My Favourite Artist on the Amalfi Coast………and you wont BELIEVE his studio!

If you have had a chance to look at my first book, MY AMALFI COAST - Penguin 2008, you will have noticed that I have a handful of favourite artists on the Amalfi Coast. Some now deceased, others departed for far away destinations, but one who remains a true ‘aquistato’ (adopted) Praianese , (from the town of Praiano) is Paolo Sandulli. Paolo was originally an import from the inner Campania village  of Avellino where some of the best Italian wines are grown today.  After years away studying art all over Italy and Europe, Paolo finally settled on the magnificent Amalfi Coast just 8 years after I arrived in the mid 80’s, so I guess you could say, we were fresh adopted locals at the same time. He is by far my favourite artist on the Amalfi Coast today!

Paolo with his wonderful sea sponge haired girls!

Paolo with his wonderful sea sponge haired girls!

Paolo ensconced himself almost immediately inside the magnificent Torre a Mare, the breathtaking tower down by the sea in Praiano  where he has worked now for more than two decades. The tower, which Paolo set up as his suggestive and refined small work studio was reportedly built in the mid 1200’s but others historians say it was in fact the mid 1500’s, either way for us Anglos, it’s old!!!! …….and totally charming.

Torre a Mare in Praiano, Paolo's pride and joy studio overlooking the Mediterranean.

Torre a Mare in Praiano, Paolo’s pride and joy studio overlooking the Mediterranean.

This ancient delight is a joy to visit even today and view Paolo’s works scattered throughout the tower, inside and out – wonderful paintings of round sexy girls, the plump female form being a favourite of Paolo’s. You will also see  a huge variety of colourful ‘sea sponge’ haired female busts in all shapes and sizes. His girls are voluptuous and sexy – his males are lined and weather beaten, the local fisherman of Praiano inspiring Paolo daily.  But all in all his figures come alive and project a feeling of great joy! just like Paolo’s wide embracing smile, his art forms follows the same path of happiness and amusement.

Make sure you call before visiting the studio during the day, so you are sure to find Paolo at home. Studio Praiano : + 39 089 874149. He is a delicious host and will happily show you his wonderful tower and the fabulous art within. He also has a very efficient delivery service all over the world if you make any purchases. I have spotted his work in many parts of Italy, including the magnificent hair  foliage of the “head” vases at the 4 star Palazzo Murat in Positano or the delicious ‘dessert room’ in Il Riccio restaurant by the sea in Capri where you will see one of Paolo’s robust and sexy sculptures of a girl  straddling a giant squid. Many visiting guests have also told me they have spotted his work aboard all over Europe!

Paolo is certainly one of the great talents on the Amalfi Coast today and a must to see while visiting this area. Paolo, the great dreamer will stimulate your senses and trap your fantasies forever!

a delightful glass encased couple enjoy the sensational view of the Amalfi Coast from one of Paolo's tower windows.

a delightful glass encased couple enjoy the sensational view of the Amalfi Coast from one of Paolo’s tower windows.

e viva Paolo!

(long live Paolo)

baci baci xxx

MAKE YOUR ITALIAN CUCINA HEALTHIER!

The more I learn about our foods and there healing properties, the more I  become aware of so many things we are doing in the kitchen since a lifetime that perhaps with a tiny tweak we could turn our dishes into something incredibly healing, nutritious……..and delicious! See the following Italian Cucina recipes for healthier eating!

 

Some good Italian reading matter.

Some good Italian reading matter.

Here are a few insights I have come across in the past 10 years in my kitchen:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is terrific, and yes as we all know , ONLY Extra Virgin has to be used, forget that plain olive oil and its nasty counter part “light’ olive oils – they are not good for  you. The net is full of articles, so if you like, have a read! BUT, frying up or heating Extra Virgin Olive Oil , or boiling it away on the stove top for hours is not the best for your inner health. Try Extra Virgin drizzled raw and fresh over anything and everything! The flavour is amazing.  But never heat it up.. For that matter very few fats should be heated. Only Extra Virgin Coconut Oil does not distort it’s health benefits when heated………lard and some other good quality animal fats are also fine to heat but remember alway be gentle when heating fats. Heat will alter the nutritional value of anything! But can also be beneficial if done correctly. E.g.  Some foody experts say that tomatoes have more nutritional value when cooked rather than eaten raw! So heat food gently on a low flame and add some cold water to your fat while heating it  so you keep the temperature low.

Look for that wonderful dark green nectar when choosing a good Extra Virgin!

Look for that wonderful dark green nectar when choosing a good Extra Virgin!

 

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Get those wonderful Spices out of the pantry! Cumin, Cardamon, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, cayenne pepper, basil, parsley, coriander, mint, thyme, bay leaves whether they are  Indian, Asian, Italian or Arabic ……fresh or dried………but fresh out of your garden are always the tastiest and you KNOW they haven’t been sprayed with anything nasty. Remember fresh herbs are always best and tastiest sprinkled on food at the end of it’s cooking……….not at the beginning, which will often cook all all the flavour away by the end.

 

Kale Chip recipes: Take your well washed kale leaves and brush them with Virgin coconut oil – cut out the big spine as it can be tough to chew- sprinkle some  Cayenne pepper or Paprika or Turmeric  ( or all three) over the leaves then pop them in a very slow (30 -40 degrees oven) with the door ajar with a metal spoon or implement for the entire day! and enjoy that fabulous snack in the evening before dinner. I always go for colours when selecting my spices….naturally the orange/red ones have some heat which I love!

Spice drenched Kale chips.

Spice drenched Kale chips.

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3)  Nuts & seeds are fabulous but can really play havoc on plenty of tummies         and digestive systems. If  you ‘activate’ these wonderful foods, they become super digestible, and taste 10 times better. Here’s what you do…………oh, Mr. Google is also FULL of loads of versions of this but this is what I do and it’s very easy. If you can access organic raw nuts without all the salt and additives, all the better!

Activated nuts ready to munch on !

Activated nuts ready to munch on !

My favourite! activated walnuts...........yum. Good brain food too!

My favourite! activated walnuts………..yum. Good brain food too!

 

4) Activated nuts -  In a large glass or ceramic bowl add one tablespoon of good quality sea salt, cold water and your well rinsed organic nuts or seeds, make sure the nuts are well covered and use separate bowls for different nuts. Check out Google as different seeds and nuts require a different length of soaking time. I generally do 12 hrs over night for all nuts but keep them in separate bowls. I then rinse them thoroughly and spread them out on a sheet of baking paper on a baking dish. I then put them at the lower temp in my over (apx 30 – 40 degrees) with the door open a crack using a metal spoon or something similar. I then leave them for a full day in that mild oven ( you are basically dehydrating your nuts and seeds but without a dehydrator!)

That evening you will have the perfect snack!

5) Pesto Plus I follow a classic pesto recipe, loads of fresh washed basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic (dont over do this or you could ruin your delicate pesto). I omit the parmesan and instead add a whole zucchini, and a well washed bunch of coriander and sea salt with a teaspoon of Chlorella or Spirulina and a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. When you put it in a container in the fridge, add some Extra Virgin to the very top to stop any oxidisation.

 

Home made GREEN GREEN pesto paste.

Home made GREEN GREEN pesto paste.

 

It just makes a fabulous super green savoury paste to put on  anything and everything! ……..not just your pasta. It also lasts for days in the fridge.

5) RECIPE

Your Parmigiana di Melanzane DOES NOT have to be that heavy greasy “impossible to digest” dish! its all a matter of altering a few tiny thing to adapt to a better way of eating.

There is nothing better than the taste of a grilled slice of Eggplant (Melanzane) so why fry it?

If you are allergic to dairy like me, here is a great healthy and delicious alternative recipes. Yep! no mozzarella or parmesan!

 

The famous grilled eggplant and so so delicious.

The famous grilled eggplant and so so delicious.

 

Very eggplant parmesan !

Very eggplant parmesan !

Serves 4 pers.

Ingredients

2 medium size eggplants

2 cans organic tomatoes (they are generally without the sugar, which is unnecessary)

1 tblspn of organic coconut oil

salt

1/2 a fresh small hotlchill pepper

fresh basil to garnish

Grated brasil nuts

2 cloves of garlic

4 anchovy fillets

 

Method

pre heat your oven to 180 C.

Sauté’ your smashed garlic cloves, anchovy fillets and chopped chilli pepper in the coconut oil on a gentle flame. Do not let them burn, & you will notice that the anchovies will disolve. You can remove the garlic cloves once they are browned,  but I like to leave them in the pan and smash them further with a wooden spoon, mixing them into the sauce. Add your can tomatoes with juices and let them gently simmer on a low flame for apx 20 – 30 mins until they thicken. While the tomatoes are cooking get out your skittle and heat it up nice and hot. Sprinkle with sea salt and add your  slices (apx 1/2 cm thick) of eggplant. When they are well striped, flip ‘em over and do the other side!

In a porcelain or oven proof glass square or stainless steel baking dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, and sprinkle with a few ripped basil leaves, then place a layer of eggplant slices, continue to layer these two ingredients until you end with a layer of tomato. Add your grated brazil nuts to the very top layer and pop in the over for apx  15 mins. take it out and let it rest for 10 mins then sprinkle with more ripped basil leaves and buon appetito!

 

This light and easy dish is so good to pre-prep in the morning and just pop in the oven for 15 minutes when you get home . This is a great dish, even as a main and fabulous with a big mixed salad!

 

BUON APPETITO!……e Buona notte – baci baci xxx

Buona notte from Positano

Buona notte from Positano

Don’t forget this “Hotspot”……. Bella Napoli!

This is truly one of the richest cities in Italy and only an hour from the magnificent Amalfi Coast. Yes Napoli is certainly a city like Rome ” See Rome and Die” is an expression that actually does not exist……what the Italians actually say is ” Vedi Napoli e muore” meaning ” See Naples and die!” intending once you have seen Naples, it is safe to depart this planet as you have seen the best there is to offer. How true this is!!

One of the many magnificent views when approaching Napoli by sea!

One of the many magnificent views when approaching Napoli by sea!

One of the best ways to see Napli, is arriving first by sea! not by road........

One of the best ways to see Napli, is arriving first by sea! not by road……..

Naples being one of the most captivating cities in Italy is an ancient jewellery box full of delightful treasures; from theirs magnificent domes churches with riches dating back hundred of years to their colourful street festivals embedded with pizza eating nomadic locals. There is something for the avid shopper, the antique hunter, the food and wine gatherer, the cultural shop lifter and the art lover……and all nestled atop the wonderful Mediterranean Sea. The salt air speckles the shore line gardens where the local children play in a period Monet-like  painting. The restaurants burst as the seams at lunch and dinner time with ravenous clientele and the breathtaking churches and museums are often full of visiting Italians, not just foreigners. This city is a national treasure.

The magnificent Galleria Umberto is jammed with wonder stores for the keep shopper and for the cultural, just gazing upward to its magnificent architecture might be enough!

The magnificent Galleria Umberto is jammed with wonder stores for the keep shopper and for the cultural, just gazing upward to its magnificent architecture might be enough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes there are grimy dirty dangerous areas which we all avoid, but the bulk of this city is a marvel to the cultured eye and leaves few disappointed.

Firstly get your accommodation sorted. Where you stay in this wonderful city will make all the difference. I like to be close to the action and looking over that wonderful Mediterranean Sea. The Lungomare, sea front, is my choice. The  shops are just on the other side of this hotel  so I can make a get-away when I need a quick shop fix! My choice is a charming boutique hotel called Miramare and its right on the seafront. Enzo the owners has been a friend for decades and was a frequent client of ours in Positano with his magnificent buffy headed scotch dog and red sports car! He epitomised the ‘cool Neapolitan’ and is a true gentleman like only can be found in Naples. Naples aristocracy is some of the finest in Italy and unfortunately a dying breed. Let me know if you need help with your booking, Enzo is a great mate! my-amalfi-coast.com 

If you’d like some a bit more glamorous but still very affordable, the 4 star Gran Hotel Santa Lucia right in front of the fabulous Castel dell’Ovo

If you are on a budget then head to this fabulous spot right near Mergellina port called Hotel Mergellina! they only have 8 rooms, but its cute, very well positioned and cheap!!!

This could be the scene on your breakfast terrace at Miramare in Naples. Wonderful pastries and a magnificent sea views.!

Heading off into Naples for a day requires planning. Do your galleries and museums in the morning. Pick the ones you love and book a taxi through the hotel to get you there. Make sure you check with the hotel that the galleries and museums you want to visit are open that day, I think Monday is a bad day when a lot of stuff is shut! so check this out before going so you dont waste a day.

I love the National Museum, Museo Nazionale. One of the first build in Europe and one of the most breathtaking archeological moments you will experience. Most of the beautiful refined pieces from Pompeii are all here! This is a well worth trip and by no means exhaustingly big.

My second choice would be the Porcelain Museum in Capodimonte, a central area of Naples. This museum is full of some wonderful treasures and will take you back centuries. The Bourbon palace in which this museum is found is another wonder of Naples. Originally erected as a hunting lodge by king Charles VII of Sicily atop this magnificent hill in Naples with the town at its’ feet, this museum offers a lot more than it’s famous porcelains which later became a massive industry in Naples and world renown. There is a lot more than simply percelain to see at this museum and it is prized as one of the best in Naples.

 

The park belonging to the Villa Floridiana found at Vomero in Naples overlooking the port of Magellina is one of the pretties small parks I’ve every seen with one of the most delicious views in all of Italy. This little park embrances an almost 360 view of Naples and its sea. I would sit here for hours just taking it all in. Not to mention the wonderful coffee houses and shops at its back door.

Lunch in Naples is a must! Here is what you can expect to find: from the finest delicacies of the sea through to the famous puffed up fried pizza. And they do everything brilliantly!

Another favourite eatery in Napoli is the wonderful and central Terrazzo Calabritta, right on the corner of one of the best shopping stretches (Via Calabritta) – although quite a short street it has some great shops and this little eatery rests right on the corner of Piazza Vittoria and Via Calabritta. My darling ex mother in law Lucille took me here ages ago after a heafty day shopping and we enjoyed one of the best seafood lunches I’ve ever had! They do a fierce pasta fatto in casa too! (home made pasta)

If you are feeling a bit more relaxed and want a classic scrumptious and delicious Neapolitan pizza, head to Ciro’s 50 Kalo’ in Piazza Sannazzaro. This is the latest and hotest spot for pizza in Napoli today!

Ciro's famous pizza from 50 Kalo' in Napoli!

Ciro’s famous pizza from 50 Kalo’ in Napoli!

 

To wrap up your very busy day in Napoli and just at the other end of the very short Via Calabritta is Piazza dei Martiri with the iconic Gran Caffe La Caffettiera, so have your after lunch coffee sitting here in the piazza with all those wonderful Neapolitan legends and watch the world go by! Even if you don’t know how important they are,  THEY certainly do!

Nothing like that rich Neapolitan caffe!

Nothing like that rich Neapolitan caffe! 

  BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY IN NAPOLI NOW……CONTACT ME!                  FINE

The best side trip ever!

One of the best side trips while visiting the Amalfi Coast has to be the island of Capri. Although it is NOT official apart of the Amalfi Coast, it is so close and so pretty….it might as well be!  But you have to be organised, well informed and have plenty of energy to made the most of the fabulous island.

If we are talking summer and you are on a budget, just do a day trip as accommodation in Capri can be very expensive during the summer season. Then again the masses disappear at night and the island becomes an enchanted mix of locals and eclectic fun visitors itching to kick up their heels!

Otherwise head to the island in the quiet season (my favourite time)………March and/or October, avoid the crowds, enjoy the locals and embrace the space in the all the restaurants and bars!

1) Organise your itinerary. If you are a walker, then get your trekking guide sorted before you go. I can help with booking your English speaking guide.  He will show you the magnificent walk of Napoleans’ little fortresses, Google them……..they are delightful and run along one of  the top ridges of the island- a true paradise. Visit the little chair lift that leaves from the main piazza in Anacapri and will allow you some of the most spectacular views in Capri and the famous Vesuvius mountain in Naples. Make sure you walk down to i Faraglioni to enjoy a wonderful meal by the sea at Fontelina or Da Luigi.

The sensational Faraglioni rock that jut out from the Mediterranean Sea and face the Amalfi Coast. If you can see them clearly  from Positano.........this indicates bad weather coming, do prepare!

The sensational Faraglioni rock that juts out from the Mediterranean Sea and face the Amalfi Coast. If you can see them clearly from Positano………this indicates bad weather coming, do prepare!

 

Naturally you will have to eat something delicious at midday and if you are in the vicinity of i Faraglioni, I heavily suggest Fontalina or Da Luigi. If you are on the Anacapri side I recommend Il lido di Faro……….amazing fish under salt! Both are fantastic spots for sunning and swimming, which oddly enough is not so easily accessed in Capri unless on a boat or yacht!

 

The fish recipe in world! baked under salt. Il Lido di Faro do an excellent one!

The best fish recipe in the world ….baked under salt. Il Lido di Faro do an excellent one!

 

If you are near the Grotto Azzurro you cannot go past Il Riccio and their famous dessert room. It will blow your mind……..and you taste buds!

Mouth watering desserts from the 'Sweet Room' at Il Riccio, heavily guarded by a siren mounting a giant squid   . The magnificent work of great sculptor Paolo Sandulli from Praiano.

Mouth watering desserts from the ‘Sweet Room’ at Il Riccio, heavily guarded by a siren mounting a giant squid . The magnificent work of great sculptor Paolo Sandulli from Praiano.

Delicious macchiato cafe to accompany all those wonderful desserts!

Delicious macchiato cafe to accompany all those wonderful desserts!

There are plenty of less expensive spots to eat, so do your research before going, especially if travelling in high season. The restaurants are packed!

2) Do your research of the island and know what you want to see. If you are not a trekker but a keen shopper…make sure you head to the right area. Around the main clock piazza is a great start and just up the path from the Marconi Outlet which is well worth a visit for some summer cashmere!….

Brightly coloured cashmeres for summer...........,my draws are full of them from Marconi Outlet.

Brightly coloured cashmeres for summer………..,my draws are full of them from Marconi Outlet.

 

3) Distribute your energy well when planning a day trip to Capri. Don’t try and see and do everything in one day. You will leave exhausted and hating the entire experience. Do a little sight seeing, a little shopping and a lot of swimming, sunning and eating!

 

PS here is a great website tip if travelling to Capri……this will get you there.

A bird's eye close up of i Faraglioni in Capri

A bird’s eye close up of i Faraglioni in Capri

Baci Baci e buon viaggio!

xxx

Best trip up the Amalfi Coast!

There is a new little vehicle to rent in Positano on the Amalfi Coast. It’s a mini electric car where you sit one behind the other like a motorbike, but the driver has a steering wheel, rear vision mirrors, seat belt, break pad and accellerator, and a roof! AND you feel like you are on a sailing boat…..it is so green and so so quiet, except for its very loud horn, which is important in Italy. Not to mention the two doors which open like a fancy Ferrari (up! not out!).

I had the best days zooming up the coastline to Ravello for a wander and caffe in the piazza then down to lunch at the magnificent Torre Normanna in Maiori, apx 45 mins from Positano. This little car also charges in decent, so cruising down from Ravello we gained more juice! Not to mention our darling parking man at the Torre Normanna who plugged us into their 220 V electricity plug on the roadside and charged us up for a good run home after lunch and a swim.

Best little joyride up the Amalfi Coast! and you don't even need to ride a vespa, just drive a car!

Best little joyride up the Amalfi Coast! and you don’t even need to ride a vespa, just drive a car! your friend in the back and you up front!

A full tank of electric juice will get you up to Ravello for some shopping, coffee and a cruise around town, and you will recharge as you come back down the hill. 10 mins further along the coast is the town of Maiori and the magnificent 12 century tower of Torre Normanna which is now the home and charming restaurant of the Proto brothers from Minori just down the road. Ivano and Daniele run the dinning room which caters for weddings, parties, celebrations and plenty of handsome romantic couple, while Gigi and Massimo run the wonderful kitchen creating extraordinary dishes for the diners. This is a special treat and a fabulous day out.

Massimo & Gigi are truly passionate cooks delighting in feeding us not only delicious local food but with  5 star presentation and paying attention to every little detail including all our needs, allergies, intolerances, likes and dislikes.

Both myself and Tess my girlfriend try to avoid gluten as we are both of low tolerance. Well Torre Normanna not only bake their own hot little gluten free bread rolls but also dished up the most delicious gluten free sea food pasta! Trust the Italian to know how to make a delicious GF bread roll…..I was very surprised! I thought wheat was their poison till their dying day! We were in heaven.

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This charming man watched over us as we swam and climbed in and out of the Med!

 

precious swimming water for an after or pre lunch dip!

precious swimming water for an after or pre lunch dip!

 

After lunch we just flopped around on some beach beds and swam in the sea! what a fabulous day out. A sunset silent drive back to Positano topped of one of the best days I have had on this coastline.Contact me so I can book your car and your lunch. I promise you WONT be disappointed. AND Torre Normanna is also one of the hot spots on my Gourmet Safari in Sept/Oct so book now.

Buon appetito e buon viaggio!

baci baci xxx

Gourmet Safari on the Amalfi Coast!

Gourmet_Safari_p1_2Gourmet_Safari_p2_2Gourmet_Safari_p3_2TO BOOK CONTACT ME ON amanda@my-amalfi-coast.com

Going Raw…………. Yikes! Not very Italian I know.

It may sound insane but  I am Going Raw for 3 months! I know this is not very Italian but boy its a great prep for that coming Italian stint in Europe this summer. All that gluten (PASTA), dairy (MOZZARELLA & CHEESE), sugar (TIRAMISU), alcohol (WINES) that one loves to enjoy whilst on vacation in Italy is all fine in moderation but is your body ready for it?  This is all very acidic food and quite harmful if you overdose. Before heading off for that fabulous ‘degustation’ holiday, make sure you are ready for it so you dont come home feeling & looking line a like a mozzarella ball yourself!

If you are heading up Kilimanjaro wouldn’t you be training before leaving home doing heaps of stairs, climbing and generally getting fit ? Well eating your way around Italy and the Amalfi Coast is a bit the same, you really should prepare for it.

Breath and go Cuoncio Cuoncio! slowly slowly..........

Breath and go Cuoncio Cuoncio! slowly slowly……….

So apart from doing plenty of stairs before leaving home, very essential on the Amalfi Coast so you dont have screaming sore calves and shins for an entire week when you arrive just getting to and from the beach, try a good  ORGANIC Alkaline diet to get yourself prepped for your big Italian  food fest ! I suggest starting a few months before leaving home. I’m a pretty extreme person so decided to go RAW! Only raw veggies ,sprouted seeds, grains and nuts plus a few berries &  fruits  for three months. This is really a big detox. Go for very little acidic food; no meat, fish, dairy, gluten grains, heavy oils, or sugar………..just plenty of raw veggies, fruit, spouted non gluten grains like buckwheat and quinoa, fermented veggies (I  make my own and they are delicious – recipe to follow) , seaweeds for iodine and  a few seeds and nuts………..but not too many as they too are full of Omega 6, which is something we want to avoid. Think Omega 3 in it’s plant form and this is what we want to achieve for perfect health and energy!

You  may feel a bit “orribile” (horrible) to start with, but that will soon change and  before long you will be feeling on top of the world, full of energy and with little hunger!

A few weeks before you leave, I would start slowly introducing  a few lightly steamed foods, some light  gluten free grain toast, about 20% of what you eat could be now cooked  to get your system used to a regular diet again. Try and stay off the heavy stuff like red meat, heavy dairy, sugar and too much wine. “Cuoncio cuoncio” “slowly slowly” as the locals say while climbing up those long staircases on the Amalfi Coast! The eating is the same deal.

Go veggies! and there is no better place than Italia!

Go veggies! and there is no better place than Italia!

Dont forget the juices and smoothies! The Italian flag is the way to go and these will stop the hunger, up the energy and alkaline your entire system.

La BANDIERA ITALIANA! The Italian Flag - Fresh watermelon juice - creamy almond milk and delicious sweet green veggie juice to fill your day! you cannot beat this for good health!!!!

La BANDIERA ITALIANA! The Italian Flag – Fresh watermelon juice – creamy almond milk and delicious sweet green veggie juice to fill your day! you cannot beat this for good health!!!!

 

See Kimberly Snyder for some great tips & recipes, she is one of the best experts with smoothies, alkaline diet and energy tips and if you are feeling really brave, go the RAW with Kristina. I cant get enough of those fermented veggies and they are so easy to prepare. I make a batch a week and finish the lot!  Here is Kimberly’s fermented veggies recipes  Don’t forget, don’t go nuts with the nuts! they can be dangerous and very fattening! you don’t want to look like a blown up Macadamia nut in your pretty Italian bikini on the Amalfi Coast !
For more tips on preparing for your Italian stint write to me at amanda@my-amalfi-coast.com or for your accommodation  visit www.my-amalfi-coast.com

Kale chips.....and RAW!

Kale chips…..and RAW!

Buon Appetito and don’t forget, all great treats come in small ‘organic’ packages !

A Secret hideaway on the Amalfi Coast – Casa Privata!

Have you ever wondered why some of the most breath taking destinations in the world become so over run with people and unbearably over crowded during the seasonal months? 100 years ago it wasn’t like this. Only the privileged got to visit these exotic and beautiful spots so in some way, they were protected, but today everything has changed and it is open slather! Transport is cheaper, accommodation is super accessible, the Internet has changed everything. In a way this is good, why shouldn’t everyone enjoy …………the world! However once these beautiful destinations have been discovered by the masses, its all over! Today every spot on the planet is up for grabs ! The locals are generally keen to promote their special niche to make ends meet so become less selective about controlling the amount of people who come and go, making it less fortunately for that area to be over run by too many travellers. But some how the ‘budget traveller’ and the ‘privileged ones’ sort it out and hunker down together in these tiny paradises all over the world.

The Amalfi Coast is definitely one of these special destinations. The problem is how does one enjoy this paradise without battling the maddening crowds, a battery of over booked restaurants, wall to wall beach beds and lengthy exhausting cues! And dont forget all the Italians are there to enjoy their little paradise too! It IS their country don’t forget but Italians are not great at cueing……and although the foreigners are a bit better educated at this, it can still be very confrontational!

The fairytale town of Atrani.......voted one of the smallest prettiest villages in Europe!

The fairytale town of Atrani…….voted one of the smallest prettiest villages in Europe!

The trick is finding that special little corner where time has stood still, the natural beauty of the area is still in place and you are not battling with cues, crowds, impossible restaurant bookings, slow service and wall to wall beach beds! phew……….hardly a holiday right? And you certainly dont want to have to mortgage your family home or sell your children on the slave market to enjoy this holiday! so is has to be financially viable as well!

Finding the right property can be a challenge when you want to visit these special destinations in summer. For whatever reason whether is be for school holidays or just to take advantage of the great weather. Its a wonderful thing to know you can arrive at your villa and that you wont have all the above trials to deal with on arrival.

Tucked away on the less frantic side of the town of Praiano on the Amalfi Coast is a wonderful villa called Casa Privata; and it is just that……….A private house! yes, you may have to do the 150 stairs from the roadside to get to the main villa, but here are the benefits; absolute privacy, breathtaking views, no noise or crowds, stunning surroundings and unlimited peace. Plus a fully staffed villa who will shop, cook and schlepp (luggage) for you the entire stay….. you will not want to leave this property!

The staff will prepare wonderful local dishes for you and serve them al-fresco on the ample terraces overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Everything you need is at the villa and at your finger tips. They will organise everything for you from connecting your music to the Bose speakers indoor and out to booking your boat or helicopter rides!

So whether you are a romantic couple or a group of 20 friends and family, this is one of those special magical spots that will gift you that very special once in a life time holiday. For bookings and more details on this property please visit my website;  http://www.my-amalfi-coast.com/praiano-casa-privata

Luxurious canopied bed at Casa Privata

Luxurious canopied bed at Casa Privata

 

CONCA DEL SOGNO RISTORANTE CHEF ARRIVES IN SYDNEY – BOOK YOUR COOKING CLASS NOW FOR FEB 2014!

My darling friend Anna Tizani, owner of one of the best beachside restaurants on the Amalfi Coast; Conca del Sogno in Recommone has arrived in Sydney with one of her top chefs. Together they will be holding special cooking classes in Balmain in February of 2014 so book as soon as you can to  not miss out!

Day 4 Anna-96 copy

The magnificent terraces of Conca del Sogno restaurant on the Amalfi Coast.

 

Anna Tizani cooking up a storm!

Anna Tizani cooking up a storm!

Anna works with a cast of thousands and does it brilliantly. She will make sure every client leaves happy and totally satisfied with the food from her wonderful kitchen. She is open longer than most beach establishments and even when seas are rough and boat transport difficult, it’s well worth the trip via car.

Marco at the stove top!

Marco carving up that bunny!

Anna has long been a good friend and her heavenly restaurant on the Amalfi Coast has been a favourite destination for decades. Over the decades I have been lucky enough to enjoy this venue with intimate romantic tete-a-tete meals, rowdy joyful summer lunches with many friends and even a 200 head wedding at night ! and the one thing that never changes is the incredible quality of her food. This will always be a special meal for anyone visiting the Amalfi Coast and one of the definite destinations on my coming Gourmet Safaris starting at the end of May 2014!

Anna can have anything up to 30 staff at one time in her amazing kitchen to make things run smoothly over summer. She serves the ‘elite’ from all over Europe and the world and gives them the service and quality food they expect. Every mouthful is a joy and Anna runs the internal part of this beachside paradise like a military exercise. She will make sure you leave happy and satisfied!

Getting ready to tuck into some delicious food at Conca del Sogno

Getting ready to tuck into some delicious food at Conca del Sogno

Lovely Marco from Conca del Sogno in Recommone, now in Sydney to teach us some Amalfi Coast cooking!

Lovely Marco from Conca del Sogno in Recommone, now in Sydney to teach us some Amalfi Coast cooking!

So contact me now to book your cooking classes with Anna and Marco in Feb of 2014 in Balmain Sydney, it will be a memorable day for all!!!

amanda@my-amalfi-coast.com

A GOURMET SAFARI ON THE AMALFI COAST…. with me…….BOOK NOW!!!

A GOURMET SAFARI ON THE AMALFI COAST

I am overjoyed to finally share some of my 20 years of experiences with fellow Amalfi Coast lovers.

Living and loving in this magnificent region of Italy for nearly two decades was a great thrill, but to return & share some of my favourite moments with some fellow Australians gives me even greater pleasure.

By far ‘food’ consumed an enormous part of my daily life while living in Positano on the Amalfi Coast all those years, and I could safely say the same or most locals. My partner was in the food industry with one of the most successful beach restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, so I did have that extra boost!

We would wake up and discuss what we’d have for lunch, then during the morning we’d chat about how we would prepare it while making our purchases, then we’d talk about its greatness while we ate it and at the end of the meal, we talked about what we would eat for dinner that night …………and so the cycle would continue. I never tired of this daily ritual. Luckily all those stairs and running around keep my figure trimmer than the day I arrived. What a bonus!

Being closely connected to the food industry, a lot of our acquaintances and friends were also restaurateurs or retailers.They became a big part of my life for the next 20 years. Over the years I have stayed in touch with them making annual visits to their establishments and venues. Some are professional chefs, others are simply amazing home cooks.They became the key notes and protagonists in my latest book, Amalfi Coast Recipes (Penguin Oct 2012).They not only gave me their time and dedication to produce this fabulous cook book, but shared some of their most treasured recipes that have been in their families for generations.

Today they have generously agreed to prepare some spectacular dishes for us to savour in the magnificent surroundings of the Amalfi Coast.We will not be a large group, with a maximum of 8 pers. Due to the sheer geography of this region, smaller numbers work better. I’m a big believer in intimacy when it comes to great food experiences.

This fabulous week long Safari will be a magnificent nostalgic voyage for me which I hope we will share together.

This seven day safari will nurture your palate and all your travel senses. Here are just some of the chefs and their dishes you will meet along the way!

The fabulous Andrea from the Buca di Bacco Restaurant in Positano. One of the oldest most established on the coast!

The fabulous Andrea from the Buca di Bacco Restaurant in Positano. One of the oldest most established on the coast!

 

A  traditiional hearty pasta/meat dish from Andrea's kitchen.

A traditiional hearty pasta/meat dish from Andrea’s kitchen.

 

The gorgeous playful Erika will delight with her super sophisticated dishes tucked away on the mountain top in her little restaurant in Montepertuso!

The gorgeous playful Erika will delight with her super sophisticated dishes tucked away on the mountain top in her little restaurant in Montepertuso!

 

One of Erika's wonderful fish dishes, cod, peas and vongole!!!

One of Erika’s wonderful fish dishes, cod, peas and vongole!!!

 

Fortunata, the queen of the pasteries will delight you.

Fortunata, the queen of the pasteries will delight you.

 

nobody makes an artichoke pasta like Fortunata!

nobody makes an artichoke pasta like Fortunata!

 

Massimo will cook up a storm for you in his 12 century tower in Maiori

Massimo will cook up a storm for you in his 12 century tower in Maiori

 

Massimo's traditional pasta aglio olio is an after dinner treat!  simple but not so easy to make it this well!

Massimo’s traditional pasta aglio olio is an after dinner treat! simple but not so easy to make it this well!

A GOURMET SAFARI ON THE AMALFI COAST WITH Amanda Tabberer.

Tour dates are generally from  Sat to Sat – Sept/ Oct 2014. Dates are days are negotiable according to group numbers.  Maximum group size is 8 guests.

For more information, pricing & bookings

EMAIL – amanda@my-amalfi-coast.com

 

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