A Queen In The Kitchen – Estate Italiana: FICO Eataly World (Bologna)

FICO, acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina (Italian Peasant Factory) and literally fig or cool! (Italian expression), is THE WORLD’S LARGEST AGRI-FOOD PARK in beautiful Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

100.000 square meters of authentic Italian agri-food related stuff including :

  • shops and marketplace
  • 40 eating points
  • 40 farming factories
  • 6 multimedia carousels
  • 6 classrooms
  • theater and cinema
  • 2 hectares of fields and stables
  • 1 congress center

FICO is HUGE and the best way to explore it is to rent at the entrance the FICO bike, a Bianchi tricycle provided with two shopping baskets.

If you are planning to visit Bologna, the capital of the Emilia Romagna region, don’t forget to plan a whole day at FICO.

Buona Estate!


Majestic entrance at FICO Eataly World .


Red Hot Chili Pepper sculpture in the parking lot.


Best way to visit FICO is to rent a FICO Bike.


Neapolitan Pizza at ROSSOPOMODORO.


Italian Gelato Workshops at Gelato University Carpigiani.


Traditional Sicilian pastries at Pasticceria Palazzolo.


Outstanding Italian rice at Grandi Riso spot.


Huge selection of Italian wines.


Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, shop and tasting.

IMG_2032Authentic Italian restaurants and bistros a go-go.


One of my favorite spot at FICO: Librerie COOP bookstore.


Ale Gambini (Host, Author, Editor)

Maurizio OTTO De Togni (Executive Producer, Original Music, Video Maker, Photo).

Produced by: BreadLoveAndDreams and SuperOttO Publishing Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Gnocco Fritto (Italian Fried Bread Dough) 🇮🇹

Gnocco Fritto, Gnoc Fret in Emilian dialect, is a traditional Italian fried bread dough from Emilia-Romagna region, usually served with Italian cured meats, cheeses and paired with Lambrusco wine.

Learn how to make Gnocco Fritto on my new cooking series : Baking Bread.

Servings : 6

Difficulty : intermediate

Prep Time : 1 h

Cook Time : 2 min.


1.1 lb. flour 00
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
3/4 cup sparkling water
1  1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For frying : Canola Oil


– Place the flour on a stand mixer bowl.

– Make a well in the center,  then add baking soda, salt, olive oil, milk and sparkling water.

– Knead the ingredients with the dough hook at low speed until a firm and non-sticky dough forms.

– Transfer the dough on a floured work surface and knead the dough with the hands for a couple of minutes.

– Shape the dough into a big ball, transfer back onto the mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

– Roll the dough on a floured work surface, about 1/8 inch thick.

– Cut the dough with a pizza cutter into diamonds, about 3 inches long.

– On a medium skillet, heat the canola oil to 375 degrees F.

– Fry in oil until puff and golden.

– Drain with a slotted spoon and shake off the excess of oil.

– Serve hot accompanied with Italian salumi (prosciutto crudo, prosciutto cotto, mortadella, coppa, salame…) and cheeses.


Ale Gambini (Host Chef & Founder)
Maurizio “OTTO” De Togni (Film & Music Maker – Executive & Media Producer)

Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Montasio Cheese DOP

Montasio Cheese DOP

Taking advantage of the Montasio cheese my mom sent me for Christmas, I made a delicious FRICO WITH POTATOES.
Frico is a traditional dish from the Friuli Region (North- East of Italy), a very simple dish made with shredded Montasio cheese, potatoes and onion.
Montasio cheese is made with cow’s milk, it is produced wheel-shaped and could be used grated or as is because it has a mild and delicate flavor, with a twist of nuts.
Montasio is available FRESH (2 month old), MEZZANO (5 month to 10 months old) and Stravecchio (10 months and older).
In the 1986 Montasio cheese has been awarded with the DOP label ( Protected Designation of Origin), the quality assurance label for Italian products, especially for wines and cheeses.
If not aged, pair it with white wines from Friuli , with the progress of aging full-bodied red wines are preferred.

Conti-Cantine Del Castello Wines & Winery (Maggiora, Italy)

117-0088sorelle-rid-anchisipittura castello contiheart Castello ContiConti-Cantine Del Castello Wines & Winery (Maggiora, Italy)

Today I’m thrilled and honored to write about The Cantine Del Castello Conti wines & winery.
The Cantine del Castello is a family-owned and run business, established in 1963 by Ermanno Conti, in the little town of Maggiora (Piedmont region). He had the innovative idea to produce the Boca wine, pursuing the dream of making only the wine he always loved to do. In the 1960 he built a Castle (Castello) to protect and respect the aging of his wine.
The Boca, a historical DOC created in the 1969, is a fine wine from the tradition of the Novara’s hills. It is the result of the mix of three kind of grape: 70% of Nebbiolo, 25% of Vespolina, 5% of Uva Rara (Bonarda Novarese).
Ermanno’s passion and knowledge about Boca wine has been passed down through the years to his tree amazing daughters Paola , Anna and Elena. Nowadays the Conti Sisters lead magnificently the business and they’ve also created a new wine label called “Rosso delle Donne” (Women’s Red), dedicated to vintage of 1996 of Boca, painted by the venetian artist Oreste Sabadin. The Rosso delle Donne is not only a wine but a project, a new concept of wine tasting along with contemporary art exhibitions, artistic workshops, books presentations, readings of poetry, theatrical performances.
The Conti Sisters grow their grapes with an organic approach, NOT using any kind of chemical weed killer.

Kudo to this three talented women who reinvented a way to produce, taste and love wine.

Salute!!! Cheers!!!


Thanks to the Conti Family for the infos and photos…and for the longtime friendship 🙂

Mocetta (Italian Dried Meat)

Mocetta_BLAD blog - 6Today in LA feels like a perfect summer day, so what could be better than a plate of Mocetta?
Mocetta is a traditional dried meat from the Valle d’Aosta Region (Italy) and can be done with any types of meat. The world mocetta in valdostano dialect means piece of dried meat.
The Mocetta can be found on selected Italian Deli and it’s a perfect substitute for Bresaola and Carpaccio.
You can enjoy the Mocetta thinly sliced ​​on a plate, with a drizzle of honey, brown bread and butter and a glass of Valle D’ Aosta D.O.C. red wine, of course.

Photo by Maurizio “Otto” De Togni

Nonna Nanda’s Ragu’ alla Bolognese

“Ragu” is the traditional italian meat-based  tomato sauce, commonly served with pasta and used for preparing “Lasagne alla Bolognese”.It tastes even better when made one day ahead.


1 little onion finely chopped

1 little carrot finely chopped

1 little celery stalk finely chopped

5 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoon of butter

1 beef bouillon cube

30 oz of organic tomato sauce (vine ripened tomatoes)

half pund ground beef meat

half pound pork ground meat (for a lighter taste and better for the children use half pound ground chicken instead of pork)

1 cup of red wine

one pinch of ground black pepper

3  basil leaf (washed and dried)


Put the Olive oil,the butter, the chopped onion carrot and celery in a saucepan and heat until the onion became golden, then reduce the heat and add all the ground meats and stir constantly.Add the red wine , simmer until reduced (about 2 minutes) then add the tomato sauce, the beef bouillon cube, the basil and the black pepper.Reduce the heat as low as possible,cover the pan with the lid.Cook for at least one hour and remember to stir very often.If the sauce became too thick add a a glass of hot water.

Buon Appetito =)