JinJu Chocolates, Las Vegas NV


JinJu Chocolates


Illy Double Espresso on Ice

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Toasted Almond Croissant

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Toasted Chocolate Croissant with Chocolate Ganache

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Fig & Red Wine Bundt Cake

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Milk Chocolate, PB&J Layer Cake with a Peanut Butter and Jelly Truffle

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Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cluster

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Pink Lemonade BonBon, Caramel Sea Salt Truffle, Honey Truffle

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Almond Butter Toffee


Fond of Jin Caldwell’s work at JinJu in the Container Park, but rare to visit due to the location, it was with great excitement that a trip was made to JinJu Chocolate, Espresso, Dessert on South Rainbow Boulevard, the expanded space now allowing one of the city’s best Chocolatiers an opportunity to truly show what she and her team can do.


Translated as “treasure,” but also obviously a play on its proprietor’s name, the new JinJu is found just South of Warm Springs Road in a quickly filling shopping complex, the corner-pocket location featuring the work of local artists and a Coffee shop soundtrack with each handcrafted confection presented elegantly in glass cabinets, a fully stocked Espresso station offering a variety of shots and styles in addition to Teas and blended beverages.


Open at 9am daily, fresh baked goods joining Cakes, Cookies and Confections shortly thereafter, it was approximately ten o’clock on Saturday that the shop was entered, Jin and her assistant exceedingly pleasant and happy to describe the concept as well as each item at length to each patron, only one Middle-aged woman arriving during a thirty-five minute stay throughout which a dozen items plus an Iced Double Americano were tasted.


First and foremost a Chocolate maker, the process described in layman’s terms on one wall with everything from Truffles to Bars to BonBons and larger creations available, it was nonetheless that baked goods commanded attention as a good way to start the morning, both styles of Croissant toasted to order with the Almond version far more subtle than many amidst layers of lamination while the Cocoa-topped iteration proved a far more decadent investment as the warm pocket was subsequently piped full of molten Dark Chocolate.


Opting to next taste some of Chef Caldwell’s cakes, a total of four available daily at $5.25 per slice, one would be labored to find a better price for a Bundt Cake as elegant and well-crafted as the one crafted from Figs, Wine and Chocolate, one of two wedges probably enough for one sitting even when served with a beverage while the other seems well suited for a glass of Wine later that evening, the Milk Chocolate PB&J slice perhaps a bit sweeter than it need be, the best parts those mellowed by salty chopped Peanuts.


Taking parts of each Cake to go and adding to them by way of a Brookie, Cookie and several Chocolates, those familiar with Chef Caldwell’s work from before will be happy to see all of her signatures returned along with several new options, the Honey Truffle a bit muddled in my opinion while the Salted Caramel and Pink Lemonade were both explosive and smooth in their delivery, the latter ordered largely because it seemed preposterous but actually helping to accent the bitter notes of the cocoa against the citrus cream filling.


Not particularly wowing with the cookie, larger chunks of chocolate likely a better choice considering the quality of her JinJu’s tablets and bars, suffice it to say that the shop’s take on Baked’s famous hybrid is every bit as tasty as the original and probably even better in-house warmed up, the Toffee a bit more flaky than some of the more buttery British versions encountered while the Pecan Turtle as well as the new Macadamia Nut Cluster were both a nice balance of flavors and textures benefitted by the quality of Jinju’s Cocoa Beans.

FOUR STARS: Expanding South Rainbow even further, the Boulevard already featuring the likes of Rosallie, Peridot, Gelatology, Sugar Bee’s and Drago Sisters, Jin Caldwell has created a beautiful space from which to offer longtime signatures while also exploring the boundaries of her creativity, future visits undoubtedly necessary to further explore.

RECOMMENDED: Chocolate Croissant, Fig and Wine Bundt Cake, Brookie, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle.

AVOID: Honey Truffle tasted mostly like Chocolate while the Cookie was just a cookie.

TIP: 10% off the next order coupons available via indoor flyer, Grand Opening coming soon.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Jinju Chocolates Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, JinJu Chocolates, Las Vegas, Nevada

le calandre, Rubano IT


le calandre

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2015 Muni Rosa Frizzante

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Canapes – Crispy Salt Cod, Puff Pastry with Pistachio and Basil, Tartlet with Ragu

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Crackers and Hard Breads

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Whole Wheat and White Sourdough

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Al-Aimo – Red Tomato Tartare, Green Tomato Tartare, Fava Beans, Ricotta Cheese, Pistachio Cream, Tomato Sorbet

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Raw Langoustine Rolls – Crispy Spaghetti, Algae, Beetroot

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Cuttlefish Cappuccino – Cream, Ink, Potatoes

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Crispy Buffalo Ricotta and Mozzarella Cannelloni with Tomato Sauce

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Smoked Taglioni with Egg Yolk Shavings, Gelatin of Ham Broth and Anchovies

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Saffron, Juniper and Licorice Powder Risotto – old and new

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Hand chopped Piemontese Beef with Black Truffles

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Bone Marrow with Herbs

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Fried Fish Bone with Balsamic foam

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Roast Suckling Pig with Mustard Foam and Coffee Powder, Chicory

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Bellini Sorbet – Peaches and Citrus

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Almond Mozzarella – Honey, Rice and Olive

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Melted Tartlet with Apricot and Curry, Gold Leaf

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Fruit Sphere


Located in Rubano and toqued by Massimiliano Alajmo, a man whose cooking earned him 3 Michelin Stars at the record breaking age of 28, le calandre proved an exemplary way to wrap a trip stretching across North Central Italy comprised of 18 Etoiles de Bibendum and thirty-eight eateries total, the Chef’s “classico” menu taking a look back at the sort of cuisine that, in most places, has yet to come.


Unassuming from the outside, a low white building demarcated by a simple sign naming both le calandre and the more casual il calandrino nextdoor, it was just minutes prior to a 13h00 reservation that the group arrived at Via Liguria 1, a warm greeting at the door quickly seeing us ushered to a dimpled carved wood table playfully decorated with two balls of yarn.

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Every bit the modern fine dining experience, leather-aproned waiters with personality describing dishes while pleasantly conversing about topics far-and-wide, it was with a glass of bracing Natural 2015 Muni Rosa Frizzante that a quintet of Crackers and Hard Breads were tasted while perusing the menu, three distinct tastings exploring seasonality versus tradition, the only flaw being that all at the table are required to dine the same.


Not particularly full for Saturday lunch, only half of the tables spoken for during the course of a 210 minute stay, Canapes came by way of creamy Baccala wrapped in Shrimp Chips along with Puff Pastry and a Pizza-like Tartlet, the Yarn tacked to a nearby wall with pins and replaced by warm loaves of White Sourdough and Whole Wheat Bread.


Truly a progression of classics, Chef Alajmo’s famous “Al-Aimo” showing several sides of the Tomato by way of two Tartares, simple slices plus Sorbet paired to Fava Beans, Pistachio Cream and freshly made Cheese, course two spun the Spring Roll on its head with Italian inspiration, the Langoustine Sashimi served with pureed beets and added umami beneath a “Crispy Spaghetti” cage.


Presented now as course three, but once the restaurant’s very “First Taste,” Cuttlefish Cappuccino presents a creamy black and white potage that will leave almost anyone craving just one more bite on account of the complexity of taste, temperature and texture, a tube of Ricotta di Bufala eating more like Cannoli than Cannelloni with a sidecar of Tomato Sauce.


Presenting a unique take on Carbonara that saw smoky Noodles topped in shaved, cured Egg Yolk with Ham Stock and Anchovy slices delivering even more brine, the “old and new” representations of Risotto asked diners to pick a favorite of identical ingredients in different presentations, the creamy version via Creuset far more aromatic while the newer version slowly saw the grains fall from its center into a sort of Rice Soup.


Offering choices for a couple of courses, silky Beef Tartare veiled in Black Truffles followed up by brûléed Bone Marrow versus a puff of Fish Bones rendered into the texture of Cheetos with Balsamic Foam at its side, the finale of Suckling Pig offered an explosive foray into bold bitters including a stack of boiled Chicories, the Chef clearly anticipating the impact of its flavors and quickly following up with a palate cleansing Peach and Prosecco Sorbet.


Not a light meal by any means, portions including the Bone Marrow very generous with flavors equally robust, breads were soon replaced by wooden spheres presenting several fruit slices as dessert was prepared in the kitchen, the “Almond Mozzarella” a shattering orb of Honey, Rice and Olive while a “Melted Tartlet” ate far lighter than one might guess looking at it, the base of Apricot enhanced by the flavors of Curry as a light Custard melted forming a pool of cream around it.


Taking some time to chat as the dining room emptied, a can of Tomatoes given to each female as a parting gift, it was with the check paid that a quick stop was made at the attached bistro and patisserie, the cakes and tarts admittedly quite tempting, as too was a market selling everything from cookbooks to canned goods, serviceware and jellies.


Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, le calandre, Pork, Rubano, Tasting Menu, Truffle, Truffles, Vacation, Venice

La Patisserie des Reves, Milan IT


La Patisserie des Reves


Double Espresso with Ice

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Apple Tart Tatin

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Raspberry Croissant

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Honey Almond Financier, Pistachio Madeline

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Hazelnut Chocolate Financier

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Fig Tart

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Lime Brioche


Paris Brest


Originally located in Paris and since opening stores in London, Japan and Milan, it was on the newest location that four hungry Americans descended on their final day in Europe, the French once again showing why no one really talks about Italian Pastry as each of eight items was as flawless in its execution as it was attractive in its delivery.


A friendly and brightly lit version of the original, glass domes over display pieces with pre-packaged items for sale along the wall, entry to Patisserie des Reves sees patrons placed face-to-face with the counter and more than two dozen elegant novelties, the prices lower than similar venues stateside and for the most part on par with the rest of Milan despite being higher in quality.


Completely taken by the fact that the Café expanding to the rear was so large and unpacked it was with tableside service that a large order of eight items was delivered in addition to coffee, the Double Espresso served with ice one of the creamier ones seen in Italy and perfect for refreshing the palate after each unique taste.


Truly a glut of food, the total cost of €34 quite reasonable all-in-all considering, first bites of Brioche showed a springy crumb lightly tinged in Citrus, the follow-up Raspberry Croissant a bit less perfect as the seeded Jam had created a touch of sog on the bottom layer though no such problem was seen in the freshly made Paris Brest that placed airy layers of crisp Choux around a lightly whipped Cream of Hazelnuts.


Continuing with more Hazelnuts, their combination with Dark Chocolate Chips in a Financier imparting that familiar Nutella taste, an even better bite was found in the toothsome Honey Almond Cake that was still warm from the oven, an attribute shared by the reference-standard Fig Tart with a flaky pastry bottom, not to mention the unrivaled Tart Tatin served complete with housemade Whip.



Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Italian, Italy, La Patisserie des Reves, Madeline, Milan, Patisserie des Reves, Vacation

Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia, Milan IT


Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia


2013 Etna Bianco DOC

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Smoked Red Tomato Tartare, Capers, Ricotta di Bufala

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Crispy Red Pepper and Prosciutto di Parma

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Ginger and Mint marinated Summer Melon

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Mussel stuffed with Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Celeriac, Turmeric

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Porcini, Zucchini Blossom, Carrots and Chocolate

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Chick Pea, Polenta, Chicory, Cippolini Onions

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Grissini, Hard Rolls, Toasted Wheat, Unsalted Pretzel Twist

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Sea Bream from Liguarian Sea marinated with lemongrass and Mothia Salt with Polignano Carrots and Passion Fruit Granite

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Etrurian Soup with Vegetables of the Season, Legumes, whole Tuscan Farro, aromatic Herbs and dried wild Fennel Flowers

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That’s Raviolo! With raw, crispy Cuttlefish from the Adriatic Sea, Lemon Marmalade, smoked Scarmorza Cheese and Beetroot Granite

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Carnaroli Rice with purple Shrimp from Sanremo, Nocellara Olive Oil, Datterini Tomatoes, Burrata Cheese, Fresh Herbs

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Tortelli filled with Osso Buco of Piedmontese Veal and its Marrow with a reduction of its Stock flavored with Sardinian Saffron and Parmigiano

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Lamb and its Offal cooked confit in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, with Sauce of Wild Herbs and Fruit Moustarda

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Hard local Cow’s Cheese with candied Kiwi and Banana, Toasted Panettone

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Smoked Meringue with Rosemary and Aged Balsamic

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Almond Milk, “Black Cloud of Marshmallow and Licorice,” White Chocolate, Lime Foam

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Mignardises and Chocolates


Double Espresso


Located on the outskirts of Milan and featuring a revered focus on Modern Italian cuisine Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia was chosen for the final dinner in Italy for a group of four touring the region, the meal a beautiful one save for a few glitches in service and dessert that fell flat largely as a result of personal tastes.


Fancied in part due to the brightly lit environment and Abstract artwork, enormous canvases flanking both sides of the room as light music plays, it was perhaps twenty minutes late that our party arrived due to traffic, the Maitre d’ a generous man happily sharing stories of almost ubiquitous delinquent arrivals for the same reason throughout the restaurant’s storied past.


Now over fifty years old, a Michelin Star or Two held for several over time, it was at a plush four top that the group sat with water quickly poured and refreshed frequently, the Server making inquiry as to the purpose of our travels and on hearing the dining agenda deciding to put on a show.

Helmed by husband and wife, Aimo and Nadia Moroni joined by daughter Stefania who manages the space now toqued by Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini, a meal at Il luogo is best described as a dialogue with Italian ingredients tinged in French influences, the cuisine almost Mediterranean at times without losing sight of its historical relevance.


Divided into two tasting menus and a la carte options, an eponymous degustazione offering the most immersive look at Fabio and Alessandro’s cusine, dinner began with “a small taste” set to stretch nearly thirty minutes across six bites plus Bread service, the Crispy Red Pepper with Prosciutto di Parma and Mussel stuffed with Mozzrella, Tomatoes, and Celeriac particularly elegant when paired with a brisk 2013 Etna Bianco DOC.

Awkwardly paced despite a half-filled restaurant early on, delays between dishes ranging anywhere from fifteen minutes to forty, the tasting officially commenced with marinated Sea Bream that proved surprisingly capable of standing up to Passion Fruit and Carrots thanks to Herbs and Sea, a follow-up of Vegetable Soup with Legumes far more luxurious than one may anticipate, though a bit too substantial in portion considering the number of courses to follow.


Matching the room’s vibrant color scheme with “That’s Raviolo!”, a clear Noodle with Creamy Scarmorza infused with Ink at its center, the Risotto to follow was an equally impressive plate pairing Carnaroli Rice with purple Shrimp from Sanremo, a bold bouquet of Herbs completing the picture with stewed Tomatoes and crispy Capers.

Offering up a perfect duo of Veal Tortelli lightly dressed in fragrant sauce as the meal marched on, it was after a lengthy delay that a Croquette of confit Lamb concluded savory rounds, another thirty minutes pushing past 23h00 as we inexplicably awaited a nameless local Cheese with candied Fruit and toasted Panettone.


Perhaps valuing desserts more than the average diner, but previously quite impressed by most of Italy’s Pastry Chefs, a Smoked Meringue with Rosemary and Aged Balsamic spoke to great balance achieved by way of tradition, the “Black Cloud of Marshmallow and Licorice” unfortunately coming through both bitter and acidic with no favors done to it by the oddly placed glass of Almond Milk.

Taking a double Espresso with Mignardises, September 10th having just begun, it was with a bit of chat that the whole team thanked us for spending the night in their restaurant before offering a complimentary copy of the menu, still a memorable experience – though one that could have been done in half the time without compromising the night at all.


Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia, Italian, Italy, Milan, Pork, Sweetbreads, Tasting Menu, Vacation

Il Massimo del Gelato, Milan IT


Il Massimo del Gelato


Samples: Bacio di Vienna, Domori, Fiji

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Straciatella, Pistachio, Almond, Fig


With two locations in Milan and accolades as a *must* by many trusted friends, a stop at Il Massimo del Gelato on Corso Magenta proved mandatory before heading to dinner at Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia, rumors proving to be well founded amongst the four flavors selected.


Decorated in clever Renaissance paintings augmented with Ice Cream, the soundtrack classic Italian playing softly over one clerk offering twenty-six flavors, Il Massimo del Gelato features several single-origin Chocolate choices separated from the rest in an entirely different freezer chest, Bacio di Vienna completely different from Domori or Fiji with samples showing complete smoothness with Cocoa notes coming across very robust.


Opting for a housemade Waffle Cone, a bit of flex allowing slow-melting dribbles to be absorbed, a four ball offering saw textbook Straciatella crackling with Chocolate ribbons amidst the smooth Crema while both Pistachio and Almonds were well executed with a touch of salt amidst what may as well have been frozen Nut Butter, the Fig an extremely natural representation of the ingredient with small pockets of sweetness amidst strands of fruity fiber.


Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Il Massimo del Gelato, Italian, Italy, Milan

Van Bol & Feste, Milan IT


Van Bol & Feste

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Pear Chocolate Cake

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Plum Cake

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Crema, Pistachio, Straciatella Gelato


An impromptu stop along a walking tour from The Last Supper to Duomo, Van Bol & Feste presents much like an Italian “Bakery Cafe” concept akin to America’s Panera, the combination of outdoor seating and fast service allowing for a quick fifteen minute break during which a few Pastries and Gelato were sampled.


Spacious and nicely decorated with high ceilings and a coffee bar plus a menu of Salads, Pastas and Sandwiches, most entering Van Bol & Feste are immediately drawn to the freezer case and glass shelves nearest the patio and where English-friendly youngsters are situated to answer questions while also offering samples.


Featuring an in-house bakery and Gelateria, the latter sending out fifteen flavors daily with bright colors and far more sugar than frozen confections tasted in Milan, Venice or Parma, a three-scoop cone of Crema, Straciatella and Pistachio proved respectable though not exemplary, the portions bigger than most though the texture was a touch icy.


Moving on to the pastry program, no less than two-dozen classics and novelties glistening beneath glass, a Sfogliatella seemed mandatory given the lack found throughout our travels and with light layers quick to shatter around soft Cream both flavor and texture were on par to any experienced prior, the Plum Cake something like an enlarged Financier infused with Port Wine while the Chocolate Cake was light on fruit flavor, though still quite rich and moist.


Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Milan, Vacation, Van Bol & Feste, Van Bol and Feste

Seta, Milan IT



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Grissini and Sourdough with Bordier Salted and Seaweed Butter

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Confit of Guinea Hen with Parsnip Mousseline, Green Apple, Spinach

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Riso – Cognon Style with Vegetables, Maccagno Cheese and Raspberry Powder

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Gnocchi – Potato and Squid Ink Dumplings with Oyster and Orange Scented Crab Soup

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Rombo – Roasted Turbot with Asparagus, Caviar, Egg Mimosa and Rosemary scented Miso Sauce

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Petto Di Piccione – Pigeon Breast stuffed with Foie Gras Escalope, Polenta with Pain Brioche and Pineapple

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Pre-Dessert – Peaches, Apricots, Olives and Lemongrass Ice Cream

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Campari – Grapefruit, Cherry, White Chocolate

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Souffle al Cioccoiato – Chocolate Souffle with Cucumber Sorbet, Rosemary and Mango

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Mango Cream Quenelle, Cream Puff, Raspberry Financier, Chocolate Ganache Tart, Baba au Rhum

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Located in The Mandarin Oriental Milano, a ground floor expanse flowing from kitchen to lounge to dining room and outdoor courtyard, Seta was selected for lunch based on the words of trusted palates as well as Bibendum, a 110-min meal showing all the hospitality expected from the brand with cooking that outperforms the Michelin 1* level.


Opened in 2015 and toqued by Antonio Guida, a former 2* Michelin recipient at Il Pellicano in Tuscany, Seta offers a contemporary look at Italian cooking influenced by time in kitchens from Europe to Asia, stints at Pierre Gagnaire and Don Alfonso unmistakably influencing plating as well as flavor profiles, beauty with balance achieved in some of the most unlikely places.


Booked for private events both nights in town, afternoons open with the full menu available in addition to a Business Lunch that varies frequently, it was just past 12h30 that a posh table in the shaded outdoors was suggested, Wi-Fi and reading material kindly offered along with the menu from which four plates were selected, Chef Guida stopping by shortly thereafter and self selecting to add two more at no charge.


Skipping canapes for unknown reasons, instead sending out crisp Grissini and Warm Sourdough with the same Butters offered at Pierre Gagnaire’s Twist at The Mandarin Oriental back home, confit Guinea Hen began the menu as an amuse far more memorable than many thanks to Parsnips and Green Apple, a bed of soft Rice thickened by Cheese at the center of herbal Veloute absolutely enchanting with light notes of Raspberry soon to follow.

Not a meal to be rushed, though several suits managed to consume three courses plus wine in sixty minutes or less, course two featured seven black Dumplings under a veil of tentacles with flavors of the ocean front-and-center, a filet of roasted Turbot with Asparagus and Caviar a ‘gift’ in every sense of the word in a pool of effervescent Miso Mayonnaise.


Not remotely a ‘small plates’ place, two a la carte courses likely to satisfy most, secondi consisted of a large Pigeon Breast cradling seared Foie Gras atop a bed of Polenta with Breadcrumbs and Pineapple, pre-dessert similarly embracing a sweet/salty juxtaposition as dehydrated Olives punctuated a Sundae with Stonefruits.

Acknowledging that the selected dessert would take twenty minutes, and thus opting to offer one more gratis during the wait, flavors of Campari were presented in a refreshing array of flavors, textures and temperatures, the “Souffle al Cioccoiato” reaching for the ceiling in all its fluffiness and coming across bitter yet elegant with a side-dish of Cucumber Sorbet, Rosemary and Mango.


Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Milan, Seta, Tasting Menu, Vacation

Ernst Knam, Milan IT


Ernst Knam

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Olive Oil, Salted Caramel, Aged Balsamic Truffles

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Fig Brownie

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Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

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Pear, Pinenut, Chocolate Ganache Tart

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An artisan Chocolatier and Bakery located at Via Augusto Anfossi 10, current sidewalk repairs and subdued signage making the space difficult to identify during a Friday morning visit in September, Ernst Knam is considered the “King of Chocolate” in Milan and operating his shop near Piazza Cinque Giornate since 1992 a brief look spoke of a man not only passionate about what he does but also one still learning, the flavors of his confections often as challenging as they are delicious.

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Apparently a popular face on Food Television overseas, the store itself tight yet clean with a substantial variety of choices available, it was after perusing several Cakes, Tarts, Caramels and Chocolates as oddly shaped as the Kama Sutra that selections were made to take elsewhere for consumption, a trio of chocolates showing a thin shell that breaks cleanly and dissolves smooth around a number of unique fillings from which Olive Oil and Balsamic were chosen, though “Wood,” “Speck and Pepper,” and Pomodoro were oddly enticing.

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Unable to resist the elegant array of Tarts, a cost of €5,25 each actually a bargain all things considered, it was with the Chocolate Pumpkin Pie that first bites were enjoyed in a somewhat savage way without utensils, the Pepitas and Salt Crystals adding crunch to an otherwise creamy base while the Pear, Pinenut, and Chocolate Ganache version played off a similar ideas with the fruit’s sweetness helping to mellow the rich Chocolate center.


Taking a very different approach with item three, a little bit of flour folded in to 72% Cocoa beneath a thinly sliced layer of Figs, suffice it to say that there may be no better “Brownie” anywhere than the one Ernst Knam is selling, the base achieving a rare balance of light texture with intense flavor and little more than the glazed fruit adding sweetness.


Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Ernst Knam, Food, Italian, Italy, Milan, Vacation

Pasticceria Marchesi, Milan IT


Pasticceria Marchesi

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Custard Tartlet


Cream Croissant


Apple Walnut Pastry


Jam Croissant


Rice Pudding

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Fruit Tartlets, Corenetto, Lemon Creampuff, Pistachio Creampuff, Strawberry Marzipan Cake, Pistachio Marzipan Cake, Apricot Jam Tart

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Located on Via Santa Maria Alla Porta and popular with locals as well as Tourists visiting Milan, Pasticceria Marchesi may have been the most disappointing bakery visited during eight days in Italy, the prices far more excessive than Castelnuovo with table service that was not only inefficient, but condescending.


Busting at 8h30, locals taking their Espresso in-stride with a pastry and newspaper in hand, It was with one member of the group jockeying for position at the bar that the rest waited patiently for a woman behind the counter, her English flawless as a dozen items were gathered, nearly fifteen minutes that could have been saved had someone merely informed us that a middle-aged fellow was standing in the rear dining room doing nothing, his job being to arrange orders and deliver them to the table.

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In business since 1824, and thus apparently doing many things right along the way, first tastes of Marchesi’s goods included a smooth Custard Tartlet that reminded many of Chess Pie in America, the Raspberry Croissant and Heart-Cut Pie of Apricot also quite impressive while the “Cream Croissant” was unexpectedly bland and flaccid, the custard not filling a cavity but instead folded into the dough.


Significantly overcharging for petit-fours, each single bite €2,00 – €2,50, good bites were nonetheless seen for those featuring Marzipan, the Apple Walnut Pastry too dry to be fully enjoyable while the Corenetto and warm cylinder of Rice Pudding riddled with Raisins were each executed flawlessly.



Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Italian, Italy, Marchesi, Milan, Pasticceria Marchesi, Vacation

Da Vittorio, Brusaporto IT


Da Vittorio

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Grissini, Laminated Breadsticks, Hollow Crackers, Sesame Sticks, Hard Rolls


Oat, Seed and Mais Crackers

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Clams, Celery, Parsley, Mixed Grains and Legumes

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Amaranth Chips, Crème Fraiche, Spheres of Herring Caviar

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Marshmallow of Parmesan, Cream of Pear and Gin

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Foie Gras Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut

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Cloud of Golden Iranian Caviar, Potato and Whey

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John Dory Carpaccio with Wasabi Mayonnaise, Radish, Carrots, Soy and Lime Foam

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Farro Sourdough

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Shrimp from Oneglia with Avola Almond Ice Cream, Toasted Almonds

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Croissant, Corn Roll, Tomato Focaccia, Laminated Brioche, Ciabatta

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Shabu-Shabu Scampi with White Peach Cream and Iced Lime

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Risotto, Prawn Tartare and Mandarin Sauce with Spring Onion and Prawn Head Foam

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Baby Squid Stuffed with Mozzarella and Anchovies, Green Sauce, Sea Beans and Polenta

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Separated Scorpion Fish, Stewed and Raw with Bok Choy, Miso and Lemongrass

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Meat Ravioli, Parsnip and Parmesan with Black Truffles

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Ice Cream of Taleggio Cheese, Gingerbread and Orange Marmalade

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Duck Breast with Endive, Lavender Honey, Black Pepper Cream and Spices

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Fig, Fig Leaf, Fig Ice Cream, Dessert Wine

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Tableside filled Cornetto with Zabaglione and Hazelnuts

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Fior di Latte Semifreddo, Red Fruits

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Da Vittorio 50th Anniversary Chocolate Panettone

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Mignardises on a Sugar Cloud – Gianduia, Lemon, Pistachio, Mint, Hazelnut, Amaretto, Kumquat, Crispy Chocolate

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Candy Jars – Coconut, Malt, Milk Chocolate, Cocoa Truffle, Cinnamon Candy, Candy Coated Licorice


Located about an hour Northeast of Milan in the town of Brusaporto, Da Vittorio represents the “Lombard tradition and Creative Genius” of brother Chefs Roberti and Enrico Cera, their Three-Star Michelin restaurant elegantly overlooking sloping hillsides on the gated, lush Relais & Chateaux Resort’s grounds.

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Originally opened in 1966, the 50th Anniversary proudly celebrated by a monogram and signature plates designated as such on the menu, weather proved absolutely perfect for enjoying dinner on the outdoor terrace during a memorable Thursday visit, the team rolling out over two-dozen items over the four-hour meal’s course.

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Truly a world class Resort, a tour of the Hotel and Kitchen toward the end of the night showing everything from Breads to post-dinner Candies made on site, it was with highly polished service that the meal took place as plates were effortlessly presented in English with comprehensive descriptions of techniques as well as ingredients, opening nibbles presented as a series progressing from Clams to the flavor of Amaranth, aged Cheese and a Cherry fortified by Foie Gras and Dark Chocolate.

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Baking for the ten-rooms of guests plus those only staying for dinner, it should only seem natural that Da Vittorio goes great lengths to offer a variety of flavors built to suit all palates, a hollowed curl of porcelain presenting Grissini, Laminated Breadsticks and other options before a loaf of Farro Sourdough was sliced tableside, five more choices including Croissants, Corn Rolls and Tomato Focaccia offered from a basket throughout the meal.


Starting off the Carte Blanche with a classic, all eleven proper plates quite substantial considering the degustazione’s length and additional gifts on both ends, a “Cloud of Golden Iranian Caviar” upgraded Robuchon-smooth Potatoes with a spoonful of briny bubbles before the froth of Lime accented John Dory Carpaccio with spicy Mayonnaise, the kitchen then launching back-to-back Shrimp dishes, the first raw on a bed of Almond Ice Cream while the later came warm from a bath amidst White Peach Cream and tiny spheres of frozen Citrus.


Not straying far from prior flavors with tender Rice paired to Prawns, Oranges and froth with a bit of brine, a following bowl of Baby Squid stuffed with Mozzarella di Bufala proved exquisite atop Polenta infused with Anchovies, Herbs and Cream, the whole Scorpion Fish divided by four bearing an Eastern influence, the moist towel offered afterward only appropriate as the tiny bones made utensils irrelevant to cleaning the best bits of meat off the fins and head.


Growing richer with later plates, three pockets of Veal and Pork tender amidst the flavors of earth, Taleggio Ice Cream with Gingerbread and Marmalade took everyone at the table by surprise with its complex exploration of texture, flavor and temperature, a strip of Duck Breast paid forward by Honey as a subtle transition to the sweet flavors of Vin Santo and Figs.


Taking a “kid in a Candy store” approach to dessert, a Coronetto piped and dipped tableside by servers no older than twenty, a menu-listed dessert of Semifreddo and Berries was light and refreshing, the 50th Anniversary Panettone served warm and fluffy with melting Chocolate chunks before several Candy Jars and Mignardises floated on a Cotton Candy cloud sent us off into the evening.



Posted in Bread Basket, Brusaporto, Croissant, Da Vittorio, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Milan, Tasting Menu, Truffle, Truffles, Vacation

RivaReno Gelato, Milan IT


RivaReno Gelato

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Pistacho / Pinenut / Mascarpone, Marsala and Gianduia / Almond Biscuit with Caramel


Considered one of Milan’s best for all-natural gelato, a locals sort of place far from the touristy part of town, RivaReno proved a worthwhile jaunt after visiting Quadrilatero d’Oro and Emporio Armani, the service a bit brisk and not particularly English-friendly though the product itself was smooth, airless and rich.

Located on Viale Col di Lana, the address a bit perplexing given angular streets and a largely residential surrounding, entry to RivaRena sees patrons greeted by traditional metal containers with specialty flavors given names such as Leonardo or Alice, a four flavor cone eventually created at a cost of just €4.


Taken by the variety of nut flavors, fruits largely represented as Sorbetti or Granita with approximately two-dozen total flavors daily, a first taste of Pistachio showed the light green concoction to be a bit sweeter than others in Venice or Parma, the Pinenut almost buttery in its finish while Wine and Gianduia ribboned a lighter style made from Mascarpone.

Seeing some flavors dressed before serving, drizzles of Dark Chocolate and Housemade Caramel additionally offered for Sundaes with Whipped Cream, a scoop of Biscotti Cookie flavored Gelato from the “Novita” section was quickly topped with slivered Almonds and a spoon of Caramel immediately before being handed over, everything about the combination making it seem destined as a future special with a title.


Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Milan, Riva Reno, Riva Reno Gelato, RivaReno, RivaReno Gelato, Vacation

Ratana, Milan IT



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Cracked Wheat Semolina Sourdough and Sesame Pain au Cereal

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Lemon and Basil Ricotta Agnolotti with Smashed Tomato and Bread Crust

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Fig and Salami Risotto with Cured Lemon and Toasted Pistachio

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Bunch of Grapes – Pizzutella Grape Sorbet, Concord Grape Pudding, Yogurt Cake, Rice and Corn Biscuit, Cider Jelly

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Hearth’s Dessert – Black Chickpea Ganache, Candied Chickpeas, Zucchini Blossom Sorbet, Almond Shortbread, Black Truffle Pearls

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Etigua Espresso with Meringue, Biscotti, Cookies


Described as a “Neo-Bistro” since its 2009 opening and challenging the concepts of what constitutes a Michelin starred Italian restaurant by way of its informal approach to Slow Food ideals and sustainability, Ratana is located amidst the slowly rejuvenating remains of Porta Garibaldi in Milan, the former storage space said by some to be turning out some of the city’s most interesting and inspired plates.


Eschewing white tablecloths and Tuxedoed service, a team of women in jeans and hirsuit young men bustling around for patrons wearing everything from t-shirts to three-piece suits, entry to Ratana sees patrons face-to-face with a scene more Venice California than the one a couple hours eastward, a tight bar and high ceilings reverberating overhead modern music with a dining room decorated in wood sporting closely packed tables.


Having made reservations, but treated as a walk-in with a two-top at the room’s center soon mine for the duration of a ninety minute stay, it was from a menu that changes daily in hand that options were deliberated, an original request for three plates deemed to be “too much” by one man, the housemade Headcheese reluctantly omitted and instead replaced by a duo of desserts.


More than a little impressed by the warm bag of Bread, both Sourdough and Sesame options warm and robust with a dense crumb, course one saw the kitchen send forth creamy pockets of Pasta stuffed with Citrus-scented Ricotta, the Tomato enhanced by a touch of smoke with texture added by toasted Bread Crust, the follow-up Risotto making sense of the server’s comments regarding portion, though the complex mélange of sweet, salty and sour with crunchy Pistachios was so varied and beautiful that the deep bowl in no way seemed to be “too much.”


Unable to decide on just one dessert, all five offered actually sounding quite great, it was after much indecision that the two most intriguing compositions were optioned for, a pull of Single Origin Espresso pairing well with the flavor of Grapes and Cider but even better with the inspired Vegan-Friendly spread of subtly sweetened Chickpeas and Zucchini Blossom with a nose of Black Truffles and crumbled Shortbread.


Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Cornbread, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Milan, Pork, Ratana, Truffle, Truffles, Vacation

Pave, Milan IT



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St. Honore

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Apricot, Walnut and Custard Focaccia Dulce

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Prune Croissant

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Lemon Hazelnut Plum Cake

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Hazelnut and Ginger Girella


Given the international status of Milan it should not be expected that a smattering of imports and trendy concepts have begun to infuse their dining landscape, yet taking into account the seemingly universal belief of Italians regarding their craftsmanship being unparalleled Pave still seemed like an outlier, the food and the service both seemingly transported from Brooklyn’s Hipster scene.


Located on Via Felice Casati and offering traditional counter service in addition to a smattering of tables packed-to-capacity even at the off-hour of 10h00 on a Thursday, patrons entering Pave may be shocked by the frenetic pace and high volumes created by high ceilings and loud voices, the exposed kitchen seeing a flurry of activity as Baristas quickly pull shots while also running tabs and shelving fresh Pastries.


Taking a modern approach to their work, none of the standard Bombolini, Cornetto or Cannoli offered elsewhere to be found, humorous T-shirts including “Bread or Death” and “Chocolate is the Answer” flank a collection of perhaps two-dozen daily choices, the Lemon Plum Cake eaten warm from the oven nicely flavored with a moist, crumbly texture while an equally fresh Croissant saw it’s golden shell shatter into a hundred pieces around a whole grain center stuffed with Prune Jam.


Further impressing with the complex flavor of fresh Apricot, Walnuts and soft-set Custard at the center of a laminated square as a coil of springy Brioche saw senses refreshed by the flavors of Ginger juxtaposing toasted Hazelnuts, the tasting of Pave ended with a pair of French Classics showing the St. Honore to unfortunately be slightly soggy while the just-stacked Millefoglie fared far better with Zabaglione offered as a stand-in for traditional Custard or Cream.


Posted in Breakfast, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Italian, Italy, Milan, Pave, Pave Milan, Pave Milano, Vacation

Ammu Cannoli, Milan IT


Ammu Cannoli

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Chocolate Chip

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Candied Orange Peel

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A tight eatery on Corso Magenta, essentially a table, counter, some specialty goods and two employees, Ammu Cannoli has grown a reputation for bringing perfect versions the Sicilian classic to Milan, an early morning Thursday visit finding several locals already indulging with members of our group not far behind.

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Selling several locally-made Chocolates plus Confections including spreads and dips, it was in squeezing past three others that way was made to the back-left of the space, a young man dutifully removing delicate shells from a container and piping them with Mascarpone and Ricotta filling, a total of three toppings offered on this particular occasion with one-each of the €2 ‘mini’ sizes selected.


Factually the first filled-to-order Cannolis found from Venice to Modena, Parma and Milan, it should go without saying that expectations were high going into the first bite of Ammu’s options, a brisk snap showing the shell to be perhaps 1cm thick with an intrinsic touch of sweetness, the filling creamy without being heavy as the Buffalo’s Milk and Lemon Zest offered a complex backdrop to the ingredients stuck on top.


Posted in Ammu, Ammu Cannoli, Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Italian, Italy, Milan, Vacation

Pasticceria Castelnuovo, Milan IT


Pasticceria Castelnuovo

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Espresso with Fresh Cream and an Almond Cookie

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Rum and Rice Tartlet, Pistachio Marzipan Tartlet, Apricot Jam Cookie, Coconut Chocolate Cookies, Ricotta Cake

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Cream Croissant, Jam Croissant

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Torta Enrico – Chocolate Pear Cake

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Mascarpone Cherry Tartlet, Chocolate Ganache, Almond Marzipan Tartlet, Cinnamon Cream Tartlet


Located in Southwest Milan and thus afforded the ability to curtail prices while offering plenty of space to sit, Pasticceria Castelnuovo was perhaps the perfect way to start off a day following dinner and the drive from Dal Pescatore, the staff far more friendly than other Italian Bakeries as they tried their best to make do with limited English before also offering up fresh Cream for the Coffee plus a plate of complimentary tastes.


Founded in 1945 and having maintained a homey interior where the full pastry kitchen can be seen through glass behind the counter-top, Pasticceria Castelnuovo opens every day except Monday at 08h00 with a focus on Italian classics given a Milanese focus, several items not previously seen in Venice or Parma soon to become regular findings including a Brownie-dense cake entitled Torta Enrico that marries Pears to Chocolate with almost no additional sugar making for a bold, bittersweet taste.


Offering several styles of Petit Fours, Tartlets and Cookies, those with Marzipan and Nuts a beautiful balance of textures that saw sweetness tempered by natural savory notes, both the Cream and Jam Croissants were still toasty warm with well-separated layers of lamination beneath their golden exterior, a tiny Layer Cake of Rice infused with Rum also quite pleasant.


Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Italian, Italy, Milan, Pasticceria Castelnuovo, Vacation

Dal Pescatore, Canneto sull’Oglio IT


Dal Pescatore

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Fried Pumpkin, Eggplant, Tuna and Prosciutto on Toast

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Parmigiano Reggiano 30 Month Crisps

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Black Olive Grissini, Butter with Onion, White and Wheat Breads

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Tomato and Eggplant Terrine with Celery and Basil

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Culatello di Libello Seleziene 30 Months

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Lobster Terrine with Oscietra Royal Caviar, Ginger and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Summer Vegetable Fantasy with Pumpkin, Ricotta di Bufala, Eggplant, Sea Bass

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Anselmi 2011 I Capitew

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Foie Gras with Peaches, Passion Fruit, Sweet Wine Demi, Sorrel

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Fresh Fettuccine with Bottarga, Salt Cod, Olives and Salsa Pomodoro

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Pumpkin Tortellini with Amaretti, Mostarda and Parmigiano Reggiano

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Frog Legs with fine Herb Salad, Celery, Polenta

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Roasted Duck with Pear, Apple, Quince and Balsamic

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24 Month Parmigiano Reggiano di Collina, Gorgozola Malghese and Caprini della Vialattea with Panettone and Apricot Gelee



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Pistachio Mousse with Meringue and Marsala Zabaglione

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Pinguine di Ciccolate with Candied Hazelnuts, Ricotta, Biscotto and Gianduia

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One of Italy’s most renowned houses of haute-cuisine, the elegant dining room and its proprietors having earned 3-Michelin Stars consistently since 1996, Dal Pescatore has literally turned Canneto sull’Oglio into a culinary destination, a 19h30 Wednesday arrival finding the restaurant newly ready for service with the team fresh off their yearly August vacation.

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Opened in 1926 as a family restaurant, but since growing in size and grandeur thanks to the self-trained style of Nadia and Giovanni Santini invigorating the region’s natural bounty with passion as well as technique, Dal Pescatore looks to tell its story in a manner far different from other’s of similar age or worldwide ‘ranking,’ modernist concepts tossed by the wayside in favor of time honored tradition with an eye towards luxury.

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Truly a gorgeous restaurant, the front foyer filled with paraphernalia from Dal Pescatore’s history plus several books, guides and awards, it was after a brief look around the space that four were escorted to a table amidst hardwood and bright colors, the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on a center courtyard where several cats frolicked throughout the evening, a choice of the Santini’s most sizable tasting the only reasonable option , a total of ten-courses plus several Canapes and Mignardises easily justifying the €250 cost.

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The first table to sample some of the season’s newest inspirations, this the restaurant’s first service after well-deserved time off, lightly fried Pumpkin joined Eggplant Fritters and Tuna with Pork on Crostini to kick off the evening, thin crisps of aged Cheese offering an explosion of flavor before one of many bread services, the Grissini and Onion Loafs particularly delicious with a grinder of Fleur de Sel at the table allowing for augmentation of Butter from a nearby farm and creamery.

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Celebrating late-Summer with finely-chopped and marinated Tomato compressed between sheets of Eggplant and subsequently moving to the sixth taste of Culatello in twenty-four hours, Terrine two upped the ante on number one substantially, thin slices of Lobster Ceviche wrapped in sheets of Seaweed topped with a spoonful of Siberian Oscietra Caviar.

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Served slow and steady, the mood very European but made jovial by members of the Santini family frequently stopping by, a “Summer Vegetable Fantasy” arrived with strips of Squash curled around housemade Ricotta, Eggplant and Sea Bass, a tense moment occurring next when Nadia and team sent forth Foie Gras with Peaches and Passion Fruit, the often-cloying fruit thankfully mellowed by the sauce plus a splash of local Sweet Wine that the Sommelier poured gratis.

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Hand cutting Fettuccine to be paired with briny Bottarga, Salt Cod and Olives before pulling back on the reins with vibrant Salsa Pomodoro, Dal Pescatore’s signature Pumpkin Tortellini was presented next beneath a lacquer of Fruit infused Butter plus gratings of Cheese and Amaretti Cookie, the balance admittedly tilted a bit sweeter than anticipated though the overall effect was still quite stunning.


Rounding out savories with Frog Legs and an aggressive Herb Salad followed by rosy roasted Duck paired to Pear, Apple and Quince in a Balsamic bath, the Cheese course comprised three perfectly aged local specimens with Apricot Gelee and sweet Bread, a silver tray of Mignardises offered for nibbling while desserts were prepared.

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Taking advantage of a short break to explore the space further, several knick-knacks giving the elegance levity and a “feels like home” appeal, self-selected desserts included light options such as Pistachio Mousse with Meringue and well as a Dark Chocolate Sundae complete with a smiley face, a truly memorable evening ended by the team asking for a picture with us as opposed to the other way around plus a signed copy of the menu and hand-painted bookmarks to take home with the memories.



Posted in Bread Basket, Canneto sull'Oglio, Dal Pescatore, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Lobster, Milan, Pork, Tasting Menu, Vacation

Emilia Cremeria, Parma IT


Emilia Cremeria

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Pistachio, Stracciatella, Millefoglie, Sicilian Almond with Pistachio Cream in a Dark Chocolate filled Cone

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White Chocolate and Gianduia in a Dark Chocolate filled Cone

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Semifreddo Zuppa Inglese

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Exiting K2 and making a bee line to Via Emilia Santo Stefano 21 it was on Emelia Cremeria that sights were set for more frozen indulgence before traveling to Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull’Oglio, the regional chain showing not only a unique collection of flavors not seen elsewhere in Milan or Venice, but also serving their creamy concoctions atop freshly made cones filled with more than just air.


Considered by many to be one of the few large-scale Artisans in Italy, fresh ingredients free of preservatives and artificial colors blended to organic milk at each shop daily, the UHT process eschewed in favor of IGP or DOP demarcation for many of the ingredients, entry to Emelia Cremeria puts patrons face-to-face with smiling servers and metal canisters sporting a wide variety of options, even more intrigue offered by a small run of baked goods plus Cakes and Semifreddo Parfaits in a pair of freezer cabinets.


Apparently the sort of place frequent to garner a queue, an elegant café setting with room to relax not exactly common amongst other Gelateria visited in Europe, it was after reading the store’s commitment to simple, raw materials and concepts of sustainability that two cones featuring five flavors was selected, a drizzle of pure chocolate added to each cone before quenelles are applied by spoons with a bit of swirling, the single White Chocolate and Gianduia silky smooth and as sweet as would be expected.

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Intrigued to see how Millefoglie and Sicilian Almond with Pistachio Cream were presented, textural ingredients spooned into the jars just before being scooped onto cones, each flavor selected amongst four on a second Cone proved every bit on par with the best independent shops before or after it, a small glass cup chosen as a souvenir packed to the top with Vanilla Semifreddo and a puree of Raspberries between layers of Ganache and Sponge Cake.


Posted in Dessert, Emilia Cremeria, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Parma, Vacation

Gelateria K2, Parma IT


Gelateria K2

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Straciatella, Zabaglione, Pistachio on Chocolate Nut Waffle Cone


Straciatella, Mint, Fior di Latte


Not particularly “hungry” when exiting the Cathedrale di Parma, an old joke about “Ice Cream fills in the cracks” echoing somewhere in my brain, Gelateria K2 proved to be fortuitously located nearby on Strada Benedetto Cairoli, the artisan shop opened in 1954 embracing old-world methods of production with floral presentations provided atop house-made Cones .


Small in size with each flavor made daily and served from metal containers at prices ranging €2,50-€4,50 depending on number of scoops, it was with two Chocolate-dipped cones tallying just €9 that the quickly melting bouquets were taken outside for enjoyment, the pale-green Pistachio creamy, dense and not overly sweetened while Zabaglione, Fresh Cream and Straciatella were equally well crafted, Mint not particularly appealing to me in this situation, but well received by those who tried it.


Posted in Dessert, Food, Gelateria K2, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, K2, Parma, Vacation

Ristorante Cocchi, Parma IT


Ristorante Cocchi


Bread Sticks, Sourdough, White Roll

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20 Month Parmigiano Reggiano

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Pumpkin Souffle with 16 Month Parmigiano Reggiano Cream

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Torta Fritta, 30 Month Proscuitto di Parma, 16 Month Culatello Antica Corte Pallavicina

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Degustation di Tortelli – Swiss Chard, Black Truffle, Pumpkin

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Potato Gnocchi – Ragout of Fassona, White Beans, Mushrooms, Carrots, Parmigiano Reggiano

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Veal Breast – in the Tradition of Parma, Fried Potatoes, Stew of Peppers and Tomatoes

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Peach Tart

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Chocolate Budino with Zabaglione


Americano and Double Espresso on Ice


Opened in 1925 and situated in Hotel Daniel, a space well-adorned in art as Italian classics chime overhead, Ristorante Cocchi came highly recommended by well-traveled palates as one of the most notable places for regional classics in Parma, lunch on Wednesday fortuitously seeing a 12h00 reservation for one converted to a two-top.


A Michelin Guide rated space, though a touch too pricy for Bib Gourmand and not quite refined enough to nab a Star in the most recent guide, it was precisely on time that entry was made into the reception and attached bar area, a Tuxedoed man quickly offering greetings and confirming the reservation, his English almost accentless as specials were recited; several of them quite enticing, as was the menu itself.


Far more affordable than other restaurants of its ilk, particularly when accounting for the quality of ingredients and the service involved, it was while crunching on housemade Breadsticks that four-courses were requested, a nibble of 20 Month Parmigiano Reggiano offered gratis with a total cost of €87 for seven plates to follow.


Passing preparation times with quiet conversation, only three other tables occupied throughout the 100-minute stay, it was not long before a plate of cured pork from Antica Corte Pallavicina arrived with Torta Fritta, each luxurious bite a reminder of dinner one night prior while the Pumpkin Souffle offered a lesson in fluffiness that may well have floated off the plate were it not for the rich Cream accompanying it.


Producing every Pasta on the menu in-house, specials featuring Mushrooms at the peak of season, the decision to try plump Potato Gnocchi topped with Piedmontese Beef and a chunky sauce of Chanterelles plus White Beans, the trio of Tortelli offering a taste of complex fillings inside delicate wrappers with a dusting of Parmigiano atop Brown Butter.


Finding “Veal Breast – in the Tradition of Parma” quite different from Italian-American “Veal Parm,” the sliced breast stuffed with Bread Crumbs alongside fried Potatoes and a Stew of Peppers plus Tomatoes, dessert was presented tableside first as a slice of rustic Peach Pie atop an all-Butter crust that was robust and flaky, the Chocolate Budino a warm pile of baked Custard that necessitated Coffee to balance its sweetness, an accompaniment of Zabaglione unfortunately going too fast with a flavor that would have probably justified licking the plate clean.



Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Gnocchi, Italian, Italy, Parma, Pork, Ristorante Cocchi, Souffle, Truffle, Truffles, Vacation

Pasticceria Torino, Parma IT


Pasticceria Torino

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Sugar Brioche,  Rice Cake,  Cassis Cornetto.  Pan Dulce,  Cream Horn,  Baba au Rhum.  Raspberry Sfogliatta,  Cassis Puff Pastry


Spending a day in Parma before progressing onward to Milan it was with a late night past that the group filed into Pasticceria Torino at Strada Giuseppe Garibaldi 61, the small shop quiet despite the early hour of 08h30 as the shelves sat packed with nearly fifty styles of Cakes, Pastries and Bread.


One of the most affordable Pasticceria visited in Italy, the prices closer to those in Mirano than the aforementioned fashion capitol or Venice, it was with limited English that clerks provided service after extensive perusal of the options, a total of eight selections totaling just €10,80 plated and delivered to a small table.


In many ways similar to other bakeries, but also offering some novelties featuring housemade Fruit Compote, tastes of the Sugar Brioche as well as the laminated Butter Baton each proved mild yet pleasant in the face of more interesting options, the citrus-scented Rice Cake moist with Ricotta while the tender Baba found itself rich with Rum.


Baking the typical Cornetto more crispy than many, its smooth filling rife with Vanilla notes, even better bites were found amidst two laminated pastries packed with Black Currant Jelly, a rounded item labeled as “Sfogliatta” not dissimilar to a Kouign Amann in texture with a center of Raspberries.


Posted in Breakfast, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Italian, Italy, Parma, Pasticceria Torino, Vacation