Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Castagnata Trevisana

In Autumn and during winter, chestnuts are in season here and you can smell them roasting throughout the city during your weekend strolls. Well, our neighborhood decided to rally together for our own Castagnata, and we had a great time together. These pictures are with all the neighbors on our street. Captions on the photos will give further explanation, and clicking on the pictures enlarges them to see the details described.

Preparing the chestnuts with a mild cut to the shell.
First round on the fire as Sergio gets the flame just right.
Round one is nearly done as neighbors arrive.

Enjoying round one with home made "vino giovane" (young wine).
Luigi (left with glasses) was telling us how to improve the experience
with a trick he learned from the Contessa di Masser:
add a sliver of butter to the chestnut. Yes, it was good!
By now 200 - 300 chestnuts later, we are all slowing down.
They can be very filling!
Saying goodbye. It's a Sunday evening and the kids have school
in the morning. We love our neighbors!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Treviso During Carnevale

Here are just a few pictures that we took during Carnevale. Treviso becomes rather festive like it's big sister, Venice. This was not exactly on the day of, but leading up to it. The city starts getting ready a week in advance, starting with the children in schools. You can see them popping up in town dressed in full clothes and masks. This city already has a reputation for being three-faced, as its name infers (Tre = three / viso = face). I wonder if there is any connection to donning masks from an early age!

Piazza dei Signori rather crowded as usual during festivities.
Confetti fight. Always a favorite of the kids.

We weren't expecting the princesses to show up, but they did.
Fire juggling. This year was the first we've seen of him.

I liked this guy. He easily maneuvered the crowd on those stilts

Here he is again in another piazza. He gets around. Big steps I guess!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sights and Smells of Treviso's Open Market, and a Stop at Tiffany's

Here are a few (overdue) pictures from a Saturday morning run to the Treviso open market. Taken weeks ago. Plus, the delights and interior of Tiffany's Bar just across the street. We had to stop in for a hot chocolate, basically drinkable pudding with fresh, real and homemade whipped cream. No comment!

For details, read the Picture captions.

Envy. I mean, enjoy....

Delightful sausages and fresh meats at market butcher
Just a few shoes to choose from. Camera couldn't shoot them all.
More shoes. This is where you can find Renata. Kidding :)
Amazing flavors at Tiffany's Bar. We stopped here after the Market
More great flavors. Made on the premises.
AMAZING hot chocolate here! The spoon can stand up in it.
Tiffany's Interior. A wall mural of Bialetti Caffetiere.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Magic Pizza...and a Secret Recipe!

Renata and I had sneak-away lunch at Pizzeria Da Roberto around the corner a few weeks back. Just the two of us as the kids were back in school. I ordered a Diavola with Porcini mushrooms. The combo is rather magical. So magical in fact, that you can watch it disappear...

Now you see it...

Now you don't....

Renata got a dainty but deliciously light Pomodorini con basilico fresco. Also a winner every time! In the foto she's pouring olio piccante over the top. That stuff makes almost anything taste good, not that the pizza needed any help. Want to know a little secret? It's easy to make. Put a cup or two of olive oil in a clean glass jar, add some freshly cut garlic, a little salt, and a few good HOT peppers, also freshly cut. Let it sit for a few days and then start applying to your food.

It's hard to get a bad pizza here in the center. I've become so used to them in fact, that I am almost a pizza snob! Last week we had pizza in Montebelluna while running some errands there, and it just didn't do it for us.

Renata made her own pizza a few days ago too. The crust is key, and she made it rather well. I may need to get us a pizza oven out on our deck :-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Guitar, the Witch and the Workshop

La Befana. What a nice lady she is!
On January 1, 2011, I kicked off the year with an exciting ambition. I wanted to locate, and meet a local Italian guitar maker (luthier is the technical term). That's because I recently picked up my classical (Spanish) guitar after nearly 15 years of not playing this style, and have been trying to regain some of my long-lost chops (slang for playing ability). There's just no sound quite like the classical guitar. I was immediately attached again.

My search happily landed me at Michele Della Giustina's, who is right in the very province of Treviso. He's an extremely talented luthier that specializes in concert guitars for the classical style. His capolavoro is making Spruce tops. For the non-musician reading this, that doesn't say much, I know. But take my word for it, it says a lot to those of us who play classical and acoustic guitar in general.

Three days later on January 4th, I took a ride up to Michele's work shop with the family. We were early and stopped off for a walk through the center of Vittorio Veneto, where Michele lives. That's when I ran into the scary witch in the picture above. In Italy, Befana is celebrated January 6 and that's why we see witches everywhere. I wont go into the details of this national holiday but its primary basis is the Epiphany. The tradition is for kids to receive presents from the good ole witch, kind of a second Christmas. People also light tremendous bonfires and it's the one day the municipalities allow you to burn just about anything, including your rubbish in the backyard.

One of Michele's beautiful guitars. Spruce grows locally.
Once we overcame the shock from that witch, we made our way over to Michele's workshop. That blessed man let me play his top-of-the-line concert guitars. He is a very nice man and I've really taken to him. He invited me back in February to play his soon-to-be-finished masterpieces. One similar to what he's making now is in the photo on the left. You can be sure I'll be taking him up on his invitation. Actually, I've already been back to see him so he could make some adjustments to my current Esteve (and so I could play his guitars again).

Mine plays and sounds better now, but I will not pretend I'm not hoping the Befana will make me the proud owner of a Della Giustina custom handmade guitar next January :) Unless of course one of you fine folks out there would like to surprise me? You can give Michele a call and tell him you're giving me a gift.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The "SAFE" way to dispose of Medicines

Safe Medicine Drop Boxes with Medicines Left on Top
Italy encourages the safe disposal of used syringes and leftover or expired medicines. And I think this is a truly GREAT initiative, because a careless toss into the trashcan may enable unsuspecting children to help themselves. Just a few pills could be fatal.

Of course, keeping valid medicines out of the reach of children in the home is also important. To do that, there are inexpensive ways to prevent tragedy. With my daughter's love for cough syrup and all things sweet, I am now looking into this secured lock box at Amazon for less than twenty dollars.

But to encourage the protection of little ones outside the home, some pharmacies and supermarkets in Treviso provide bins where one can safely dispose of unwanted medicines. That's why tonight as my wife and I were entering the doors of PAM (a supermarket here in Centro Storico) with our two small children, I couldn't help but notice (and photograph) the overflowing "Safe Medicine Deposit" bins intended to keep dangerous pharmaceuticals out of the reach of children. Notice the "deposited" boxes of pills ON TOP OF the bins (click the pic to enlarge).

Doesn't this completely defeat the purpose and make it more accessible than if they put it all into the big, hard-to-open dumpster just outside the store here? I don't get it....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Achieving Crown Status when Illegally Parking

One of the more recently discovered Treviso parking champions.
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to demonstrate how to achieve crown status when parking illegally. With practice, you too can learn to create the highest levels of inconvenience and danger with a single maneuver.

Like this individual, you must target both pedestrians and automobiles, while insulting the general public's sense of "neighborliness." In other words, your parking job must communicate "I don't care about you or anyone else!" as clearly as possible.

Note the following 3 points for which this person scores well.
  1. Park directly on a crosswalk so pedestrians need to leave the "safety zone" and go around the car. If they cross on the front side of the car, oncoming vehicles will not see them until they are about halfway into the street.
  2. Protrude well into the street rather than onto the sidewalk, a feature oncoming drivers love.
  3. Select a notorious blind spot, such as in the bend of this road. This assures that approaching traffic wont see the vehicle until last minute, thereby making it just a tad more dangerous.
I wonder how many of these sorts of violations I can capture in one year? Seems these days there is  no shortage of material to photograph. =)