Thursday 25 December 2014

Il Giorno di Natale - Christmas Day

What a delightful day we have had. Mass this morning as there is no midnight Mass any longer. Breakfast, excellent presents and then a long, long lunch outside where the day was sunny and 32 deg. c. A swim in the pool and then we watched an Italian movie... outdoors, of course!

 After Mass I just happened to glimpse this beautiful child visiting the nativity scene 

Panettone and cappuccino for breakfast

              My favourite movie is in this collection of Italian movies 2013.

La Grande Bellezza or The Great Beauty is a visually spectacular movie filmed mostly in Rome. It won many international movie awards in 2013. Even without understanding all that is going on, I love this film.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Festa dei Sette Pesci or La Vigilie - Christmas Eve

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, or so they say. With only three of us home for Christmas we have decided to imitate the Italian way of celebrating La Vigilie - Christmas Eve and Il Giorno di Natale - Christmas Day.
There are a few differences thought. We had 31 deg. c. today and the sun didn't set until after 9 pm. These things do influence the food we eat however we have given it our best effort, and added a couple of our traditions too.

When the children were small we always drove around the town counting Christmas trees in the windows of homes. Times have changed and now we drive around looking at Christmas lights on the exteriors of homes. However this year was not a good year for lights. Here are the best of them.

Thursday 18 December 2014


My Italian charm bracelet [by Nominations] has had some new additions, resulting in it now being two bracelets. All the charms have significance to me.

In Taormina in Sicily I bought four new charms - a lemon, a chilli, Italia in red, white & green and a gelato. 

That then meant I had too many for one bracelet so when I came home I bought on-line from Sydney, a pear, a Trevi fountain and a Vespa.

Now I have spaces for more charms! I have seen one that looks distinctly like an Aperol Spritz so that might be the next purchase.

Friday 12 December 2014

Mediterranean Wholesalers in Melbourne

Last week we had a day of shopping in Melbourne. Now shopping is one of my least favourite activities, however the day had an enticement at the end. We went to the Mediterranean Wholesalers in Sydney Road, Brunswick!

This large shop is something of a tourist attraction in that it has a huge range of food items imported from the Mediterranean region, mainly Italy but also Greece, Spain and other countries. As well as the expected items that are readily available in many shops in Australia, there was dried salted cod (baccala), chestnut flour, huge jars of anchovies, torrone (Italian nougat), a big grater in the deli to produce freshly grated parmesan and gran padano, and even Proraso, Kel's favourite Italian shaving cream.

With Christmas approaching the displays were festive and delicious looking. We enjoyed looking at all the lovely produce which stimulated our memories and also our taste buds, and we made some purchases.
This is a collection of our purchases ... to be enjoyed at Christmas in Benalla.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

My other passion

Every-one knows my passion for all things Italian but not every-one knows that I am also passionate about the Orica GreenEDGE cycling team. I think that staying up until 2 am every night for three weeks to watch the Giro d'Italia followed by another three weeks of early morning bed times for Le Tour de France qualifies me as passionate.

Each year the Orica GreenEDGE team has a training camp and family day at Mitchelton Winery near Nagambie in Victoria. This year near on 900 fans rode with the professionals in several different length rides around the countryside.
Back at Mitchelton Winery there was lots to do whilst we waited for the riders to return - wine tastings & sales, the Australian Wine Show exhibition, food stalls, live music, activities for children and the merchandise shop.

In the afternoon the riders were interviewed one at at time then they spent time talking to the fans, being photographed and signing books, shirts, hats and I even saw a sock being signed. 

Durbo with some keen fans.

Heppy & Cam taking a break from signing.

Matt Hayman finds a blank spot to sign.

The most popular rider - Simon Gerrans

The Orica AIS girls were also busy signing souvenirs.

Gene Bates introduced the Orica AIS Women's Team who were present.

Matt White introduced those present from the Orica GreenEDGE Men's Team.

Also present were some 2016 signings who were being introduced to the culture of the Orica GreenEDGE team. This is why this Australian professional cycling team is successful.

Dan Jones is the Backstage Pass man. Congratulations to Dan on his hugely successful Backstage Passes which allow us all to go behind the scenes and appreciate more of what being a professional cyclist is really like. They are entertaining, funny, sad, enlightening - just what the fans want.

Of course, I'm a Gerro fan too! Simon grew up in Mansfield so I would be a fan even if he wasn't a world champion rider.