Sicily and Amalfi Coast 9.17

Some of you may be tired of hearing me always talk about Italy BUT it is the best place on earth and words cannot even begin to explain the amazingness of this last trip. For the past few years my friend Chrissy and I usually go to Southern Italy in September for a little weekend getaway.  This year instead of doing a one on one trip we went with a group of girls (some I didn’t know some I’m already friends with) and my boyfriend. This trip was extra special because I finally got to show Steve why I am OBSESSED with Italy. (he’s now obsessed too)

First stop was Cefalu in Sicily. The first day we explored the small charming town. While enjoying an aperitivo in the square we were able to witness the most beautiful wedding ceremony! We then checked out the seaport and had a late dinner. Obviously we ended the night with some gelato.

The next day we hiked La Rocca, a historic site, to view ancient ruins. The hike was intense but worth it. The views at the top were beautiful. If your interested in doing the hike I suggest you wear sneakers, go in the early morning to avoid the heat and bring water!

After trekking we were rewarded with a little R&R on the beach before heading to Amalfi.

Cefalu, Sicily

In Amalfi, we stayed in a villa in Praiano. The views of the sea were through-out the whole house. Our room had the cutest decor, amazing bath tub and outdoor veranda.  This was a great option for us rather than staying in a hotel since we were a group of seven people.

We had a magical day which consisted of a wonderful boat ride along the coast exploring grottos. The boat ride is always my favorite part of Amalfi!  We were dropped off in Positano for lunch and a little shopping.  After lunch we were picked up by our boat driver and taken over to One Fire Beach, a beach club on the coast. We had so much fun and the people treated us like royalty. At happy hour every day around 4 o’clock, they come out with a huge watermelon. Everyone has to get out of their chair and dance around the watermelon for them to cut it. (they literally make everyone participate in it) Lets just say the watermelon dance will forever be in my memory, and cutting a watermelon is just not the same these days. I highly suggest going to One fire Beach, the views are stunning, the atmosphere is fun and the staff is amazing, you will leave there with a few more friends then when you arrived.

After trekking up 380 stairs and two huge hills we hung out at our Villa and watched the sunset.

At night we went to the most amazing place to eat, Vivaro Wine Bar, a restaurant with no menu. Gennaro, the owner, runs the show entirely by himself. He is the host, the chef, the server and the sommelier! Talk about an authentic experience. The food, wine and atmosphere was PHENOMENAL. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience try and book your reservation here ahead of time, its hard to get in!

As we were walking back to our Villa we ran into our friends from One Fire Beach, talk about a small world! They invited us to join them and have a bottle of wine. The people are the best part of Italy. They really embrace people who love their culture and make you feel right at home. We left this trip with forever friends for sure!

As per usually, a special thank you to my friend Chrissy who always organizes these trips. Thank you for all the hard work you put into this trip by making sure we saw and did the best of the best, but most importantly thank you for bringing this group of seven together. All of you will be in my heart and memories forever.

Cost:

Airfare (including flight to Amalfi from Sicily): $600.00

Hotel/Transportation: $350.00

Spending Money: $150.00

Total: $1,100. 

As you can tell from the pictures, it looks like we would have spent more BUT because we got the flight for so cheap we were able to splurge on spending. Most people spend $1,100 on their flight alone. I can not express the importance of setting price notifications!

Italy is a must see in your lifetime. Between the atmosphere, history, culture and food it will for sure be an experience of a lifetime. The Italians are truly beautiful people. Thank you always for your hospitality.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxQXk9vnme0&t=1s

XOXO

CC

 

 

 

 

 

A Magical Island Called Ischia…

Traditionally, every year my friend Chrissy and I go on a short weekend getaway to the southern part of Italy. This year she surprised me by taking me to a tiny little island off the  Amalfi Coast called Ischia. We flew into Naples via Meridiana. Meridiana usually has great deals for direct flights. One bus ride later and a scenic ferry ride brought us to paradise.

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First on the list… Castello Aragonese, a medieval castle that connects to Ischia, which was built in 474BC.  The views from the top were just stunning. Chrissy knows my obsession with castles so of course she picked a B&B that was directly across from it so we could have endless views of the castle, and see all its beauty it had to offer morning, noon and night. Villa Lieta was the name of the B&B which was super cozy and the staff was amazing.

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After seeing the castle, and getting settled in, we walked around the charming town, shopped, and even saw the cutest wedding ceremony set up. We relaxed on the beach before indulging in coconut gelato (the best ever), and the first of many before getting ready for our romantic dinner date.

picmonkey-collagepicmonkey-collage3We took a tiny fishing boat from the dock across the street from our B&B at dusk that takes you over to this restaurant Gardenia Mare, which is attached to the most beautiful hotel. It was breathtakingly beautiful.  Everything we ate was delicious … even the shrimp staring me in the eye (LOL).  I would come back to the island just to eat here. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

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The next day we took advantage of free breakfast with our stunning view from the roof top of the B&B. We then took the bus over to Sant’ Angelo, walked around the town and relaxed on Banana Beach. We finished the day off with the perfect lunch consisting of my favorite thing on the Amalfi Coast…mussels!! They are super fresh and only seasoned with pepper. Even if you do not like mussels you have to try them. You will not regret it, I promise. We then moseyed on back to our B&B stopping for gelato, of course, and got ready for a relaxing dinner with a view of the stunning castle.

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Travel Tip: When you book B&B’s in Italy, most places include free breakfast consisting of coffee, water, juice, and pastries. I am not one to eat a lot in the morning but to keep traveling expenses down so I definitely take advantage of this – plus the Cornettos (breakfast pastry usually filled with jam, nutella or chocolate) are TO DIE FOR! 

The next day we were up at dawn, traveling back to Naples to catch our flight home and got to see the city at the most beautiful time.  The local fisherman just came back with their catch, and locals were starting to line up to purchase their fish for the day. This tiny island truly was paradise and full of charm.  It reminded me of the setting from “The Little Mermaid”.  I am sure this is where Arielle is from 😉

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I totally recommend visiting this Ischia. Food was fantastic, people were friendly, and the views were just stunning. Thank you Chrissy for planning another fabulous Italian adventure. Cheers to the best days of our lives! To see my full photo album and video you can visit my Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow my travel adventures on my Instagram as well! – ChrissyKimmy.

Airline Ticket $663.09

B&B, Ferry, Bus Tickets $250.00

Food and shopping $140.00

Total: $1,053.09 (Best thousand dollars I ever spent)

 

xoxo

C.

Pasta Pasta Pasta

Buongiorno!  I have strong traditional Italian values and grew up in the kitchen. The kitchen is where you played laughed and bonded with your family even if you were not the cook. I was recently reading “The Shoemakers Wife” which I highly recommend reading and they kept talking about how they would make homemade pasta. This sparked my interest and lucky me my boyfriend surprised me with a pasta maker imported from Italy and my very own drying rack! (he’s the cutest)

My family and I decided this will be a great end of the summer project. I come from a line of great cooks….grandma was the bomb.com and passed her cooking skills down to my mom which my sister graciously inherited all of the cooking skills leaving me zero. I am quite challenged in the kitchen…I can make like three things. But what I can cook comes out delicious. Some are natural in the kitchen….others like myself are hazardous to themselves and others around. My sister spearheaded this project with me and I must say it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. The machine I used was a Marcato Atlas 180 roller. It was easy to assemble and work with and it says “The original” so of corse I had to have it. We decided to make Tagliatelle which is a traditional type os pasta from Emilia-Romagna and Marche, regions of Italy.  Below are the steps that worked best for us. If I can do it trust me anyone can do it!

Ingredients: Flour, Eggs (room temp) and Semolina flour

Step 1. Making the dough:  Measure out 3 cups of flour and make a fort like shape. Place 4 eggs in the center of the flour. Begin to beat eggs with a fork adding a little bit of flour as needed. The dough will start to thicken with each bit of flour. When the dough is no longer liquid began to knead for 6-8 minutes or until “confident”. (the directions kept saying “until confident” so we got a chuckle out of that trying to be “confident” when we had no clue what we were doing) You want to make sure that the dough is not sticky…if it is add more flour. Wrap in Cling Wrap and refrigerate for 30 min. FullSizeRender-17

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IMG_9564Elle wanted to help too 🙂

Step 2. The dough and machine meet:  Flour your work area. Unwrap ball and cut into a small piece. Start with the machine at notch 1. Roll dough through. Fold in half slice edges and roll through. Fold over and roll 4-6 times (folding in half each time) until confident. Move machine to notch 2 and roll through a few times until confident w/o folding this time. Move machine up two more notches and roll dough through 2 times. Move notch up to 6 and roll dough through a final time. Place dough on counter and sprinkle with Semolina flour. Fold in half. Sprinkle more Semolina and fold in half. Repeat the process. When your dough is folded begin to cut. Make sure you cut into the dough and push knife away from the body. This prevents dough from mushing together. Keep in mind the pasta does not have to have a perfect shape its homemade after all….don’t stress. Unravel each piece of dough and set individually on a wet paper towel. Repeat this process until you use all of the dough. Don’t forget to cover the pasta with a wet paper towel as you are working with the dough. IMG_9690

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Step 3. Cooking the pasta: Boil water. When water comes to a boil add salt. Begin to add your pasta. Make sure you individually add the pasta so they do not clump together. The pasta cooks super fast…about two minutes so do not leave the stove area. Place cooked pasta in sauce and mangia!

IMG_9693.JPGThis was well worth the time, effort and money for my machine. You can definitely taste the difference. I can see myself using this machine a lot in the next upcoming months and can’t wait to try all different types of macaroni!  I guess my boyfriend will be getting his money’s worth by getting paid back in lots of pasta!

Xo

C

Vespa ride in Italy

So most people who know me know about my extreme love for Italy. The culture, the people, the way of life, the food, wine, products, landscapes…I love everything about Italy. The most beautiful things I have ever scene so far in life have been in Italy.

Anyhow, in August I returned to one of my favorite places in Italy, Vittorio Veneto, with my friend Chrissy and Pia.  Chrissy Pia and I have known each other since we were in 1st grade and we had “ The time of our lives”  as per usual. Chrissy always has tricks up her sleeve every trip I take with her providing the best surprises. This time the surprise consisted of a vespa ride through Prosecco fields in the Veneto Region. During our tour we saw castles, ancient churches and stunning vineyards. Of corse we stopped in a small town for none other then a glass of Prosecco.  Our drivers were friends of Chrissy’s. ( She previously lived in VV ) Marco, Marco and Gio were amazing tour guides, the sweetest souls and easy on the eyes if you know what I mean. We had the “Best Day Ever” with them full of laughs and beautiful sites.  Not only was this my first time on a vespa and an unforgettable experience, the best part was that I walked away with three new friends.

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