Showing posts with label Calabrese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Calabrese. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Reggio Calabria, Italy-- The Top Vacation Destination in Italy.

Reggio Calabria, Italy is definitely one of the most unbelievable panoramic destinations in Italy. Its also incredibly untraveled by the vacation masses and receives a low turnout on popularity as opposed to other Italian hot spots such as Capri, Elba or any other coastal resort towns. Now, from experience, I can tell you there is a huge difference between northern and southern Italy. Northern, the landscape and overall social setting is more organized and probably resembles a more western (American) feel. As you travel to Southern Italy, you are surrounded by a more authentic, simplistic way of life. Now, this doesn't mean you have no modern day amenities but its definitely not Northern Italy.

I strongly suggest if you're looking for a less traveled and uncharted vacation this summer then Reggio Calabria is for you. In Calabria, you're surrounded by agriculture, open seas, emerald waters, fresh food, sea and mountain air. Its so indescribable. The area has endured many historical events and the people of Calabria are unique in the sense of pride and authenticity of their land. History and actual archeology have a great place in Calabria as well. Current excavations are underway, truly amazing. Calabria is also located in an area where taking day trips to Sicily are possible and visiting other resort areas on the water in Sicily are a ferry boat ride away. There are also volcanic islands like Stromboli and Lipari, which are also accessible by ferry. To vacation in Calabria is to vacation in paradise, villas are readily available in all areas of Calabria including near the beaches. Calabria is slowly evolving into a major destination for American and European jetsetters. Get a head of the game and plan your trip now! Visit these sites for further info on stays, villas, and overall Calabria.

PS- If you have other great sites that you would like to share, please post on this article!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Newly Named CIA Director Is Italian-American..Calabrese To Be Exact.

Why do I love America? Ah..well its the only country where the President elect Obama appoints a first generation son of an Italian immigrant to be the director of the CIA. To be exact Leon Panetta is Calabrese. Leon Panetta was also President Clinton's chief of staff. This is a huge deal that major appointed positions in the new White House are being filled with our very own, Italian Americans. Please learn more about Leon Panetta.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Greetings From Reggio Calabria.

Well, if you've been reading my daily posts, you know my mother is in Reggio Calabria for the holidays. She ended up going to be with her sister (my aunt) this year, because her husband (my uncle) past away this last summer. The whole concept of having to travel half way around the world to be with your sister is really something. My mother has been in America a long time, close to 40 years. When she decided to marry my father and come here, she knew she was leaving and almost giving up seeing her family frequently. We have no relatives here, I think we ended being the only ones who left Calabria. This is why when I visit Calabria, its my family in full force. Here in the states, we are pretty much on our own. We have some "family" but no one I would consider as close as my real family, obviously.

So, I got a call from my mother this morning, telling me about what my cousins are doing and how everyone is preparing for the holidays. In Italy, when someone passes on they usually don't celebrate any holidays for at least a year. So, this year my aunts and cousins will be in mourning and not celebrate. Its tough for them because they really do stick to this respectful tradition, so even the kids kind of miss out on the holidays, but it teaches them respect and honor of those who passed. I am sure someone will give gifts anyway, so the kids have some fun.

On a lighter note, so I think my mother will also be visiting with the rest of her brothers and sisters, she's one of seven. Of which, my mother lives in America, her other brothers moved to Venice and one in Rome. So, we got most of Italy covered and America. In Italy, Christmas starts about a week early with religious days, which urges the Italians to go to church and prepare for your families. I think the important thing to mention that in Italy, Christmas is not consumed with the retail hoopla. Its somewhat, but never like here in the states. Most families gather for dinner, church and if anyone gets a gift its for the children. The concentration is on Christmas and religion.

So, I had to sit and listen to her go on about what fabulous meals she's enjoying and how she's going from family to family. When you're there, its just an incredible feeling of familiarity. I mean, for example, this is a true story. Over the summer I was walking down a street near where my mother grew up, and some old lady, says to me in Italian, "are you Franca's daughter?" But the translation in Italian, sounds better. I said, "yes," this woman was so amazed because she thought I looked like my mother and recognized me. Well, turns out this lady, used to go to sewing school with mother when they were teenagers. I mean really, its just so fascinating and of course I ended up in her house having espresso and biscotti.

I'll share one more example with you because I think this one was really great. We were at the marina getting gelato of course, when this guy walks up to my father and says, "do you know who I am?" Of course, my father doesn't remember, but says, "no, who are you?" Turns out this guy goes onto to explain, that when he was a small child, he went with his family to see my father leave the port of Villa San Giovanni when he first embarked on the first leg of his transatlantic voyage to America. This guy goes onto to tell my father, how that experience of seeing my father leave on a ship for America, left such an impression on him. I was amazed, I felt like my father was a rock star. So, when in Calabria, you never know who you're going to meet and what its all going to mean to you. Greetings from Calabria are always welcome.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Calabrese Thanksgiving.

In preparation for the upcoming holidays, my sister and my mother were discussing the who, what, when and where for Thanksgiving. Now, as we know Thanksgiving is an American holiday, so in keeping with traditions of course we do the (ta-kee-no) but with my mother's Calabrese touches. When you ask my mother about her first impressions about Thanksgiving and being here for her first American holidays, she always tells you about how strange she thought everything was when it came to food. She had to adapt to making a large bird with stuffing, then the traditional cranberries on the side..yada yada. I mean, if you look at the meal and how she makes the stuffing now, she could be a grade A -American Thanksgiving expert.

Now, why are we celebrating Thanksgiving? There was a whole learning process that went into the reasoning for why you cook a big bird on this day. For her, it was always like the day every year that Americans cook turkeys. But, obviously she learned about the history of the first pilgrims, settlers, Indians and the idea of giving thanks. So, as much as its educational and all, its hysterical, because as I write this..I hear my mother telling me the story about "perche fanno un (ta-kee-no) ogni anno?"

In celebrating this holiday, we do the traditional American things but with our Italian twist. So, we do have the turkey, but we have to have the lasagna, meatballs, salads, pastina and we don't buy store bought stuffing, my mother goes beyond the depths of making from scratch. Then after the turkey, we will have pastries followed with espresso. There might be an apple pie, but I'm not sure anyone will eat it. I guess what happens is there is a traditional Italian meal also prepared with the turkey as the opening act, but I think we all secretly wait for the real familiar Italian food. So, as much as there is American in this holiday, of course we Italians have our touches on meshing this festive occasion. When it comes to meals, Italians use reasoning along the lines of how can you make only one thing? All I have to say is, I'm glad I'm American and Italian.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Messina Earthquake.

Interestingly enough, I was reading the article today on on the commemoration of the earthquake in Messina, Sicily/Reggio Calabria. Now, what's so interesting for me, is that this is a very familiar topic, because where my family is from and still lives, is in Reggio Calabria. We are directly on the beach in Calabria, facing the Strait of Messina.

When I'm there, I swim in the very water and walk on the land where the earthquake had devastating effects. The most interesting part about the earthquake, is that I am directly connected to that tragedy because my father's grandparents both perished in that earthquake and my mother's grandmother was trapped in her house for days and almost died. By a miracle, she survived and this story was told over and over again, to the family, to my mother and then to me and my siblings. To know about the devastation and then be there first hand, is very moving.

If you visit Calabria you know its literally a skip away from Messina. So, the region in itself was completely hit by this enormous earthquake. When you're in Calabria, the characteristics of the region almost seem untouched. You will see houses that were built 100 years ago, that are still in ruins or somewhat resurrected. I always say Calabria gets a bad rap, but to be in Calabria is like being part of history and living in it. There is something to be said about the untouched ruins or the archaic streets. So, when I read the article today, it really hit me, because here we are on this side of the pond talking about the devastation to a region that many people have no idea about or a region that many people left because of the devastation generations ago.

Its an interesting concept to realize that you're part of something or that you're living somewhere else because of an indirect event in history. Its all very surreal. So, I leave you with the article from today's commemoration. Its fascinating. Also, the picture I'm the same area where the devastation occurred 100 years ago. This is my personal picture from the summer in Reggio Calabria and the view is looking towards Messina, Sicily.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

When Was the Last Time You Laughed? Watch This Joe Avati Clip, You'll Love Him.

Remember, you can shut off my music on the blog page at the end of my blog, scroll down and hit pause, so you can hear this clip! Enjoy. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

JOE AVATI, Is He Really The Italian Version of Seinfeld....???

Let me start this by saying...I don't think I have ever laughed so much in my life after watching Joe Avati clips on Youtube and on his myspace page. Joe Avati, is an Italian-Australian comedian from down under and has been compared to Seinfeld due to his incredible success.

His comedy routine is so unbelievably funny, because if you're Italian you can relate to exactly what he is saying. For me especially, because I am Calabrese, I know exactly what he's describing when it comes to his family and the dialect. I found myself thinking, "wow, I thought I was the only person who thought that..or went through that.."

His celebrity has become so big in Australia and Canada, that he sells out his shows in minutes. Now, I haven't had the honor yet of attending any of his shows because he hasn't had any large venues yet here in the far as I know. It would be fabulous to see this comedian because he really hits home for all the Italian immigrants. He's amazing. I encourage you to visit his site and youtube channel. I found myself laughing hysterically in my office while watching his show. We can only hope the tri-state or any part of the United States gets booked for one of his shows.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time To Make the Wine!!!!

Ok, everybody...this is it. We are heading out bright and early tomorrow morning to buy the grapes for our year supply of home made wine (Calabrese Style.) Myself, my brother and father. It should be fun!! I think we will officially start the 'wine making' process on Sunday, so I will post as we go along with the moment to moment plays. I will also post pictures for those of you who are interested in making wine. I have to make sure my family cooperates with the pictures. (They are such divas! and I'm not talking about the women :))

Woo hoo!!! Vino, vino, vino e more vino!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lunch Time-Italian American Style.

I don't know why but lately I'm having all these past moments about growing up and this one in particular because I actually had this for lunch today. So, I mentioned before I'm a little bit of a health nut, but I don't know if its being a health nut or just eating right. I credit my upringing for eating healthy in my adult life to my Italian heritage.

Anyway, so I had marinated eggplant in my salad today. I prepared a salad with some eggplant that my mother had brought back from Italy. She and my aunt actually made it and bottled it themselves. Now, I will have to say this is by far one of my favorite foods ever from Italy. Its so good just as is. YUM! Anyway, growing up as a kid, for lunch my mother would make me marinated eggplant sandwiches. So at lunch time when I would sit at the lunch table at school--kids would always look at what each other had for lunch. I remember one kid looked at my eggplant sandwich and said, "ewwww...what are you eating...??? They look like worms..!!" I remember being completed humilated and not knowing how to answer back...because what was I going to do explain to him that these were marinated eggplants cut finely and put in unbelievable fresh pressed olive oil. I mean I'm like 7 years old with this knowledge of gourmet food while my friends are eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I always felt like a little bit of an outcast when it came to stuff like that...but now I look back and think its totally hysterical. A flashback Italian-American version of Seinfeld. Just hysterical.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I was in Fritelli hell this summer!!

If you're a true Italian, then you know 'fritelli.' So, being that my mother decided to head over to Italy for the summer to visit family and because my uncle had passed, she was there to console her sister. When my mother is not home here in the states, it means one of us is going to take the fall for keeping up with my father's demands.

My father, God bless him is 78 years old and can out run me. His days are filled with tending to his massive garden and keeping the lawn prestine. In the midst of his daily jobs, he expects everyone to pitch in, whether you live in his house or not. I would come back from work late in the day and stop over where I would find in the kitchen and refrigerator a box of zucchini flowers. This was an everyday thing. Mind you these flowers are extremely hard to find in the grocers and cost a pretty penny.

So, in order not to let them go to waste, I would devote a few hours every other day to making fritelli. Now, fritellis are the most delicious thing you will ever eat. They're simple ingredients combined and fried with the flowers. Growing up my friends would flock to my house and wait for the hot fritellis to come off the stove, they are so good and absolutely addictive.

Because I work a lot, I really don't have a lot of time to grow my cooking skills. If I have to cook its minimal and just enough for me because I am also a health nut so my food is always very particular. Anyway, I couldn't keep up with the fritelli demand this summer and the more I made the more we gave away. My brothers and sister also did their fair share of cooking and reinventing what to do with the zucchini flowers but let me tell you...this little thing we call the fritella is amazing. Here is a simple recipe on how to cook them.

1. Clean a bunch of zucchini flowers (they're are always little garden bugs in them, so be sure to thoroughly clean.)

2. Add flour, salt, pepper, a handful of chopped basil and a really diced, small garlic.

3. Add just enough water to make the entire bowl of ingredients look like pancake mix. (If you make it too watery, they come out like crap so be cheap as you add water.)

4. Then, make sure you have a pan or wok ready to be fired up and the oil has to be super hot.

5. Add scoops of fritelli mix to the pan like you're making pancakes.(same idea)

6. Fry each side till they're golden and then lighly salt.

7. Eat and be merry.

Now, for those of you who need specifics on how much to put in each thing, really there is no such thing, use your eye and periodically taste the mix to make sure its salty enough. Sorry, but this is old school Calabrese style fritelli cooking.