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Beach view Puglia Italy

Explore Puglia, Italy: Culinary and Landscape

Posted by | Food, Foods, Tourism, Travel | 4 Comments

My virtual suitcase is packed. Travel agenda is made. Excitement is high as I get ready to explore Puglia, Italy. 

The Puglia Landscape

Exploring the Puglia region, pronounced pool-ya, is one of Italy’s hidden gems. You may also hear it called Apulia, its Italian name.

map of Puglia Italy

Puglia is easily identified on the map, as it runs down the east coast of the country from the Gargano Peninsula all the way into the “heel of the boot”. Puglia borders the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. Six provinces make up the Puglia region on the southeast coast of Italy.

    • Gargano and Daunia – the northernmost coast of Apulia where you will find an almost deserted beach.
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7 Summertime Spirits, Cocktails and Mocktails

Posted by | Alcohol, Beverage, Cocktails, Recipes, Trends | 10 Comments

Staying home in 2020 doesn’t have to mean missing out on socializing with your family and friends. It just requires us to be more creative in our methods of communication. Happy Hour may now need a computer (thanks, Zoom and Facetime!) and virtual guests but our choice of cocktails and mocktails has increased. 

From fruit infused beer to green tea mocktails to fragrant rosé and more, here are seven brands to cheer on friendship and family from the safety of your home. 

7 mocktails cocktils spirits collage

 

Spirits, Cocktails and Mocktails

Organic Rosé All Day Spritz

rose all day spirits cocktails mocktails

Rosé All Day is introducing the perfect warm weather libation: Organic Rosé All Day Spritz!Read more

Wine Tasting Around The World

Posted by | Travel, Wines | No Comments

Wine tasting and exploring three wineries from around the world including VIK from Chile, Ruffino from Italy and Kim Crawford from New Zealand.

How much fun would it be to travel the world touring wineries, tasting wine, learning about their history and operations and even talking food and wine parings? If you are a wine drinker, sampling wines from a variety of vineyards is part of the enjoyment you get from each glass. Having the opportunity to explore wines from around the globe just enhances not only the taste but the education on how each bottle is produced.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with 3 winemakers from Italy, New Zealand and Chile.… Read more

Friends of Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club Welcome Chef Anne Burrell

Posted by | Chefs, Restaurants, Wine | 10 Comments

Friends of Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club Welcome Chef Anne Burrell – An evening of good food and wine and lots of laughter as Food Network Chef, Anne Burrell, entertains the Wine Club.

If you want to know what it means for a restaurant to have a very loyal customer base, ask Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. This restaurant, based in suburban Chicago, has 35 locations across the country. Cooper’s Hawk understands who it’s customers are, what they expect and then exceeds those expectations. 

Friends of Cooper's Hawk Wine Club Welcome Chef Anne Burrell

Started in 2005 by Tim McEnery with a mission to pair good food and wine in a comfortable and inviting environment, he has successfully built a business that welcomes all no matter your wine knowledge.… Read more

Roasted Shrimp and Vegetable Salad with Parmesan Crisps

Posted by | Recipes | 19 Comments

Roasted Shrimp and Vegetable Salad with Parmesan Crisps – Homemade Parmigiano Reggiano crisps elevate this roasted vegetable salad for your holiday feasts.

Do you ever have an occasion that you just want to “wow” your guests (or family) with a dish but don’t feel confident in the kitchen to get too crazy? You know what I mean: recipes like lobster thermidor or an elaborate French recipe with a million complicated ingredients.

Then this easy, adaptable and flavorful dish is going to do the trick. You already know that I am a BIG fan of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. I have talked about how to determine what actually qualifies as Parmigiano Reggiano versus Parmesan. Read more

LuxeHome Chill 2017: Food, Wine and Kitchen Design

Posted by | Culinary Event, Fundraiser, Restaurants, Wines | 20 Comments

LuxeHome Chill 2017: Food, Wine and Kitchen Design – a delicious recap of my experience at the International wine and food festival led by 50 Chicago Chefs.

What could be more fun than attending an event with the top 50 chefs in Chicago, access to more than 150 premium international wines and located in the most beautiful interior design showrooms around with the goal of raising money for three important Chicago charities? Not much, if you ask me!

LuxeHome Chill 2017: Food, Wine and Kitchen Design logo

The 10-year celebration of LuxeHome Chill, in partnership with LuxeHome and Wine Spectator Magazine took place this past week with an estimated 2,500 guests.… Read more

Chicago Gourmet Turns Ten

Posted by | Festival, Restaurants | 10 Comments

Chicago Gourmet Turns Ten – Celebrating ten years, attendees enjoyed bites from prestigious Chicago restaurants, chefs, wine and spirit brands at festival.

The HOTTEST event of the year, both literally and figuratively, took place in Chicago’s Millennium Park September 23-24. Chicago Gourmet, celebrating its 10 year anniversary, opened to a weekend of soaring temperatures, blue skies and big crowds. The 94 degree temperatures made an already warm and welcoming group of people even more so. Chicago Gourmet Turns 10

Opening ceremonies for this momentous occasion included Illinois Restaurant Association president and CEO, Sam Toia, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a wealth of Chefs from near and far.… Read more

LuxeHome Chill at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart

Posted by | Culinary Event, Fundraiser | 5 Comments

luxehome-chill-merchandise-mart-inspiring-kitchen

As someone who works in the home design and cooking space, attending LuxeHome Chill each November is one of the highlights of the year for me. This year, we celebrated the 10th annual LuxeHome Chill International Wine and Culinary event. Held at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, designer showrooms filled with the most gorgeous housewares, fabrics and lighting grace the vignettes which are the backdrop for over 50 world class chefs and over 150 wines to be offered to guests.luxehome-housewares-picmThis premier food festival is presented in cooperation with Wine Spectator Magazine with the evening’s proceeds benefiting three Chicago charities:

The Lynn Sage Foundation – Dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer, this foundation has raised over $2 million to support the Lynn Sage Scholars Program which is 100% local to Chicago and fully research based. … Read more

Dining and Drinking at Chicago Gourmet 2016

Posted by | Culinary Event | 5 Comments

The Fall season brings many wonderful things to Chicagoans. And nothing is more exciting for someone who loves the culinary scene more than Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet. In fact, this is the 9th year of this upscale, diverse, educational, fun and delicious food festival.  

chicago gourmet 2016 inspiring kitchen

(Aperol Spritz – Aperol, Mionetto Prosecco, Splash of Soda)

Taking place in Millennium Park, Chicago Gourmet offers attendees a full weekend filled with activities, adventures and great food. You will find chef demonstrations, interactive wine and cocktail seminars, the best of the best restaurants offering samples of their creations, wineries, spirit purveyors and breweries pouring their specialties, food brands sampling new products, cookbooks being introduced and parties like Friday night’s Hamburger Hop and the exclusive Grand Cru tasting.… Read more

Trends from the Sweets and Snacks Expo 2016

Posted by | Education, Trade Show | 5 Comments

img_9663The 2016 Sweets and Snacks Expo was held at McCormick Place this past week. Expanding to two halls this year to accommodate the more than 750 exhibitors showcasing their products, the show welcomed over 16,000 industry professionals from over 90 countries.

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Trends from the Sweets and Snacks Expo 2016

There were a number of themes that stood out this year with healthy options standing out more than anything. Whether it’s the main ingredient or a flavor contribution, brands are now using quinoa, kale, chickpeas, broccoli and beans to name a few. 

sweets-and-snacks-2016-chips-picm

Mango coated in dark chocolate and coconut found in many varieties throughout the show.sweets-and-snacks-healthy-fruit-picmOrganic options, rice and vegetables crackers and seeds continue the expansion of healthy choices. … Read more