Aperitivo Nibbles from my new book Cocktail Italiano

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My new book includes lots of great appetizers; I like to call them nibbles.

Whenever you order a cocktail at a bar in Italy, there is always food involved. Simply brilliant. I think it may be my favorite part. Full disclosure: I love seeing what bars choose to serve with their cocktails. Sometimes it’s just olives and the humble potato chip, and sometimes it’s the most lovely fresh focaccia with sublime charcuterie, a veggie frittata or mini salads like the fennel orange salad in this post. Poached scampi, rice salads, and fried calamari are some of my favorites.

Check out my book Cocktail Italiano for all the nibbles recipes, and my fun stories about our time living on the Italian Riviera… oh and of course, there are amazing cocktail recipes as well.

Enjoy the recipes in my book at home with friends, or toss it into your suitcase and do my Aperitivo tour on the Riviera in the back of the book. My book includes all my favorite bars, beach clubs, local joints, fancy hotel bars and classic haunts to enjoy aperitivi. Cin cin. x

Cocktail Italiano

Orange Marinated Fennel with Pecorino Shavings
Serves 4

You will need:
– 4 oranges peeled and sliced in ¼ “ thick slices
– 1 large fennel bulbs sliced into paper thin pieces
– ¼ cup apple balsamic vinegar I like Ritrovo brand or apple vinegar.
– ½ cup orange juice
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– ½ cup small black olives
– 1 cup shaved Pecorino cheese

To prepare:

Slice peeled oranges and fennel into paper thin slices. Combine vinegar, juice, salt, oil in a bowl. Place the oranges and the fennel on a platter pour the vinegar mixture over the oranges and fennel. Sprinkle olives over the oranges and fennel. You can make this in the morning and let sit out all day, serve for aperitivo with small plates with forks.

Scampi Poached in Olive Oil

You will need:
– 3 cups olive oil
– 3 large fresh rosemary sprigs
– 18 uncooked large shrimp or scampi, peeled and deveined
– 4 Lemon wedges

To prepare:

Add 3 cups olive oil into heavy large saucepan, and add rosemary sprigs. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of saucepan and heat oil over medium heat until thermometer registers between 165°F and 180°F. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to hot oil and poach just until shrimp are opaque in center, adjusting heat to maintain temperature between 165°F and 180°F, about 8 minutes. Transfer shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve at room temperature, garnish with lemon wedges.

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Classic Negroni Recipes from Cocktail Italiano

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My new book, Cocktail Italiano , features over 50 cocktails and 50 nibbles recipes from my time on the Italian Riviera. I am always asked what my favorite cocktail is, and without hesitation I say the classic Negroni or the Negroni Sbagliato from Bar Basso, they make it best.

I am a Campari girl and always will be. Today I am giving you my 2 all time favorite Italian cocktails, and of course, Campari is involved. If you get a chance, order one of these Italian classics in Italy. But if you cannot get there anytime soon, make one at home, sit on the terrace or patio or porch, listen to some Italian hits on spotify and create your own apero-clock at home.

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Classic Negroni
serves 1

A very strong cocktail this drink is another classic Italian cocktail.  The Negroni has become very popular in America in the last 5 years.

You will need:
– 1 ounce dry Gin
– 1 ounce Campari
– 1 ounce Italian vermouth

To prepare:

Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled highball glass and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

Negroni Sbagliato – Bar Basso
serves 1

What can I say about Bar Basso that has not already been written about? It’s the most classic Italian bar you will set foot it. Its owner is famous for this amazing cocktail. It all started as a mistake, but a happy mistake, and those are the best kind. In my opinion, Bar Basso is what a bar should be like: it’s messy and un-kept though it’s chic décor makes it authentic, warm and friendly but still somewhat chaotic. Great looking people of all ages congregate until late into the night. The blaring neon bar sign beckons you to cross the street and order a drink. Settle in and watch the ultimate sartorialist scene unfold. It’s quintessential Milan.

You will need:
– 1 ounce sweet vermouth
– 1 ounce Campari
– 1 ounce lightly sparkling wine
– Orange slice

To prepare:

Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish.

Photo credit: Moi

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Cocktail Italiano launch and a Massive giveaway :: my new book

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My newest book, Cocktail Italiano: The Definitive Guide to Aperitivo, Drinks, Nibbles, and Tales of the Italian Riviera, is ready to launch. April 3rd is the official date, and I could not be more thrilled. I loved my first book Picture Perfect Parties, but if I am totally honest, this is the book I was meant to write. It is a complete travelog of the Italian Riviera and all of my favorite places to enjoy the Italian ritual of Aperitivo. Nibbles and drinks fill the pages as well as the brightest and most delicious photos of the beach clubs, bars and boardwalks all the way down the Italian coastline. I loved living in Alassio; it was the most posh seaside vacation town I ever visited, and I had the pleasure of living there and enjoying aperitivo by the seaside on the boardwalk most days. Sharing this with everyone makes me incredibly happy. I will be celebrating in Atlanta on April 5th with a launch party which of course will include an Aperol Spritz or 2.

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In honor of Cocktail Italiano‘s launch, I am giving away 12 copies for the 11 seaside towns and 1 major city (Milano) featured in my book.*

  1. Bordighera
  2. San Remo
  3. Imperia
  4. Alassio
  5. Loano
  6. Genova
  7. Santa Margarita
  8. Portofino
  9. Levanto
  10. Portovenere
  11. Lerici- Ecco dell Mare
  12. Milano
  13. Italian Cocktails and food

Sign up to win below; good luck and cin cin!

xx Annette
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway is open to U.S. residents 18 and over.

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Italy renovation:: where are we now?

As you know, Frank and I have been renovating La Fortezza our, 12th century fortress in the countryside for over a year. With the studio and main house complete, we have turned our attention to the guest quarters and commercial kitchen and lounge. The guest quarters are almost complete, and when they are finished, we will have 3 bedrooms in the guest quarters, all with their own bathrooms, a small kitchenette, and a lounge area for guests to enjoy snacks, coffee and wine.

The most exciting area is the commercial kitchen where we will teach cooking classes, and hold our Preserving Italy Workshop with Domenica Marchetti in the fall. We will also be hosting Canadian foodstylist, Marisa Curatolo in our kitchen. The decor will be practical and dynamic. The lighting is gorgeous as it has the exact same orientation as the studio upstairs. The giant Lacanche stove will settle into its new home, and we will prepare all of our workshop meals from the kitchen. To say I am super excited would be an understatement. Where are we now?

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The guest quarters are almost complete; windows are in, floors are set, and paint is done. We now will be placing the lighting, and the last steps will be the state of the art resin showers (as we have to wait for temperatures to rise for a proper set).

When I return in May, I will hit the ground running to finish furnishing the guest quarters with all the decor I have been collecting of the past year. Beds, lighting, cool rugs, and custom chairs from Marrakech. I can’t wait to see it all come together. Yes, I swear, it will all come together in May…

You can follow along on the progress report on my instagram. Once these projects are finished, then we will move on to the last project: the out building which will have 3 more bedrooms and bathrooms. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and believe me, it’s been a long time coming.

xx Annette

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Dispatch from the Parma Antique Fair

I have always wanted to attend the Parma Antique Fair because I have bought many things from the fair thanks to my pickers in Italy. Since we have been working on La Fortezza, I have woken up on Saturdays to tons of pics and choices sent to me by my designer Forrest and his partner Roberto from the Parma Fair. They both have an amazing eye. I am blessed to have them in my world, and the objects they have found for me over the past 2 years are astounding. This year I wanted to go along and see what all the fuss was about.

Well…I can tell you that the fair was dizzying. I have been to lots of fairs and antiques shows, like Round Top in Texas and Isle sur la Sorgue, but nothing compares to the beauty and the perfection in selection at Parma; it is like nothing I have every seen. There is row after row of Italian treasures. I was gob-smacked. No words could describe the sheer quantity and quality on sale. Mind you, we attended at the end of the show, but there were still gobs of beautiful objects everywhere. We waited until the end of show on purpose, too. Since I was shopping for basics, I felt that I could miss the crowds and leisurely take advantage of end of show pricing.

With Forrest by my side, we flew up and down the aisles with laser beam focus. I picked up a large dining room table and classic Italian wood chairs for the commercial kitchen as we plan to eat some meals in the commercial kitchen, mostly in the fall and winter if it’s too cold outside. The table will also serve as a beautiful surface for cooking, foodstyling lessons, and photography. The student lounge, located next to the commercial kitchen, now has some wonderful leather club chairs – all worn in, soft and comfy. The club chairs were in the most elegant booth manned by a most elegant vendor. She gave us a great deal, and we bought the last matching set. The guest quarters has a really cool rustic table for the entry, plus I found some wonderful wire chairs and a table for folks to hang out on while enjoying an espresso of a glass of wine with a few nibbles in the guest kitchenette.

We loaded all our finds into the old Range Rover. It’s incredibly roomy, but even I was surprised how much fit into the back, and we headed back home just in time for Aperitivo. It was a super successful trip – efficient and inspiring, just the way I like it. If you’re thinking about attending the Parma Antiques Fair, I highly recommend it. I would definitely schedule at least 2 to 3 days since there is so much to see. Plus Parma is such a wonderful place to visit.

Make sure you check in with the blog over the next months as we will be outfitting the rooms with all of our finds starting in May. I can’t wait to share the end results with you as we get ready for our summer of workshops and retreats.

xx Annette

 

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