A R T I C L E S      S E C T I O N   #4


SIENA   Oct. 2015

Without a doubt, Siena is our favorite city in Italy. It is an easy to enjoy, laidback place. The architecture is firmly entrenched in the medieval style. Back when Siena was contesting with Florence for the top spot as Italy’s number one city, Siena was a regional political, banking, trade and military power-house. At the time Rome had to be reduced to little more than a village, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the dark-ages, it was said that there were more wolves running in the streets than people. But in the north the medieval commercial industry and trade was growing at a brisk rate. Of course this meant that business rivalries were settled by war.  Then in 1346 the Black Plague swept across Europe. The plague devastated Siena and it was no longer a major player in the power struggle for top dog. The silver lining to this cloud of despair was that Siena no longer had the finances to upgrade, thus giving us, today, the best preserved medieval city in all of Italy. A real gem and a place that you should make every effort to enjoy. Its city center is a, blessedly, auto-free zone, which allows you a leisurely and stress free experience. Wandering is red brick lanes, which as anyone who ever had a deluxe box of Crayons will remember the color of Burnt Siena, well this is where it came from.

Siena’s petite size make it an ideal strolling city, with most of the tourist sights an easy walk from each other. We recommend starting at the heart if the city, Il Campo the main plaza. This is where you will get a vivid feel for its historical pedigree. And being auto free, it’s the only plaza we know of where people actually like to relax in. You will be tempted to have a seat and pull out a picnic basket, kick back and take it all in, with a good bottle of local wine, of course.This time we decided to stay in Siena for the annual PALIO horse race The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colors, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honor of the Madonna of Provenzano, a Marian devotion particular to Siena which developed around an icon from the Terzo Camollia. The Palio held on August 16 is 

named Palio dell’Assunta, in honor of the Assumption of Mary. The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is common for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is usual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys. The devout residents of  each contrada, known as contradaioli, invoke the sacred aid of their patron saint for their horse and jockey. The priest will bless each horse with “Go little horse and return a winner.”

The worldly improve their odds with arguably dubious methods, chiefly bribery and doping. The sensible simply keep a close watch on their stable and their rider. The winner of the August 16 race retains the bragging rights for the rest of the year. This time we bought sever scarfs representing 4 different city wards, we hoped to improve our chances at getting invited to the winners party, which is an all-night blow-out. But we guessed wrong, so all we got were several lovely scarfs as souvenirs.

The seventeen contrade are:

 Aquila (Eagle)

 Bruco (Caterpillar)

 Chiocciola (Snail)

 Civetta (Little Owl)

 Drago (Dragon)

 Giraffa (Giraffe) 

In each race, only ten of the seventeen contrade participate: the seven which did not participate in the previous year’s Palio and three others chosen by drawing lots. The city tower is the place to visit for the best view of the city. The Torre del Mangia was built in 1338-1348,[1] it is located in the Piazza del Campo,  adjacent to the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). When built it was one of the tallest secular towers in medieval Italy.

The Siena Cathedral (Duomo), begun in the 12th century, is a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. The original plan called for an ambitiously massive basilica, the largest then in the world, with, as was customary, 

an east-west nave. However, the scarcity of funds, in part due to war and plague, truncated the project, but it is still a masterpiece never the less.

If there is one constant when traveling in Italy it’s the food. The Italians take eating seriously, but not in a stern Calvinistic way. Oh no, in Italy the meal is the most important part of the day and as such should be enjoyed in a most Italian way. Godere al momento (enjoy the moment.)

Some of our favorite places to eat, drink and enjoy the moment: Antica Osteria Da Divo, Chef Pino serves up inventive takes on traditional Tuscan fair, in an up-market and stylish place. The tables are nestled in ancient Etruscan tombs set along the walls (no it’s not creepy, it’s very cool)   at Via Franciosa 29. Osteria Trombicche, with gracious service and excellent food it is a little more expensive than other places nearby, but worth it. The food is very traditional and served in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. It has a first-rate selection of local wines. At Via delle Terme, 66.

Gelateria Grom, Their slogan is “Gelato the way it used to be” This was actually the best gelato I we ate in our whole trip to Italy. They make it fresh, minimal ingredients. It was fantastic Gelato is kept INSIDE metal containers which keep it fresh and flavorful….not like the crazy color huge piles of gelato at most places. When you see the metal containers, not plastic and the colors are muted not some bright color not found in nature you can rest assures it’s made on site with fresh and natural ingredients. Yummy!   So get a cup or cone and enjoy a stroll in a warm 

Sienna nigh.t At Via Banchi di Sopra, 11 Siena is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy a quiet slice of Italian life and a special place that is perfect for getting ready for the much more kinetic pace of Rome. Next stop ROME!

Brad and Sara Gibson,

Staff Writers,


Gnocchi alla Romana


4 cups milk

1 1⁄2 cups semolina (about 8 oz.)

1 1⁄2 cups finely grated Parmesan

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

2 egg yolks, beaten

Kosher salt, to taste


In a 5-qt. pot over medium-high heat, bring milk to a simmer while stirring. Reduce heat to low; 

slowly whisk in semolina. Cook, whisking, until tender, 8-10 minutes. Whisk in 1⁄2 cup Parmesan, 

4 tbsp. butter, and yolks; season with salt. Remove from heat.

Wet a 15″ x 10″ rimmed baking sheet with a soaked paper towel. Pour semolina mixture onto 

baking sheet; smooth surface with spatula to 1⁄2″ thickness. Let cool until firm, about 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 450˚. Using a knife, cut gnocchi dough in 2″ squares; transfer half of the squares 

to a buttered 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle gnocchi with 1⁄4 cup Parmesan and dot with 2 tbsp. 

butter. Layer remaining gnocchi on top and sprinkle with 1⁄4 cup cheese and remaining butter. 

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve with remaining cheese.

Pasta alla Carbonara

To make this dish the traditional Roman way, mix the cheese, eggs, pepper, and pork in a bowl 

to create a thick sauce before tossing it with the pasta. Severs 4 


4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 oz. thinly sliced guanciale (cured pork cheek) or pancetta cut into 1⁄2″ pieces

2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste

1 3⁄4 cups finely grated Parmesan

1 egg plus 3 yolks

Kosher salt, to taste

1 lb. spaghetti


Heat oil in a 10″ skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale and cook, stirring occasionally, until 

lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Add pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 

minutes more. Transfer guanciale mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly; stir in 1 1⁄2 cups 

Parmesan and egg and yolks and stir to combine; set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 

minutes. Reserve 3⁄4 cup water; drain pasta and transfer it to guanciale mixture. Toss, adding 

pasta water a little at a time to make a creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper; serve with 

remaining Parmesan.

Fiori di Zucca


For the flowers

12 – 16 zucchini blossoms

2 mozzarella ovoline (egg shaped) (1 tub) mozzarella di Bufala (water buffalo) is the best

6-8 anchovies

For the batter

1 C. water

1 egg

2 C. flour

2 pinches of salt

Vegetable oil

Remove the stem of the zucchini flowers.  Carefully separate the petals of the golden blossoms 

and remove the stamen or pistils, as well.

Wash the flowers carefully under cold water, and pat dry with a cotton cloth or paper towels.

Cut the mozzarella into strips 1/4 inch wide.  Slice the anchovies in half lengthwise.

Carefully insert a strip of mozzarella and a halved anchovy into each flower.

Close the blossoms around the mozzarella and anchovies and twist the ends carefully to keep 

the filling inside. Place ample vegetable oil into a deep frying pan and heat the oil over high gas.

Prepare the batter by stirring together the water, egg and salt in shallow bowl, gradually sifting 

the flour into the water and mixing with a wire whisk.  The batter should be moderately dense.  

You may add flour or water as needed until the batter reaches the consistency of your 


Dip each flower into the batter, coating it completely, and place it carefully into the hot oil.  Turn 

it gently until all sides have fried to a golden brown.  Remove from oil and set on a plate covered 

in paper towels to absorb the extra oil  If desired, sprinkle a dusting of salt over the fried 

zucchini flowers. Fiori di zucca are equally delicious hot, or at room temperature.


Saltimbocca means “to jump in the mouth” the flavors of this dish do just that.


 6 veal cutlets (about 2 pounds)

 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 12 slices prosciutto di Parma

 12 large sage leaves, plus more for garnish 

 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 2 tablespoons olive oil

 1 cup dry white wine


Slice the cutlets in half and pound each cutlet 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle each cutlet with salt and 

pepper on one side only; do not salt the side the prosciutto will be on or it will become too salty.

Using a toothpick, secure a slice of prosciutto and a sage leaf on top of each cutlet.

Add the flour to a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper and whisk together. Dredge each cutlet 

through the flour, shaking to get rid of the excess flour.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Then add 4 cutlets, 

prosciutto-side down, into the pan. Cook about 3 minutes on each side. Add the wine to the 

skillet and cook until the sharp smell of the wine is cooked off, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the 

remaining cutlets using a clean skillet. Serve the cutlets on a large platter and drizzle with the 

sauce. Garnish with fresh sage.

S I E N A   S T O R Y



Marseille, what can I tell you about Marseille? Winston Churchill called the south of France as the “soft underbelly.” If so,then Marseille is the hard punch to its solar plexus. It’s a tough town, not pretty, not clean, not a tourist destination. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people from around the world in Marseille. They come, they go, but tourism…nah. For whatever reason, I seem to find myself in places like Marseille. I feel more at home in Naples then Venice, Detroit than Minneapolis, Hong Kong… well that depends on the neighborhood, if you get my drift.

I’m just wired differently than normal folks. My various forms of employment (investigation, security, import/export) take me to places that are, generally, less tourist friendly. I like it like that. So, getting to the point as to why I went to Marseille this time around. For soup, not just any soup, but the mac-daddy of all fish soups. Oh sure, San Francisco has Cioppino, Sicily has a good one too. But if you want the best, sometimes you need to go in to harm’s way.    

Bouilabaisse is the holy grail of fish soup. It’s the hot dame that flirts with you, the come on, the wink, the smile. And the usual disappointment that follows. Like an empty wallet and a headache. The fantasy rarely equals reality.  Except in a little dive bar in Marseille.

 I’m not going to give you the name of the place, not to protect it from tourist, it’s to protect tourist from it. It’s  the kind of place that a fanny-pac and a camera around the neck can get your picture on a “Have you seen this person” poster. I’ll just call it “La Plueille” the trash can, if you get my drift. This ain’t “Cheers.” This is a place where nobody knows your name, even if you go there every day, “nobody knows nuttin, got it.”  Don’t smile, for the love of all that is good and holy, DON’T SMILE. Eye contact is also not recommended and no sudden moves. It makes the patrons nervous and you don’t want these people nervous.  Walk in, if you dare. Find a seat and sit down. No maitre d’ at this joint, just a bouncer. Oh, and if he doesn’t let you in, relax; It’s for your own good, trust me. He knows when things are about to go south. So just walk away and keep going, Try tomorrow, after the yelling, screams, gunfire and sirens have faded in to memory.  

Bouillabaisse Soup

So there you are, sitting in the den of deviant depression. A waitress comes over, if its Linda; don’t let the tattoos and scare fool you, she’s tougher than she looks.  Just look at her (remember, no eye contact) and say “Bouillabaisse”, then look down and try to act bored and for God’s sake do not smile, got it. She will be right back with a beer in a semi-clean glass. I know what you’re thinking, Beer! This France, everybody drinks wine. Listten to me, my friend this is Marseille, so do as the locals do… or else. Sip your beer and take a look around.  The decor is early shipwreck, not in a nautical way, more like, whatever washed up on shore. Your fellow dinner will be a motley bunch, but international, to be sure, with enough commutative jail time to stretch to a dark hole in the universe and back again. 

Linda comes stomping back to your table with a bowl big enough to hold a soccer ball (yah, I know, they call it football over here, but what the hell, I’m a yank, so shoot me… oh wait…strike that last part).  If you notice her thumb in the broth, she will only tell you, without apologizing, she’s checking the temperature. She’ll pull the spoon out of her pocket, slapping it down on the table. You need to pickup your beer and drain it in one gulp; a little macho goes a long way in this place. Hand it back to Linda, she’ll be back. So check the soup, go ahead, it won’t bite. Floating on top is a slice of perfectly toasted  baguette with just the right amout of Rouille (a red pepper and garlic mayonnaise), not too much, not to little. The aroma is intoxicating. The fish so fresh their family do not even know they are missing. What you have before you is the heart and sou of the Mediterranean Sea. Rock fish, ugly as sin, but oh so good, chunk of leeks and Fennel, a touch of saffron, mussels, clams and on good day, shrimp.  On even better days, scallops. Dig in and savor the magic the cook has prepared. Don’t call him chef, it pisses him off. He’s a mean, one-eyeed little S.O.B. who will charge out of the kitchen waving a meat cleaver.

Mediterranean Sea

I made that mistake once. He stood there, screaming something I didn’t quite catch. I slowly slipped my coat open to show him I was packing heat. He smiled, then padded his pocket, to show so was he. So get lost n the witch’s brew of delight. Spoonful, after  spoonful, if loving this is wrong, than it has to be right, if you get my drift. About halfway thru, Linda will be back with another beer. So just sip, spoon and enjoy life.  When your finish, plop the spoon in to the bowll and Linda will stomp over whip it from the table and say “anything else?” Say “Non”.  She’ll bring you your bill, hand written (Marseille is not big on leaving a paper trail). It will list bouillabaisse and four beers, I know you only had three, Linda drank the other one.  In France the tip is included in the total. So assuming it’s about 30 Euro’s for lunch and a show; It’s a steal, something Marseille excel at. Give her a nod and drop an extra 20. Then get up and get out as quickly as you can.  The bouncer  will have noticed the extra  20 and he might even give you something that passes for a smile.  Don’t be frightened, but don’t look back. You got what you came for, now get the hell out of town, get my drift.


Roving Reporter


                NEW MEXICO,


This Labor Day weekend, I recommend attending the annual Harvest Wine Festival at the southern New Mexico Fairgrounds in scenic Las Cruces. Presented by the New Mexico Wine Grower Association.  If you love wine (and who doesn’t), good food and a fun relaxing experience, this the way to spend your Labor Day weekend. Admission is $20.00.  You will receive a souvenenir glass which is no only a ngreat keepsake but also allows you to sample the amazing wines from participant wineries. 16 of New Mexico’s best wineries will be presentng some of the best wines produced in the state, or anywhere else. Most people don’t know but New Mexico is the oldest wine producing area in America, it was producing and exporting great wine back in the 1600’s. While the good folks in New England were stuck with only beer and long before Thomas Jefferson tried his hand at wine making, New Mexico had perfected the art.

While California gets most of the notoriety, over the last decade or so the wines of New Mexico have earned world wide praise, producing wines of exceedingly high quality. New Mexico’s wines are equal to the best from California and the rest of the world. So you owe it to yourself to attend and partake. 

Of course there is more than just wine at the Harvest Wine Festiva. Vendors from around the area will be showcasing an abundance of farm fresh agricultural products, chck out the seleton of organic cheeses. This an ideal time to pick up the makings for a fantastic dinner for your family and friends.  

There will be plenty of handmade Art and Crafts to decorate your home, or even give to friends not luckly enough to in New Mexico.

Did you mention FOOD? What’s a New Mexico festival without great food, As you wander the fairgrounds, a glass of wine in your hand, the aroma of great tasting food, being prepared will no doubt get your mouth watering. So who’s up for a Green Chili Chees Burger to go with a glass of your favorite full bodied Red! The Wood Fired Pizzas are incredible (eat your heart out New York).

The good people of Acoste Farms wil be on hand, selling their Asadero Green Chili Quesadillas, the best in the state. If your sweet tooth is calling, try the Ositos Biscochito, the Mexican wedding cookie, also the New Mexico State cookie, the green chili glaze is out of this world!




The entertainment starts off with the always funny Grape Stomping Contest, held every hour. The live music goes from 12:00 until 5:45 each day. Some of the best bands from New Mexico and surrounding areas will perform and its free, you can’t beat that. Believe me, this is the best way to celebrate Labor Day Weekend, you will not be disappointed.


You can purchase tickets on line for only $15, until 11:59pm Friday August 29th@helpinghandsevents.com, or at the event for $20.

Monday all Active duty and Retired Military get a $3 dicount at the gate.

If you what to discuss the wines with the wine representatives, I recommend attending Saturday.

The gates open at NOON all three days and close at 6:00 pm.

So stop by and enjoy the wine, the food, Arts and especially the warm hospitably of the goof folks in Las Crucas. And don’t forget to pick up a case or two of some of the best wine in the world.    

 James Garr                                                                                           Head Staff Writer


Flashlight Productions,

Copyright 2014








Waffle Irons come in 2 distinct and different styles. There is the CLASSIC or American­style and the Belgian style. Regardless of style, both varieties make delicious waffles and deserve to be on your table at home. Here is a short list of our favorites. It is by no means a complete list, but it is a good place to start on your quest to obtain a home waffle maker of your very own. All of our selections are available a www.Amazon.com Classic, or American style:

Cuisinart WMR­CA Round Classic Waffle maker $ 25.49

Black & Decker G48TD 3­in­1 Waffle Maker $60.00

All­Clad Classic Round 8400000928 $101.67 It’s a bit pricey but very durable

The Black & Decker is our overall pick because it also converts to a griddle and a Panini

style sandwich press.

Belgian Style:

Chef’s Choice Waffle Pro Express 840B $75.85

Calphalon No­Peek Waffle maker $143.42

Chef’s Choice M850 Taste­Texture Select Waffle Pro – Belgian $177

The Chef’s Choice M850 is our pick for Belgian waffle makers, it’s a bit on the pricey side

but it performs extremely well. These, and many other waffle makers can be viewed on www.Amazon.com, so please check

them out. Their listings give a comprehensive list of the various “bell’ and whistles”.

Compiled by the writing staff at COOKINGONTV.NET

MOTHER’S DAY DINNER  2015                                                                                                  

This Mother’s Day I decided to have a small dinner party for my girlfriend’s mother and her  ”boy-

friend”. I’m not a dinner-party kind of guy, more a game day party type. But, what the heck, it never 

hurts to get on the good side of your girlfriend’s mom. Even thou I am not totally up to speed on kosher 

cooking, I felt, with a little prep-work I might just pull it off. I knew the Rina, (A.K.A. the Mom) was not 

someone who ate in a totally kosher fashion, any attempt at it would show respect, I hoped.

The key to a good dinner party is preparation, do as much work before the party and you can relax and 

have more fun during the party. Even thou I’m a cooking school drop-out, I picked up enough skills to do 

it up right.

I designed a menu that would allow me a good head start the day before, appetizers, soup, main dish, 

veggie sides and a dessert, not too completed, but just showy enough to impress.

I decided to stock up on some good kosher wines, Baron Herzog Wine Cellars are a California winery 

with a top notch reputation, their Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay  and Sauvignon Blanc are really good. Much 

of the kosher food I wanted is available in any up-scale market, so that was easy, JEFF’S NATURALS are 

certified kosher and have a wide selection of product, also IMAGINE FOOD and MANISCHEWITZ,  and 

there is always the internet if I had a item I had trouble finding locally.

The day before I made the Court Bouillon, I would use to poach the salmon. Court Bouillon is an easy to 

prepare vegetable bouillon that only takes about 10 minutes to chop the veggies and an hour to simmer.

Then just cool and strain and stick in the ‘frig until you are ready to use. You can freeze it for up to 3 

months.  The topping, my Bloody Mary Chutney is also a snap to make and sets up well in the 

refrigerator overnight. The Haroseth filling for the appetizers can be made the night before, but is so 

easy to make I whipped it up the morning of the dinner. The tarts needed to be heated right before 

serving, but can be made early, that is, make the filling and prepare the tart crust, just fill and bake when 

the guests arrive. One note; take you time with the matzoh  crusts, the softening with wine and cutting 

and then forming in to the mini-muffin tin takes patients but is worth it and you can prepare then early, 

then fill and bake. The soup is simple and takes only about 10 minutes to get going, cooking time is short 

and the final processing is quick, so I do it just before the dinner and keep it warm on the stove. The 

Dried Apricot Mousse is best made in the morning and chilled for 3 to 4 hours. The vegetable side dish I 

chose was because of its name KOOKOO SABZI, with a name like that who could I go wrong, it can be 

prepared in the morning and then put in the oven a half hour before serving. The main course, Poached 

Salmon can be ready in in a half hour of cooking time and prepped before, the grilled lemons can be 

made the day before and kept in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap. The Apple and Cranberry 

sauce should be made the day before and allowed to rest, to bring out the flavors. The Potato-Onion-

Roasted pepper Latke is the only dish that you should make just before sticking it in to the over, but the 

caramelized onions can be made days before and kept sealed in the refrigerator, (I make a big batch 

about once a week and use them in many of my dished that call for onion, it picks up the flavor profile in 

a big way).

MOTHER’S DAY DINNER  2015                                                                                              

Once my girlfriend, Golda and her mother Rina and Irving arrived I was ready to have fun, most of the 

work was done and so I could relax. I showed Irving where I kept the liquor and fixings and he took over. 

His Special Cosmopolitan Cocktail is Rina’s favorite, I called him the day before and made sure I had the 

right ingredients (Grand Marnier and Limecello and my favorite vodka TITO’S Handmade). Irving 

whipped up a batch and I brought out the appetizers and the party was underway.

As we sat down to eat Golda told everybody that I had bought new plates bowls flatware and glasses for 

the occasion, Cornelle, white with blue flower decorations around the rim. Rina and Irving were 

impressed but Rina said it wasn’t necessary, “I know you don’t keep kosher, but thank you for the 

gesture.” Golda said I had too, “He doesn’t have two plates or bowls that match, it kind of impressive 

when you think about it, like he looks for mismatched settings.” “Well” I said “I like to call it bachelor 

eclectic”. “I know this is not a true kosher meal sort of kosher-lite, but I’m almost sure it is pareve, or as 

best as I can do”

Well the dinner was a success, Rina gave me a kiss on the cheek, and Irving a pat on the shoulder and 

call me a “real Mench”, and Golda stayed to help clean up and then she gave me a special dessert.

Keven Moore

Staff Writer





Spain is home to some of the most outrageous celebrations on the planet. Whether it is running down a street being chased by 2 tons of sharp­horned and very angry bovines in July (Fiesta de San Fermín) or chucking ripe tomatoes at friends and complete strangers in August (La Tomatina Festival), to the hedonistic night­life in Ibiza, it’s a wild time. Then there is the HARO WINE FESTIVAL on June 28 nibbling, sedate affair in the Napa Valley, no way José. This is a full­blown Battle of Wine (Batalla del Vino), when thousands of people dressed in white proceed to splash, drench, squirt and deluge anyone and everyone with vino tinto, the red wine of the region. It started way back in the 1700’s, something to do with a boundary dispute with a neighboring town. We think it was more likely a matter of one drunken reveler spilling wine on another drunken reveler and it just got out of hand. The next time, more spilling and, well, you know how it goes.

Pretty soon, everybody wanted in on the action. At the airport in Madrid we saw a t­shirt proclaiming “SPAIN IS DIFFERENT”, and that, my friends is an understatement. After decades of tightfisted oppression under General Franco (SNL is sure he is still dead) the Spanish were ready to cut loose.

We arrived two days early so we could see the town of Haro and to prepare ourselves for the spectacle of a Wine War. Spain has graced the world with art and culture for centuries. She has given us the gifted writings of Cervantes, the mind expanding art of Picasso, the achingly beautiful films of Pedro Almodovar, the inspirational guitars of the flamenco and the mind­numbing thump of techno. Yes, things are different here. The pace of life seems to run on a clock set by a rhythm all of its own. Starting with breakfast (desayuno), at the early hour (not) of 10:00 a.m., it’s light, which, I’m sure has something to do with partying the night away. It is juice, coffee and a croissant or toast and

am and a small glass of the grapey hair of the dog that bit you last night, just to get you going. We strolled around Haro to see the sights. It’s a small place but filled with architecture from a bygone era. The Santo Tomas Church is lovely, and visiting the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Vega is time well spent. The ceiling is inlaid with gold and the dome is painted with saints and angels in a Michelangelo­style that is breathtaking. Old Downtown is a Historic­Artistic site. There is no end to the small bars where you can get a glass of wine and escape the mid­day sun.

By noon, we were famished and started looking for a place to eat a complete sit­down type of a meal. In Spain that is never a problem, they love to eat and for a good reason. The ingredients forgreat meals are abundant and of a quality rarely seen elsewhere. The locals suggested

Restaurante Beethoven as the best in town. There are two Beethovens, Number I & II, right across the street from each other. We were told that number 1 is the best, and we were not disappointed. The Spanish lunch (almuerzo) is the primary meal of the day. It is soups, salads and wine and bread to start, followed by fish, several different types of meat (beef, pork, lamb, and fowl), seasonal vegetables and more wine. Deserts are rich, filling and comforting, along with more wine, then a cup of coffee and a bit of sherry. Then from 2 until 4 p.m. it’s siesta time. They take this seriously here, as the town seems to close up shop. So when in Spain do as the Spanish do and catch a nap. You will thank us when you are trying to keep up with the locals at 3 a.m. Dinner (cena) in Spain is a much more relaxed and drawn out affair. It starts around 9 p.m. and stretches until midnight. In terms of food it is much lighter than lunch. We sauntered from bar to bar sampling tapas and pinchos (small bites) as we enjoyed our wine. While the wine seemed consistent from place to place, it was the mind­blowing array of tapas that truly stood out. Each th – 29 bar seemed to be in a friendly (and not­so­friendly) competition as to whose pinchos were the best. They really put time, effort and artistry in to each and every bite. The “fight” starts the night before so after a good meal and some rest it was time to venture forth. This is when Haro really lets loose.

The streets are filled to capacity with great­grand parents, grand­parents, parents, young adults and kids, all singing and dancing the night away. There is music, both traditional and ultra­modern that fills the night sky and the hearts of everybody there. If you can manage to get a few hours of sleep, you’re lucky. More likely you’ll get none at all (the street parties literally go all night), then the town heads up a mountain 5 kms away to cover each other in wine, dance to wine soaked bands and to kiss wine covered mouths. There are water trucks filled with wine distributing wine to water pistols, back­mounted spraying devices, into buckets which are randomly poured on heads, and into anything else that can hold, and then dispel, vino tinto. Everybody looks like they have been caught in a wine monsoon, a downpour of red rain that saturates everyone in sight. But, of course it’s not just our clothes that get saturated, after all it would make us rude tourist not to imbibe the lovely vino flowing so freely. After a few hours the fight descends the mountain and moves into the town, where the only fighting is done with traditional dances – the kind that can only be induced by hours of red wine pouring down one’s throat. So don’t miss your chance to take part of the Batalla del Vino en Haro!! More than just a wine throwing party, the wine fight is considered a National Interest Party here in Spain: it means you are not only supposed to be there, you HAVE to! Here are a few tips we learned (some the hard way): Wear white shirt and pants and a red scarf, it seems to be the official uniform of the festival. Wear shoes, (not open toed sandals) that have a good grip on wet pavement. Remember that you will be throwing away everything you wear to the festival, shoes included. (If the good folks at OXICLEAN are reading this, the HARO WINE FESTIVAL might be a great place to set up a booth and maybe even a washing station, to prove the product and get the word out, I’m just saying) If you plan on using a camera or any type of recording device, make sure it is water (and wine) proof. IT WILL GET WET. In fact the participants will make sure you get an extra dousing. Yes things are different in Spain (las cosas son diferentes en España) but the key thing to remember is to kick back and have a great time. Let the locals be your guides and just follow along. It will be an experience that you will remember with fondness every time you sip on a glass of red wine. So, No te preocupes, sé feliz (don’t worry, be happy) and remember to DRINK THE WINE!

Sara & Brad Gibson

Staff Writers,



Rome is a city like no other. What can we say: how about “Roma, non basta uno Vita”, Rome, a lifetime is not enough! The saying “Rome was not built in a day” qualifies as a good hint to anyone who wants to explore this city. Take your time and do it right. Rome is a fast-pasted, high energy place, so when in Rome …..When we were in Sienna, its pace was serine and relaxed. In Rome life runs at a much different clock.

The land marks are what we all want to experience, and there are more than you could possibility experience in any one life time. So, pace you self, take a deep breath and a glass of good Italian wine and enjoy, Rome is the eternal city and it will be here when you come back, and you will come back, a trip to the Trevi Fountain will ensure that. The Trevi Fountain made famous in the film “Three coins in the fountain”. We urge you to see the fountain at night; the lights are breathtaking as well as romantic. You MUST toss three coins, this is not just a request we demand it. There is a special manner to toss the coins, so follow these simple instructions and all will go well. Step one: face away from the fountain, Step 

two, coin in your right hand , toss over your left shoulder and make your wishes.  One coin means you will return to Rome, two coins means you will return and fall in love, three coins mean return, fall in love and marry. So plan accordingly. No trip to Rome in complete with a stop at the Vatican. St. Peters Basilica and the Sistine Chappell are two places that should be on everybody’s bucket-list. But be prepared, they are 

crowded, and in the summer months, very hot, but still they are experiences that you will be richly rewarded for the effort. The Sistine Chappell if without dough the finest pieces of art work on earth. The fact that one man “Michelangelo” could create it is breath taking. 

The Vatican Museum is another place that demands your time. Ever if you do not consider yourself a “art buff” the range and diversity will amaze you as well as lift you spirit. Along with the art and sights, when you are in Rome you cannot escape the FOOD. It is one of the unifying aspics of life in Rome. One of our favorite places is a small little wine bar called Cul de Sac, at Piazza Pasquino 73, the food is always great, and our favorite Pasta alla Carbonara in Rome and the wine list is staggering. La Prosciutteria Trevi at Via Della Panetteria, 34, close to the Trevi fountain is another great spot. The hunt for the best, local, hole in the wall place can be extremely tough in very touristy cities. The staff was great, right when you walked in, greeted by extremely nice, laid back staff.  Atmosphere is very cool and fun. Most importantly, the food was amazing! Very inexpensive. Like at Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 310 We found this little gem on trip advisor. We had lunch and it was love at first bite, had the amazing sandwich of Pork with potato and rosemary!! We highly recommend. A must visit if you are in Rome and near the Vatican.

This is just a snap shot on this wondrous city, and it can truly take a life time to explore, but it will reward you with a life time of memories.

Sara & Brad Gibson

Staff Writers,


               G O Z O   I S L A N D,

            A  P L A C E  F O R  A L L

                  S   E   A  S  O N S

Gozo Islands everywhere have similarities in terms of limited resources, concentration of economic activity, dependence on trade, lack of economies of scale, and more vulnerable to whatever happens beyond their shores more than bigger economies. For countries endowed with sun, sand and sea, these are generally reliant on traditional tourism. Gozo is also in this category where summer tourism plays a significant part in the general economy of the island. Although this is great news, it also causes issues of seasonality in the revenue tourism can generate.

However, it’s working to diversify the very product that the island can offer. This is being accomplished by presenting Gozo as available and attractive all year round. Looking at some of the initiatives taken by other islands with weather much less generous than it, it can still see the extent to which they go to market their attributes. For example, islands with icy and extreme natural environments, have ventured into what is referred to as cold water island tourism. This type of adventure is aimed for those who want to have different experiences.   

This suggests that as long as it have the necessary dose of creativity, it can market it’s island all year round.

Although most arrivals are registered during the summer months, and more people are realising that Gozo is at its most beautiful in winter when the countryside is breathtakingly green and fresh. It is the best time for hikers, country walks, photography, bike riding, trekking, and picnics on fresh grass in the country. It is marketed this with initiatives that included reduced fares and Christmas-related events, and it attract people that normally do not consider visiting Gozo during that particular period.

Gozo also has delightful walking zones along valleys which are being cleaned up and maintained well regularly by my Ministry. Walking paths across the island complement these. The list of opportunities that Gozo offers range from diving activities where divers can appreciate cleaner sea and less competing activities, to cultural events with weekends dedicated to opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia on 22-24 April, Carmen at Aurora Opera House on 15 October, and Aida at Teatru Astra on 27 and 29 October).  There are other activities in the cultural calendar for 2016, such as the Gaulitana Festival of Music (27 March to 24 April); the 19th edition of the Victoria International Arts Festival (8 June to 11 July); the Qala International Folk Festival (16-18 September); the Fjakkolata, a Festival of Lights at Santa Lucija on 9 October; and the 14th edition of Festival Mediterranea celebrating 7000 years of culture in Gozo (27 October to 19 November).  

But the shoulder months of the winter are not only made up of Christmas. Over the years, Gozo has established a reputation for offering a unique Carnival experience. It has continued to work on this and this year it was able to offer a very attractive programme with a well-balanced mixture of organised and spontaneous events. 

Spring offers different opportunities. The weather starts to warm up and one starts planning his or her summer holidays. Spring also brings in new colours and cultural activities, such as different Easter festivities, with the different processions and live pageants that the towns and villages offer: sometimes all the village seems to be taking part in the procession. The 2016 cultural calendar is offering Gozo Faith and Traditions between 13 and 27 March. But spring offers more than this. The various restored museums and the majestic and restored Cittadella provide new experiences. It is a visit you cannot forego next time you visit Gozo.

While the beach and cool water top the list of attractions in summer, these are not the only things offered by the island. The feasts have their own life and beauty. The shopping, boutique hotels, water sports, farmhouses, luxurious and welcoming hotels, tasty food in open-air restaurants, the nightlife and parties organized: take your pick. It is a lively atmosphere which can be enjoyed by all the family, surrounded by a plethora of light, colour and sound embodied in diverse activities around the island.

The Ministry for Gozo has also worked to create new opportunities in niche areas. It has worked with various entities to support sport related activities. It plan to increase facilities and the proposed swimming pool will be added to these.

So whether you are the quiet pondering type, eager to curl up with a good book in a comfortable setting and being pampered by devoted staff, a trekker needing to experience nature, a culture fan wanting to inhale history and its goods, an intrepid adventure-seeking voyager, a religious devotee, a group of dedicated bikers, a gourmet, a senior citizen wanting to enjoy the laid-back life of the island, or a family wanting some quality time together, Gozo can offer something for everyone and in all seasons. 

The government will continue to support all activities which encourage their enjoyment by locals and visitors alike. Gozo is an island that can offer diverse activities to different people, but best of all it offers peace of mind and security.




         GOZO ISLAND


    ST. Thomas U.S.V.I.      CARNIVAL PARADE                  2018,

 Meals to have while          viewing the                  parades                       

Hi friends, your on the island of St. John United States Virgin Islands. And, your attending the St. John July 4th parade and this is your first parade. How do you prepare you and your family for this event while standing on the side of the street waiting for the parade to begin and the TV crew is waiting with their camera’s to live stream the parade over the internet. We suggest water.  We and your family want you to stay Hydrated during the St. John, U.S.V.I. Parade.