My Day in Modena- The City of the World’s Best Restaurant, Osteria Francescana.

 

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When I was in Italy this summer for “Project Healthy in Italy” ( read about it here) I was lucky to meet many fantastic people along my journey. One of them was Stefania Fregni who I was  introduced to by Valeria Moschet the woman behind the beautiful blog www.mylovelybologna.com.

I also hope you will take the time to read about when Valeria took me to cooking school in Bologna here!

 

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Stefania was my local guide and showed me the best that Modena had to offer!

Stefania is a born and raised Modenesian and is the woman behind the beautiful blog www.mymodenadiary.com

Modena is a beautiful little city just aboout 20-30 minutes by train from Bologna Central Station and is a quiet and quaint place in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. The world famous chef, Massimo Bottura and his restaurant Osteria Francescana, which was recently awared the tittel of the best in the world, has put this city on the map. Even if you can’ t eat at the famous restaurant, Modena is still well worth a visit on its own. (Read about when I met Massimo Bottura here)

 

Modena is known for its various magnificent buildings and majestic monuments. The most famous is its marvelous cathedral, or duomo, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997 along with the city’s Torre Civica and Piazza Grande.

 

Have you seen the Netflix Chef’s Table episode where Massimo Bottura is introduced to the world? The fotage where he goes shopping at the local market is called Mercato Albinelli, which you can see in the first photo. Here Stefania introduced me to local dishes and produce, and of course the most famous Modena balsamico! Read about balsamic vinegar here.

 

Modena is small enough to plan a day trip to if you are travelling in the region, or staying in other nearby cities. I would really recommend contacting Stefania for a local tour because you are introduced to places that you will not find on your own.

The highlight was when she took me to a local family owned restaurant for lunch. The owners’ mother (who must have been over 70 or more) was sitting in the entrance area hand rolling pasta! Amazing:)

Authentic, family owned restaurant with local pasta dishes, Lambrusco (local sparkling red wine), balsamic vinegar and other local specialties. The highlight of my day!

 

For more tips or to get in touch with Stefania visit www.mymodenadiary.com What is your favorite place to travel to?


Come Along with me to Culinary School in Bologna!

Meet Simone Guerra, one of the fantastic people I met during my stay in Italy for “Project Healthy in Italy”. (Read about it here). I was introduced to Simone, the founder of the culinary school Otto in Cucina in Bologna by Valeria Moschet, the women behind the succesessful blog My Lovely Bologna 

If you are travelling to Bologna I really recommend stopping by her site and Instagram account with the same name for some great tips!

Below the pictures you will learn more about how Simone founded one of Bolognas most modern culinary schools…

The Pasta Warrior

Simone Guerra is the founder of the culinary school “Otto in Cucina”. Her last name is “Guerra” which means warrior in Italian. Considering what she embarked upon a year ago when building her culinary school form the ground up, the meaning of her last name is very appropriate! You can see the video from her journey here

The moment I entered the school I could sense the passion and labour that went into building the beautiful, brand new culinary school full of modern equipment and design, which is branded with Simones staple color; hot pink.

Here is also a video from the lovely herb garden at the school! 

“Otto in Cucina” means “eight in the kitchen”, referring to the Italian school grade system where grade 10 is the best. Simone is not a chef with a formal education therfore she found herself more comfortable with telling her students that if you can acheive culinary results worth the grade 8 and not always 10, that still means you can make som amazing food! Food should be about pleasure, fun, joy and nutrition and not about perfection.

Becoming a Master of Pasta, Sfolia

I love the fresh egg pasta which is typical of Bologna and the Emilia- Romagna area and Simone taught me how to make the classic tagliatelle pasta which are the flat pasta that are suppose to be 1 m.m. x 6 m.m. in size. I can assure you this will take practice to acheive…

Simone learned the art of cooking  from her grandmother who was a “sfoglina”, female pastamaker, but the art of making fresh pasta she actually learned from the mother of one of her sons friends.

For years she had been intimidated by the art of pasta, thinking it would be to difficult to learn. But her friend told her otherwise. She was a professional “sfoglina” by trade and meant that anyone could learn and become good at making “sfoglia”  with a little love, passion and practice.

The two became both good friends and cooking buddies, talking eagerly about pasta making in the school halls. Eventually some of the fathers at the school overheared the conversations and wanted to learn more about pasta as more and more Italian men are getting into the kitchen. So the journey begins…

From Hobby to Career

Do to the demand of several fathers wanting to learn how to make pasta, Simone and her friend- the professional pasta maker, started pasta and cooking courses in Simones house in 2012. By 2013 they held about 150 courses in all kinds of cuisines and simply outgrew her house.

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Simone is a great teacher!

In 2017 Simone and her husband decided to invest in a property that today is the culinary school Otto in Cucina where Simone and her staff share their passion and knowledge about Italian food as well as other cuisines for both private persons and companies.

I highly recommend booking a class if you ever are in the area!  Visit her school here

Here are the dishes we made that evening; fresh egg tagliatelle, pesto, agrugula pesto with pistachios, cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese. 

Having great fun while learning about Italian cooking and being inspired by these talented women! Simone, Valeria and Stefania. ( http://www.mylovelybologna.com and http://www.mymodenadiary.com. More to come later).


Do You Dare to Follow Your Dreams and Your Passion?

I am sorry it has been a while since you have heard from me, but wow what a ride these past months have been!

Perhaps you have been following me and “Project Healthy in Italy” and also my trip this summer to exciting Bangkok in Thailand via my blog, Instagram and other social media?

I have been using these past months to learn, explore, grow and to lay the next path for my career and future, and I am really excited about welcoming fall and new opportunities, and I will definitely be revealing more when everything is ready.

In the mean time I want to share the inspiring stories of some really strong and talented Italian women I met this summer in Italy and who all contributed to my project and helped make my stay in Italy so memorable and amazing.

They have all followed their dreams and are working with their true passions  and run their own businesses.

Next week I will be introducing you to Simona Guerra from Otto in Cucina Culinary School, Valeria Moschet and Stefania Fregni – who are both social media experts and the women behind the brands and blogs “My Lovely Bologna” and “My Modena Diary”.

I find their stories, knowledgde, kindness and passion to be really inspiring and I hope you will to! So make sure to check my blog og subscribe for updates.

Until then I would love to hear from you in the comment section below; are you an aspiring business owner? Do you have a dream or a passion you would love to make your full time job?


A Leap of Faith – From Cocktails to Juice!

Paolo Scagliarini had been working in the bar industry for 20 years until one day his health was no longer on his side and he knew he had to make a change. The answer came in the form of pressing healthy fruits and vegetables.  So Paolo took a leap of faith and went from cocktails to juice!

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Paolo went from 20 years in the cocktail bar industry to the juice bar industry.

Slow Juicing in Bologna.

I was so happy when I found this cute juice bar just right outside my apartment here in Bologna as I was really missing my fresh juice and something healthy that did not consist of bread for a quick meal.

I was lucky to meet the owner that day and went back to learn more about his venture into the juice world and his thoughts on health here in Italy. As you may know I am here with my latest project “Project Healthy in Italy”. Read more about it here

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Cute juice bar in the heart of Bologna.

From Cocktails to Juice in Bologna. 

Paolo had beeing working in the bar industry for 20 years and starting having health issues as the focus had been on serving alcohol and chips due to his job. After a while he decided he was ready for a different focus and started learning more about vegeterian, vegan and raw food.

He started noticing a change in both his attitude and his body when implementing this kind of food and juice to his diet. He also added a slow juicer to his existing bar selling more and more fresh juice.

1 1/2 ago he decided to take a leap of faith and to leave the traditional bar industry for good to open a juice bar called Nectare in Bologna. The juice bar also focuses on raw and vegan food.

Paolo says, “There is more and more focus on a plant based diet here in Italy just like the rest of the world. The Italians also like something quick, easy and light for lunch so the vast majority of my clients are actually locals and not tourists.”

He also tells us that for the first time Italians are spending more money on fruits and vegetables than on meat, which is a very positive trend. And the focus on organic is also steadily growing.

Green Detox Juice

I also asked Paolo to share his most popular juice recipe with us and it is a juice called Green Detox. It consists of fennel, apple, celery, spinach and ginger. A real green treat! You can watch us make the juice in the video below.

Visit Nectare’s website here


Al Meni Food Festival with Massimo Bottura- Rimini, Italy

“Food made with both our hearts and hands” is the slogan for the food festival promoting Italian cooking and produce from the Emilia- Romagna region in Italy.

I was lucky to have recieved an invite and in todays blog post I will share my weekend with you! And yes I got to meet the boss himself, Mr. Bottura…

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Part of the opening act outside the main tent.

Al Meni means “on the menu” and this weekend there were so many amazing dishes (and wines) on the menu created by some of the best chefs in the industry, both Italian and International.

The two day festival in June takes place in the beautiful oceanside area by the five star hotel Grand Hotel Rimini, and consists of stalls, stands, food trucks and the main circus tent where all the cooking shows take place.

You can learn more about Italian produce through daily courses on site, and taste and drink your way through the great food region which is Emilia-Romagna all while enjoying the sunny seaside.  You can also buy clothing, jewlery and other exciting Italian made things.

Tips! If you scroll all the way down to the end of the post you can see my video from the festival including the after party with Massimo!

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From the opening show

Massimo Bottura is the vice president of the Chef to Chef organization and is one of the main people behind the food festival where as mentioned, food, produce and wine from the Emilia- Romagna district takes center stage. It was an extra special event since the world famous chefs restaurant, Osteria Francescana was recently awarded the title of the worlds best restaurant.

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One thing that has been a common factor with everyone I have met here in Italy these past two weeks is the word “passion”. Every single person I have spoken to has been very passionate about their work, food, wine and what they produce. The Al Meni festival is the perfect venue to showcase this.

It all comes together under the summer sky by the ocean in Rimini where you can enjoy the best food and wine with your family and friends. The Italians are very social people and this is one of the main reasons as to why Italians live longer and are considered healthier than the rest of the world and Europe.

I also had the honor of meeting great wine producers from the area and discovered some amazing, especially sparkling wines, that you can not get outside of Italy, or at least only in select countries. And of course some of the worlds best chefs! Here are some pictures…

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Day turned into night and after the festival was closed the party continued down by the beach until the early hours of the morning celebrating life, love, friendship, and all that is wonderful about Italy and the food and wine that unites us…

View the video for more!

Visit the website for the festival here 


Orsi San Vito Wine – Made with Passion, Love and the Way Nature Intended

The focus on what we eat and how our food is produced is thankfully becoming more and more important. We are asking questions about our food. We want to know what’s in it and how it is produced. Is it natural, organic and are we actually getting what we are paying for? Because of these questions the food industry is forced to become more and more transparent.

But do you ask the same questions when it comes to the wine you drink? If not then come along with me to Orsi Vigneto San Vito  winery in the magestic hillside of Bologna and learn more!

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I was lucky that Alessandro Martini from Italian Days Food & Wine Tours was able to take me to meet Federico and his beautiful organic and biodynamic winery!

Natural wines are becoming more and more popular as we also understand that it is not only our foods that are being tampered with, but our wines as well. There is also a clear trend in going back to old, traditional methods of producing  and conserving foods and drinks for the sake of our health, to enhance flavour, and also to work more in tune with nature.

Federico and his wine production is a very good example of this philosophy in practice. He is extremly knowledagble and passionate about his wine, and ensures quality and respect for both the ingredients, the environment and takes great care in every single step of the process.

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Federico explains the natural fermentaion process of his wines. The famous Pignoletto Frizzante. Sparkling white wine from the region.

Italian Wine Culture

It was also important for me to get a better understanding of the Italian wine and drinking culture related to “Project Healthy in Italy” ( Read about it here ) as I know it is a part of the big picture as to why Italians are rated as being the healthiest country in Europe and second in the world.

As Federico tells me, “Drinking wine in Italy is about the social aspect as well as the enjoyment of something delicious, made with care and love. Also, we never drink on an empty stomach without food”.

Hense the Italian tradition of “Aperitivo”, a pre-dinner drink always accompanied with snacks or tapas style food.

Organic vs. Biodinamic Wine Production

To produce organic does not mean to produce biodynamic, but biodynamic produced food and wine is always organic. As a biodynamic wine producer there is a holistic approach to everything.

Federico shares, “To produce true wines of this terroir, we practice an agriculture which is capable of revitalizing the soil, stimulating plants and producing fruits with a strong bond with the territory. We don’t use chemicals and we work with nature to ensure the best possible conditions for our vines.

If the vines are under-performing and need nitrogen we plant beans or other pulses, leaving the cut plants to nourish the land. If on the other hand the vines are over-active we’ll plant grasses.”

Biodynamic wines are wines made employing biodynamic methods both to grow the fruit and during the post-harvest processing. Biodynamic wine production uses organic farming methods (e.g. employing compost as fertilizer and avoiding pesticides) while also employing soil supplements prepared according to Rudolf Steiner’s formulas, following a planting calendar that depends upon astronomical configurations, and treating the earth as “a living and receptive organism. Wikepedia

The fermentations are spontaneous without the use of selected yeasts, and there is no clarification or filtration on the wines. Federico is passionate about producing distinct wines with character and a non-standardized personality.

The farm also breeds free range Mora Romagnola pigs  and makes its own mortadella (famous from the area) using the best quality meat and spices.

San Vito has been producing wine for fifty years but since being awarded DOCG certification (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin) the popularity of Pignoletto has grown and wine buffs and entusiasts are starting to take notice.

Federico produces about 60 000 bottles a year and exports about 60 %. Both the USA and Nordic countries are buyers and recently the famous chef Gaggan Anad is on the list to buy the latest vintage for his famous restaurant in Bangkok.

Federicos also produces biodinamic vegetables and here we are inspecting the last of the farms artichokes. San Orsi also supplies the Michelain restaurant Amerigo with vegetables. I am visiting them next Friday! 🙂

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After roaming the vinyards, tasting mulberries straight from the tree, visiting the pigs and the spelt fields (!) it was finally time to taste the famous housemade mortadella and wine.

I love the dry, fresh tast of the natural fermentation process! There is also a low sugar content in Federicos wines, which gives them an extra star in my book. They have a very differant taste and mouth-feel than other wines I have tasted and go perfect together with the local charcuterie which is famous in the region. They taste natural, fresh, (even healthy) and are made with passion, love and the way that nature intended…

And finally the weekend sets in and we may enjoy the wine, eachothers company and shameless self- promation of our books, wine, mortadella and food and wine tours.

Learn more about Orsi San Vito Winery here

Book a food & wine tour with Alessandro and Italian Days here


Healthy Habits, Healthy Lifestyle. How to Change Your Diet and Lifestyle with David Mariani

Eat simple food, move with nature and make time for your spirit, is Italian health guru David Marianis philosophy on how to live a long, healthy and happy life.

 

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Changing ones lifestyle, getting into better shape and perhaps also losing weight is something both I and many of you are familiar with. I have been doing this on a personal level for years and also helping others do the same.

Therfore it was very exciting to meet Italys’ health guru and best-selling author, David Mariani in Montecatini for “Project Healthy in Italy”. (Read more about it here)

The passionate and humble David invited me to his wellness resort where he has been helping people change their lifestyles and health for over 40 years. He works with doctors, psychologists and nutritionists. But perhaps the best secrets and advice on the subject are those found in the answers from his many interviews with  Itailian nonnas (grandmas). These women are all well over 85 and still thriving! Their knowledge has become part of his teachings.

 

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David has recently turned his many years of research into a best-selling book “Reborn in 21 Days”, where he shares his knowledge on how important movement is for the body, mind and spirit. The book sold over 35 000 copies in Italy in its first week of release. Due to the success the book is also in the process of being translated into 21 Spanish speaking countries. Hopefully the best-selling book will also be translated into English soon!

David works both one- on- one with clients, loves to give speeches to larger audiences and is also passionate about sharing his “Healthy Habits” with companies as well.  His goal is to use his methodology to help prevent and cure, both short term and long term disease and illnesses that are due to a seditary and “modern day” lifestyle.  According to David’s research there are over 3, 5000, 000 premature deaths related to the lack of physical activity.  Luckily there are people like David wanting to help change our unhealthy habits and turn them into healthy habits one step at a time…

 

Read on for Davids best tips on how you can change your habits today!

 

 

 

Change Your Lifestyle the “Healthy Habit” Way- David’s Best Tips

1.Focus on what you are gaining. To permanatly change your habits and therefore lifestyle, focus on the positiv as you are actually adding value to you life and not taking something away. This is key.

2. Find you “inner spark”. Identify your inner motivation and use that as your motivator and you will acheive longlasting results. A typical inner motivtaion factor is wanting to have the health to see your children og grandchildren grow up.

3. Learn to listen to your body. Stop looking for answers outside and turn the focus inward.

4. Forget the words “have to”! Davids daughter, who has lost 26 kg in a year using Davids methods tells us wisley, “To lose weight, don’t think about losing weight!”. You don’t have to do anything, you want to do something.

5. Slow and steady wins the race. Change one small thing every day, every week and make sure to implement it everyday and soon it will be a habit. As David says, “It takes 9 months to be born so it will at least take 9 months to change.

To learn more about David and Healthy Habits visit here

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Sharing our books and knowledge with eachother:)

 

 

 

 

 


Spelt Orecchiette with Summer Zucchini and Parmesan

Try taking the pasta away from the Italians and I am sure you will live to regret it! Luckily there are so many healthy options being grown and produced in Italy that are a great alternativ to the refined white, wheat based pasta.

These products are being exported all around the globe and I can even buy some of them back home in my country of Norway at my local heath food store.  So today I have a great vegeterian, healthy pasta dish for you!

 

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Blood-sugar friendly whole grain spelt pasta.

I am a carbohydrate loving girl, but unfortunately my weight nor my blood sugar feels the same love, and being in Italy for a month with “Project Healthy in Italy” (read about it here) doesn’t exactly make it easier for me to stay away…

But luckily there are so many healthier alternatives to the white, processed wheat pasta at every corner. Italians are actually  large producers of the healthy ancient grain spelt, and i love it! My body digests this so much better and the taste is fantastic.

So todays recipe is made with organic whole grain spelt orecchiette ( a type of pasta from Tuscany that looks like ears) and local produce that I bought at the market today.

Italy is famed for its’ zucchini vegetables and come in all shapes and sizes, so I simply had to make something with these beautiful and healthy vegetables.  This recipe is vegeterian and vegan if you leave out the parmesan.

 

Spelt Orecchiette with Summer Zucchini and Parmesan

  • Whole grain spelt pasta. (It does not have to be orecchiettie)
  • One green zucchini
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Parmesan ( Real Reggiano parmiggano and not the fake kind!)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • White beans, fresh or canned (optional)

 

How to: Cook the pasta as advised on the pack. In a pan, fry the chopped garlic with finely sliced zucchini. Add salt and pepper and fry until golden. Mix with the cooked pasta and add more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add parmesan and fresh basil. If you have beans (like I added in my dish because they we so beautiful), you can cook them with the pasta if fresh, or add to the zucchini mixture before adding to the pasta.

 

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Drink Yourself Healthy Just Like the Ancient Romans- Project Healthy in Italy

Drink the healing water of Montecatini just like the ancient Romans and Verdi did, and perhaps you too will be able to compose music of the Gods!

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Just one of the beautiful scenes of Therme di Montecatini

Nestled in the hills of Tuscany in Italia lies the small town of Montecatini. Little did I know that this town once was the destination for the rich and famous who were seeking a “healing vacation” and to rejuvinate from lifes demands.

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Thermal baths in the early days.

Audrey Hepburn, Madam Curie and Guiseppe Verdi are just some of the famous names of people who have stayed in this charming town because of the healing thermal waters.

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Can you imagine the time when horsecarriages dropped off health seeking people at the main entrance?

I was invited to visit this place for “Project Healthy in Italy” (read about my project here) as it is definitely something to explore in seeking the answers as to why Italy is the healthiest country in Europe and the world.

Montecatini is also the birthplace of the Italian health expert David Mariani (More on this later), who I visited with the same day, and was gracious enough to arrange everything for me.

The history of the city and the baths date all the way back to Roman times ( read about the exciting history here) and were a common part of their way of life.

They knew what we have lost along the way to what we call a “modern and progressive” life: The knowledge of how nature heals, and posesses the power to help us maintain and achieve, optimal health and a disease free body. Drinking and bathing in the mineral-rich thermal waters of Montecatini may well be one of the answers.

The time has finally come to go back to what once was lost and to rediscover old traditions and remedies for how to heal the body.  The time has come to rediscover the healing powers of the thermal waters of Montecatini…

Have a look at the video below to learn more abot the secrets behind this healing water!

To learn more about the Montacatini thermal spas visit the website here


Day 1 Project Healthy in Italy- Discovering Bologna

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I have arrived in beautiful Bologna, Italy where I will be living and working from for the next month with “Project Healthy in Italy”.

In case you are a new reader, get caught up on my project here

I got my gym membership in order, tasted some local food and wine for lunch to help me ease into everything. 😉 You can see some pictures below…

I am loving my apartment right by Piazza Maggiore, and I am settling in and getting ready for a really exciting and hectic month. I can’t wait to take you along on the journey to discovering why and how the Italians are so healthy!

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Lunch (pranzo). The Italians are so good at making vegetables taste yummy! Grilled zucchini with local cheese. 

Tomorrow I have a really exciting day as I am travelling (by train) to the very small town of Pieve a Nievole where I will be meeting and interviewing the famous Italian health guru, David Mariani. Make sure you tune in tomorrow via my Instagram ( watch Instastories) account here to see everything happening live. I will be visiting some exciting places with him to discover the secrets to living a long and happy life.

Just a short update for you today as I am still getting installed here. I will be back with a lot more to inspire you on how to live a happy, healthy life the Italian way!

Ciao!