WSET Level 1: how I got into wines.

My passion for wines started when I was around 20 years old. But I didn’t know yet.

I remember a themed party when I was study in Germany during my Erasmus, something like 8 years ago. My friend and I decided to have a wine themed party where everyone had to bring a bottle – can’t remember if we asked specifically for it to be Italian wine, but even so I remember a bottle of wine from California.

Even if Germany changed and improved my perception on beers more than wine, in the past years I started to appreciate wines more and more.
Next door to where I am from, Pinot Grigio is a big deal but it’s not that I cared that much when I was younger. We used to go out with friends and drink “spritz” more than anything else which is a mix of white wine (not of high quality I’d say) and sparkling water. If you want the fancy version ask for a spritz Aperol.
Anyway, I can’t remember a day when I thought: “Oh, this wine is good. I am into wines!”. I do remember, thought, that there was always wine at home, specially when we traveled to the South of Italy, where every summer we bought some wine for the whole year (or at least half year!).

In the past 4 years, I tried to widen my horizons and I did try more wines, maybe because in London there’s so much choice. I started learning what I like better (reds!) and what’s not really my thing (still not convinced on rose), and I started drinking to actually enjoy a glass of wine and not just to get drunk.
So the consequent decision was to officially learn more about it and this is why I enrolled for WSET Level 1 Award in Wines.

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust is internationally recognized and it was also in a very convenient location for me in London, on Bermondsey Street.
The introductory class lasted 6 hours (2h on three Thursdays) and we studied 7 grapes variety, the different wine styles, how to systematically taste wines, how to pair food and wine and how to serve and store wines. Trust me, there’s a lot of information to learn in 6 hours! At the end of the class, there’s an exam (a proper exam, with multiple choice questions) and then, if you pass you receive your certificate and a little and cute badge.

And here I am, proudly holding my certificate!
The test was tricky, I wasn’t sure till the end I passed but I managed. YAY!

I have to say that I loved the course, it gave me a different prospective on wines and I think it’s so interesting to understand the specific flavors in each grape variety. It also, though, made me have more questions about wines, about pairing, about how wine is made.
This is why I will be most likely taking level 2.

I definitely recommend this short course if you want a basic and general knowledge on the most popular wines. I feel my knowledge on wines is (slowly) growing and I hope I can learn so much more about this fascinating field.

I don’t think I will be writing about wines, not sure I know how but stay tuned, there’s definitely much more coming up.🙂

Scottish Adventures: exploring Edinburgh!


Scotland has been in my travel list since ages, especially since when I started reading the series Outlander. The series, which is also a TV show now, is (obviously) set in Scotland so I wanted to check out how the place really looks like, after reading so much about it. For the records, I am still on book 5 out of 8 – long way to go.

I got on a BA flight on the Friday afternoon and after a quick 45 minutes, I arrived in Edinburgh where I soon realized people are SO friendly. I decided to get the tram from the airport into town (very convenient, £8,50 return) and I got rewarded with a pretty cool view as well. Everything seemed so green!
I stayed in one of the best looking Airbnbs so far, 20 min walk from the Old Town.

One of the cool part of staying at this place was that the hosts had multiple rooms available and they had some other guests staying at the place which meant I got to chat with this lovely couple living in Amsterdam, how nice!

Anyway, after getting some noodles at the local place, I went to a pub close by, just to have a beer and I ended up making friends (have I ever said that of any pub in London?). After one too many drinks and not enough hours sleep, I was ready to go and explore on the Saturday – even if I had a quick look at the Old Town when walking to the apartment and I already fell in love with the city.


I decided to have a wonder at the National Museum of Scotland, which has a lovely collection regarding Scottish history and also, there’s a terrace on the top floor where you get an amazing view of Edinburgh.

But let me tell you about the best part of this weekend in Edinburgh: the Eat and Walk tour.
I love food tours, most of the times you get to taste something really authentic and you get to meet a tour guide that for sure knows a lot about the city.
And this is exactly what happened! I met the group at 12pm, we had 5 stops with food/drinks tastings and I was really looking forward to it.
I won’t tell you the exact locations but I will share with you pictures of this experience, that I highly recommend. At the first stop we tasted Scottish Salmon, in the second stop pig cheek with mash potatoes and black pudding on toast and a lovely Prosecco topped up with a local raspberry gin, in the third stop we tried haggis and whisky, then cheese and wine and finally dessert.

In the last place we also bumped into a wedding where everyone was wearing a kilt… so very typical!
The tour costs £59 and it’s totally worth it. Not only you get to taste all the amazing food and drinks, but you also walk around town and the tour guide will explain all about the areas & the history. Also, communication is pretty easy cause they give you a headset type of thing so listening to the guide is so easy and the noise of the town won’t disturb you.
My advice is to try all the food, I know black pudding and haggis might not sound appetizing but they are so much better than expected!
And also, I made some friends as well! We were 5 in total at the tour and we decided to have dinner together that evening… so a lovely day all around!

I was flying back to London on Sunday afternoon and I still had plenty of time to explore, so I decided to spend my Sunday morning at Arthur’s seat. I have to confess that I cheated a bit and took the lower (and less difficult!) route but the view was simply amazing.


Walking up the hill was great and the weather turned as well and it was surprisingly sunny. After the walk I headed into town, visited couple of churches, had a lovely burger and watched a street performance (that I had seen the day before as well, but doesn’t love bagpipes?).
I will end this post with some pics that will give you an idea of the loveliness of this place.
Edinburgh is a magic place, I truly believe there is something special there.
So, go and visit Edinburgh and then, go and visit the rest of Scotland… which is now on my list as well!




Canapé judge: tasting tiny food. 

This past Wednesday I went to “Venue and events 2016” which is a yearly event organised by Squaremeal, where you have tons of events/venue/food suppliers. I usually go to get some inspiration for our Christmas party and team building activities.

This year I also had another opportunity: becoming a judge for the “Canapé Squaremeal cup”.

After a long afternoon strolling at Old Billingsgate Market – where, by the way I worked so many times when working in catering- I got selected to be a judge.

The Canapé cup was taking place in the vaults, very iconic part of OBM. We all had a list with numbers and details about the different canapés and we had to mark our favourite three, very difficult cause most of the canapés were so pretty to look at. Of course the look is not the only important thing, canapés have to be easy to eat (usually just one bite) and tasty.

As you can see, they were definitely pretty! For my top 3 I picked a combination of great taste and good presentation.

Being able to judge and taste food is always a good experience, I found it interesting cause it wasn’t just a mare “eat to feed yourself”, but a posh version of it.

Now, let’s wait and see who’s the winner!

Stay tuned, next on the blog my Scottish adventures!


4 years and counting. 

On a normal 17th of September 2012, I was on a plane heading to London thinking that after 6 months I would have been back home again. 

And here I am, 4 years later in my London living room. Who would have thought?

If I think back, I see myself with short hair moving around London looking for my first house, getting lost in Elephant and Castle which is now one of the places I know best. I see myself in class, thinking that sport management was my thing. And I see myself in catering, working in any possible venue, thinking that I couldn’t possible work that much and then realising that my body got used to it, and carry on for hours and hours. I have to say that if I think back, one of the things I remember the most is that time, maybe because I have been in the catering industry for 2 years. The amount of wine I poured, the number of plates I have served and cleared, the times I had to manage waiters and waitresses at high profile events, feeling the adrenaline of it. I had an amazing time. 

And then, when things changed and I decided I wanted a “normal” job I still enjoyed it, cause it gave me the chance to do other things and have a better life. Like traveling. This year alone has been amazing, with the “12 trips in 12 months” project that is working well so far. 

Money is not all in life, but it does give you the chance to do more things and things you always wanted to do but you couldn’t affort, especially in a city like London where the rent usually takes up a big chunk of your salary. 

The most amazing part of the 4 years is the amount of things that happened and changed, I am doing a job that I never thought I would and so this means only one thing, actually two: 

1. Life is unpredictable. 

2. We can really become what we please in our life, we can do the job we want, we can achieve some dreams, there’s infinite possibilities to do what we like the most.

I cannot understand and I am not very tolerant to people that say: “oh now is too late for me to change career or to do this and that”. I want to tell you a secret: the only time it will be too late is when you’ll be dead

So, enjoy till you can, believe things can happen, put come effort in following your passions and remember that literally anything can happen.

In the meantime, I want to thank my family for always being in my life, my friends in Italy for still being there every single time I go home (and still counting down the days till the next time we are going to see each other), all my friends here in the UK where I have met some really great human beings, but let me thank also all the people that entered my life but then left: that’s ok, it happens. 

I am very great fun every single day for the things I had, for the ones I have achieved myself and for everything else that is yet to come. 


Beef tartare + wine: summary of a weekend in Paris!


I have never really liked Paris.
The first time I tried to go, I think in 2010, we couldn’t leave cause it was December and there was too much snow in CDG. Thanks Paris!
The second time, or better the first real time I have been there, was two years ago when I went to visit couple of friends.
This time, I had a ticket to use from my late train to Brussels so I decided September was the right time to go back.

For part of last weekend, the weather was amazing. Hot and sunny. Only Sunday had one too many clouds, but hey you can’t have everything can you.

The evening of my arrival I met with a friend that I met on my first days in London, 4 years ago, when I was studying. It was in fact two years that we didn’t se each other so it’s been great to catch up, specially when we went for dinner in Montmartre. Wine and beef tartare, what else do you need?

I really do not understand what the Brits have against beef tartare, or any type of tartare. You do not know what you’re missing, good Lord.
Anyway, dinner and amazing company – I couldn’t have asked for more.

On the Saturday I went to Versailles, I decided not to visit the castle cause the day was too sunny and beautiful to spend it inside. I went, instead, to the Marie Antoinette Domain: an area (very big!) dedicated just to her, with parks and little castles. What a life, eh?


A great day, specially when we found the perfect spot for some pictures. In fact, this weekend seemed more like a photo shoot than anything else. And it feels nice, cause when I am solo traveling this never happens! Right, let me show you the “Summer 2016 Paris Collections”…

I had fun, I have to admit.

Clearly after a late night, a picnic in the sun, walking with my backpack, arriving late at the Versailles gardens (and not being able to see them!) and all this jumping, you can imagine how tired I was, so early night in Paris and ready to stuff my face again with croissants and other goodies the next morning.

Also, just in case I bought some wine and cheese.

On the Sunday morning we just took a walk next to the river, noticing a marathon and strolling around some beautiful gardens to end up in the Latin quarter for some super tasty crepes for lunch.

Now you tell me, what would you want more?

Stay tuned my friends, Edinburgh is coming up next.🙂

Chronicles of a foodie weekend. 

Food makes my life better. 

In fact, while writing this post I am eating or better snacking with some Parma ham and olives from Italy. But let’s start from the beginning.

I try to have all my weekends planned and I always go to the gym at 12pm on Saturdays – a good way to kick off the weekend and make sure I don’t go too crazy on Friday night. Last Friday I also had a super healthy meal: sea bass fillet with tomatoes and potatoes and a salad on the side. And a glass of two of white wine. 

My Saturday started with a light breakfast and then off to my Step class. I didn’t want to eat too much after my workout, mainly because it was so tiring and I didn’t want to waste all my efforts. So I went to my Italian friend’s place for lunch and he was like should we make some pasta (of course, what where you expecting?), I said fine let’s make same pasta but I am not eating a lot. Now, that’s the best part… Ready to see how much pasta I had?


We are Italians, that’s the way it works. This mussels and shrimps pasta was lovely, it didn’t take long to make and if you have the right ingredients it can be so tasty. Be warned though, after lunch you’ll experience a deep sense of sleepiness and it will seem like the pillow is talking to you and whisper: “Come and join me on the bed…”. We just couldn’t resist, we did take a nap while watching “Rio 2” – not that I have seen much of the movie anyway. 

One will expect that at this point of the day, it’s done, your day is over. Instead I had the brilliant idea of going out for dinner. 

Recently, the list of the 100 best restaurants in London has been published on the Time Out London. The restaurant we picked for last night’s dinner was on the list, not that this fact influenced our decision because I have always wanted to go anyway and it’s in the local neighbourhood. I did read about it on the magazine and it had amazing reviews. We managed to get a table for two at The begging bowl, surprising cause there’s always a queue and they don’t take bookings. Let me say straight away that I am not a big fan of trendy places that don’t take bookings (specially in London!) and also I am not s big fan of tapas size plates. 

I am not sure where my dislike for Tapas started, but I think it has to do with cultural reasons. When we go for a aperitivo in Italy (a drink before dinner), we usually get small bites to eat as well and most of the times you don’t really pay extra, maybe the drinks are a little bit more expensive but you get food with it. Also I am not a big fan of sharing and I do believe portion should be of a fair size. If you want to try my dish when you’re having dinner with me, that’s ok. But no, I am not going to order 5/6 plates to share as you are recommending on the menu, and then pay a sometimes ridiculous amount of money just because you’re listed in the top 100 and you’re in London. Because I am sure that if I go to Spain, this is not the way it works. In fact, I will be spending New Years Eve in Barcelona, I will let you know. 

This explained, back to last night’s dinner: the tapas concept was fine with me this time since I had that big lunch. 

The food looked good and I liked most of it -except a crab plate I had. The service was ok, the price for what we had was a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, in prospective the amount we spent it’s maybe a normal amount but compared to the quantity of food, I am not sure it was appropriate. I felt the place was just a bit overrated. We are still talking about a place in Peckham, which is not central but had central London prices. And the other place I felt the same way about was Chevice, renound for Peruvian cuisine. To be honest with you, over priced and no wow factor in the food. 

I am a bit tired of going to overrated places in London and get charged for nothing. And it’s not just about restaurants, we can also include bars and clubs. It’s amazing that London has so many restaurants and chances for you to try foods from all over the world, but sometimes I do find the overpricing unfair, like they’re mocking you.

Anyway, the weekend continued with a brunch on Sunday morning. I think brunch is a brilliant time of the day. I went with some friends in this place called The Table in Southwark. I am a big brunch lover but I never tried this place before. Guess what? The bill was cheaper than last night and the food/service were really good. 

To end the day in the perfect way, we headed to Mercato Metropolitano for a tour of Italian products. Also, remember that the official opening on the 15th of September is coming up. Make sure you go and check it out.
Stay tuned for more adventures: after a month stop from travelling, I’ll be heading to couple of places in the next 5 weeks. To be precise I’ll do 3 weekends away out of 5, to keep up with my “12 trips in 12 months” plan. To be honest, if things stay as they are now, for this year i would have 13 trips on my list. :) 

Remember, the best is yet to come. 

My first musical in London and other stories.

Theatres have always been magical to me. I used to spend a lot of time at our Teatro Verdi in Trieste when I was a kid. My dad used to be the masseur of the ballet company and he always had tickets for us, but the best part was when he took me backstage and introduced me to the ballerinas and actors. He was always so proud of me for some reasons and they seemed all happy to meet me and weren’t bothered at all that I was there. I remember big smiles, wigs, make up, fairy tale dresses… For a kid, what a dream experience!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t gifted with anything related the theatrical arts so I remember that sometimes when I was watching the musicals I wished I was as talented and I would have loved to be part of that team on stage. In reality, I don’t think a stage is my thing at all even if I clearly don’t lack of confidence. Let’s say, though, that I have other talents – many still to discover. 

My plan for the weekend was to just chill at home, it’s been an intensive year in terms of travel so this was one of the first weekends free. I was food shopping at Tesco when I got a text from a good friend that was wondering if I was free to see this musical in town. I managed to get at the Savoy theatre in under an hour, do not ask how, and I went to see “Funny girl” with Sheridan Smith. I have to admit I had no clue about this musical, so I did a quick research before getting there. 

For one reason or another, I never managed to see a musical in London so this was my first time and I did enjoy the show, the actors were great. But also, last night made me travel back in time, to when I was 10 and I was wearing that new dress my mum got me to go to the theatre cause my dad got us tickets to see the show. If I only could go back in time, just once…

This is been a very tough summer for me, if you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning you’ll know I usually spend at least two weeks in Italy in August and I always come back in tears. This year, due to my brother’s 40th birthday, I went to Italy in July for just over a week. I have been travelling quite a lot this year so the time was limited and I wanted to keep some holidays for another good trip later this year/early next year. It was my choice, so I can only blame myself if I get moody every single time one of my friends post a picture of the see back home. Still, it’s hard and I don’t know how people do it. I know I am used well and this is why summers in London are so difficult for me and I also know it sounds crazy that the sun influences my life so much and still, here I am to tell you that your day or week gets fucking awful when the sky is grey for 3 days in a row. But yes, you get used to it as to all things in life.

Anyway, I’ll be off for some new adventurers soon so stay tuned… There’s so much more to come!🙂