Posted in Experience, The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels

The Lake Como Cooking Journalist goes to Sicily: the Portopalo experience

One of the things that I can not explain, but for which I think it is not necessary to make special ruminations, is how it is possible that the sea that bathes the beaches of Portopalo di Capopassero, is always hot.
I imagine it is simply a matter of mild Mediterranean currents, but wherever you decide to beach, whether it is on the Island of Portopalo or the beach of Carratois, the water will always be clear and warm.
  vacanze sdraio

Apart from some cases in Sardinia, I do not remember having ever swum in Italy, in such a beautiful sea – I mean, with sandy bottom, because in Italy we are so lucky with weather and sea, that it’s almost impossible to swim in a unclean piece of sea -.

  Why Portopalo?

First because we gave a ride of about 1500 kilometers to the grandfather, that is my father – on paper the trip would have to be resolved in 15 hours by car, but the hours have risen up to 23 because of queues everywhere -; he usually goes on vacation there every year to fish; second because I know well the area and the sea, precisely, there is just another thing, third because from there we wanted to leave, then, with the partial tour of western Sicily.

  stones in the sea  

What would you recommend to do, see or visit, if you go to Portopalo?

First of all, I recommend you sleep in a quaint and very hospitable b & b – not to mention the fantastic breakfasts based on fresh cakes, almond milk, juices and toasted bread with home-made dried tomatoes paté – which is called The Artist of Portopalo and that, besides not being expensive, is in a quiet area of ​​the villag, with a small garden where you can relax in the late afternoon, when you come back from the sea.

breakfast in portopalo

As for lunches: go to the beach and arm yourself with beach umbrellas and tents because it is the only way to choose on the beaches, quiet places: remember to carry arancini, supplì, schiacciate, fruit and water.

viviana musumeci al mare  

At a snack, in the late afternoon, take a trip to Pachino, because it is in the main square, which you can enjoy the best almond pastas, granita with brioche and all kinds of pistachio and chocolate pasticcini (Caffé Ciclope: a guarantee).

At dinner, the advice is to go to Marzamemi: in the historic square of the fishing village, you can sit on the famous blue chairs and dine by candlelight, and then get lost in the nightlife, in the alleys, in search of Commissario Montalbano.

Marzamemi square

As for the life of the sea, my two favorite beaches remain that of the Island of Portopalo, also known as the island of Conigli which is accessed by boat – the service starts from the beach in front of the main square of the village.

cactus

The second one, however, is the one already mentioned by Carratois, which is very long and therefore you never run the risk of being surrounded by too many people because you spread along its entire length. And now, ladies and gentlemen, follow this link for reading the recipe of the week: Rice Arancini Recipe

       
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Posted in Experience

How to chose the perfect cooking class? 5 tips

I know, you are visiting a town and then you decide to take part to a cooking experience or to a cooking class. Maybe you also booked it before you left, ’cause you found it online. But you don’t know the cook and you don’t even have people you can ask informations to.

So these are some tips to follow when you chose a cooking experience

freccia

  1. don’t have cooking classes and cooking experiences at the restaurant if it’s monday. In Italy on that day the most part of shops are closed or they work just half the day. Fish is not fresh (at least if you are not at the seaside) and sometimes restaurants offers you ingredients of the previous week.  You should follow this advice also wheh you are just searching for a fish restaurant on monday. Don’t order meat either. It can have the same kind of problem. Above all if the meat is covered with sauces.

mussels

2 When you ask for a cooking class experience, sometimes you are offered to create pizza or make handmade pasta. This is not a problem, but remember: in Italy nowadays contemporary women don’t make home made pasta because they don’t have time and industrial or hand made pasta that you buy at the pasta shop,are perfectly ok. So it’s not as traditional as they make you believe. Then, remember that pasta is made of flour, water, salt and eggs. So, in itself,  it’s not particularly expensive. If you then do it in a restaurant and you are many “students”, it is because the restaurant is gaining a lot. It’s much better to ask to learn how to cook typical dishes, also because in Italy we have so many recipes that you don’t even immagine. 

3 Always about pasta. According to my experience, many people think that it is enough to do it onc,e to learn how to do it again at home. Nothing could be more wrong (and frustrating). Better to opt for dishes where the technique is clear and repeatable anywhere 

4 never think that a cooking experience should cost little. In addition to the lesson or show cooking, you are paying for the raw material that if it is good, has a cost. You are paying the time of those who follow you in this experience and if that person is with you for more than 4 hours, you can not think of paying a few euros. Especially if the experience is not standardized as the “usual” cooking class based on pasta or pizza. Moreover, as there are cheap restaurants, there are also restaurants where quality is paid. And it is a rule to be applied in every field

5 when you start the cooking experience, pay attention about the ingredients. When you do a cooking experience, pay attention to the ingredients. Preferably those in which the packages are and started on the moment

 

GOOD APPETITE (TLCCJ)