venerdì 21 novembre 2008

An Alpine flavour

Grappa is a fragrant grape-based pomace brandy of between 37.5% and 60% alcohol by volume of italian origin. Literally "grape stalk", most grappa is made by distilling pomace, grape residue (mainly the skins, but also stems and seeds) left over from winemaking after pressing. It was originally made to prevent waste by using leftovers at the end of the wine season. It quickly became commercialised, mass-produced, and sold worldwide. Some grappa, known as prima uva, is made with the whole grapes. The flavour of grappa, like that of wine, depends on the type and quality of the grape used as well as the specifics of the distillation process.

Grappa was originally made in the northern Italian town of Bassano del Grappa, and some contend that this is the origin of the name, rather than from the Latin graspa.

In Italy, grappa is primarily served as a "digestivo" or after-dinner drink. Its main purpose was to aid in the digestion of heavy meals. Most grappa is clear, indicating that it is an un-aged distillate, though some may retain very faint pigments from their original fruit pomace. Lately, aged grappas have become more common, and these take on a yellow, or red-brown hue from the barrels in which they are stored.

A mediterranean recipe

Pasta alla Norma

  • 350 g spaghetti
  • 2 Aubergines (eggplant)
  • 4-5 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • fresh basil
  • seasoned ricotta or pecorino cheese (for grating)
  • extravergin olive oil
Once sliced, the aubergines are to be sprinkled with coarse salt, placed under a weight and left for the juices to run out. Sautè the chopped onion, the crushed garlic ad a few basil leaves in 4-5 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan. Toss in the tomatoes, roughly chopped, with a pinch of salt and reduce it all gently (15-20 minutes). Rinse the aubergine, dab dry and brown with olive oil in a frying pan. Boil the spaghetti in salted water, drain al dente and stir into the tomato souce, dredging with grated seasoned ricotta cheese. Add the aubergine, diced finely, a couple of sliced basil leaves and another liberal sprinkling of cheese.

giovedì 20 novembre 2008

The Ice man

Ötzi the Iceman (pronounced [oetsi]), and Similaun Man are modern names of a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC (53 centuries ago). The mummy was found in 1991 in the Schnalstal glacier in the Oetzal Alpes, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Italy and Austria. The nickname comes from Ötztal (Ötz valley), the region in which he was discovered. He is Europe's oldest natural human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic (Copper Age) Europeans. The body and his belongings are displayed in the Regional museum in Bolzano.

Ötzi was found by two German tourists on 19 September 1991. The body was at first thought to be a modern corpse, like several others which had been recently found in the region. Lying on its front and frozen in ice below the torso, it was crudely removed from the glacier by the Austrian authorities using a small jackhammer (which punctured the hip of the body) and ice-axes using non-archaeological methods. In addition, before the body was removed from the ice, people were allowed to see it, and some took portions of the clothing and tools as souvenirs. The body was then taken to a morgue in Innsbruck, where its true age was subsequently ascertained.

By current estimates, at the time of his death Ötzi was approximately 1.65 metres (5 ft 5 in) tall, weighed about 50 kilograms (110 lb/7.9 st) and was about 45 years of age. When his body was found, it weighed 38 kilograms (84 lb/6.0 st). Because the body was covered in ice shortly after his death, it only partially deteriorated. Analysis of pollen and dust grains and the isotopic composition of his tooth enamel indicate that he spent his childhood near the present village ofFeldthurns (Velturno), north of Bolzano, but later went to live in valleys about 50 kilometres further north.
Ötzi had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. Using X-rays, it was determined that the Iceman may have had arthritis in these joints. It has been speculated that they may be related to acupuncture.
Ötzi's clothes were sophisticated. He wore a cloak made of woven grass and a coat, a belt, a pair of leggings, a loincloth and shoes, all made of leather of different skins. He also wore a bearskin cap with a leather chin strap. The shoes were waterproof and wide, seemingly designed for walking across the snow; they were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for the top panels, and a netting made of tree bark. Soft grass went around the foot and in the shoe and functioned like modern socks. The coat, belt, leggings, and loincloth were constructed of vertical strips of leather sewn together with sinew. His belt had a pouch sewn to it that contained a cache of useful items: a scraper, drill, flint flake, bone awl, and a dried fungus to be used as tinder.
Ther items found with the Iceman were a copper axe with a yew handle, a flint knife with an ash handle, a quiver of 14 arrows with viburnum and dogwood shafts. Two of the arrows, which were broken, were tipped with flint and hadfletching (stabilizing vents), while the other 12 were unfinished and untipped. The arrows were found in a quiver with what is presumed to be a bow string, a tool of some sort, and some antler which might have been used for making arrow points. There was also an unfinished yew longbow that was 1.82 metres (72 in) long.
In addition, among Ötzi's possessions were berries
, two birch bark baskets, and two species of polypore mushrooms with leather strings through them. One of these, the birch fungus, is known to have antibacterial properties, and was likely used for medicinal purposes. The other was a type of tinder fungus, included with part of what appeared to be a complex firestarting kit. The kit featured pieces of over a dozen different plants, in addition to flint and pyrite for creating sparks.

You will visit the Oetzi museum during the Fiè allo Sciliar cooking course.

lunedì 17 novembre 2008

An universal appeal offers guided tours in places that are off the beaten truck. Tours will be led by art historians from the Cultural Association Iterarte Roma.
Iterarte started its cultural and social activities about 20 years ago, now playing a leading role in Roman cultural tourism.

Iterarte always loved choosing places that are normally closed to public, like Roman aristocratic palaces or ancient hidden sites. It usually prefers offering tours to small groups of participants, to experience the beauty and spirit of Rome, the eternal city.

The experience and the knowledge of extremely qualified art historians, the passion for the city, together with being Roman native, will allow guests an unforgettable stay in Rome. Everyone visiting Rome must admit that the city has a universal appeal. Who has not heard about Colosseum, the Ancient Roman Empire, the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo? Coming to a city like this, has a lot to do with remembering things that visitors have always known, more than it does with discovering things for the first time. Iterarte art historians, during the tours, will be able to refer to things that are part of a common cultural heritage that we all share. At the same time Iterarte will lead the guests of to compare the Rome they always had in their imagination and their expectation with the reality of things that we will discover together. With this special approach everyone will have the lucky chance to a discover and create a “personal” Rome. As Romans, Iterarte art historians will make guests feeling welcome and comfortable in Rome, simply because the same cultural background belong to you as it belongs to us. Iterarte and Taste of. it will offer several scheduled tours, with a turnover based on seasons, but, upon request we can design a wide variety of walks and visits for people with special interests.

If you find nothing here to suit your needs, if you have a specialized request for visiting sites that lie outside the common places then please, we invite you to let us know.

What else?

This is one of the "tastiest" moments of the Roman week. On Tuesday evening  we all meet at an incredible place to enjoy a light dinner with an exceptional variety of cheeses, "salumi", wines, breads, olive oils, and many other Italian local specialties. Limata is one of the most famous "formaggeria e salumeria in Rome.

Limata has been founded in 1950 and always searched for high level quality standards, personally and directly selecting producers from all regions of Italy of any kind. This is why you will have the rare opportunity to try special matchings of cheeses with sweet mustards, of delicious dried cherry tomatoes with daily produced "burrata" and many more...  

Some other examples of rare combinations: Castelmagno d'Alpeggio, even "mature", together with white water mellon sauce, the Vedeseta of the Val Taleggio with the green tomatoes chutney , the extremely rare Bagoss di Bagolino of the Val Caffaro "married" to the red onions chutney.

Why not try the salame from Felino e il "doppio cucito" from Varzi, the deer's and roe's "mocette", accompanied by delightful wines and followed by a selection of chocolats and sweet specialties

What else?

mercoledì 12 novembre 2008

Relatives and friends

Special programs, single customized guided tours and walks are available for companions of participants to the courses. Relatives and friends can apply to any of the scheduled weeks of calendar WITHOUT attending the cooking courses (nor included lunches).
They will join the party in any of the social cultural and culinary activities, such as tours, excursions, walks, tasting, lunches and dinners.

Please see below for a variety of activities in any location.

In Rome
Guided tours to monuments, museums, archaeological, artistic and historical sites; photographic tours; personal shopping; kids activities; baby sitting and babies activities

In Fié allo Sciliar
Special reduced cards for the Kastelruth Golf Club; Guided tours to Bolzano, Merano and Bressanone, to ancient abbeys, medieval castles and interesting museums; hiking and naturalistic walks to the Siusi Highland, the Sciliar Massif Natural Park and Val Gardena.

In Salina
Guided tours to some of the splendid gems of the Aeolian Islands; visits to museums, hiking up to the volcanoes peaks, boat tours and scuba diving.

The mission of is to provide everything in order to make the weeks in Italy a unique experience, an unforgettable stay for both participants and their companions.

So please let us know about any special request to create the most suitable program for you.

It is also possible to anticipate or to extend the duration of your stay.
Please let us know any of your needs and we will do our best to arrange accommodation and organize a customized program of activities of any kind.

martedì 11 novembre 2008


Golf at the feet of the mountain Sciliar: a more beautiful scenery is almost impossible. The 18-hole golf course Kastelruth-Seiser Alm is open since summer 2006 and the Hotel Turm is a partner hotel: can offer to Clients and their Accompanions reduced green fees and guaranteed tee times. To learn how to play the game you can get in contact with Golf-Pro Rudi Knapp and arrange a lesson. Enjoy a golf game and come then back to the Hotel Turm to relax: the golf course Kastelruth-Seiser Alm is only 5 minutes from Fiè allo Sciliar away.

Deep amber

Malvasia is officially translated into English as ‘malmsey’, but this is confusing as that term more usually refers to the wine from Madeira, rather than the grape. Malvasia derives from a Greek, Μονεμβασία, or monem-vasia, “a place with one entrance”. Monemvasia is a fort on Greece’s Southern Laconian cape.
The Malvasia of Lipari wine has been controlled by denomination of origin (d.o.c.) from 1973, with a production of approximately
1,100 hecto-litres a year, produced with a minimum of 95% white malvasia grapes, plus black grapes (called “minutidda” by the
locals, or Black Corinto by the official denomination).

According to how much we have specified before, It is difficult to say what it is the historical origin of “Malvasia of the Lipari” (you’d need to complete a scientific survey to compare the various vines, and in particular those of Laconia with the Cretan version), and it’s worth noting that the first historical document referring to Aeolian malvasia is cargo note of a notary public from Messina, dated 1653.

The vine today is cultivated in rows; while the old system has almost completely disappeared, the last examples being in Malfa (this was a low trellis network called prieule, with squares of 1.40 x 1.40 metre within those of 5 x 5 metre).

“Withering” is used in the production of malvasia wine: the grapes, after a very careful harvest, are laid down on so-called “cannizze” (mats made with local canes).

Here they wither, dry, slowly, for 10-20 days, according to the weather. There is a daily procedure of “scannizzamento” and
“incannizzamento”, that is, the labourers move the cannizze into the light during the sunny hours and into the “pinnate” (special ‘huts’ with an open side) over night or during wet or rainy days.

When the bunches are very dry and withered they are taken to the presses, and squeezed until the last drop.

The juice is then placed in chestnut or durmast barrels and allowed to ferment. It then undergoes two decantings to clarify it, one in January and the other around March. From April, there’s nothing else to do but enjoy what the Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani called, in 1700, this “rare and delicious drink” that “is deep amber in colour, generous and yet mellow, that entirely fills the mouth with a lovely fragrance”.

Bottles of Malvasia delle Lipari actually produced in Salina Island .... empty!!

Artist's cheese

De Gust message is simple
. Quality and the continual effort to better it are at the heart of their philosophy. They aim to prove to their consumers that production and technology can exist side-by-side with nature, without in any way altering, betraying or wasting it, but by bettering, respecting or even enriching it.

Hansi Baumgartner

The company, De Gust, was founded in 1995. Its main activity, carried out with professionalism and passion, is that of re-discovering, selecting ad refining small quantities of niche-market cheeses, all characterised by their high-quality, prestige and organoleptics and often difficult to get hold of, or indeed even at risk of extinction.

Their search began in Rio Pusteria, a village situated at the point where two of the most important valleys of South Tyrol meet. From here they ploughing fertile terrain in a micro-area that exactly met their principle of "field of deliciousness".

The assortment consist mainly of cheese from raw milk, or milk from Alpine pastures, be it from cows, sheep or goats.

Here you have a little selections of cheese that you will try during the two hours guided tasting that is included in Fiè allo Sciliar cooking course.

Cruscato (with bran)

With pear flour

Floral magic

Refined goat's cheese

Almkaese varieties



Cheese made in high mountain huts in Lagrein dunkel wine