Select Italy Newsletter: Cappuccino

Tiny Bubbles in the Veneto

Prosecco

Prosecco bottle has a characteristic shape

With a pleasing mineral aftertaste and hints of pears and apples, Prosecco is a soft and delightfully bubbly white wine made in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. This fairly low alcohol wine (usually about 11%) is great as an aperitif, a summertime mixer as part of a classic Bellini cocktail, or just a happy-to-be-home sipping wine. Prosecco can be classed as a "fun wine" in which the fairly restrained bubbles are both a cause and a symbol of the wine's subtle, relaxing charm.

Lacking the solemnity of French champagne, Prosecco is perfect for celebrating the small pleasures of everyday life, such as sharing food with friends. And another event to celebrate is our new full day wine excursion, Veneto: The Land of Prosecco. It unfolds in the gently rolling hills between the villages of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, about an hour’s drive from Venice, and will introduce you to the D.O.C.G. growing region where the best Prosecco is produced. Since Prosecco grapes ripen later than most other grapes, September and October are the ideal months to visit this area.

Vineyard

Prosecco vineyards near Conegliano

Leaving from Venice, Verona or Vicenza, this nine-hour tour includes guided tastings at two celebrated wineries and a delicious lunch of local specialties at a trattoria with a panoramic view of the vineyards. Photo opportunities abound in this landscape of stepped vineyards backed by the dramatic, snow-covered expanse of the Alps. You'll see picturesque villages like Rolle and Pieve di Soligo, as well stop at an ancient grist mill in the Lierza valley that dates back to the 17th century.

And of course you'll get to drink lots of wine and learn how Prosecco is made using the Charmat method in which the wine is refermented in large steel containers to foster the development of bubbles (the Charmat process is named after the Frenchman who patented it in the early 20th century although an Italian, Federico Martinotti, may actually have invented the technique earlier).

There is quite a rivalry between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene as well. These two towns have given their names to the Prosecco Denominazione di Origine Controllato and wine labels usually specify one or the other. According to Italian wine authority Burton Anderson, wines from around Conegliano tend to be softer and creamier while those from Valdobbiadene are drier and crisper. You can decide for yourself since the excursion stops at vineyards in each of the two D.O.C.G. production areas so you'll get to try both. Give us a call at 1-800-877-1755 to add some brio to your next trip to Italy!

Cast a Line in the Mediterranean

cefalu' fishing boats

Traditional fishing boats on the beach in Cefalu’

Italy is blessed with more than 4,700 miles of coastline facing on three seas – the Tyrrhenian, the Adriatic and the Ionian – all part of a larger entity referred to as the Mediterranean. That means no matter where you are on the Italian peninsula, you’re not more than a three or four hour drive from the coast (and in Rome you can even get to the beach by subway!).

Saltwater enthusiasts have no lack of activities to keep them entertained on the high seas: sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing and aquascooters are just some of the choices. However, a "new entry" that's steadily gaining in popularity is pescaturismo (fish-tourism) and Italy is in the vanguard in this form of coastal agri-tourism that emphasizes fishery related traditions and customs. A chance for local fishermen to improve their income, fish-tourism is also an excellent way to introduce tourists to the local fishing culture from the perspective of experienced fishermen who, generation after generation, spend over 200 days a year at sea.

Portofino Fishing Boat

Colorful fishing boat in Portofino

In Italy about 800 fishermen currently use their fishing vessels for pescaturismo excursions lasting from a few hours to several days. The activity takes place year round, day or night, according to the fishing method and what kind of fish are being sought. Tourists are always returned to their place of departure and all boats have the necessary safety and hygiene equipment. Some even have facilities right on board for cooking the just-caught fish: an al fresco lunch of fish and seafood consumed on the high seas is a meal to remember!

Italian fish-tourism is conducted with success in Campania, the lagoons of the Veneto, Tuscany, Sicily, Sardinia and along the Liguria coast (the Adriatic is off limits for any kind of fishing until September 30th of this year to allow the fish stock to be repopulated). Especially thrilling is night fishing along the Amalfi Coast – called totanara, this unique form of squid fishing takes place on hot July and August nights, and consists of a line with unbaited hooks and bright lights that is thrown overboard to attract these tasty little cephalopods.

Fishing for mahi-mahi, tuna and striped sea bream at Cefalu' in Sicily or for spiny lobster and red mullet offshore from the Cinque Terre is an ideal way to spend a few hours elbow to elbow with professional fishermen and learn what life at sea is really like. Guided by their love of seafaring, these fishermen are happy to share their heritage of culture, tradition and lifestyle, together with their knowledge and intuition. Fish-tourism is a perfect activity for the 21st century since it propagates eco-awareness and the principles of sustainable development by both parties involved – operators and customers, fishermen and tourists.

Select Italy

Fish-tourism is a great way to explore the Italian coast at its most authentic, as well as to learn about fishing traditions directly from experienced fishermen whose home is the sea. Call us today at 1-800-877-1755 to book an excursion.

Select Italy Signs Strategic Agreement with CCTV

Select Italy & CCTV

Jacopo Sertoli (left) and Zhu Tong (right)

Select Italy is pleased to announce the signature of a strategic contract between CCTV, Chinese state television, and Select Italy China. On August 4, 2011, in the beautiful Sala delle Bandiere ("Room of the Flags") at Rome's City Hall, Mr. Zhu Tong, Deputy Director at CCTV for the Internal Distribution Department and Mr. Jacopo Sertoli, CEO of Select Italy's office in Asia, signed an agreement for the distribution of the first two of the 42 CCTV channels in 4 and 5-stars hotels in Italy and throughout Europe.

Under the agreement, Select Italy will be operating as CCTV's appointed distributor of CCTV-News and CCTV-Four in the best quality European hotels. The objective is to strengthen CCTV's presence in Europe and step up the access of Chinese media content to the growing number of Chinese travelers visiting the Old Continent and to reveal more of contemporary China to the world.

Jacopo Sertoli & Zhu Tong

Zhu Tong & Jacopo Sertoli at the ceremony

In addition to Mr. Zhu Tong, the Chinese delegation and Mr. Jacopo Sertoli, the ceremony was attended by Mr. Gazzellone, Director of the Department for the Development of Tourism of Rome's City Hall (Delegato per Roma Capitale delle Politiche di Sviluppo del Turismo), Mr. Jiang, Cultural Attache' of the Embassy of China in Rome, Mr. Cappelli for the International Association of the Hotel Directors and Ms. De Rosa, as representative of NTV - Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori. NTV is the first private operator on the Italian high speed rail network and the first operator in the world to use the new Alstom AGV, the train that currently holds the high speed train record. Select Italy represents NTV in Asia.

Signature of the agreement represents another of Select Italy's growing successes in Asia, and marks an important strategic alliance that will bring China and Italy a bit closer. Especially significant is the fact that the agreement was signed during the year Italy celebrates the 150th anniversary of its statehood.

Segway

Segway Tour of Milan

The undisputed fashion capital of Italy is Milan; our NEW 3-hour tour combines Prada and castles with Segway for an entertaining look at the city where Italian style is born.

t4t like

Vatican under the Stars: Every Friday until the end of October!

For the third consecutive year, the long awaited appointment returns with the Vatican Museums special evening opening. Every Friday night until October 28th these spectacular museums will open their doors after hours from 7 pm to 11 pm (last admission at 9:30 pm).

whaiwhai

whaiwhai New York

Big news for the unconventional traveler! The pluri-awarded whaiwhai game tour book is now available for New York City. The New York Times calls whaiwhai "a high-tech Italian touring game that is part 'Amazing Race' and part treasure hunt, with a bit of DaVinci Code-style storytelling mixed in." Be one of the first to try it out in the Big Apple!

food section

Restaurant of the Month - Where to Eat in…

Ristorante Romano

Order their specialty and you get to keep the plate!

Viareggio on the Tuscan coast is one of the places where you can practice pescaturismo and, after an active day on the high seas, it's nice to dress up and have an elegant dinner at Romano Ristorante. Since 1966, they have been serving extremely fresh fish and seafood in the center of town, just a couple of blocks from the beach. Their absolute dedication to quality has earned them a Michelin star.

Marine specialties are complemented by vegetables fresh from the garden: choose from creative preparations such as sea bass with radicchio sauce, sparnocchio (dialect for the local langoustine), Tuscan white beans and basil, or handmade fish ravioli topped with pine nuts and cream sauce. An antipasto of sparnocchi con lardo di Colonnata e farinata di cavolo nero displays an inspired use of local products and flavors. If you order the squid soup with prawns and farro, you get to take home the colorful, hand-painted plate it's served on! Approximately $110 per person; reservations strongly recommended.

  • Romano Ristorante - Viareggio
  • Via Mazzini, 120 - 55049 Viareggio
  • Phone: 0584-31382
  • Website: www.romanoristorante.it
  • Email: info@romanoristorante.it
  • Open for lunch and dinner; closed Monday and, from June through September, also Tuesday at lunch.

Food Store Offer of the Month

"August's Tasty Bundle!"

•   FREE 3 packages of Pasta Rummo (Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli N.48; Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti N.3; Organic Spaghetti N.3)

•   FREE shipping

These 2 gifts applicable on all orders of $80.00 or more

Pasta Rummo

Cosimo Rummo spent 10 years developing his company's signature lenta lavorazione (slow processing) method of pasta making whereby water and durum semolina wheat are first kneaded together and then extracted through special dies. This process is done extremely slowly and without heat so the heat-sensitive proteins in the wheat are protected, resulting in a firmer, denser and more healthful and flavorful pasta. The integration of bran into the semolina wheat produces a tender pasta that is especially rich in fiber.

Select Italy's online food store represents a proud partnership with Di Palo’s Fine Foods. At food.selectitaly.com, online shoppers will find a carefully curated range of specialty items imported directly from Italy. The Select Italy Food Store makes it a breeze to bring the best of Italy right to your door.

Spaghetti with Clams (spaghetti alle vongole)

spaghetti alle vongole

Spaghetti alle vongole

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Fine sea salt
  • 3 pounds Manila, cockles or small littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, gently smashed and peeled
  • 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (1 1/2 pints), cut in half
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or heavy pot, combine clams, 1 cup water, wine and 3 tablespoons oil. Cook over high heat, covered, until clams just open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes and transferring open clams to a bowl using a slotted spoon (Discard any clams that remain unopened after 10 minutes). Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; set aside. Reserve 12 clams in their shell for garnish; remove remaining clams from shells; discard shells.

In a large skillet, heat remaining 6 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley and garlic, then add tomatoes, increase heat to high and cook, stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes. Add clams (both in shells and shelled) and 1 cup reserved clam juices. Remove sauce from heat.

Cook pasta in the boiling water until just under al dente. Drain, then return pasta to pot; immediately add sauce with clams. Cook over high heat, tossing to combine and adding more clam juices to moisten, if desired, for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.

la cucina

Recipe courtesy of La Cucina Italiana - since 1929 Italy's premier food and cooking magazine.


Select Italy Awards

Select Italy, 303 W. Erie St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL, 60654
Toll-free: 800-877-1755, Phone: 312-664-4200, Fax: 312-664-4201
© 2011 Select Italy. All rights reserved.

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