Category Archives: Travel


Filming Season 2 of Eat! Drink! Italy! at Feudi del Pisciotto

Vic and the Eat! Drink! Italy! crew are back in Italy filming season 2! This trip starts in Sicily at Feudi del Pisciotto. Read the menu from the first day of filming and see the breathtaking photos from on the set below.

Lunch at Cibus Ristorante Niscemi Sicilia

Feudi del Pisciotto Grillo 2011

Insalata di polpo con rucola limone e olio d olivo
Gamberi Crudo con Indiva Belga
La Pancia di Pesce Spada Saltata con pomodorini

Feudo del Pisciotto Chardonnay 2011

Capellini con inchiostro di Seppie
Pappardelle con carciofi, gamberini e pomodori
Rombo con patate e rosmarino

Feudo del Pisciotto Pinot Nero L’Eterno 2011

Crushed cannolo topped with amarena and pistachio

Feudo del Pisciotto Gianfranco Ferre 2010

Sweet gewürztraminer and semillion


Filming Season Two in Friuli with Charonte and Stige

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Filming Season Two in Friuli with Charonte and Stige


July 2013 found us in Friuli with 3 cameramen, a soundman, a fixer and a director. It was hot. Italy is usually hotter in July than in August. Italian wine professionals name their heat waves, just as we name our hurricanes. “Charonte” and “Stige” brought us temperatures between 95° – 102° Fahrenheit. Charonte (Charon) was the mythical underworld boatman who transported luckless souls across the River Styx (Stige). They gave new meaning to the expression, “Hot as Hades!”

Consorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele

Filming Eat! Drink! Italy! Season 2: Consorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele

Yesterday we visited the Consorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele in San Daniele di Friuli. Daniela the marketing manager for the Consorzio walked me through the process of curing prosciutto. After filming we went to the center of San Daniele and ate a plate of Prosciutto with fresh figs, melone, and mozzarella di Bufala and drank a few bottles of Livio Felluga 2012 Friulano!!!!
La Forza Friuli,

At Consorzio di Prosciutto San DanieleConsorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele

Eat Drink Italy with Vic Rallo filming

Vic’s Links from the 1st Season of Filming

Vic visited a lot of places during the filming of the first season of his upcoming television show, Eat! Drink! Italy! with Vic Rallo. Here’s Vic’s list of links from some of his favorite places he shot at for season 1. Consortium website. Cheese expert in Alto Adige. Consortium website. Barolo producer, La Morra, Piedmont. Barolo producer, women in winemaking. La Morra, Piedmont. Barolo producer, historical wine maker vintage to vintage. Castiglione Falletto, Piedmont. Barolo producer, Monforte D’Alba, Piedmont. Barolo producer, arguably the best wine maker in Italy, Castiglione Falletto, Piedmont. Wine producer, where Pinot Bianco is king. Alto Adige. Gattinara producer and quaint agriturismo, Piedmont. Wine producer, great price to quality ratio. Alto Adige. Wine producer, Gewürztraminer to blow your mind, Alto Adige. Wine producer, the ultimate Italian sauvignon, Alto Adige. Wine producer in Emilia Romagna, they p[roduce Italy’s first white DOCG Albana di Romagna The best restaurant in Barbaresco! Quaint little restaurant in Eppan, Alto Adige. Love this place in Castiglione Falletto, Cristina knows how to cook!!!!

Napkin Notes

Napkin Notes

During our recent two-week trip thru Tuscany and Sicily, we shot approximately 30 segments for the upcoming PBS series, Eat, Drink, Italy with Vic Rallo. I must say it was hard work, but we did eat and drink very well. While I was cooking, Tony was either on the couch or comfy chair taking a nap, or looking in on the filming of the recipe and cooking segments for the show. But while we were eating, he continually took food and wine related notes on napkins.  Tony is an expert in all things Italian, especially wine, and is involved intimately in the show when we interview wine makers and winery owners, or are simply talking wine. And like all great Italian wine lovers, the food is just as important to Tony as the wine. Unlike any other country in the world, Italian wines and food are meant to go together. This is the way it has been for a thousand years or so, and like his Italian predecessors, Tony loves the beautiful marriage food and wine creates. As we traveled thru Italy, Tony created a book of napkins on which he scribbled his notes. Below is his review of the food and wine we drank and ate on our last trip transcribed from his napkin notebook.

La Forza,

Vic Rallo

What follows is an account of how we wined and dined throughout Italy from October 13-24, 2012 while shooting, Eat Drink, Italy with Vic Rallo.

Your first observation may be that we were on the wrong side of gluttony. Actually, our meals were served over a time period of 2-3 hours each, occasionally more. Much of the time we spent planning our next shoot with Allison, our fixer, Mark and Mario, who manned the cameras and set up the lighting, and Massimo (aka Max), the sound man. They joined us for just about every meal. We would all joke about the “light” lunch which we had requested. Several times we ate food which Vic Rallo had prepared. There was always the opportunity and temptation to overdo things, but it would have been counterproductive and unprofessional to do so. We are always professionals; well, almost always.

We drank the wines of the producers whom we visited. This is not a bad situation, since we were forced to taste the wines of Nozzole, Tenuta Sette Ponti, San Felice, Castello di Ama, Tolaini, Badia a Coltibuono, Nardi, Casanova di Neri and Fattoria di Magliano. Often we tried older vintages, dating back to 1970. At restaurants we always ordered local wines. Two whites stand out in my memory: Donnafugata Damarino 2011 in Sicily and Mancini Vermentino di Gallura DOCG 2011 in Fiumicino, near Rome’s airport (well, Sardinia is almost local to Rome).

You will note the shift in gears from Tuscany to Sicily. You can get excellent seafood in Coastal Tuscany, but we were mostly inland in Montalcino and Chianti Classico with only one short side trip to the Maremma. We were offered beef from the Chianina breed, Tuscan prosciutto, wild boar and beans – special, local white beans of Zolfino cooked in fresh olive oil and sage, and served with lots of salt less Tuscan bread. It was enough to make us all mangia fagioli (bean eaters).

Sicily offered us fish and crustacean of every type, shape, and form. You feel that you are dining as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians did on timeless, fresh seafood. You had to leave room for desserts: cannoli, cassatta, exotic melons and fruits, such as fichi d’india, prickly pears that bloom out of local cactuses. I noticed a special glow in the eyes of Mark Ganguzza, our producer. His family is of Sicilian origin.

Which do I prefer, Sicily or Tuscany? I’ll take them both; you will, too. They both sing of the food culture of Italy, which changes every 10 kilometers. The message is always the same: local breads, local olive oil, local recipes, local materie prime (prime ingredients). “Zero Kilometers” is alive and well throughout Italy.

Tuscany, October 13 – 20

Saturday, October 13, Lunch with Giovanni Folonari at Mangiando, Mangiando Restaurant in Greve, Chianti.
Chianina Beef Tartar
Risotto with Porcini (Rice with Porcini Mushrooms)
Peposo (Stewed Beef with Black Pepper Sauce)
Stracotto (Beef Stew)
Pollo Cacciatore (Chicken Hunter’s Style, Tomatoes, Herbs)
Ricotta with Candied Fruit

Saturday, October 13, Supper with Antonio Moretti at Sette Ponti near Arezzo, Tuscany.
Mozzarella di Bufala (Water Buffalo Mozzarella)
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Tuscan Prosciutto
Rosticceria di Pollo, Collo di Maiale e Pane (Roasted Chicken, Pork Necks and Bread)
Fagioli (Beans)
Ice Cream – Zuppa Inglese Flavor (Trifle Ice Cream)

Sunday, October 14, Lunch with Antonio Moretti at Sette Ponti near Arezzo, Tuscany.
Crostini al Fegato di Pollo (Toast with Pureed Chicken Livers)
Pappardelle al Sugo di Anatra (Ribbon Pasta with Duck Sauce)
* Boneless Chianina Prime Rib
Fagioli (Beans in Olive Oil)
Insalata Verde (Green Salad)
* Ice Cream – Cassatta Flavor (Cannoli Cream Ice Cream)

Sunday, October 14, Supper at a Pizzeria in Arezzo, Tuscany  with Stefano Maggini.
Calamaretti (Fried Baby Squid)
Zeppoli (Fried Dough Balls)
Calzoni e Pizze

Monday, October 15, Lunch at San Felice, Castlenuovo Berardegna, Tuscany.
* Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (Pasta with Cacio Cheese and Black Pepper)
Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Finocchiaro

Monday, October 15, Supper at San Felice, Castlenuovo Berardegna, Tuscany.
Chianina Beef Tartar
Potato Gnocchi with White Meat Ragu, Pistachios and Raspberries
Cinta Senese Suckling Pig
Orange Puff Pastry with Burrata Mousse, Chestnuts, Orange Sorbetto and Chocolate

Tuesday, October 16, Lunch at Castello di Ama, Gaiole,Tuscany.
Fusilli Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes
Chicken in White Wine
Melanzana – Ratatouille Style

Tuesday, October 16, Supper at Castello di Ama, Gaiole, Tuscany.
Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato Soup, Olive Oil, Bread)
* Farro, Porcini and Ceci Soup (Grain, Porcini Mushrooms and Chickpeas)
Peposo (Beef Stew with Black Pepper Sauce)

Wednesday, October 17, Lunch with Lia Tolaini at her estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany.
Assorted Panini (Sandwiches)
Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Olives
Castagneta Torta (Chestnut Pie)

Wednesday, October 17, Supper with Lia Tolaini at her estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany.
Prosciutto Sticks
Chicken Spezzatino and Polenta (Chicken Stew)
* Ravioli di Zucca con Burro e Salvia (Pumpkin Ravioli with Butter and Sage)
* Tiramisu

Thursday, October 18, Lunch at Badia a Coltibuono with Emanuela Stucchi-Prinetti, Gaiole, Tuscany.
Zuppetta di Pesce e Spinaci (Fish Soup with Spinach)
Crostini of Zucca, Finferli, Cheese and Fegato (Toasts with Pumpkin, Chanterelles,
Cheese and Liver)
Patate Arrosto con Pesto (Roasted Potatoes with Pesto)
Terrine, Pate, Prosciutto, Finocchiaro (Finochiaro is Fennel Salami)
Insalata Mista (Mixed Salad)
Fagioli (Beans in Olive Oil)
* Pears Poached in Red Wine

Thursday, October 18, Supper at Badia a Coltibuono with Emanuela Stucchi-Prinetti, Gaiole,Tuscany.
We ordered from the menu. I had:
Cabbage Soup with Pancetta (Bacon)
* Veal Cheeks with Potatoes and Finferli (Chanterelles)

Friday, October 19, Lunch at Silvio Nardi with Emilia Nardi in Montalcino, Tuscany.
Prosciutto and other assorted Crudi
Cinghiale with Onions (Wild Boar)
Assorted Cakes

Friday, October 19, Supper at Casanova di Neri in Montalcino, Tuscany  with the Neri family.
Antipasti of Speck (Smoked Prosciutto) and Cheeses
Bistecca (Grilled Steak)
Fagioli (Beans in Olive Oil)
Pappardelle with Capriolo Sauce (Pasta Ribbons with Wild Roebuck Sauce)

Saturday, October 20, Lunch with Agostino Lenci at Fattoria di Magliano in the Maremma, Tuscany.
* Crostino of Radicchio, Pignoli, Grated Parmigiano and Olive Oil
Crostino of Chicken Livers
Crostino of Diced Tomato and Olive Oil
Cinghiale and Polenta (Wild Boar)

Sicily, October 20 – 23
Saturday, October 20, Supper with the Asaro family at Da Vittorio in Porto Palo, Sicily.

Caponata with Swordfish (Eggplant Salad)
Polpettine di Pesce (Fish Balls)
* Spatola al Agrodolce (Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Gambero Rosso Crudo di Mazara del Vallo (Raw Shrimp, similar to Ceviche)
* Neonati Fritti (Fried Small Fish)
Insalata di Cozze e Polpo (Mussel and Octopus Salad)
Spaghetti con Gambaretti e Pistachio (Small Shrimps and Ground Pistachios)
* Spaghetti al Ricci (Sea Urchins)
Desserts, including Cassata Siciliana and Cannoli

Sunday, October 21, Picnic Lunch with the Asaro team in an olive grove near Partanna, Sicily.
Caponata (Eggplant Salad)
* Fresh Ricotta
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Olive Tapanade
Olive Salad
DOP Black Bread
DOP Vastedda di Belice Cheese
Bottarga (Tuna Roe)
* Busiate Pasta Trapanese (Small Fusilli Pasta with Almonds, Tomatoes, Basil)
Salsiccia al Forno (Grilled Sausages)
Fichi d’India (Prickly Pears)
* Fragoli Fruit (Looks like a Lime, tastes like a Strawberry)
Pepper Biscotti
Cucidati Cookies (Holiday Cookies)

Sunday, October 21, Supper at London Ristorante in Menfi with the Asaro team.
Couscous Trapanese (Sea Food and Couscous)
Carpaccio di Pesce Spada (Raw Swordfish)
Pesce Spada Affumicata (Smoked Swordfish)
Insalata di Polpo (Octopus Salad)
Arancino di Riso e Pesce (Rice and Fish Balls)
Gamberi Crudi (Raw Shrimp)
Triglie Fritte (Fried Fish)
* Smoked Tuna and Yellow Melon
Spinach and Cheese in Filo Pastry
Spatola Agrodolce (Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Ricciola al Olio (Fish in Olive Oil)
Cozze al Vino Bianco (Mussels in White Wine)
* Occhiata e Calamari (Assorted Sea Food)
Sorbetto Limone (Lemon Sherbet)

Monday, October 22, Lunch in Sciacca, Sicily with Vincenzo Recca at Ristorante del Faro.
Alici al Olio (Sardines in Olive Oil)
Spatola Agrodolce (Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Cozze Marinara (Mussels in Tomato Sauce)
Polpette di Gamberi (Shrimp Balls)
Polpo in Umido (Steamed Octopus)
* Spaghetti con Le Sarde (Sardine Sauce)
Spaghetti con Ricci (Sea Urchins)
Pesce Spada con Pommodoro e Cipolle (Swordfish, Tomatoes, and Onions)
Sarago Grigliato (Grilled Fish)
Giri (Beet Greens)

Monday, October 22, Supper in Castelveltrano, Sicily  at the home of Nino Asaro, with his family.
Panella (Chickpea Squares)
Arancini al Sugo di Carne (Meat Sauce Balls)
Arancini al Formaggio e Prosciutto Cotto (Cheese and Ham Balls)
Salsiccia Pasqualora (Easter Salami)
Caponata (Eggplant Salad)
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Vastedda di Belice DOP Cheese
Scamorza Affumicata (Smoked Cheese)
Ricotta Salata al Forno (Baked Cheese)
* Spaghetti Macco di Fava (Fava and Pea Sauce)
Salsicce al Forno (Grilled Sausage)
Tortino di Patate (Potato Tart)
Braciola con Carote e Cipolle (Stuffed Beef Rolls with Carrots and Onions)
Fichi d’India (Prickly Pears)
Melone Giallo (Yellow Melons)
Casadelle (Sfogliatelle Fritte – Fried Stuffed Pastries)
Pignolata (Struffoli, Fried Dough Balls with Honey)
Mostaccioli (Pastry)

Tuesday, October 23, Lunch at Antica Focacceria di San Francesco in Palermo, Sicily with Tommaso Asaro.
Arancini al Ragu con Piselli (Meat Sauce and Peas)
Arancini al Ricotta e Prosciutto Cotto (Cheese and Ham)
Pianini di Panella (Ceci – Chickpeas)
* Pianini di Milza (Spleen)
Sfincione (Local Flatbread/Pizza)
Involtini di Melanzane (Stuffed Eggplant)

Tuesday, October 24, Supper at Pisicchio Ristorante in Fiumicino, Rome.
Cozze e Vongole in Vino Bianco (Mussels and Clams in White Wine)
Fried Fish Balls
* Moscardini Fritti (Fried Baby Calamari)
Shrimps with Lettuce and Mayonnaise
Salmone Affumicato con Ricotta (Smoked Salmon with Ricotta)
Alici al Olio (Fresh Sardines in Olive Oil)
Salmone Affumicato con Radicchio (Smoked Salmon with Radicchio)
* Spaghetti con Vongole Veraci (Spaghetti with Clam Sauce)
* Tagliolini con Frutti di Mare (Thin Homemade Pasta Strips with Mixed Seafood and
* Sorbetto di Limone (Lemon Sherbet)

Everything we tasted was fresh, local and excellent. I have inserted an asterisk (*) in front of dishes that I thought were extraordinary.

Fattoria di Magliano

Fattoria di Magliano – The Maremma in Tuscany

On Saturday October 20, 2012 on the way to Fiumicino airport in Rome, we stopped at my friend Agostino Lenci’s winery and Agriturismo in Magliano, a coastal Tuscan town that is part of one of the up-and-coming wine regions of Italy. The property sits ten kilometers from the sea, and to put you right there: everyone remembers the Costa Concordia ship that sank off the coast of Tuscany near Giglio Island? Well you can see it glimmer from Fattoria di Magliano.

This is a relatively new winery that is making some exceptional, well-priced wines in the Tuscan wine region near Grosseto. The wines are as impressive as they are the beautiful, and equal in beauty to the old farmhouse that Agostino and his wife have restored into the wineries restaurant and Agriturismo. It is wonderful place to relax, eat, and enjoy the gorgeous beaches of coastal Tuscany. This place should be a must on your bucket list.

A few kilometers from the sea surrounded by unspoiled countryside, Fattoria di Magliano lies in the middle of a vast agricultural estate deep in the famous Maremma area of Tuscany where some of the most famous Italian wines are produced.

Founded in 1997 by former shoemaker Agostino Lenci, Fattoria di Magliano began building a modern wine making facility, concentrating on producing wines of the highest quality. Planting of the vineyards in the medium-consistency, skeletal-rich soil typical of the Maremma, began in 1998 under the supervision of the agronomist Valerio Barbieri. The heart and soul of the farm are located on 91 hectares of land in the heart of the Maremma. At present, there are 45 hectares of vineyards, 12 of which are Sangiovese, 12 Merlot, 7 Cabernet, 3 Syrah and 4 Vermentino Vionnier. A program is already underway to extend the vineyard area to 60 hectares. There are 6,400 vines per hectare and they are cultivated with the bilateral cordon system.

The Fattoria di Magliano cellar was completed in 2001, the year the first wine was made. The cellar covers an area of approximately 1,500 square meters on two levels, one of which is underground. The vinification and storage rooms are on the lower floor where there are 32 steel baths with a capacity of 2,720 hectolitres, and two temperature controlled barrique cellars, each with an area of approximately 250 square meters. The tasting room, bottling rooms and the rooms where the company’s wine is aged in bottles are on the floor above.
Fattoria di Magliano currently produces a DOC wine – Morellino di Scansano – and two IGT Maremma Toscana wines – a white from Vermentino grapes, and a red from Cabernet and Merlot grapes. Production is supervised by oenologist, Graziana Grassini who is also a consulting wine maker at Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia.
I have attached some pictures of our filming at Fattoria di Magliano.


Paolo Scavino

Filming in Northern Italy – Paolo Scavino

Where the Hell is Victor Rallo?

This is a good question and I don’t have an answer! However, I do know where he was! Piedmont, Alto-Adige, Emilia Romagna, Trentino and Lombardy; Victor was zigzagging his way across Northern Italy in search of the very best food, wine, and life for his new show “Eat, Drink, Live Italy with Victor Rallo” set to air this winter on PBS.

Victor’s pursuit is to bring you the best of Italy! Not only will he be delving into such items as truffles, pressing olives, and finding the perfect cheese caveau, he will be eating some of each region’s top food and drinking the finest wine. And yes, he’s even keeping an eye on Burlisconi and Italy’s bees. So, stayed tuned for news on the upcoming show, and to keep tabs on his antics throughout Italy.

On his most recent trip, of the hundreds of wines he tasted, the following are the ones you cannot miss!!!

Paolo Scavino Barolo, Langhe Nebbiolo and Langhe Bianco

At Paolo Scavino in Castiglione Falletto, Piedmont it is a family affair. Sisters, Elisa and Enrica, sit beside their father, Enrico, producing historical wines vintage after vintage. I love the base Barolo; it is an outstanding value. Also, try the Langhe Bianco 2011, it is a blend of chardonnay, sauvignon and 2011 is the first vintage with viognier in the blend.

The Paolo Scavino winery was founded in 1921 by Enrico Scavino’s grandfather Paolo. Today Enrico runs the winery with the help of his daughters Enrica and Elisa. The winery is located in Castiglione Falletto, one of the eleven communes of the Barolo appellation, in the historical Langhe hills. The Scavino winery is rare in their possession of grand cru’s in six of the eleven villages of Barolo. The Scavino family owns grand cru vineyards in the townships of Castiglione Falletto, Barolo, La Morra, Roddi, Verduno and Serralunga. This diversity of terroir gives the Scavino’s a unique opportunity to produce wines of extraordinary quality. The single vineyard crus have been a personal mission of Enrico since he conceived and created the Bric del Fiasc single vineyard label in 1978: The first Scavino cru. The uniqueness of each vineyard’s terroir today can be tasted in their four esteemed single vineyard bottlings.

Paolo Scavino Langhe Bianco 2010 – $13

Paolo Scavino Barolo 2007 – $37

Screen Shot 2012-07-27 at 12.03.59 PM

Filming in Northern Italy – Vietti Castiglione Barolo & Vietti Arneis

Where the Hell is Victor Rallo?

This is a good question and I don’t have an answer! However, I do know where he was! Piedmont, Alto-Adige, Emilia Romagna, Trentino and Lombardy; Victor was zigzagging his way across Northern Italy in search of the very best food, wine, and life for his new show “Eat, Drink, Live Italy with Victor Rallo” set to air this winter on PBS.

Victor’s pursuit is to bring you the best of Italy! Not only will he be delving into such items as truffles, pressing olives, and finding the perfect cheese caveau, he will be eating some of each region’s top food and drinking the finest wine. And yes, he’s even keeping an eye on Burlisconi and Italy’s bees. So, stayed tuned for news on the upcoming show, and to keep tabs on his antics throughout Italy.

On his most recent trip, of the hundreds of wines he tasted, the following are the ones you cannot miss!!!

The wines July 5, 2012 to July 17, 2012:


2. Vietti Castiglione Barolo & Vietti Arneis

Luca Currado of Vietti in Castiglione Falletto is arguably one of the best wine makers in Barolo. Try any of his wines and you will understand my statement. His family is the only Barolo producer to own Cru vineyards in all of the 11 villages that make up the Barolo DOCG. The Barolo Castiglione 2007 is a slam-dunk for nebbiolo lovers, whether you drink it now or cellar it for 10-15 years. And please do not overlook the Arneis 2011; a terrific alternative to sauvignon blanc.

Based in Castiglione Falletto in Piedmont’s Langhe wine region, the Vietti winery is owned by the family’s fourth generation. In 1919 Mario Vietti made the first Vietti labeled wines. By mid-century Alfredo Currado married Mario’s daughter and made a name for Vietti’s single vineyard Barbera and Barolo. Alfredo was one of the first to select and vinify grapes from single vineyards, a radical concept at the time. He also put the varietal Arneis on the wine map and is recognized as the father of Arneis. In 1990, Luca joined the Vietti family business as winemaker after working at California’s Simi Winery, Opus One, Long Vineyards and Bordeaux’s Mouton-Rothschild. His innovative winemaking utilizes a unique combination of the modern and traditional. He eliminated equipment that measures acid and tannin levels in favor of a more intuitive approach. Vietti organically farms more than 25 single vineyards with vines up to 90 years of age.

Vietti Castiglione Barolo 2007 – $45.99

Vietti Roero Arneis 2011 – $21.99