Strictly Styling Workshop June 2018 a recap

As many of you already know, we have been working like crazy to get the Fortress ready for upcoming workshops. Our maiden run was last week for our strictly styling workshop. Needless to say, I was a little anxious to see how our new guest quarters stacked up. I painlessly attended to every detail. Sticking to the idea that less is more and that the ancient walls would speak for themselves. Making sure the beds were comfortable, and the sheets were soft and inviting. Crossing fingers that our bathrooms – which are wet rooms – worked the way we wanted them to. They did.

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Our attendees were a super talented group that consisted of a florist, bloggers and foodstylists, and the stylish owner of a PR firm. This group instantly bonded, and the bond grew tighter as I watched them help and advise each other throughout the their days together. Our team building event of hiking into a waterfall was such fun, and it really showed off the natural beauty around us. We had a picnic, and we chatted and shared our goals and desires throughout the week. All the our days were filled with endless possibilities and inspiration.

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This time I tried something a little different and incorporated a textile painting workshop into the mix. We traveled to Florence for the day to meet Margherita Pandolfini at the studio she shares with partner Karl Jorns.

We had an amazing visit, painted textiles and then headed for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Florence. La Menagere.

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After an absolutely stellar, lunch we met up with our tour guide and walked all over Florence with our group ending up at the David. I had not seen the David in so many years; it was fun to see him again.

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We grabbed an aperitivo, and then ended our visit to Florence attending a Sunday Supper’s Sobremesa is a global dinner.

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We ate in what was a former glove factory, with a gathering of creatives from all over the world. The lovely Gaia Cozzi and her adorable father prepared everything and were the perfect hosts. We had a great time with everyone and ended the evening with lots of stories to tell and a fun ride back to the Lunigiana recapping our day.

The workshop was a huge success making it hard to part ways. My hope is all of our workshops will be like this one, and the creative juices will keep flowing.

If you would like to join us in the fall we have a couple of places left in our workshops. They are closing end of July so think fast and join us in September and October. Sign-up here.

xx Annette

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Summer Dessert:: Easy Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

I don’t know about you, but peach cobbler is one of my favorite summer desserts. We have gorgeous peaches back home in Georgia, but when the peaches are allowed to ripen on the trees as they do here in Italy, the fragrance really infuses the peach dishes. It’s divine.

As we dip further into the summer months, you’ll notice more and more peaches at your local grocery stores and markets. I bet you’ll actually notice the lovely scent before you see the fruits themselves.

Here’s my quick and easy peach cobbler recipe. This dish is perfect for your summer gatherings (and 4th of July cookouts). Don’t forget to top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Let me know if you give it a try.

Easy Peach Cobbler
Serves 6-8

You will need:

– 8 ripened peaches cut into wedges
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 2 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup butter cut into small cubes
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup cold water

To Prepare:

Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.

Wash and cut the peaches into wedges and toss with 1/4 cup sugar, set aside.

In a large bowl combine flower, baking powder, salt, butter, and sugar. With your hands, knead the ingredients until the dough becomes sandy then add water and combine until the dough pulls together. The dough should be soft.

In a ceramic baking dish place the peaches (I like an oval 9″:  9″ x 6 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ high; 1-qt. cap.), and then cover the top with the dough. The dough should be rustic and look cobbled. Place dish into the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until peaches are bubbling, and the cobbler is golden brown.

Enjoy warm with ice cream, whip cream, or at room temperature.

Photo Credit: Me

 

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Boozy Summer Dessert:: Campari Sorbet

Campari Sorbet

As you all know by now, one of my favorite Italian aperitivo/digestivo is Campari. So, it should come as no surprise that I figured out a way to incorporate it into dessert.

This boozy summer dessert, better known as Campari Sorbet, is ideal for the long, hot days of summer. The color is fun, the taste is interesting, and the texture is divine. It’s the perfect compliment to any summer party or cookout you might be planning.

Since this sorbet is made with alcohol, it will remain soft. Plan to freeze it overnight and eat within minutes of serving. For the kids, skip the Campari and stick with just the orange juice. That way they can participate in the fun, too!

Campari Sorbet
Serves 8

You will need: 
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup sugar
– 3 Tbsp. orange zest 3 oranges, I use a microplane
– 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (squeeze it yourself; it’s worth it)
– 3/4 cup Campari

To prepare:

In a sauce pan combine water, sugar and zest, making a simple syrup

Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and cool

Add Campari and orange juice to the syrup. You need to chill in the refrigerator at this point, the colder the better before adding it to the ice cream maker

Place into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions, place into a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, put into the freezer until ready to serve.

*Note: this will be a soft sorbet because of the alcohol in the Campari, so chill overnight for best texture.

xx Annette

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Greetings from Italy!

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Ciao everybody! Greetings from Italy! If you follow me on my instagram feeds, you know that I have been BUSY!!! Honestly, that’s an understatement. Busy getting everything in ship shape for our upcoming workshops and photoshoots.

It feels like I have been here for 3 months, but it’s only been 2 weeks with all that we have accomplished on getting everything from the new renovation ready for guests and attendees.

The guest quarters are ready to house everyone all comfy and cozy. It’s been a lot of fun pulling all the decor together with a little (a lot) of help from our friends. Steve and Jill McKenzie helped with styling touches and great advice. Look for their guest post coming up soon! Let’s just say we are excited to welcome them back in September for Steve’s abstract painting workshop in the Italian countryside. We had some great brainstorming sessions as we were busy fixing up the guest quarters.

The commercial kitchen is ready for some cooking action. Here’s where we will cook, offer cooking lessons to workshop attendees and of course have breakfast every morning.

Teri Mammini, our private chef, and I worked our tushes off to make sure the kitchen is perfection. We are really going to enjoy working in this beautiful place all season.

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To say that putting all of this together was daunting is an understatement, but it has been worth every bit of sweat every step along the way.

Our Strictly Styling Workshop is underway. Head to my instagram account to check out all the best bits. I will be back with a recap of every adventure and workshop experience soon on the blog.

xx Annette

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Backyard Bramble Cocktail

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There are few things better than a simple summer cocktail, and that’s exactly what this Backyard Bramble is. By definition the word “bramble” means “a rough prickly shrub.” Specifically, a bramble often refers to a blackberry bush.

Blackberries are plentiful during the summer which is why this cocktail is perfect for warm summer days. It’s refreshing and delicious. I know you’ll love it as much as I do.

Feel free to try different fruit combinations for making this cocktail your own. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries would all be equally as yummy!

Backyard Bramble Cocktail

You will need:
– 6 oz Blackberries (or other fruit of choice)
– Large handful of mint leaves (approx. 12-16 leaves?)
– Juice of half a lemon
– 12 drops or so Meyer lemon bitters
– 4 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
– 12 oz Gin
– mineral water or club soda

To prepare: 
 
In a pitcher, muddle blackberries, mint, and lemon juice. Add bitters, St. Germain, and gin. Let sit in the fridge for an hour or so. Strain, and serve over ice topped with mineral water.
Serves 6-8 in small tea glasses.
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