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TOPIC: bon vivant

food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Montreal

The food and drink scene in Montreal is just as vibrant and diverse as the city itself. It's a delightful fusion of French and North American influences, resulting in a unique gastronomic experience that draws food enthusiasts from far and wide. From fresh bagels to more hearty meals — to be expected in a city where the average annual temperature stands at a modest 7.1 °C (44.8 °F) — you will find plenty to discover, be it across a plethora of restaurants or sampling local specialties in Montreal's thriving food markets.

But if you're planning on making your Canadian culinary journey a francophone one, be aware: In a twist that often confuses visitors from France, meals have different names in Québécois French. Lunchtime is "dîner’"(not "déjeuner," as in France), while dinner time is "souper" (not "dîner"). And snack-time is "collation" instead of "goûter." You'll thank us later!

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Long Live The Negroni, The Eternal King Of Cocktails

How is a cocktail invented, and how does it become iconic? An analysis of the art of mixology, through what may be the most famous cocktail in the world.

TURIN — “The great classics of mixology have never been as important as they are now, not even when they were created. But perhaps their creation is dwindling?”

This challenge was launched by Hamish Smith, director of Drinks International, at the opening of his journal’s report on cocktails for the year of 2023. It’s up to us to take up the challenge, but the indisputable truth is that classic cocktails are in better shape than ever. And in this, Italy plays a major role: the undisputed king of drinks is, once again, the magical Negroni.

How is a legend born? It all began in Florence in 1919, when Count Camillo Negroni made a request to his favorite bartender, Folco Scarselli of Caffé Casoni, to modify his favorite cocktail, the Americano. With the substitution of gin in place of soda water, the Negroni was invented. Today, it is considered the most consumed drink in the world, according to Drinks International, which monitors annual cocktail sales worldwide.

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Gùsto! How • What • Where Locals Eat (& Drink) In Cape Town

The best tables near Table Mountain!

Penguins on the beaches, a flat-topped mountain, a place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet: Cape Town, or as others call it, the “Mother City," is a place where eating and drinking is truly a worldly and unique experience.

Known as the “Rainbow Nation,” South Africa is a diverse country and it shows in the country's cuisine. It involves combinations of ingredients, flavors and methods from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Netherlands, indigenous Southern African cultures, Germany, Portugal, France and even the UK. Needless to say, South African food is a truly global mix.

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food / travel
Niccolò Zancan

La Dolce Vita Has Gotten A Lot More Expensive

On the Italian coast, you'll be asked €200 per day for a beach umbrella and sunbed at the cheapest bathing establishments. Nowhere else makes clear the huge post-pandemic gap between the haves and have-nots.

PARAGGI, SANTA MARGARITA — Paraggi is a coastal town, neighboring Portofino, where the only two-star hotel in the area sells a "standard room" with a view of the back and a shared bathroom for €190. This alone would be enough to astonish us Italians, even though the manager of Hotel Argentina was almost taken aback by our surprise.

"Certainly, the shared bathroom is unique. We had some restrictions during the renovation. But these are the prices. Look around. Have you seen where we are? Do you know how much the five-star hotels in Paraggi cost?"

One of them is called "Eight Boutique." It's a hotel with private access to an exclusive beach, where only customers can lie down. "A standard room without a sea view would still be available, it costs €1045 per night," says the friendly girl at the reception, whose monthly salary amounts to the price of a night in July in the ugliest room of the hotel where she herself works.

"As for the suites at €3166 per night, we're sorry. Unfortunately, they are all booked today." Please excuse us if we dared to ask. Because inquiring about prices in Paraggi is considered impolite. The shop windows have no price tags. Only their designer bags, oysters, red prawn and large lobster claw designs.

Paraggi serves as Portofino's beach. While Portofino boasts a small harbor and a charming little square, there's no place to lie down and bask in the sun. Paraggi sits in the shadow of the mountain, tucked away behind three bends. The bay is small, lush green, and turquoise. If it weren't for all those mega-yachts moored there, obstructing the horizon, it would be a tiny paradise. There's a strict ban on docking boats, and signs on the walls read: "Please dress appropriately." But we know that "appropriately" is not about merely avoiding showing up at the table in swimwear.

This paradise isn't for everyone, that much is clear.

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food / travel
Franco Giubilei

Italy's Legendary Clubbing Scene Gives Way To The Nomadic Dance Life

Four decades ago, there were 9,000 dance clubs in Italy. Today, there are just 3,000. Where is everyone going instead, and why?

ROME — As the sun sets on one era, a new one comes, at least for the dancing bodies of young Italians: they dance on the beach, on agricultural sites, or in villas rented out and made available for partying.

They dance wherever there is a DJ, space to move and enough isolation so as not to anger any neighbors.

Gianni Indino, national director of Silb, an association for club management, records the number of club parties every weekend in the Romagna area, especially in the summer when numbers surge drastically. “The other night, on the coast of Rimini, three club managers agreed to join forces and organize an event by the beach, which brought in 5,000 people," he says. Holding these events outside of regular venues makes these parties "extremely irregular," he says. "Hygienic measures were certainly not up to standard considering that the three managers offered one bathroom each.”

This is just one example of the new fashions taking place in the Roman seaside, which has always been a popular space for nightlife. But this is a tradition that is now expanding like an oil spill on all of our coasts, Indino tells us: “Now, it’s the same everywhere. From the Venetian coast down Romagna to Lazio, Tuscany, Liguria ... It’s the same thing in Sicily and Sardinia.”

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food / travel
Luke Leitch

The 'White Lotus' Effect? Tourism Is Booming In Southern Italy

Madonna, the TV show The White Lotus, fashion shows, weddings — little by little, the beauty of neglected regions like Sicily and Puglia has rightfully emerged in the algorithm of digital desire. Finally, the secret power of Southern Italy has gained a global audience.

The trend began with British aristocrats who, at the end of the 17th century, embarked on what was known as the Grand Tour. Then, in the 18th century, this fashion extended to the courts of Northern Europe, as rumors spread about the fascinating Italian Peninsula. In the 19th century, it was all about Byron, Shelley and Keats – the rebellious rockstars of romantic poetry – who added their celebrity stamp of approval before the arrival of the American nouveaux riches (including Mark Twain).

What started as an English fashion has long since become a global tradition: after France, the U.S. and Mexico, Italy was the 4th most visited country in the world in 2022. Now, there’s a new twist in the digital age: Italy’s global allure is updating and focusing on the South.

What’s different is that in the last decade or so – slowly at first and then with a sudden surge – foreign tourists, who used to concentrate on breathtaking destinations in the northern “Portofino” of Italy, now venture throughout the entire country. Not long ago, Naples was seen merely as a gateway to Capri or the Amalfi Coast – long established luxury spots – rather than the unmissable destination it is today.

Puglia, long frequented by only a few pioneers, has been the talk of the town for years now. And today, the desire for Sicily is surfacing all over the world. But what is the reason behind this boom? And how has the international perception of Southern Italy changed?

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Valeria Berghinz

French Drama At The Italian Opera — With Low Notes Of Politics Too!

Veteran Italian Maestro Alberto Veronesi protested what he believed was the politicization of the La Bohème production that he was set to conduct. In accordance to the opera's tradition of backstage melodrama, the situation only escalated from there.

Oh the opera, with its powerful voices and high emotions.The melodrama built in to the art form has also been known to play out backstage — and then, the rare occasion when it's pushed back out in the spotlight.

This time, the stage was set in the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio, where the 69th edition of the Festival Puccini, a celebration of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's most famous works, kicked off last Friday with a bonafide coup de théâtre.

The opening opera was Puccini’s iconic La Bohème, a four-act tale set in 1830s Paris following the bohemian lifestyle of a poor seamstress and her friends. But after the French director of the current production decided to change the setting of the story to take place during the leftist student protests in France in May 1968, the Italian conductor protested by arriving on stage blindfolded.

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food / travel
Karolina Wiercigroch

Poland's Five Best Strawberry Recipes — Sweet And Savory

Strawberries go hand-in-hand with summer. But they're not just for desserts, as some of these five delicious recipes show.

WARSAW — Summer means strawberries. But this delicious and nutritious fruit is not just for desserts. They can also be used in savory dishes.

Here are five recipes — both sweet and savory — to inspire you to explore the versatility of the humble strawberry.

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