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Posts tagged as Alps

Callier food column: A taste of the Roaring Fork Valley’s Italian connection

Buon cibo is “good food” in Italian. To Italians, it can also mean so much more. While Italy feels so far away from us here in the Roaring Fork Valley, To Italians, it can also mean so much more.

While Italy feels so far away from us here in the Roaring Fork Valley, we are still deeply connected. Northern Italians were among the first wave of migrants who tamed this land.There were no highways, and railroads were considered state-of-the-art travel, but these settlers persevered and established themselves for generations. Their culture, work ethic and cuisine have helped create our local identity.

I am one of their descendants. My great-great-grandparents, Jeremie and Cecile Gerbaz, brought their eight children to Woody Creek from Detroit.The couple originally immigrated from a tiny village in northern Italy called Doues.They settled near Aspen and put their boys to work on their new ranch.Life was surely difficult for them, but they thrived there. Their children would go on to be county commissioners and successful ranchers.They even have a road named after them in Woody Creek.During the hard times and the good, they used food to bring the family together.
Like many large families, there were certain rivalries between siblings, but these could be put aside over wine and the breaking of bread. The winters were difficult, but the summer could be bountiful.They raised potatoes and other crops that would sustain them during the long, cold months. Polenta was a staple that I even ate while growing up.
I have always been told that northern Italians loved it so much here, because it reminded them of home. I never knew this to be true until I visited their old village, Doues, in Italy.The village is in a valley called Valle d’Aosta, which is an alpine paradise. It is nestled in the Alps and is close to Switzerland and France.The valley is heavily influenced by French, Italian and Swiss cultures. One can see these influences everywhere, from language, clothing, architecture and cuisine.
The cuisine of the region is known best for its strong and rich ingredients of polenta, potatoes, cheese, meat and more meat. Did I mention cheese? The region also produces fontina which is a creamy cow’s milk cheese, with a mild, earthy flavor with a touch of honey sweetness.It is delicious and great for melting. Fontina makes wonderful fondue, which is a regional speciality.They also have the best pizzas served in remote huts and shanties. I have been lucky enough to visit Val d’Aosta.I have distant relatives there who have stayed in touch with the American family, and they graciously invited me to their home in Doues. The area is idyllic like a pastoral dream.

Ancient villages line the valley all the way to Switzerland. The back of the Mater Horn presides over the area, and the Alps rise at impossible angles.Not only is the landscape indelible, but the food is sublime.Eating dinner is an act of grace and communion and always taken seriously.Every meal is intimate and can last hours. Supper usually begins with a light salad and several strong aperitifs.From there, it progresses to a soup, first course, second course and dessert. Wine is mandatory throughout, and a digestif and espresso are served with dessert.It is considered rude to refuse food or not clean a plate. I never had that issue, but I did cry once in a bathroom, because I feared I couldn’t eat or drink anymore.We must not forget our ancestral connections and how they still shape us.

Recipes tell tales of our struggles and triumphs, and these are my family’s stories.All recipes accompany this story.Apple Fritters(Serves four people)These are served as an appetizer.The apples must be cut small enough to cook quickly and evenly, while the breading browns. After flipping them in the frying pan, make sure to gently press down with spatula.They are slightly sweet, so they can also make a light dessert.Ingredients1 egg1/2 cup milk1/2 cup beer1 cup flour1 teaspoon sugar3 apples, sliced or cubedpinch of lemon peel, gratedpinch of saltoil for fryingDirections1.In a medium bowl, stir together egg, milk, beer, flour and salt into a smooth batter.2.
Add apples to batter and stir until coated. Let mixture stand for about 30 minutes.3. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat.Drop spoonfuls of mixture and fry until both sides are golden. Serve immediately.
La Favo(Serves four people)This is a classic pasta, tomato sauce and white bean dish. You can also use fresh fava beans, but they require extra prep time.

They are ideal with short cut pasta such as ditalini, but I had a hard time finding that type. Instead, I used the “Italian Trottole” that I like so much.To experiment, you could add a splash of red wine, garlic or other kinds of creamy cheeses for different flavor possibilities. Ingredients16 ounces short cut pasta1 can northern beans6 ripe tomatoes, crushed1 can tomatoes, crushed1 shallot4 slices Italian Bread, cubed1/4 cup butter4 tablespoons butter1/2 cup Fontina cheese, sliced thinlyDirections1.Drain beans and save liquid separately. 2.Cut shallots into pieces and melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in shallots and cook until shallots are soft and transparent.
Add crushed tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer.3. Cook the pasta in water and drained liquid from beans until pasta is al dente.4. Drain pasta and add to the tomato sauce, and stir in the beans.

Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.5.Fry the cubed bread in a pan with butter until bread is golden and crispy. 6.Stir fontina cheese into pasta until melted. Top with toasted bread cubes and serve immediately.
Frecacha(Serves four people)Frecacha is a fancy way of seeing meat and potatoes. Be sure not to over boil the potatoes, as they need to hold up while you simmer all ingredients together for an hour.The cinnamon and nutmeg make this more exotic than average mean and potatoes dishes. Use those with caution.Cooking time can vary, depending on how soupy you prefer. Ingredients2 large white onions2 large potatoes, boiled and cold14 ounces beef round steak2 tablespoons butter1 tablespoon salt4 cups beef stockpinch of pepper, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon powder Directions 1.Boil potatoes in a large pot for 25 minutes. Remove from water and cool.2. Slice the onions and cook in butter over medium-high heat until they are soft and transparent.3. Cut beef and potatoes into slices and add to the pot of onions.Sauté over medium-high heat for about five minutes.4.Stir in beef stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on a low heat for about an hour.Stir in salt and spices. Add more to taste, as needed.Serve after fluid has browned and reduced. EntertainmentDeVotchKa goes back to its roots at The TemporaryMarch 21, 2019Buon cibo is “good food” in Italian.To Italians, it can also mean so much more. While Italy feels so far away from us here in the Roaring Fork Valley, we are still deeply connected.

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Greece’s first Travel Festival will take you around the world in just 2 days!

Travelers, travel lovers and travel enthusiasts meet once per year somewhere around the world in order to connect, engage and get inspired;It’s already popular in many parts of the world, in Greece though it’s very new.
Nevertheless, now it does exist thanks to Manos Lianopoulos, Travel Vlogger and owner of and TravelFest’s Founder.I personally know Manos for a few years now and I must tell you; he is hard-working (his videos are just amazing) and passionate about traveling! His drive and enthusiasm led him to introduce the concept of a Travel Festival to the Greek travel community.How it all began“I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that loves traveling and nature activities.
So, being myself a traveler became a way of life for me. In 2013 I created my YouTube channel where I started uploading video content from my trips.TravelFest came as a natural continuity, as the next step.”Manos describes TravelFest as a vibrant community and a space of exchanging ideas and experiences among like-minded people.
What people will find at TravelFestTravelFest can be also described as Travel TEDx. Guests can enjoy inspirational talks from all kind of travelers, watch interesting documentaries and movies, taste various flavors and have fun in Athens.“Besides, our slogan is ‘Meet the world in two days’”!Developing and creating a Travel Festival“It wasn’t easy, for sure not. It still isn’t.
On the one hand, you have to manage the speakers, who are all travelers, so bringing them together on specific dates and times can be tricky, as they are constantly on the go. On the other hand, you have to find the sources to financially support the festival.Given the fact that it is a new kind of project in Greece and taking into consideration the financial situation in Greece, you can assume that there are several barriers to surpass!”Favorite destination by nowI couldn’t help but ask Manos which is his favorite place by now; a place he has visited and absolutely loved. “The next one.Always the next one!”It may sound like a typical reply, but it is so true! The next trip, the next destination is always the best!“Nevertheless, to answer your question, I have to say the Alps. I just love to explore this land with my motorcycle and get wonderfully lost in its small-town alleys and green surroundings.I have been there twice and I would easily go again”.*TravelFest will be held in Athens in April 6thand 7th2019Check all the information you need to know in the link below (in Greek).

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Italy’s Populists Have Lost Their Luster. They’re Looking to France to Win It Back.

Last month, Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s deputy prime minister and the leader of the Five Star Movement, wrote a post on his party’s official blog.
It wasn’t about the policies of his government, where Di Maio also serves as labor minister, but rather about a protest movement in France: “Yellow vests, don’t give up!” he wrote, praising the controversial anti-government movement that has been shaking up France since last November and that is widely seen as an uprising against President Emmanuel Macron.In the same post, Di Maio vowed that his party would provide the yellow vest movement with “all the support that is needed” and offered them a free version of “Rousseau”—Five Star’s online platform for direct democracy, through which party members can propose and vote for policies and vote in party primary elections.Then, on Feb6, Di Maio traveled to France to meet with one of the yellow vests’ leaders, Christophe Chalencon, a representative of Citizens’ Initiative Referendum (RIC), the yellow vest faction that will run in the upcoming European Parliament elections. He brought Alessandro Di Battista, a former Five Star member of parliament who holds no official position but is one of the party’s de facto leaders.

On that occasion, Di Maio once again praised the yellow vests, this time on his page: “The wind of change has crossed the Alps,” he wrote.For Macron, it was the last straw.For the past few months, the Five Star Movement, which is the majority partner in Italy’s governing coalition, has frequently attacked his presidency. Speaking on a popular TV show, Di Battista accused France of causing the inflow of African migrants to Italy (because, so went his reasoning, the French are still economically exploiting their former colonies).
.Macron reacted to the meeting by recalling the French ambassador in Rome—a step that hasn’t been taken since the end of World War II. The French Foreign Ministry accused the Italian government of launching “baseless attacks and outrageous statements” against France and of “manipulating the [Italian-French] relationship for electoral aims.”

The Five Star Movement is minimizing the tensions. “I think Macron saw a provocation where there wasn’t one,” Filippo Scerra, a Five Star official serving in the parliamentary committee for EU relations, told Foreign PolicyBut Macron has a point when he says that Five Star is courting the yellow vests for political gain.After governing for eight months in a coalition with the League’s charismatic leader, Matteo Salvini, the Five Star Movement is in free fall. Salvini has managed to impose his agenda on government policies from immigration to tax reform and labor policies while dominating the media cycle.Now, as Salvini’s support grows exponentially in the polls, Five Star is lagging 10 points behind him.Five Star’s leaders desperately need to revitalize their image as a protest movement ahead of the European Parliament elections in May.And endorsing a radical movement abroad could prove an easy and effective strategy to accomplish that goal.In its early days, Five Star was essentially a protest movement; in fact, it was founded 10 years ago from the ashes of Vaffa Day (literally “fuck you” day)—a series of protests in 2007 against professional politicians and the media.

Throughout its brief history, Five Star owed much of its success to its image as an anti-establishment, supposedly pure, uncompromising force opposing the status quo and representing ordinary people against corrupt elites.But the transition from the sidelines to the center of the establishment wasn’t easy after the 2018 elections, when Five Star became Italy’s largest party and, after months of stalemate, formed a coalition with the League as its junior partner.One of the main problems, said Roberto Biorcio, a political scientist at the University of Milano-Bicocca who co-wrote a book about the movement, is that the League and Five Star “have opposing programs” and thus the latter had to “give up on some things,” undermining its own uncompromising image.What Five Star needs to do now is convince voters that it’s still the same party opposing the status quo and the elite and that it hasn’t let power soften its stance. Therefore, Biorcio argued, “associating themselves with a movement that wants to subvert politics, such as the yellow vests, could help boost their image.”In a letter to the French newspaper Le Monde, Di Maio claimed that his government in Italy is already addressing the same problems that the yellow vests are protesting against in France, such as income inequality.

In theory, there are indeed some similarities between Five Star and the yellow vests: Both movements describe themselves as “neither left nor right,” both claim to represent the interests of common people against the elites, and both Five Star and the yellow vests are staunch opponents of the liberalization of the labor market.But in practice the Five Star-led government in Italy hasn’t done much to address these issues, the only exception being a mild reform of the short-term job market.

Even its much trumpeted introduction of a “basic income” turned out just to be a reform of unemployment benefits; it was supposed to benefit more than 15 percent of Italy’s 60 million people, but in truth it will affect only about 3 percent.Although improving the party’s image seems to be the primary goal, Five Star also has other reasons to court the yellow vests.The movement is looking for potential allies in the next European Parliament. National parties of EU member states traditionally organize themselves in political groups across ideological lines at the European level.But Five Star has long struggled to find allies to form a group because the movement refuses to categorize itself as either left or right. Currently, it is in the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group—together with the Euroskeptic and Islamophobic right-wing UK Independence Party but previously it unsuccessfully tried to join the left-leaning Greens group and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, a centrist pro-market, pro-EU group that includes Spain’s Ciudadanos, Germany’s Free Democratic Party, and Britain’s Liberal Democrats.

“The Five Stars have a long tradition of failures when it comes to European alliances,” said Francesco Maselli, a Radio24 journalist specializing in Italian-French relations. Since the yellow vests are likely to get good results in the upcoming elections, Five Star is “essentially saying to them, ‘Hey, let’s form a group together.’”For the time being, the yellow vest movement seems divided over Five Star. Chalencon initially refused its offer, saying he felt uncomfortable with the idea of entering into an alliance with a party that is a coalition partner of the League, which, in turn, is an ally of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party (until recently, the National Front).But he also said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale that the two movements “have a lot in common.”The very fact that Chalencon agreed to the meeting spurred a rebuke from at least two senior yellow vest leaders: Jacline Mouraud, the musician and hypnotherapist who founded the movement, and Ingrid Levavasseur, the nurse heading the RIC list.

Both distanced themselves from Five Star, the latter accusing Chalencon of overstepping his authority and acting without the knowledge of other party members.Eventually Chalencon, a 52-year-old blacksmith who unsuccessfully ran in the 2017 elections with the center-right party Génération Citoyens and who has raised eyebrows for writing Islamophobic posts on and for calling for a military government, accepted Di Maio’s offer.But he had to leave the RIC list and announced he would fund a new electoral list to run in the EU elections as an ally of Five Star.Di Maio likes to claim that there are many similarities between the Five Star Movement and the yellow vests.
But the recent development highlights that there is at least one crucial difference. When Five Star decided to form a government with the League in 2018, there were no notable defections inside the party; for all of the key leaders, allying with the far-right wasn’t a big deal.By contrast, key yellow vest leaders took issue with the very idea of potentially aligning themselves with a party that is an ally to the far-right. Unlike their admirers Di Maio and Di Battista, the founders of the yellow vest movement, it seems, still have a moral compass.Giorgio Ghiglione is a freelance writer in Milan. His work has appeared in the Guardian, Al Jazeera, and Internazionale.

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