La Perversione del Mito

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Una mostra forte: Superanturalis Historia può lasciarci inorriditi, estasiati, perturbati. Sicuramente non impassibili.

Pensata specificamente per gli spazi espositivi del PAN, dopo un attento studio a 4 occhi dell’artista Maurizio Elettrico e del curatore Eugenio Viola.

“ Abbiamo realizzato un miracolo”. Le sale del palazzo artistico del cuore della Napoli-bene, si prestano , con non poche difficoltà, a modulare un’esposizione che diventa un racconto sinestetico.

Irriverente, blasfema, provocatoria, ci catapulta in una dimensione dove mito, eros, fantasy convivono.

Sin dall’ingresso avremo come l’impressione di percorrere due binari: naturale e artificiale, tanto diversi, quanto accostabili. Le logiche di questi due mondi contaminandosi, paiono arricchirsi fino a creare un nuovo linguaggio.

In questa Super Storia per immagini la Natura è Divina, il Potere Bioaristocratico.

Canovaccio della mostra è la saga epico-erotica “Lo Scoiattolo e il Graal”, di cui è autore lo stesso Elettrico. Anche chi non ha letto il testo, ne riconosce facilmente i personaggi cardine. Disegni ambigui vengono incontro ai visitatori, il pavimento è ricoperto di sali, pietre, terreno, farfalle imbalsamate si alternano a zucche di resina e melograni, l’arancio è il colore predominante.

Attraverso una pluralità di media, le sette opere in mostra, tante quante i volumi cui sono ispirate, tra dipinti, sculture, disegni, installazioni e tableaux vivants, ci restituiscono una mitologia perversa, popolata da personaggi autocelebrativi sostenuti da religioni debordanti fanatismo e intolleranza.

Presente e passato si fondono, basti pensare che il titolo della mostra trae origine da Plinio Il Vecchio ed il suo Naturalis Historia (77-78 d.C.). Stimoli diversi convergono in un immaginario ludico e seducente.

Un sensualissimo Cervandro ci guarda con occhi di ghiaccio ed efebica bellezza. Lo ritroviamo in posa in uno scatto ambientato, non a caso, nell’atrio della Fondazione Morra, promotrice dell’esposizione.

La narrazione deborda di rimandi teologici, filosofici, araldici, esoterici ed alchemici..non evidenti a tutti.

L’artista descrive un mondo futuribile e a tratti atroce, abitato da guerre, amori, sesso, intrighi politici ed estremismi religiosi, in cui spesso i limiti umani e, più in generale, della natura, per effetto della magia o della scienza, sono ampiamente superati.

Un futuro iperumanista e distopico, in cui la Terra subisce il dominio di una nuova specie umana, frutto di raffinate manipolazioni genetiche: la “Bioaristocrazia”.

Ma cosa vuol dire? Quanta pretenziosità in una sola parola: l’artistocrazia bio ci mancava. Veloce il rimando –forse fuori pista- al biopotere, alla biopolitica di Foucaultiana memoria : ovvero quella capacità dei dispositivi di potere di inglobare e controllare i processi della vita, corporalità inclusa.

In realtà,la bioaristocrazia qui equivale piuttosto ad una vocazione artistico-demiurgica. Data la sua “divina natura”, il Bioaristocratico regna sulle due specie umane abitanti la Terra: i “Naturali”, del tutto simili agli uomini attuali, ed i “Selvatici”, di aspetto umano ma dall’intelligenza animale.

Le opere in mostra sono alternate ad un abbondante corredo di natura testuale che racchiude i primi tre volumi della saga, esposti a mo’ di installazione, per comporre un monumentale story board, un insieme potenzialmente infinito di meta-narrazioni.

Ci troviamo in una situazione che gli inglesi definirebbero “in between”. Natura e artificio, femminilità, virilità e bestialità. Un trionfo quasi rassicurante di frutta e natura colorata, un moderno Bacco, in grado di generare anche un eau de toilette, il cui packaging è a dir poco originale, visto che lo spruzzino proviene direttamente dal deretano. “Te lo faccio provare”, mi dice il curatore prendendomi il polso.

Il profumo addosso magari non lo volevo, ma mi accompagnerà per il resto della giornata. Non capita tutti i giorni di poter odorare di fragranza d’artista, no?

English Version:

The Perversion of Myth @ PAN Palazzo delle Arti

The Taste of Emotions

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Monzù: cuisine with view, a terrace overlooking Faraglioni rocks :  multi-sensory experience (taste, smell, sight ..). Gourmet restaurant of the luxurious Hotel Punta Tragara, between its lines designed by Le Corbusier,  sticks out the kingdom of Chef Louis Lionetti : 32 years old, he  already boasts an impressive curriculum.

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“Everything begins at age of 15 years, in Pescara where I was pursuing my childhood dream, to be a football player. Unfortunately, due to an injury I had to give up this passion.”
But Luigi did not lose heart and started chasing  another passion.
“I attended the hotel management school” De Cecco “, who organized me an internship at the restaurant” Da Paolino “Capri.” The beginning of an everlasting love : the one for cooking. “To be honest, from a very young age, I have alway been enchanted to see my grandfather preparing delicious meals and I still remember the fish lunches  in the best restaurants of Naples, when my father took me with him to see the football matches of our favourite team .”
But let’s start from the restaurant Da Paolino:
Essential experience, “I have lived there (he really used this verb!) seven seasons working hard.
paolino.jpgI learned what are sacrifice, respect for colleagues and hierarchies. Lino De Martino is one of the greatest restaurant manager of the Island. I owe my personal growth to Nando Arcucci, Chef of the restaurant at that time, a very nice person that immediately pushed me to continue working in that field. “
Luigi is eager to learn new things and more and more passionate about cooking: features that will make him a “next door” Chef .
In 2007 at the age of 23,  he has the opportunity to join the team of the prestigious hotel “Punta Tragara” of Capri, as a sous-chef, and from 2011 as Executive Chef. “Here I was lucky enough to work with the starred chef Gennaro Esposito of  Torre del Saracino. Gennaro revolutionized my career. I feel enriched, both professionally and personally, I have learned how to recognize raw materials, to respect and value each product during its specific season. “
Your career as a Chef led you to travel and challenge yourself with other realities, but yet in your menu is always recognizable our local raw materials. There’s always a piece of Capri with you. Tell us about this mix  and your relationship with the island.
“The cuisine is my playground, my second home. It ‘a place where I feel particularly at ease and free to express myself in so many ways.
esternogiorno.jpgI never forget our territory, even when I cook modern dishes:  at Monzù we are sustainable from all points of view, innovative, and we are open to all the possibilities that the gourmet world of today offers us.
Travelling in many different countries, questioning  yourself with other colleagues,  enriches your professional background.  No coincidence that some influences grow from these experiences, that I then put into practice.  But what makes the difference today is knowing how to be authentic.
monzuCapri is omnipresent, even in certain experiences and events  I took part, I always carried with me this beautiful island, especially in 2013 when I ran as best emerging chef , for Luigi Cremona Award, in 2013. The dish that I presented was a  ” Mozzarella ice cream” , I am proud of it: a basil soup and a biscuit with tomato.  I called it “Unusual Caprese” , revoking the caprese salad,  the same ingredients used in a sweet way.
In my menu , I will never miss:  tomatoes, lemons, extra virgin olive oil, fresh fish . Today we can be good, very good, but without great raw food we can do very little. The products must always be respected and never stressed. “
During the era of health-consciousness, you propose dishes like pasta with potatoes, or eggplant parmigiana ..Do they work? How could  you make  the Mediterranean cuisine lighter without betraying its taste?
I belong to a land of great products, the most linked to our tradition, often the simplest dishes, are the winning, so in my menu there will be always dishes like spaghetti with clams.
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The future is  make the  cuisine as light as possible : always keep an eye on vegans and vegetarians, they are growing more and more and we are happy to receive and satisfy them in the best way.
I can consider myself obsessive about work, because I love the constant research for taste.
A dish comes from a thousand memories, talking to an old person, a fisherman, with my grandfather, dealing with colleagues; it is crucial to give value to what the season offer us..Then the Inspiration can come even listening to a song or looking at my children ..
Questioning yourself, keeping up-to-date is the spice of my life the real secret of this work.
I try a recipe million times before it reaches an excellent standard and has something to tell. And for this I am very pleased that most of the customers who come to Monzù, tell us that they find the cuisine tasteful .. it makes me even more happy when the same client return to eating that particular dish..That’s a real satisfaction.
Your brigade, what does it mean to you to be Chef? Leader, or active part of the group? Your rules in the kitchen?
“Chef” … I have always considered it a buzzword, “cook” sounds better, but having such a big responsibility overjoys me,  I know I have a huge duty because I certainly can not go wrong nor let down anybody.
Luigi loves the team working: “The key to success is a right brigade: make sure that the people you work with are valid and adequate first of all as person, then comes the rest. In our kitchen we are all part of this wonderful job, we are a team of which I’m proud : Antonio my sous chef, Riccardo , we worked together for six years .. we are friends as well as colleagues. The all have hearts of gold. A fundamental  part of this fabulous team are our three dishwashers who follow me everywhere. They are never mentioned but behind us there are them .. We could hardly do well without them.
Michelin, what does it represent for you this world?
Michelin to me means a stage not a goal.
It might me reached with specific standards of quality, raw materials and definitely an impressive cuisine.
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I would lie if i would say that we do not believe we can achieve it…
The road is still long,  but we are a beautiful property, perhaps one of the most competitive on the Italian and international scene. I consider myself extremely lucky to be part of it.
The cook with his dishes tells stories and if you manage to transmit them  it is a great collective success
In the kitchen I can not stand who doesn’t have  passion in what he does.
If a dish, when I taste it, excites me then yes , it is ready to be part of the menu.
Gourmet addresses you would recommend.
Among the great Chef  I have met in my path, I want to mention Giuseppe di Martino, sous chef of Gennaro Esposito, now Chef of Postrivoro, Faenza; Rocco De Santis, Chef at Vistamare ( Latina), Cristian Torsiello in Valva, who recently won his first star, a very humble guy, grown up with Niko Romito. It  is rising more and more  the skill of women in the kitchen: I can name Fabiana Scarica with her restaurant in Vico Equense “Villa Chiara.”
Capri have made great strides, see the work of Capri Palace..Salvatore Elefante, or “Mammà” with my friend Salvatore La Ragione.
Keep an eye on  Da Tonino Restaurant, not to be underrated.
While on the Coast, I might be biased, but when I sit a at the table of Torre del Saracino of Gennaro Esposito is a thrilling experience, all the time. I am a person who can be satisfied easily, oddly my favorite dishes are the simplest ; what  I can not resist is  pizza and I always run when I can go to my sister and my brother in law in London, at the  restaurant “Addomme“. It ‘a place where in winter I often stop by, also because the hotel in Capri is closed.
In the gourmet world, you represent a rare exception, being very reserved person. What do you think of the of  Chef as part of a star-system ?
Everyone tells me you’re very humble, and I should expose myself more..But I’m what I’m, so I prefer that my dishes speak about me.
I would not judge those who decide to appear on TV or be part of shows, I just think that if something is made wisely and can help the gastronomic circuit, then so be it.

AnnaChiara Della Corte

Italian version: http://www.capripress.com/site/?p=7334

Jewelry Design made in Capri

VozzaStore.pngVia Fuorlovado  can be ironically defined the “little shy sister” of Via Camerelle: central hub that connects the main square (the so called “Piazzetta”), world’s most glamorous “salotto”, to the residential area par excellence, from the time of Tiberius to nowadays.

Typical, authentic, but always  looking ahead, here during the last 10 years  stood out family Restaurant like Aurora, which has  recently been enriched by an elegant lounge bar, tailor brands like Farella or Isaia, and the Jewlery design “Grazia and Marica Vozza“, which owes its name to the talented twins of Capri, creators of jewelery and accessories one of a kind.

Just a few steps away, as a younger alternative, the brand “Finestre di Luce”, up with with the coolest trends,  an idea of Carolina, Grazia’s daughter , a fresh look, like the one of Carolina, but already recognizable and precise.

With its characteristic Moorish windows, Grazia and Marica Vozza, it’s much more than a store . It is an atelier: “A living room where we “snuggle” our customers. We focus our work primarily on human relationship, we know our customers very well and our first interest is to fulfill their creative desires. ” Say the sisters.

vozza.pngRegarding the brand identity: Grazia is the creative part of the company while Marica follows the commercial side. Carolina, instead,  takes care of  the  business “strategy”: “I love photography and fashion, when I think about our jewelery I want our style be distinctive. I like to play with the mix match of gold and silver  with the inclusion of freshwater pearls and precious stones. I would say that I am the synthesis of my mother and my aunt, I consider myself a creative mind but I’m also attracted by the world of marketing and that’s the reason why with my aunt and I are starting to work on the e-commerce of  Finestre di Luce, that will soon be online. “

jewel.pngMediterranean declined in Jewelry: “Our source of inspiration is first of all Capri, with its landscapes, lights, colors.”

During winter time, Grazia is used to go out for long walks surrounded by  nature and intimacy that the island boasts in “low season”. This allows her to fantasize and think of the pieces of the new collection.

A successful example of Made in Italy (or even better Made in Capri). Maniac about details, ready to meet the most demanding and extravagant requests. Can you briefly describe the techniques and processing phases of Vozza jewelry?

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Most of our jewelry is designed by Grazia, and then created by our goldsmiths, while others are entirely made in our laboratories after buying the raw material such as ebony, ivory and amber.” Explains Marica: “Made in Italy for us is Love, Passion, and a touch of Originality. For us it is a guarantor of craftsmanship quality . ”

A brand that embodies a history of nearly two decades: can you tell us about its story?

“It all started in a small hidden shop in Via Li Campi where we were discovered by an American tourist (still one of our best customer) : she bought almost everything and put in a good word about our brand. Our clients are mainly  Americans: they are the biggest  fans of  made in Italy, handmade products and everything that is original on an island like Capri, which has always represented the wanton luxury. Talent, determination and luck led us to inaugurate the atelier in Via  Fuorlovado . We feel very well positioned in this area of ​​Capri, we are surrounded by many craftsmen. It is ‘the “bohemian” alternative to  Via Camerelle, it responds with elegance and craftsmanship to  the big names of fashion. “

Capri is an international window of incomparable prestige, which deserves space beyond its natural borders. And that is why  Vozza jewels have landed in the Big Apple: “Linda Fargo (store manager) discovered our store in 2010 and allowed us to sell our jewelry to Bergdorf & Goodman, exclusive luxury hot spot.”

Between Capri and New York, therefore, it only remains to choose where to shop!

AnnaChiara Della Corte

Italia Version: Capri Focus

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Un Soggiorno da Bauhauser

 

 

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Art Hotel, una delle tendenze più in voga e forse anche più riuscite degli ultimi anni nel campo dell’Hotellerie: caratterizzare gli spazi con complementi di arredo ispirati da opere di Maestri del Contemporaneo o vere e proprie creazioni artistiche site-specific. Parallelamente, anche i B&B si impreziosiscono proponendo una forma di ospitalità diversa, più autentica, che comunica visivamente tramite il proprio genius loci.

 È  ciò che è accaduto al Bauhaus di Dessau, anonima città post-industriale nell’area orientale della Germania, trasformatasi negli anni ’20 in una vera e propria Mecca per gli appassionati di architettura modernista, oggi sede di un B&B di design. Il Concept è proprio quello della Scuola tedesca di architettura per eccellenza ( che  operò anche a Weimar e Berlino prima che il movimento nazista ne ordì la chiusura): l’arte, l’artigianato e la tecnologia,  teoria e  pratica,  unificati in un’opera d’arte totale, la Costruzione. 

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A metà strada tra bottega artistica e laboratorio artigiano, progettata da Walter Gropius e completata nel 1926 come “manifesto costruito”, scuola pubblica e democratica dove allievi e docenti studiavano, vivevano e lavoravano insieme. Malgrado la sua breve vita, divenne punto di riferimento fondamentale per tutti i movimenti d’innovazione legati al razionalismo e al funzionalismo. Dessau è stata la prima località nella quale il Bauhaus ha potuto realizzare il suo programma non solo di corsi, ma anche di costruzioni. L’edificio, con la sua caratteristica cortina di vetro,  include anche la Preller – Haus dov’erano un tempo gli ex alloggi per studenti e i loro balconcini sporgenti , indicanti all’esterno la suddivisione in piccole unità abitative. Queste camere sono ora disponibili per 40 euro a notte.
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Per molti fanatici e/o nostalgici del Movimento Moderno, è un sogno che si avvera: trascorrere una notte nella “Casa della costruzione” , erede delle avanguardie pre-belliche e del Werkbund( lega tedesca artigiani), un’ associazione di architetti interessati a sperimentazioni urbanistiche  organicamente inserite nel contesto sociale ed economico. Dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, l’iconico edificio è stato aperto al pubblico come museo prima, e da circa due anni  come bed & breakfast, offrendo la possibilità di vivere per qualche giorno come gli studenti che vi soggiornavano quasi un secolo fa, con bagni, servizi e ristorante comuni. Il restauro è stato effettuato in maniera fedele, grazie al ricorso ad immagini fotografiche dell’epoca e a ricostruzioni varie.Le 28 camere sono tutte dotate di sedie Wassily e scrivanie in acciaio firmate Marcel Breuer. Semplici e spartane, ma particolarmente luminose, grazie alle ampie vetrate.Per chi desidera un soggiorno più esclusivo, le cinque Suite (a partire da 60 euro), un tempo destinate ai residenti più illustri della scuola, sono  personalizzate con arredi su misura progettati dai loro ex inquilini, tra cui Joseph Albers e gli architetti Franz Ehrlich e Alfred Arndt.

Portare l’educazione artistica fuori dalle accademie,  i Maestri e gli apprendisti del Bauhaus furono figure di spicco della cultura europea dello secolo scorso, la cui esperienza didattica  ha inciso sull’insegnamento artistico e tecnico fino ad oggi. Questa nuova destinazione  inserisce l’edificio nelle tappe di un “Grand Tour” contemporaneo, favorendo la memoria storica di un luogo che non può essere dimenticato.
AnnaChiara Della Corte

Vogue 100: Timeless Style

 

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100 years: a milestone birthday. Vogue, the monthly magazine for Fashion (and beyond)  celebrates its first century of British edition at the National Portrait Gallery ( London)

Vogue 100, a Century of Style: over 280 shots, taken from Condé Nast archives, published from 1916 to nowadays.

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“My hope is that the visitor will go back home with the assurance that Vogue is so much more than just a fashion magazine or clothing. It is a cultural barometer of our times. ” Explains the exhibition’s curator Robin Muir.

In addition to original prints, the works of photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Lee Miller, Norman Parkinson, Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmet Newton, and Mario Testino, the show displays  dozens of portraits of  Hollywood stars of the Fifties, up to those of the nineties supermodels, including “naughty girl from Croydon”, Kate Moss, British pride, almost deified for the exposure.

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The photographers of Vogue are not just  big names of the fashion world, they are big names in photography. ” Says Alexandra Shulman, the current editor in chief of Vogue, “we are always interested in new talents, in addition to the already established personalities.”
In fact we see the evolution of photography from the beginning of the last century, when the covers were almost artistic posters, to the glossy cover of today. And so,  in the same show: artistic photos where the subject almost disappears in the beauty of dream landscapes or in the complexity of a make-up, portraits of Royals (Princess Diana, in primiis), or even the Beatles, from style icons  as Twiggy, to the Supermodel Naomi and Claudia and the more “pop” ones Uma Thruman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Keira Knightley.
Also men, icon of British elegance,such as  Rupert Everett and Hugh Grant.
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Until May 22 it will be possible to take a trip in the history of the style, looking at the evolution of a mega brand like Vogue, which by 1996 already boasted an impressive website. Communicate through images,  through the video: indeed, the exhibition opens with a mega wall screen projecting the most influential divas of the moment .

This knockout exhibition may look like it’s primarily for those interested in fashion, but looking back on it, I can hardly remember any fashion in the sense of something someone might actually wear. It’s all about storytelling, image-making and personalities. On this showing, Vogue is about selling dreams rather than selling clothes. But that probably always has been the ultimate essence of fashion.

AnnaChiara Della Corte

 

Spring is here, at The Royal Academy

royalAcademy.jpgSpring has arrived early at the Royal Academy of London: a triumph of Monet and his passion for gardens “blossomed” at a young age and “cultivated”( pardon the pun) until his last days in Giverny, for the exhibition “Painting the Modern garden”, inaugurated last January 30 and open until April 20th.

But the father of Impressionism was not the only one to adore green spaces: the exhibition brings together masterpieces by other great Masters such as: Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee, presenting an overview of the garden from modern times to contemporary.

An ascending climax that never fails to make us shine eyes, bathed in the colour and light of more than 120 works.
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A little far from  Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus, ( jungle)  you will have  the privilege of strolling among the most sensual gardens ever portrayed,  the quiet (if you do not visit the exhibition at rush hour) and beauty. A unique opportunity to admire a sort of temporary London Orangerie .
monetIf in the “modern” section  the style is quite conformed to the Impressionist techniques, it is interesting that the same subject – the garden- is represented in so many different ways, almost contrasting, by contemporary authors. Just think of “the rose marble table” by Matisse, to notice the total de-structuralization of a natural element like the flower, or the Garden cottage of Klimt, whose recognizable pyramid shapes revoke the one of the most famous “kiss” of the twentieth century.matisse.jpg
Curated by Ann Dumas and William Robinson, the exhibition is studied in detail: juxtapositions of colors, subjects, including alternate sequences of poppies, roses, chrysanthemums, nymphs, and even a room with a real mini-greenhouse, circumscribed by manuals on gardening placed in elegant glass showcases.
gardenThe three-part panorama of water lilies reunited for the first time in decades at the end of this show is so overwhelming – magnificent. The bank has gone. All you see is water, flower, foliage, reflection, light, on and on, round and round. There is no up or down, no end to the beauty of these constellations of colour in liquid space and air. Monet’s garden is beautiful beyond measure: his field of vision is limitless.
A true oasis of peace  in the heart of the City, it would deserve a visit even just for this reason.

 

Learning how to cook with Lauren

Cooking Vacations was written up as the most trusted culinary tour company to Italy by National Geographic Traveler and featured among the leaders in culinary tours to Italy:

To paraphrase a famous quote by Virginia Woolf: behind every great project there is (always) a great woman.

laurenLauren Birmingham comes very often to  Capri, for work and pleasure. Italian American, Italian husband, she spends half a year in Boston and the other half (the summer season) in Positano.

Not bad, isn’t it ? I decided to interview her to see Capri through the eyes of a conscious visitor, and especially to learn more about her profession, focussed on Mediterranean flavors and traditions.

Lauren Birmingham, how is living half-year in Positano and the other half in Boston? You can find a balance between these two different realities? 

Yes for myself, an Italian American, living between two great places is the perfect combination.  Italy is a place of ancient culture, tradition and food; and in summer there is no other place I would rather be.  We work hard from sun rise and then take early evening to go for swim (the beach is a short walk and we overlook it every day while cooking and writing).

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Living day-to-day with my Italian culture and tradition that I was raised with, having great parents, grandparents and parents, who kept and keep the Italian way of life alive, has been instrumental for me.  On the other hand, Boston is a place of culture, education, competition and ideas.  With all of the museums, colleges, universities and more, it is a hot bed for learning and succeeding- there is an incredible energy in this city.  The city of the Patriots who carved American history battling for their freedom.  I am very proud to be a Bostonian.  We have a great cosmopolitan city that is the headquarters of American history, freedom – it was were the US Constitution was signed and ratified.

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Regarding Capri, I love every part of this enchanting Blue Island.  Each little corner offers something special and different.  I love going to Santa Sophia and seeing the statue of Sant’Antonio who seems real.  It’s a joy to walk through the gardens of Villa San Michele at sunset when the crowds have gone, the flowers sway in the breeze and quietness is very special.  I also love walking along the via Matermania to via Dentecala for a romantic dinner at Da Tonino, one of my favorite restaurants.  Another dreamy place is Monte Solaro, you feel like you are walking in the heavens. I visited Capri when I was a young girl, after reading about it in many great books by the old world writers such as Axel Munthe, Oscar Wilde, Grahm Green along with Shirley Hazard.  And of course, I love Peppino di Capri songs, its an old music era that will never go out of style.

Capri expresses its beauty in all four seasons, spring and summer the best, and winter too.  Spring and summer’s hustle is wonderful and so electric while winter’s bluesy atmosphere is cozy and intellectual.  Among my favorite restaurants in Capri: L’Olivo, Il Riccio, Da Tonino, Grottino and Da Giorgio, all for different reasons.

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Tell us about your passion for food and gastronomic traditions? Which are the “must-try” ingredients of the Amalfi Coast? What makes them so special?  I grew up with my Italian grandmother and mom.  I make everything from scratch:  brodo, bread, pasta and desserts.  I grow my own vegetables and make our own olive oil.  I advocate organic vegetables, fruits, and grass fed – non hormone- fish and meat.  I almost no meat, and am fortunate enough to have the best fish on the Amalfi Coast.  Boston seafood, with its cold water fish, cod, lobsters, scallops and clams is good quality as well.  I love olive oil, lemons, basil and garlic.  With these few ingredients you can make just about anything.

citrus.jpgHow would you explain the importance of eating local food?   Eating good food and local is so imperative, and most do not understand this idea and overlook it completely.  Also eating in the season is a natural rhythm that our body needs and knows instinctively.  If your body is in a natural balance and well-being state, it will crave winter or summer fruits and vegetables, in their proper season and  when they are in season.  Read labels, read ingredients and stay away from white flour, sugar, pasta, bread and salt.  These are the 5 killer whites. Could you pick some of your favorite Italian ingredients?  Extra virgin first cold pressed olive oil  first cold pressed olive oil, lemons, garlic, basil and rosemary from the Amalfi Coast, then truffles from Savigno, Parmigiano Reggiano from Emilia Romagna, Ricci and Pistachio fromSicily, artichokes from Roma.

Do you think we ( in the Amalfi Coast) have  a wide range of good/healthy food at supermarket? ( Sometimes in big cities the choice is greater, even if the flavors are not the same)  Yes.  In Boston and across America, we are lucky to have Wholefoods.  This high end boutique super market works with natural growers of organic foods and from local artisans.  They advocate non GMO and buy foods without pesticides.  This is so important for our bodies and health.  We need to know what we are eating and eat clean!

My favorite market in Italy is La Tradizione, in Vico.  Owners Annamaria and Salvatore are the most talented purveyors of everything in season, high quality and made by caring artisans.  The cheese selection is amazing, their wood oven baked home made breads are works of art, a carefully selected wine collection and gourmet section from olive oils, teas, pasta, spices, and select products from Campania and all of Italy make it my absolute preferred market.

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How would you educate people to choose the right food products? My first rule of choosing the right food produces is know your source.  Buy non GMO, foods without pesticides, and be aware of eating foods in season (non waxed vegetables and fruits, never farm raised).  Become familiar with food combining.  Personally, I have always followed the organic and well-being way of life along with incorporating lots of exercise and meditation.  At Cooking Vacations, we offer hands on cooking classes, food trips, market and wine visits and excursions to interesting food places.  Our cooking tours are a unique approach to Italian culture.  You will work alongside qualified chefs, cooks, bakers and pastry makers who share their Italian recipes, hospitality, traditions and culture with you in small groups of 2, 4, 6 or 8 people.

cooking2.jpgWe carefully respect your food allergies, likes and dislikes-along with your cooking level catering to vegetarian, gluten free and any special request.  Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the kitchen together at our table.

Our tours are unique and authentic because I continually travel throughout Italy to create each one with our family of chefs, food artisans, cheese and wine makers and certified guides. I am an Italian American who lives Positano, Italy with my Italian husband Rino.  Together with our professional team, we welcome guests from around the world, personally meet you upon your arrival at the airport or train station ( together with my husband company Italy Car Drivers) and are with you throughout your cooking program from check in to departure.  We are at your service all along the way, for questions and streamlining so you can enjoy your trip!

You’re writing your first book, could you give us a taste of it?

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My first book, which will be out shortly, and is a compilation of short stories on the artisans, chefs and local people, with folkloric stories on food and the artisans who continue to make them.  Featured in my book, will be stories and recipes, with the leading feature story on Executive Chef Andrea Migliacco Michelin Star Chef of Capri Palace.

The story of how the Capri Cake was the island’s most fortunate mistake;  the nuns who made the first sfogliatella, how cheese dates back to ancient Pompeii over 2000 years ago, Italy-s premiere wine maker, Marisa Cuomo, and how her husband gifted her the vineyard as a wedding gift, Ravello’s ancient trattoria and the v.i.ps they served their poor man’s food to, sfumato lemons and how they got here;  eggplant and tomatoes are not Italian at all, to name a few.andrea.jpg

In cooking, good ingredients are essential, but chefs make the difference. In Italian we say “mettere il cuore” ( you have to put your heart into it ). How would you recognize a passionate Chef?

Mettere il cuore, is a term that we cannot really translate to English.  I see the feeling immediately in a chef when I meet and interview them.

I immediately sensed Chef Andrea Migliacco’s passion, dedication and determination on my first interview.  As I got to know him, I mentioned my book idea and he responded, “Che bello!”  I said when you have a question, who do you go to.  He responded, “I go to my Nonna.”  I said, ‘I wish I still had my Nonna to ask.?  He invited me to Ischia, his home town and from there the conversation lead to  a collaboration of him offering his recipes for my book..

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We just have to wait for the date of publication and presentation of the book to immerse ourselves in the best gastronomic tradition Campana, remembering that the stories of our dishes are made of people, work and passion, as saying: Pane, Amore e Fantasia.

AnnaChiara Della Corte: acdellacorte@capripress.com