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Posts Tagged ‘Sicily’

A History of Italian Chocolate

Written by Eva Stelzer on . Posted in Blog, Food and drink, Italy

chocolate sausage with hazelnut

Thousands of years and numerous cultures have affected the coveted confectionary of chocolate. Italy’s major contribution came around the 1800s out of necessity more than anything; that was the delicious mix of hazelnuts and cocoa.

Before Italy discovered the secret of chocolate, the sweet journey began with the ancient Egyptians, Aztecs and Mayan cultures. The first trace of cocoa arrived in Europe only in 1492. Christopher Columbus brought cocoa beans to the Spanish King and Queen but the beans were passed over for other treasures. Thirty years later, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortès brought the beans, equipment and recipes from Mexico. This time cocoa was accepted with excitement. Monks in Spanish monasteries were appointed as the cocoa bean processors and made to keep chocolate a secret. This secret remained until the 1600s when Italian traveller Antonio Carletti discovered chocolate while visiting Spain. Once chocolate reached Italy, it spread quickly. Cioccolatieris opened in all major Italian cities. From Italy, the new delicacy reached Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Catholic Church’s approval helped spread the chocolaty drink’s popularity, as did the royal courts.

Sicily: Eastern Island

Trip package in Italy, Sicily, Trips

sicily-eastern-island

Highlights

  • Stunning beaches and turquoise seas.
  • Miles and miles of vineyards rivaling Tuscany and Piedmonte.
  • Walk along Mt. Etna, Italy’s highest mountain.
  • Stunning architecture left behind by centuries of invaders, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks, from the Moors to the Romans.
  • Sicilian delicacies such as grantia, fresh seafood, artisan chocolate, and heady wines.

To spit or not to spit part II

Written by Eva Stelzer on . Posted in Blog, Cycling Holidays, Italy, Montalcino, Sicily, Tuscany, Walking Holidays, Wine

to-spit-or-not-to-spit-part-II

While French wine tasters roll the wine around in their mouth and spit before tasting the next, this is definitely not the custom in Argentina. I spent a week cycling through Mendoza where lunch often included 5 or 6 wines, following which we’d cycle to another winery a mere 10 kilometers away, and begin the tasting process again. I managed one sip from each glass while watching others drain their liquid happily and with ease. I did learn how to check the colour or a red and the clarity of a white, inhale the bouquet, and differentiate between citrus, chocolate and tobacco flavours of a good Malbec.