Giordano, 21/b–21/c “Archi…vino Storico” - Mustilli
FENDI – Via L. Giordano, 50–52–54 – “Wine and Luxury Accessories” - Quartum Cantine Di Criscio
SPATARELLA VOMERO - Via L. Giordano, 69 -“Tacchi a spillo e vino” - Grotta del sole
LIBERTY - Via L. Giordano, 73/a – “Degusta il tuo jeans” - Terre di Sylva Mala
GOLDEN POINT – Via L. Giordano, 133 – “Intimamente frizzante” - Cantine Federiciane
MADE in EUROPE - Via Bernini, 1-3-5 – “Abbigliamento, accessori e … vino” - Cantine Federiciane
PAUL & SHARK – Via Bernini, 2 – “Shark & Wine” - Vestini Campagnano
SARNACCHIARO SMOKE - Via Bernini, 6 – “Sigari e Vino” - Fattoria La Rivolta
CORCIONE GIOIELLI - Via Bernini, 12 – “Vino e Gemme” - Terredora
MONTBLANC by SARNACCHIAROSTORE - Via Bernini, 14 – “Stilo e Vino” - Villa Matilde
PETER PAN - Via Bernini, 24 – “In bimbo veritas!” - Terredora
GAYA WOMAN - Via Piscicelli, 106-114 – “Odori e Colori” - Terre di Sylva Mala
ZAO Store - Piazza Vanvitelli, 9/b – “Glamour & Wine” – Carputo Vini
CAFFETTERIA BERNINI - Piazza Fanzago, 9/a-9/b-9/c – “Il vino in tazza” – Grotta del Sole
GOLDEN POINT – Piazza Fanzago 9/d–11 – “Bollicine e Collant” - Carputo Vini
LAZARUS - Via Solimena, 70 – Seduzione “intima” al Vomero Wine - Cantine degli Astroni
ANTONIO SPATARELLA - Via Solimena, 82/c -“Cuoio e vino” - Feudi di San Gregorio
PASTA’ TA’…TTA’ – Via M. Stanzione, 4 - “Golosità e vino” - Tenuta Adolfo Spada

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Weekend at The Museum

Not just wine.....

Okay, I know I’ve been talking alot about wine lately. Here are some appointments coming up though that gives you the opportunity to visit Naples’s museums.

22 November 2009, h 10.00 e 11.00

Museo Duca di Martina in Vomero

Un mondo in tazza/World in a cup

I took this tour last spring. It is an amazing trip through Europe in the 17th and 18th century seen through a common tradition of nobility. Tea time (or coffee and chocolate) was a daily tradition that only the rich could afford and they did so using amazing porcelain services from Naples, Meissen, and Sevres. The tour ends with a cup of hot chocolate and a piece of chocolate. If the weather is nice, you will get some amazing views of Naples through the ballroom of the duchess’s ballroom window.

29 November 2009, h 10.00 e 11.00

Museo diVilla Pignatelli (Mergellina)

Gemito incontraViviani/Gemito meets Viviani

With the music of Sergio Colicchio

and Antonio De Rosa

The Banco di Napoli has a great collection of sculptures and designs by Vincenzo Gemito. This visit to the museum will be accompanied by music and poetry of Raffaele Viviani.

5 December 2009, h 10.00 e 11.00

Museo Duca di Martina (Vomero)

Viaggio in Oriente/A trip in the Orient

Concert by Ilaria Iaquinta

and Giacomo Serra

The secrets of the East are awoken through music and art.

These are just the first three weekends. The program runs until the 27th of December with programs t the Capodimonte museum as well. I will get the rest of the schedule to you on a later blog or contact tel. 0812395653 - 0812395666 (M-F h 9.00-17.00)

The tours are free but some require museum entrance. It is worth checking out.

(Let me know if you want a pdf copy of the brochure in Italian by emailing me at