Wedding Workshop and Weddings at La Fortezza

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As you might have seen on IG stories, last month we hosted a wedding workshop. It was amazing. Kim Vasil of August designs lead the group, and the images are fantastic.

We had Hanna and Megan as part of the dream team. Hannah is an amazing hair and make up artist, and our Megan, from Pictory Productions, captured everything on video and was kind enough to do some photography as well since our photography instructor pulled out last minute. I love that I have such amazing pros around me that rally for the cause. It was an all hands on deck week with Sharon Fisher, from Sharon Fisher Events, assisting us with anything that we wanted and being an over all consultant on all things bridal.

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As we hone our wedding skills, I am hopeful that with the help of Lisa Redgrave of Hitched in Italy, and Eliza Honey as staff florist, we will pull off the most magical weddings.

Big news: Kim Vasil will be joining the team as our American liaison to weddings here at La Fortezza. She will team up with Lisa Redgrave, our on site consultant, to produce unique and bohemian weddings for very special brides and grooms. Our location is something very special, rustic, artistic and curated for the creative bride. I know with the addition of Kim’s expertise, we will make our weddings one of a kind. Please feel free to contact her or Lisa for more information.

In the meantime we will be working on making La Fortezza the perfect destination wedding location for small bespoke weddings.

We will host only 2 weddings per year. We already have 1 booked for 2019, so there is only 1 wedding left…will it be yours? Of course feel free to email me annette@annettejosephstyle.com

xx Annette

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Sunday Supper: Fireside Paella

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A few years ago, I hosted a paella party and photo shoot for Atlanta Magazine’s Home it was actually the first feature in the reintroduced version of the magazine.It was a fabulous evening where I pulled together my colorful and delicious fireside paella recipe. I prepared it over an open flame, and it was such a wonder to see it come together in front of the guests eyes.

Paella is a wonderful way to entertain guests while providing them with a delicious meal. Make this on a warm, spring Sunday afternoon and enjoy it with friends and family. Time to make the Paella.

Annette’s Fireside Paella

You will need:

– 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 1 tablespoons paprika
– Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 1 cup crushed tomatoes
– 1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters, stemmed, seeded, and ribs removed
– 1 green bell pepper, cut into quarters, stemmed, seeded, and ribs removed
– 2 tablespoons saffron + 2 cups warm water
– 6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock
– 1 pounds chorizo cut into 3 inch pieces
– 2 cups pounds haricots verts trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
– ½ onion chopped
– 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
– 1 pound pounds calamari, cleaned and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch rings
– 16 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
– 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed
– 4 cups *Bomba rice
– 1/2 package frozen lima beans
– 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
– 2 freshly squeezed lemons

To prepare:
Place chicken in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle chicken with paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt; turn chicken to coat. Cover chicken and let marinate, refrigerated, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Cut peppers crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; set aside. Using a mortar and pestle, grind together saffron. Add saffron mixture to a medium bowl and add 2 cups water. Whisk until well combined; set aside.

If using a charcoal grill, make a fire in your grill. When the charcoals are completely covered in gray ash, hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill grid; count how many seconds you can comfortably leave it there. When you can hold it there for 1 to 2 seconds, you have high heat and are ready to cook. Alternatively, you can cook the paella on a stove over high heat.

Place a 20-inch paella pan with 3-inch sides over desired heat source. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and heat, until pan is very hot, about 5 minutes. Add chicken thighs and cook, turning, until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add sausage and cook, turning, until browned, about 3 minutes then pull from the pan and set aside.

Put onions, garlic, into the pan sauté until transparent and caramelized. Add rice and saffron water to onion garlic mixture, stir to coat, cook about 1 minute. Add 3 cups of stock and bring to a boil.  Add tomatoes, and haricots verts. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and sausages and add calamari, and shrimp, and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes more; add clams and mussels. Cook until rice is tender, about 15 minutes, adding more stock as necessary.

Add lima beans and peas and cook, until tender, about 3 minutes more. Season with salt and lemon juice; serve immediately.

* Bomba Rice is a specialty Spanish Rice

xx Annette

Photos by Nicole Letts 

Sara Dorio

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Announcement: Fall 2018 Workshops in the Italian Countryside

It is with great pleasure I announce the Fall 2018 workshop roster. Join us next year for our most exciting workshop series to date. Come along!

It is with great pleasure I announce the Fall 2018 workshop roster.

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In September:

Domenica-Marchetti-533x800 We have some amazing workshops to offer next fall. Join us for Preserving Workshop with author of the book, Preserving Italy. Acclaimed Italian cookbook author, Domenica Marchetti, will be the instructor for our first ever workshop on canning and preserving in the Italian tradition. Italians are masters at the art of preserving the bounty of the seasons – summer’s tomatoes and zucchini; September’s peppers and figs; winter’s citrus. Domenica has meticulously documented the recipes and techniques of Italian food artisans in her book, Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing, and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions. During this one-of-a-kind workshop, we will spend five days in the glorious Tuscan countryside harvesting fruit and vegetables from La Fortezza’s own organic garden and transforming them into jams, pickles, and other preserved foods. We will also hit the road and visit Parma for more culinary inspiration and ingredients (think Parmigiano-Reggiano and balsamic vinegar. And we’ll meet a local food artisan who makes chestnut honey.

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We will also have Abstract Painting lead by Steve McKenzie. A nationally known abstract painter, this workshop will teach you techniques to intuitively paint abstraction, discover your inner creative voice and transfer that energy to the canvas. This creative retreat includes a multitude of excursions to local museums to study art and discuss how classic renaissance art can inform your abstractions. Steve will be teaching in the visual splendor of The Fortress’s expansive studio located on the grounds in an old stone barn, and the surrounding Tuscan landscape. Steve will guide your painting experience to reflect the juxtaposition of the beauty you observe with an abstract interpretation. In addition, the class will discuss the principles of painting and how to use them in your work. Time will also be spent merging your artwork and your social media. You will expand your artistic horizons in one of the most inspiring places in the world, Italy.

In October:

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In October, join us for The Ultimate Food Photography and Food Styling Experience. We will be hosting one of my mentors, amazing food stylist, culinary guru and professional cookbook photographer and food writer, Angie Mosier. Her work has been seen in Food & Wine, Town and Country, The New York Times, Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, and Garden and Gun. Her essays on Southern cakes, pies and traditional meals can be read in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.  She has collaborated with cookbook and craft authors such as John T. Edge, Matt Lee and Ted Lee, Virginia Willis, Natalie Chanin, and the Southern Foodways Alliance.  Angie is honored to have worked as co-author and photographer on Chef Eric Ripert’s most recent book, Avec Eric, as well as photography for John T. Edge’s, The Truck Food Cookbook, Kevin Gillespie’s book, Fire in My Belly, and John Currence’s book, Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey.

We are still working on details, but if you would like to work with a food styling legend, this is this is the workshop for you. Dates will be announced next month. Feel free to email me to get on the list I have a feeling this will sell out fast annette@annettejosephstyle.com. 

One more thing: in September, check out Canadian Stylist and Culinary Expert Marisa Curatolo. She will be here at La Fortezza conducting her first ever Italian Culinary Retreat. She will be your guide alongside local experts. Cook with the finest produce, frequent antique markets, and savor the Italian country lifestyle.

Please feel free to email any questions I look forward to hosting everyone next fall. xx

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Announcing Summer 2018 Workshop Roster

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As many of you know, this year was the first year of workshops here at La Fortezza. What can I say? It was incredible. We had so many amazing dinners on the terrace, drank lots of chilled white wine from our vineyard, enjoyed signature cocktails like Aperol Spritz and Paper Airplanes. We shared, created and mainly made a bunch of amazing new friends.

All of our guests enjoyed time at my dear freinds’ B&B La Concia, and bonded, laughed and gained a new set of styling and photography skills along the way. I was so grateful to those who attended our first workshops here. They were all so terrific about the scaffolding and the unfinished walkway and the construction crew. It was fun to see some of my past attendees make the trip, too.

Thank you to our instructors and photographers that helped out and to the fantastic chefs that will be back with us next season. Thanks to our amazing concierge and all around Italian spirit animal, Forrest, a fixer like no other. I could not have done it without my new troupe of gals that helped with finding foodie destinations and taught me about the unique products and culture here in the Lunigiana. I feel blessed to have these special friends and helpers.

Okay, NOW for the summer 2018 workshop line up:

1 one on one with me – you will spend time with me honing your skills, learning about the business of styling and production. So if you want to hang with me in Italy, this one’s for you!

1 wedding events and photography workshop – we will delve into the creative and business side of wedding photography and event planning. This will include florals and decor so what can I say it’s going to be AMAZING

1 figurative photography workshop – with an amazing figurative fine art photographer, we will be shooting all over the grounds and inside La Fortezza with stunning models from all over the world. If nude photography interests you, then this is the one for you.

Last but not least, we will be repeating the strictly styling workshop. It was wildly popular, and we think it is something worth repeating. 9 spots this time so we can fit more folks in, so if you were on the waiting list this year, most likely we will have a spot for you.

We will be finishing our renovation this winter, so our demo kitchen will be ready for all sorts of cooking classes and styling demonstrations. We will also have all of our guest rooms appointed, so you will be staying here on the La Fortezza compound with us. We will have some incredible excursions planned, and of course you will be eating local and delicious fare as always.

Email me with any questions annette@annettejosephstyle.com and head to the workshop website and sign up for the mailing list to receive early notification, so you’re first in line.

See you next summer xx

Look for Fall 2018 workshop announcements, too. They’re coming early November.

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Handmade Charlotte & The Great Pumpkin Layer Cake

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As many of you know, I love a great fall party. When I asked creative guru Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte if I could document her fall themed soiree for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME, she quickly said of course, and we were off and running. Creating a fall party can be fun and mostly easy peasy. Here is one of my favorite recipes from the party:

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The Great Pumpkin Layer Cake
Serves 12

For the cake, you will need: 

– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ground ginger
– 1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
– 1 cup canola oil
– 4 large eggs
– 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Note: 2 fluted bundt pans.

To prepare the cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter bundt pans; Butter and dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both sugars and oil until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporatedDivide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks, then turn cakes over on to a platter.

For the frosting, you will need:

– 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
– 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon dark rum
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
– 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To prepare the frosting: 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread).

For the chocolate icing, you will need:

– 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
– ½ cup cream

To prepare the chocolate icing:

In a small sauce pan heat chips and cream whisk until smooth.

To assemble the cake: 

Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, rounded side down, on platter. Spread the of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second pumpkin half. Drizzle with Chocolate icing using a fork in a zig zag splatter pattern.

  • Note – Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

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For the full feature Atlanta Magazine’s HOME  is on newstands now.

Photos: Raftermen

 

 

 

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