Meet our new Guest Liaison- Jenna Galowich

IMG_3314 I would like to introduce our newest Annette Joseph Style team member. Jenna Galowich.

Full disclosure: I have been looking to fill this position for a few years. But I took my time to find someone that was the perfect fit. Imagine my delight when Jenna reached out. She told me her family was from Fivizzano. “What luck!” I thought. Then we met over zoom for several interviews, I knew she was just right. She’s enthusiastic and well-traveled, her background includes the hospitality business, as well as marketing. Please join me in welcoming her. I really look forward to working with her and seeing what her talents bring to enrich our guest experience here at La Fortezza. For those of you signed up for fall workshops and experiences, you are in for a treat,

Benvenuta Jenna!

A little about Jenna in her own words, take it away Jenna:

Buongiorno a tutti! It’s Jenna here – the newest member of the Annette Joseph Style Workshops & Retreats dream team. I am so thrilled to be working with our guests as the guest liaison, ensuring that everyone has the best experience possible during workshops, as well as working behind the scenes as we prepare every year for new workshop experiences and offerings.

A little bit about me: although I am a Chicagoan by birth, I am incredibly fortunate to also call Los Angeles and Paris home as well. An interesting fact about me the location of La Fortezza, in Fivizzano, Italy is in my blood – it is my ancestral hometown, as my Italian side of the family has their roots there and called it home for centuries! I recently earned my bachelor’s degree in marketing from The American University of Paris, which was one of the greatest and most transformative experiences of my life. Prior to Paris, I briefly lived in Rome, where I fell even more in love with Italy, Italian culture, Italian food, and the Italian people more than I already was.

When I’m not working at La Fortezza, I love traveling and hanging out at the dog park in front of the Louvre with Charlie my rescue pup, learning new languages, meeting new people from all walks of life, going to the authentic family-owned restaurants and spending time in the mountains hiking. There is nothing that I enjoy more than working with people, and I am so excited to meet and work with our guests at La Fortezza this fall.

Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 9.19.54 AM

 

All behind the scenes Fivizzano italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy paris renovation in italy The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Garden Update

IMG_7153

loading these baby olive trees to be added to our grove

IMG_7154 IMG_7146

Ciao Everyone! If you’re following me on instagram, you most likely saw me at the local garden center yesterday. My groundskeeper/gardener Gianluca accompanied me. We had a great time. I thought I’d share an overall garden update, along with a few more updates about the grounds.

One of the things I will be working on this season is adding 50 olive trees to the grove. We currently have about 150 trees on the grounds. We had to plant an olive grove on the property. Oddly our property had a few olive trees, but the terraces had no more than 10, so Frank decided we needed a proper olive grove. We had a fully functioning vineyard, but not an olive grove which in these parts is pretty rare since we are surrounded by abundant groves. I asked Gianluca what he thought had happened to our olive groves, and the only thing he could come up with is the maybe the property was planted with grain-like wheat. I guess we will never know, but right now our olive grove is expanding.

f0e2de7b-435d-4097-8c3f-77776e2cde59

The pool project is a big one this year. I met with the company working on the pool hardscape. Tiles will go on the deck in April once the chances of freezing are reduced. Our timeline is to finish by the end of May. I bought two large olive trees, one large pomegranate tree, a huge agave, and some fucshia azaleas. We will plant lavender and rosemary, succulents and cactus as well around the pool plus loads of soft green grassy areas. We will also have a fire pit on the lower portion of the pool deck.

Right now the pergola is going up at the end of the pool. It will provide loads of shade for relaxing, dining and reading. It’s pretty exciting around here. I love designing the garden. There will be loads of additions this year to the landscape, but the most beautiful part of our garden is the view. I never get tired of it.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 7.09.47 AM

Our incredible view

IMG_7142

Gianluca with our new addition

IMG_7143

I am excited for our workshop attendees to come and enjoy the pool addition this year. I can’t believe I am saying this, but we are almost full. Folks are signing up every week. I guess everyone is excited and optimistic. I am too. Working outside always gives me a boost and puts me in my happy place.

For more updates from La Fortezza…definitely follow me on instagram if you aren’t already.

xx Annette

All before and after behind the scenes Fivizzano gardening Instagram italy Meet the Team my picks Notes from Italy Personal renovation in italy The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Reasons to Watch “Stanly Tucci: Searching for Italy”

Final Portrait Photocall In Rome

Hi everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and I am here to share something shocking:

I hated traveling to Italy.

It’s blasphemy around here, I know. And before you worry about my job security, Annette is fully aware of my feelings, too. In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons she keeps me around: so she can one day try to change my mind. And to be honest, after nearly seven years of working together, she’s finally wearing me down. Well, Annette along with Stanly Tucci.

The first and only time I found myself on the streets of Italy was June of 2009. My best friend and I were teachers at the time, and we made the very responsible decision to use our first tax refund check of our adult lives to purchase a Greek cruise bookended by a few days in Milan, Florence and Venice. School ended, we hopped on a plane for what was going to be the trip of our twenty-something lifetime, and we landed in Milan.

4658_515010807749_731815_n

From the top of the Duomo in Milan, taken by me in 2009!

The streets were bursting with people, the duomo casting a shadow over everyone below. Cars, bicycles and Vespas zoomed left and right. The sun pressed down on us. I was sweaty. I was tired. I was not impressed. This was basically New York City…but in Italy. I cried to my now-husband that I was already ready to come home. It had been 3 hours.

4658_515010857649_754185_n

Me, left, and my BFF Lindsay, right in Florence.

Florence captured my attention only slightly better, thanks to various art museums and markets. Venice…well, I found it to be about as pleasant as Annette does. Other than the Italian food, of which we have plenty in America, I decided Italy was not AT ALL for me.

I confessed this during my interview with Annette in 2014. She vowed to change my mind, and I have to say, it’s working. Before the pandemic, I had, rather hesitantly, started doing my research to visit Annette at La Fortezza. But to be honest, I wasn’t too disappointed when it paused my travel plans.

Last weekend, after watching more than my share of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and even Disney+, I decided to give a new CNN show a try: Stanly Tucci’s Searching for Italy, released one episode at a time, old school style. Within one episode, I was happily hooked, and already singing Italy’s praises to Annette, ready to book a ticket. Truly. That’s how good it is. Besides completely converting me, an Italian naysayer to an Italian wanderluster, here are 5 other reasons to watch the show:

Stanly’s voice is soothing. I watch The Barefoot Contessa nearly every weekend right when I get up because I find Ina Garten’s voice such a pleasant sound to wake up to. Stanly Tucci’s voice is no different. It ebbs and flows in such a way that you barely notice that he curses every time he takes a bite of pasta. It must be good.

The Italian pride is palpable. After reading, Italy is My Boyfriend, I think I came to understand the great pride within Italians. But seeing it on screen takes it to an entirely new level. There are restauranteurs who have carried on their family recipes for hundreds of years. There are butchers protecting the name and preparation of prosciutto, so phonies cannot trick the public. There are families who still gather around a table every single Sunday for supper, serving the main course as their ancestors did, no matter how antiquated it might seem.

There is a depth to every region. I think this is what has struck me as the most interesting aspect of the show. We might be familiar with the bright colors and stunning seas of the Amalfi Coast, but what we don’t realize is how poverty-stricken it is. Or how Napoli’s infamous pizza was born out of a pandemic. There’s more to Italy than Milan, Florence, Venice, Rome and Pisa. This show takes us there.

stanley-tucci-searching-for-italy

He’s the Rick Steves of 2021. I have to say the most enjoyable moments of my 2009 trip were when my BFF and I busted out our trusty Rick Steves’ book when exploring. We found the most amazing pizza down the scariest alleyway in Venice, and rested our heads only in Steves’ recommended lodgings. Even though Stanly isn’t a food writer on a budget, he is bringing viewers to some obscure places, and for that, I love the show even more.

We meet Stanly’s wife. Did you know Stanly Tucci is married to Emily Blount’s sister? It’s true! Emily and Stanly met while filming The Devil Wears Prada. He was later invited to Emily’s wedding. There, Emily introduced Stanly to her sister, Felicity. Stanly and Felicity were married two years later. Felicity is the woman behind the camera for all of Stanly’s cocktail posts on Instagram. Now, we see her in front of the camera on the show.

Will you watch? I hope so! Let me know what you think.

xo, Nicole

 

All behind the scenes cooking Crushing On Entertaining italian cooking italian riviera italy Meet the Team Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Traveling to Italy, my first week back

F4F6ADB0-A0D8-4C49-A19B-75145427DC3A

Ciao Guys! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been back in Italy for a little over a week. Traveling to get here was quite effortless. After 2 Covid tests, one from Walgreens and one from Delta at the airport, I was on my way. Because I am an Italian resident, we own a home and live here, most of the year entry was easy. I have no idea when Italy will open to the world, but I am optimistic that come fall, it will be open, and Italy will welcome travelers, I would assume with a vaccine passport, but we shall see.

As I write this, my region of Tuscany is in orange. Italy has a system of well-outlined restrictions based on color-coded zones. Red, orange, yellow and white. Red being a strict lockdown, orange having restrictions on bars and restaurants and travel in the region and between regions, and a curfew of 10:00 pm. Yellow is less restricted and allows travel between regions, and the opening of bars and restaurants for lunch. For the official codes, read about it here in my favorite magazine The Florentine.

For me, these restrictions don’t affect me much since I live in the countryside and travel very little.

I am in the middle of editing the finished manuscript of my cookbook, La Fortezza Cookbook. Once England can travel, our British team, photographer David Loftus, and our stylist Rosie Scott, can enter the country, and we can start working on the winter chapter. I am hoping that this will be mid-March, bu obviously, I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we are preparing the garden for the spring, and I have some cool additions to La Fortezza coming soon. The pool will commence and my friend and uber stylist Barbara will be helping me style it up. There will be the construction of the pool pergola, and lots of planting going on.

Until next time, be sure to check the La Fortezza Workshop page, and if you want to join us here, I would not wait. Once Italy opens up, it is going to be nuts!  In the meantime, I will keep posting on Instagram. We have some fun Instagram Lives coming up, so don’t forget to check in and see what’s happening!

xx

 

All behind the scenes cookbook collection Events Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal renovation in italy The Fortress Travel Tuscany Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

AJS Tackles the TikTok Wrap

IMG_6441-e1611249366393

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend. I am excited to introduce today’s post featuring the now-viral TikTok wrap. If you haven’t seen it, the basic concept is to make a 1/4 cut on one side, divide a tortilla into 4 quadrants, fill each quadrant, fold, press on a hot skillet to warm and enjoy. It took off so well that even the New York Times got involved!

IMG_6224

After giving the concept a try for myself, filling my wraps with everything from eggs to chicken tenders, I recruited Annette and our new La Fortezza chef, Chef Rachel Feinberg, to develop their own recipes. Find both of them below!

Up first, meet Rachel:

Hi Everyone,

My name is Rachel, and I’m excited to share a recipe with you that’s not just easy and affordable but also elevated and flavorful. After nearly a decade in catering and food styling, I’m pursuing a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition, where I’m focused on food justice and health equity.

As you can imagine, the shift from working chef to grad student has impacted the contents of my fridge. This recipe utilizes pantry staples and specialty items I always keep on hand, pleasing both my student budget and my chef palate.

IMG_6446

While I’m not on top of what’s “trending” and I don’t have a TikTok, I am a huge fan of leftovers, so this challenge was right up my alley. The four components I used are detailed below:

The main component of this recipe, the tuna salad, has a lot of room for flexibility. You just need a bean, canned fish, and some greens. No chickpeas? Try white northern or cannellini beans. No tuna? Canned salmon or sardines will work beautifully. No arugula? You get the picture. I always have at least one can of tuna, chickpeas, and artichoke hearts in my pantry. This week I had a container of arugula that was on its last leg. Adding it to the salad gives the greens new life, offers a colorful component to the salad, and rounds it out. Add drained chickpeas, tuna, and arugula to a bowl. Mix it with olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, some lemon juice if you have it, and salt and pepper to taste.

Another staple I like to keep in my fridge is marinated artichoke hearts. Simply drain a can of artichoke hearts and put them in a Tupperware or jar, and pour enough olive oil so that the artichoke hearts are covered. Add a garlic clove, some fresh herbs, a lemon rind, or chili pepper if you have it, and there you go. These are an excellent addition to sandwiches, salads, charcuterie boards, and are great on their own straight out of the jar.

I imagine that eggs are a staple on most non-vegan grocery lists. They’re the kind of item that I don’t even need to add; grabbing a fresh carton is instinctive. At any given moment I’ve got two cartons of eggs in my fridge, 12 fresh eggs in one, and a few remaining from the previous carton. The latter goes straight into some boiling water. Not only do I love having some hard-boiled eggs handy (the possibilities are endless), but older eggs are easier to peel. So the cycle of eggs continues.

The last quadrant of the wrap is spread with a hearty helping of Calabrian chili paste. Calabrian chili paste is the “fancy” item I continually splurge on. Simply put, it is my favorite spicy condiment, and I put it on everything. However, this recipe is all about utilizing what’s on hand so any hot sauce you have will add a perfect kick to your wrap.

IMG_6438

Rachel’s TikTok Wrap: Calabrian Chili Tuna Salad
You will need:
– Tuna salad (tuna, arugula, chickpea, olive oil, red wine vin, s + p)
– Hard boiled egg, sliced
– Olive oil marinated artichoke hearts
– Calabrian chili paste
To prepare:
Divide your wrap into quadrants and make one cut towards the center.  Top each quadrant with each of the above. Fold each quadrant over the other and place in a hot skillet with oil. Once brown, flip and brown the other side.
Annette’s TikTok Wrap: Kale Pesto with Prosciutto Wrap
Below, I use my kale pesto recipe, a spoof on my basic pesto recipe by substituting kale for the basil. Overall, this recipe is simple and delicious, and perfect for a quick, healthy meal! I hope you enjoy this twist. It was delicious.
You will need:
– 3 tablespoons of kale pesto
– 3 tablespoons baby kale
– 2 tablespoons pickled onion
– 3 slices of prosciutto
– 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
– 1 burrito size flour tortilla
To prepare:
Using a dry skillet, heat the skillet and grill the sandwich for at least 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
The cheese will melt even after you remove it from the skillet, so no need to get the cheese melted.
All behind the scenes cooking kitchen Meet the Team Recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , ,