Slow Food Cheese Event in Bra Italy 2019

fullsizeoutput_6f8e   fullsizeoutput_6f45 fullsizeoutput_6f36

Ciao Tutti! As you may have seen from the complete coverage on my instagram feed, Philip Meeker our chef, and Rachel Ritchie our guest liaison, and I headed to the region of the Piedmont, known for delicious wines like Barolo and Barbaresco. Our destination was Bra, Italy, the Slow Food capital of the world. We wanted a little R&R and lots of cheese, wine and truffles.

As a girl from Wisconsin, you can imagine my pure joy. I was excited to share cheese with the team and few truffles as well. We stayed in Alba, the truffle capital of the world, so with all the food groups covered, we relaxed and treated ourselves to endless aisles of cheese, cheese talks and local makers’ booths. We stayed in an Agriturismo by a local wine maker who had a few rooms to rent on the top floor. In truth, the entire foyer smelled of wine-no complaints from me. The location was great and staying at a working winery was kind of fun.

fullsizeoutput_6f87

We got in around 5 pm in time to do a little aperitivo, but not before stopping at my favorite truffle store, Tartufi Ponzio, to load up on Truffle potato chips. Yes, really, truffle potato chips. They are truly the crack of the potato chip family. You can’t eat just one. The owner was there Gianfranco, a very energetic, and enthusiastic man, especially about truffles. He’s a hoot! He’s taken over the family business, and from what I can see, he has brought it into the 21st century with the utmost care.

There will be a documentary coming out on truffle hunting early next year, so keep your eyes peeled for “The Hunt” and look out for Gianfranco. It will be shown for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival 2020.

Gianfranco showed us all his new products, improved both inside and out. We bought a few more staples to bring back to La Fortezza to share with our guests. As I always do, I asked him where he liked to eat. He immediately told us and picked up the phone to make us a reservation for that night. All set, we said our goodbyes, and told him we hoped he would stop by after closing the store and join us for dessert. The meal was impeccable, more truffles and butter than you could imagine. Divine. GF, as we call him, stopped by for dessert and told us a few stories about truffles and hunting and his family business. All in all, he was quite amusing. Great food, great stories and a great night.

2D334660-B224-4382-B6A5-157B1252522B E49AFC38-C7A7-4CE9-B406-72A1FD874B7A

The next day, we headed to see and eat more cheese than we could have imagined. The festival was huge and would take days to see. We tried cheese from all over the world, all kinds, to the point that we could not eat anymore. Our bellies were full and our feet were hurting which surely means we had an amazing day.

fullsizeoutput_6f4c 35744126-FFFC-456F-9D59-DDF3DDB10B70 fullsizeoutput_6f71 fullsizeoutput_6f4e fullsizeoutput_6f34

I will say, most people would say you can’t have enough cheese. Oh but you can. I still cannot think about eating cheese. Vegetables? Yes. Although I never get my fill of truffles. We ate, we drank and we walked and walked all weekend. It was a great little break and mini vaca with the team, but now it’s time to get back to the business of taking care of our workshop attendees. Of course, there will be cheese and there will be truffles, as we love to share.

I highly recommend the slow food cheese festival! It’s in one of my favorite regions in Italy. Piedmont is not to be missed. Tutto il Formaggio. (all the cheese)

xx Annette

All behind the scenes celebration cooking Crushing On Events Fall Food Food styling italian cooking italy Meet the Team my picks Notes from Italy Personal photography Shopping The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our First Ever La Fortezza Antiques and Merchants of Italy Shopping Retreat

fullsizeoutput_6ea9

Ciao Tutti! We had amazing whirlwind of a week with our first ever La Fortezza Antiques and Merchants of Italy Shopping Retreat. My co-leader Lisa Burnett of Inner Pieces Inc. could not have been a better partner in crime. We hosted 7 lovely ladies and toured them all over the Italian countryside, to shop and meet local artisans and vendors that I love. It was an insiders shopping tour that was both exciting and informative.

Every day there were new destinations and some surprises. We could not have asked for a more fun group of ladies. Even though they did not know each other before, I think some solid bonds were formed. We danced, drank, made pasta and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather on the terrace.

Of course, there was a pizza party where a few of our attendees tried their hand at making pizza in the pizza oven. We loved sharing information about how and why we choose certain props, discussed searching for antiques and loved shopping at my super secret locations. Lisa spent a couple of extra days, so we checked out some of her Italian vendors and hope to expand the shopping experience next year.

We will be conducting this retreat again in 2020 because it had such an overwhelming response when we posted it. Since we still have 50 people on the waitlist from last year, we have decided to do this retreat for 2 consecutive weeks in 2020. If you are interested in joining us and want first dibs sign up for the newsletter. We will be sending a private mailing to our list before the workshop goes public.

fullsizeoutput_6d98

grazie Lisa you’re simply the best! x

fullsizeoutput_6e38 IMG_3475 caeb579a-85cf-4117-8687-1285e4c02820 0F1B3842-D8ED-492E-8248-3C5CE1B12519 c1540bd7-8e53-4367-8053-b46f2bd1ec2b

We only have 6 spots available in each retreat, so this shopping retreat very limited. We have decided to vary the schedule in case some of you want to join us for both weeks. We have so much to show you. I cannot express how wonderful it is to meet like-minded shoppers, who share the love of beautiful things. As a prop stylist, I have to say sharing my resources with our groups gives me great joy. Thank you again to my most talented and lovely friend, Lisa. x Let’s shop ’til we drop in 2020.

All behind the scenes Crushing On Decor Design Inspiration Events how to be a stylist interior design italian riviera italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling shelter Shopping style lessons The Fortress tips from a stylist Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Preserving Italy Workshop:: the slow food experience

E8F40B1B-D2FC-4E35-B8E9-294D4DD1F73E fullsizeoutput_6d3d Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 7.48.54 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-14 at 7.24.39 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-14 at 7.11.42 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-14 at 7.13.36 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-14 at 7.17.42 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-14 at 7.18.17 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 7.55.51 AM

We just wrapped up the Slow Food Experience workshop, and I must say it was a wonderful experience not only for our attendees but for me too. We visited food artisans in the area and sampled local food like panigacci and chestnut fritters, and with the help of my foodie friends, I think we represented the region of the Lunigiana proudly.

There are so many interesting and different local foods here. It’s so different, in fcct, that I am writing my next cookbook about it (keep your eyes peeled for the La Fortezza Cookbook, due out in 2021). It is a region rich in history and food history with many kitchens born out of need and lack of funds; the “poor kitchen,” or as they call it, “cucina povere” was creative and inspired.

We made pasta with Chef Philip using jarred tomato sauce, (passata) from our kitchen garden tomatoes. We made grape jam with my friend and slow food ambassador, Giovanna, and sampled bread from the local bread maker Fabio

fullsizeoutput_6d60

We enjoyed chestnut fritters with chestnut honey and dined on all the products from around the area breakfast lunch and dinner, and of course many aperitivos…

This workshop will be available next year. All workshops for 2020 will post in November. We would love for you to join us and sample all the local food products and meet all the lovely people that work so hard to preserve the traditions of this beautiful region.

Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 7.50.47 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 7.48.05 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 7.50.15 AM

Thanks to all the attended and we really loved meeting your eating with all of you. See you next year.x

Some imagery is from our team photographer Kate Blohm

All baking behind the scenes celebration Cocktail Italiano cookbook collection cooking how to be a stylist Instagram italian cooking italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling photostyling like a pro renovation in italy secrets on how to become a stylist style lessons Style Pin the art of a party The Fortress tips from a stylist Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Private Retreats at La Fortezza Workshops

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 6.16.43 AM

Ciao everyone,

We’re gearing up for our next round of workshops. As always, I am excited to welcome everyone, but I am especially jazzed about spending time with our private retreat end of September.

What is a “Private Retreat” you might be asking yourself? Well, a private retreat is just that. It is a retreat put together by a host or organizer, for a private group of friends or co-workers. We offer activity focused vacations or corporate retreats in Italy that include all aspects of our unique Tuscan location. Activities like shopping, art, food and cooking lessons, exploring local food artisans from the region of the Lunigiana, Liguria and Emilia Romagna. With 30 years as a producer, I can tell you with confidence we can facilitate any type of cultural experience. La Fortezza offers yoga, wine tasting, truffle hunting, foraging in the kitchen garden, horseback riding, hiking, cooking lessons, shopping for antiques or at local markets like Forte Dei Marmi, chic beach clubs, lingering lunches at a family-owned village, boat rides, styling lessons, social media tutorials, and outdoor movies on the terrace.

fullsizeoutput_66e9 IMG_7854 fullsizeoutput_5abf

We are ready to help you enjoy your time in Italy in our bohemian monastic styled guest quarters.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 6.16.17 AM Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 3.17.26 PM Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 3.17.50 PM

Make pizza in our pizza oven…

fullsizeoutput_66a1

Harvest from our own vineyard and fruit orchards and kitchen garden, witness olive oil being pressed or wheat being milled.

IMG_3291 IMG_3314 fullsizeoutput_66e4

Are you ready to experience 5-star food from our amazing classically trained Chef Philip, take a cooking lesson or two in our commercial kitchen?

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 3.19.56 PM Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 3.18.32 PM

and enjoy aperitivo and meals on our three beautiful terraces?

fullsizeoutput_681b 4F4F0890-50ED-414A-989F-CD6696E072FA Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 3.19.31 PM fullsizeoutput_673e fullsizeoutput_57f0

If you’re ready we are taking bookings through the end of October 2019…

To book a private experience for 2020 email me annette@annettejosephstyle.com for pricing information, Private retreats are for 6-8 people. Gather your group and join us. La Fortezza is a special place to get in touch with your inner creative and to share it with your group. x

IMG_8729

 

All behind the scenes campari dream home Entertaining Food styling how to be a stylist Instagram italian cooking italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling photostyling like a pro renovation in italy secrets on how to become a stylist style lessons Styling stylist tips The Fortress tips from a stylist Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

La Fortezza Artist in Residence Art Opening Party

fullsizeoutput_68c3 5F5E9E38-7815-4E97-9152-AB9596ABB1D8

As all of you know by now, in July we welcomed our first Artist in Residence at La Fortezza. Steve Mckenzie arrived on the first of July and diligently worked on his Lunigiana inspired exhibition, abstract mixed medium works called, Recollecting the Past, “Ricordando il Passato.” Steve was inspired by his time here in Italy. You can read all about where we traveled, and what we saw and collected, here.

All of this work and passion led to the opening night end of July. We had visitors from all over the world join us: the US, France, Greece, and England to name a few. We planned to celebrate on the expansive terrace with a quirky food truck, gelato cart, and an open bar. Steve meticulously hung his show with the assistance of our intern Adri; she helped him catalog and photograph his collection. He also painted special table runners. All plans for the opening party were planned with the utmost attention to detail. And all would be outside, especially with 65 rsvps, so we could enjoy the company of so many, and Steve could share his beautiful collection. The perfect plan….that was until all hell broke loose. What do they say about best laid plans?

SteveMacKenzie-081-72 fullsizeoutput_68cd

As a hostess, I know that perfection is only an idea, not a reality especially when it comes to throwing a party. So when the heavens opened up, and I mean an earthshaking lighting cracking thunderstorm that dumped tons of rain on us, at the exact hour that the opening was supposed to start. All I could do was laugh.

08EDADEC-7366-4732-BF97-E73D1B8742A8 5FF91A12-52F1-4868-9161-DB91D60E1E72 E38A67BE-9E43-4271-8A8D-802659E14681 oYtGyPPOTV2GEEDJAbmN9w QHiErGrCR7q0SzN%%gbDwg AC526767-37F6-4EA2-8DF6-E60BBF72FE26 95D25CDC-C538-4FD5-9A7F-DB7F4B2D09E1

We pulled everything into the studio. So many braved the weather to be with us, for which I was most grateful. We had a wonderful turn out and a wonderful party, including an after hours dance party. Sometimes what you imagined, turns out better than you hoped. We really had a wonderful time, and Steve and I were so happy with the opening party. It was also a great lesson in letting go for both Steve and I, and I am always amazed at the idea of a party can mean anything at anytime, even in the worst weather. All you need are great friends. We gathered with everyone as it pelted down rain, and we drank and ate and enjoyed gelato well into the night, surrounded by Steve’s beautiful artwork. What fun!

fullsizeoutput_68cc

Thank you to Steve who is as my husband says, a prince. And he’s right Steve is a stellar human, a great friend and such a talent. It was a pleasure to have him here every single day. He’s going to be a tough act to follow! x

If you’d like to purchase pieces from the show link here

Food Truck Photo Credit: Thomas England

All behind the scenes celebration dinner party Entertaining Events Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Parties Party Accessories party tips Personal the art of a party The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,