Nov 032015
 
Photographer Paolo Destefanis

Photographer Paolo Destefanis | Photo: Sebastiano Tecchio

It was this time of year in 2000 when Italian photographer Paolo Destefanis set out with my manuscript in hand to shoot images for Veneto: Authentic Recipes From Venice and the Italian Northeast, a title I wrote for Chronicle Books. I had gone with him earlier in the year to capture the magic of the Venice and its waterways in springtime and to explore locations in some of the mainland provinces. But I missed the second trip the following fall, and had to satisfy myself with being there vicariously through the vivid photographs he took. Veneto bookWhile I love the fieldwork, research, and recipe testing that is the writer’s task when producing a cookbook, I have always been drawn just as much to the design and illustration of its pages. Housebound after multiple surgeries and subsequent therapies, it was a melancholy autumn, lost to me forever, but Paolo’s painterly images were a consolation. Looking at them again today, it occurred to me that my readers have been deprived of seeing many of them, as the budget for the book allowed for only some twenty-five.

Here, with Paolo’s permission, is a gallery of photographs, both unpublished and published, that evoke the spirit, the flavors, and the experience of Venice and its beautiful region at this glorious time of year.

Skipper Mauro Stoppa on the Eolo at San Giorgio, Venice

Skipper Mauro Stoppa on the Eolo at San Giorgio, Venice

Gondolas, Venice

Gondolas, Venice

A cook cleaning baby cuttlefish at the celebrated fish restaurant Corta Sconta, Venice.

A cook cleaning baby cuttlefish at the celebrated fish restaurant Corta Sconta, Venice.

Antipasto di mare, Corte Sconta, Venice.

Antipasto di mare, Corte Sconta, Venice.

Antipasto di mare, Corte Sconta.

Antipasto di mare, Corte Sconta Restaurant.

Frittura di mare, Venezia Lido.

Frittura di mare, Venezia Lido.

Fondamenta Ostraghe, Venice

Fondamenta Ostraghe, Venice

990418_014_Santo_Stefano_Venice

Santo Stefano, Venice

Fondamento Barbieri, Venice.

Fondamenta Barbieri, Venice.

Pumpkin truck, Veneto.

Pumpkin truck, Veneto.

Pumpkin, Veneto.

Pumpkin, one of Veneto’s adored foods.

Chioggia pumpkins, considered the best for their sweet, compare and juice flesh, Bardolino.

Chioggia pumpkins, considered the best for their sweet, compact and juicy flesh, Bardolino.

Pumpkin truck, detail, Veneto.

Pumpkin truck, detail, Veneto.

Roast pumpkin, once popular street food hawked on the piazzas of Venice.

Roast pumpkin, once popular street food hawked on the piazzas of Venice.

Pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin risotto

Pumpkin risotto, Bardolino.

Treviso canal.

Treviso canal.

Radicchio farmer.

Radicchio farmer, Treviso.

Up close.

Radicchio in the field, Veneto.

Various radicchios at market, Rovigo.

Various radicchios at market, Rovigo.

990412_002_Bortolan Bakery sign_Treviso

Bortolan Bakery sign,Treviso.

Risotto al radicchio rosso, Loggia Rimbaldi, Bardolino.

Risotto al radicchio, Loggia Rimbaldi, Bardolino.

Bigoli contadina (bigoli "peasant style") served in a silver platter, another primo at Loggia Rambaldi, Bardolino.

Bigoli contadina, (bigoli “peasant style”), another primo at Loggia Rambaldi, Bardolino.

Villa, Rovigo.

Villa, Rovigo.

Cane and reed huts, Po River.

Cane and reed huts, Po River.

Cabbages, Venezia Lido

Cabbages, Venezia Lido

Laverello, sweet water fish of Lake Garda, all "acqua pazza," steamed in "crazy water."

Laverello, sweet water fish of Lake Garda, “all’acqua pazza,” steamed in “crazy water.”

Baccalà, dried and salted cod, Rovigo.

Baccalà, dried and salted cod, Rovigo.

Baccalà alla vicentina, Fontana Fredda.

Baccalà alla vicentina, Fontana Fredda.

Ristorante Il Capriolo dining room, Vado.

Ristorante Il Capriolo dining room, Vado.

Rural house near Cortina.

Rural house near Cortina.

Cortina panorama. Land of polenta, potato, and Lamon beans.

Cortina panorama. Land of polenta, potatoes, and Lamon beans.

Sign for beans, Lamon.

Sign for beans, Lamon.

The famous beans of Lamon.

The famous beans of Lamon.

Woman shucking beans, Lamon

Woman shucking beans, Lamon

Practiced hands.

Practiced hands.

Church, Lamon.

Church, Lamon.

Salviata, eggs scrambled with sage.

Salviata, eggs scrambled with sage.

"Cornetti," flat beans, with anchovy.

“Cornetti,” flat beans with anchovy.

Pomegranates, a favorite fruit of the Veneto.

Pomegranates, a favorite fruit of the Veneto.

Hen turkey with pomegranate, a classic harvest dish of the provinces.

Hen turkey with pomegranate, a classic harvest dish of Vicenza.

Apples of Lamon.

Apples of Lamon.

 

All photos Copyright ©Paolo Destefanis, www.paolodestefanis.com

 

 

 

Oct 132015
 

The Hudson Valley, just upriver from Manhattan, takes Halloween very seriously what with its famous one-time resident, Washington Irving, having written “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” America’s first ghost story. Besides the usual Halloween parades, the towns up and down the river host vampire balls, real haunted house competitions, the Headless Horseman’s night ride reenactments, and tours to the cemetery where the author himself and the once flesh-and-blood Katrina Van Tassel are buried. But best of all is the Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze, an artistic spectacle that even grownups can love. If you can’t make it, have no fear. Feast your eyes on Nathan Hoyt’s photos for a virtual tour.

Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman was inspired by a real life Hessian soldier who lost his head to a cannonball during the Revolutionary War and rumored to be buried near the old Dutch church in Sleepy Hollow

The star installation is the Headless Horseman of  Washington Irving’s delirious tale involving a decapitated soldier who haunts a secluded glen on horseback every night in search of his head. The story was inspired by a real life Hessian militiaman who lost his head to a cannonball during the Revolutionary War and is rumored to be buried near the old Dutch church in Sleepy Hollow.

Historic Hudson, the non-profit that sponsors the Blaze, commissioned 240,000 pounds of pumpkins from local farmers for the makings of jack-o’-lanterns that light up twenty-five of the 120 acres that John D. Rockefeller donated for parkland in 1920.

The museum at Cortlandt Manor, once the Ferry House inn and tavern, c. 1750

In Irish lore, the jack-o’-lantern placed outside the doors or windows keeps evil spirits from entering the house. So on the one holiday a year when we mock the specter of death, there can’t be too many of them. .

Jack-o'-lanterns at every turn. The Ferry House at Van Cortland manor once offered food, drink, and lodging to travelers coming south from the Albany Post Road during colonial times.

Jack-o’-lanterns at every turn. The Ferry House at Van Cortland manor, c. 1750, today a museum, offered food, drink, and lodging to travelers on the Albany Post Road during colonial times.

Haunted grandfather clock and a colonial couple outside the Dutch stone manor house. Irving’s tale was kindled by the Dutch settler’s predilection for ghost stories.

Haunted grandfather clock and a colonial couple outside the Dutch stone manor house. Irving’s tale was kindled by the Dutch settler’s predilection for ghost stories.

smiling jack-o-lantern

Some 1,000 carvers, both volunteer and professional are kept busy re-carving and replacing pumpkins as the old ones rot and collapse.

A covered bridge and jack-o'-lantern moon of the Sleepy Hollow legend

The covered bridge and full moon of Sleepy Hollow legend. The Headless Horseman was said to menace anyone who tried to pass through the hollow at the entrance to the bridge, brandishing what looks like the rider’s severed head.

The unfortunate Ichabod Crane, who vanishes without a trace except for his wandering horse, his hat, and a telltale shattered pumpkin, thought by the locals to have been exchanged for poor schoolteacher’s head.

Jack-o’-lantern monument to the unfortunate Ichabod Crane. The character vanishes without a trace during a chase for his life, except for his wandering horse, his hat, and a telltale shattered pumpkin, thought by the locals to have been exchanged for poor schoolteacher’s head.

Colorful graveyard. In American Halloween lore, jack-o'-lantern represent the souls of the dead.

Colorful graveyard. In American Halloween lore, jack-o’-lantern represent the souls of the dead.

Among other attractions, skeletons and rattlesnake bones in a Death Valley scene.

Among other attractions, skeletons and rattlesnake bones in a Death Valley scene.

A towering jack-o'-lantern Frankenstein.

A towering jack-o’-lantern Frankenstein.

A black widow ghoul and her offspring.

A black widow ghoul and her offspring.

 Jack-o'-lantern ghosts and monster spider webs.

Jack-o’-lantern ghosts and monster spider webs.

dinosaur

A blazing dinosaur, nearly life size.

The three witches of MacBeth stirringn their cauldron

The three witches of Shakepeare’s play, Macbeth, stirring their cauldron.

A glowing giant sea serpent in a jack-o'-lantern sea.

A glowing giant sea serpent in a jack-o’-lantern sea.

Jack-o'-lantern cyclops.

Jack-o’-lantern cyclop.

Wide-eyed wonder in the jack-o'-lantern planetarium

Wide-eyed wonder in the jack-o’-lantern planetarium.

 

If you go:

Where: Van Cortlandt Manor, 500 South Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520. For GPS, use 525 South Riverside Avenue.

2015 dates: October 2-4, 9-12, 15-18, 21-31. November 1, 5-8, 13-15. Times vary by evening. Tickets go on sale to the public annually September 1. Members of Historic Hudson Valley may purchase earlier.

2015 Cost: Adults $20, children 3-17 $16 (Saturdays $25 and $20). Free for children under 3 and members of Historic Hudson Valley.

For reservations: buy tickets online or call 914-366-6900

All photographs Copyright Nathan Hoyt/Forktales 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 042015
 
Celebrating Easter Sicilian Style

Special dolci are an essential part of Easter celebrations in Italy and Sicily in particular, where the Arab sweet tooth pervades. At this time several years ago, I was in Agrigento sampling the island’s quiddities with the legendary restaurateur Tony May (Palio, Gemelli, San Domenico, SD26) and a group of Italian chefs. We had lunch al fresco one afternoon at the estate of olive oil producers, where this traditional Easter sweet dominated the dessert table. Called pecorelle, “little lambs,” these artful confections are fashioned of almond paste and decorated with chocolate and tinted sugar. The lambs represent eternal life, the Easter theme, with the red flower symbolizing the Resurrection, Jesus Christ rising from the tomb. Despite […more…]

Dec 102014
 
To Sotheby's to see TBTW

The other day, I published an article in Zester Daily about the monster truffle that was found in Umbria. What I didn’t say was that it wasn’t until the night before it was to be previewed at Sotheby’s that an invitation landed in my inbox. At close to midnight I was waking my husband up to see if he wanted to play hooky from his work the next morning and take a drive into New York City to look at it. After all, it’s not every day that we have the chance to see a four-pound truffle, even if we wouldn’t be lucky enough to […more…]

Nov 022014
 
Rocky Mountain High

Boulder is a serious food town where you can find everything from Colorado bison ragù to mule foot pork chops, local pecorino to real Venice-style gelato. I was there recently for the Chefs Collaborative Summit, a meeting of renowned chefs and like-minded professionals who are in the business of food—growing it, producing it, cooking it, selling it and writing about it. Many I spoke to told me that they have learned their trades from Italy’s artisans whose ancient food traditions have inspired them. Why that is, will be the subject of future articles, but here are some of the highlights of […more…]

Oct 082014
 
There's Good News in the World, Too: Gelato Explosion!

In my recent article for Zester Daily, I wrote about the gelato explosion. One thing is for sure, gelato is on the move from its Italian home base as more and more entrepreneurs set up shop all over the world using Italy’s state-of-the-art equipment, designed for small-batch, artisan production. Following up on my last post about Rimini, here’s the scoop about why I was in that famous beach resort last month. No, it wasn’t to sunbathe or take in the nightclubs. It was to join the World Gelato Tour which, after circling the globe and picking finalists along the way—including […more…]

Sep 242014
 
Fellini Drawings Disappear

….Not from the Rimini museum where I recently photographed them, but from Facebook. I’ve been trying to post a story I wrote about the drawings from his dreams yesterday, but Facebook has been blocking the link. Could it be because of his surreal images of naked women? To get to the post, click here.