Tuesday, 30 June 2020

DOLCE VITA MERCATO



This Italian Heritage Month, on June 27th and 28th, I had the pleasure of organizing and hosting the Dolce Vita Mercato - the first ever virtual Italian-inspired market!  

Due to the pandemic, many Italian heritage celebrations had to unfortunately be cancelled.  Thus, I figured, why not bring the celebration online? Seeing as many were also going to miss their beloved Italian summer vacations due to travel restrictions, I asked myself, "how we can bring Italy to us?," and so the Dolce Vita Mercato was born!

The event included various aspects including: Italian-inspired shopping; live music from local Italian artists; cultural workshops that explored Italian cuisine, language and speciality cocktail; virtual tours of the Amalfi Coast and Sicily; and a Fashion show for the latest in European children's wear.

It was a delightful "dolce vita" weekend! It was truly an honour to organize something that I am passionate about, but more importantly, to pay tribute to my Italian heritage in a fun and creative way. I was very pleased to receive positive feedback from many, and look forward to creating more Italian-inspired events for you all in the future!

Lastly, but not least, I recognize the privilege of being able to celebrate my culture and receive such a positive response.  I believe that all races and ethnicities are equally valuable and that they should all be respected and celebrated.  As such, I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the event to the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society, which helps to promote inclusivity, respect and understanding of all groups.

For a full list of all the vendors, artists, and organizations involved in the event, please visit www.dolcevitamercato.com.

Check out the videos below for a closer look at the event, along with a delicious lemon granita recipe!




Sunday, 17 May 2020

CHOCOLATE WHIPPED LATTE - Global News Weekend


Happy long weekend everyone!

While this year's Victoria Day festivities may be quite different than years past, it doesn't mean we still can't celebrate and have fun, right?

As always our May long weekend plans include great food and drink, great company and of course fireworks!  In regards to the first category, I am super excited to share a yummy new drink with my family - a chocolate whipped latte!   Actually, not only am I excited to share this with my family, but I am thankful that I was able to share it with a larger audience as well, as it was featured on Global News Weekend with hosts Aalia Adam and Mike Arsenault this holiday weekend.  

This drink, which was inspired by the original version seen on the Instagram account, @sweetportfolio, includes some fun little Italian twists such as biscotto bits, latte style frothed milk and espresso!

Check out the fun video below on how to make this super easy and super delicious drink!




Chocolate Whipped Latte

Recipe:

1 tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut spread
1/3 cup of whipping cream
1 cup of cold milk (can also use frothed milk, or espresso)
crushed chocolate bits 

Directions:
1. Combine the chocolate hazelnut spread and the whipping cream
2. Stir vigorously for about 2-3 minutes, until the mixture forms nice whipped peaks
3. Top the whipped chocolate onto the cold milk (keep in mind you can add the whip to any drink of your choice; ie. warm frothed milk, coffee, etc.)
4. Line the rim of the glass with some of the chocolate hazelnut spread and then biscotto (cookie) bits!  Feel free to also sprinkle some of the cookie bits on top of the drink for some extra crunch!  
5. Enjoy! :)

Cheers!

Friday, 8 May 2020

LAST MINUTE MOTHER'S DAY GIFTS



Mother's Day is a couple of days away and you find yourself still scratching your head for the perfect gift idea...at this point it's too late to order anything and you're feeling stuck.  Don't worry, Viva la Dolce has you covered! 

With Covid-19 and everyone under quarantine, the usual go-tos are off limits, such as salon gift cards, spa dates, and restaurant outings. Moreover, with social distancing rules in effect, many families are separated.  As a result, many mothers are going to appreciate something that will help them feel closer to their loved ones.

Check out the list below for five ideas that will help do just that.  The best part is most of the ideas require items you already have at home!


* PICTURE COLLAGE : Gather pictures of favourite memories and arrange them onto a poster or onto a virtual canvas.  This will help mom to remember wonderful family moments together and act as a way to still see everyone while social distancing.  

* PUT ON A SHOW : Gather family together and create a fun dance or song, or perform a favourite!  If your family celebrates cultural dances, this is the time to let mom see that you know how to carry on those traditions.  This one is especially great if there are little kids in the family - they always put on a great show!

* SHOW OFF YOUR COOKING SKILLS : Surprise mom by cooking her favourite meal, or better yet a meal she has been trying to teach you!  Show her that you do pay attention to her efforts ;)

* CREATE A HOME SPA : Since your mom can't get to the spa, why not create some great face masks or body scrubs that she can use at home.  There are various sites online with great recipes for hair, facial and body care!

* HER FAVOURITE ACTIVITIES : Spend some time this Mother's Day with your mom doing some of her favourite activities.  Does she like gardening?  Help her plant!  Does she enjoy baking?  Help her with the recipe!  Does she enjoy organizing and cleaning?  Help her in any way that will make it easier for her to get the job done!  Even if her interests do not exactly align with your own, join her anyway.  This Mother's Day it's all about her.


Monday, 16 March 2020

WORLD TOUR WITH KIDS AT HOME - CP24 Segment

It's a crazy time... It's a scary time... BUT that doesn't mean we can't still have fun!

With schools closed for the next three weeks, we are all searching for ideas on how to keep our children educated and entertained.  Seeing as many families have had to cancel their vacation plans this March Break, I specifically came up with ideas on how to still "travel" with your kids via fun cultural activities and games.  

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to share my ideas on CP24 Breakfast yesterday, Sunday, March 15th; they are listed below, with links (please note links are affiliated), for anyone who may have missed the segment!

Enjoy and stay safe my friends!
Remember...keep positive - VIVA LA DOLCE!


CP24 SEGMENT - WORLD TOUR WITH KIDS AT HOME




1. Sticker Activity Books

Stickers are always a favourite with kids, especially those in the 3-6 age group. When paired with fun and educational activities, they can become a great way to entertain little ones.  I suggest the follow books: The Travel Activity Book by DK and Ultimate Sticker Book: Flags Around the World by DK; these books have interesting activities such as, learning how to say hello in a variety of languages, creating you own passport, linking landmarks to countries, linking landmarks to flags, and creating your own sticker flags.  Activities such as these offer great opportunities to teach children not only about different cultures around the world, but also about travel essentials and preparation. 

2. Board Games  

There are a variety of board games that can help children learn about different places in the world.  One in particular is, Ticket to Ride Board Game First Journey by Days of Wonder.  This game is a great way for children aged 6+ to learn a little about geography, as well as cultural landmarks.  The object of the game is to try and claim the longest routes on the map, by connecting the cities shown on their tickets.  As children do this, they "travel" around North America, and in the children's version of the game, see the landmark associated with each particular city.  What're more, there are a variety of different versions of the regular game (for ages 8+), including Ticket to Ride Europe , Ticket to Ride New York, and more.

3. Learn a new language via favourite movies

There is nothing wrong with a little bit of screen time as long as it is limited.  Make the best of your children's' digital experiences by turning movie time, for example, into a cultural educational experience! This is done by simply changing the language settings on the movie.  For example, if your kids love Disney's Frozen 2, change the audio to French and add English subtitles in the settings menu.  Since the kids are familiar with the storyline of the movie, they won't be overwhelmed with figuring out what's going on as well as what's being said.  Instead, your children can enjoy hearing their favourite characters express new phrases in a different language that they themselves will most likely start repeating! 

4. Cooking school with friends and family

Although gatherings are discouraged these days, there's nothing stopping you from doing a virtual cooking class.  Jump on a video call with a friend or family member, and enjoy going through lessons together on how to make your favourite cultural dish.  If you can, do a little research on the dish beforehand, so that way you can educate your children on how it connects to the culture of focus. 


Saturday, 21 December 2019

ITALIAN SOIREE - CHCH Morning Show




As we gear up for one of the most important holidays of the year - CHRISTMAS! - you are most likely busy trying to cross off the many "to-dos" on your list. If throwing a holiday soiree is part of your plans, then you will want to check out my CHCH Morning Live TV Segment!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting CHCH Morning Live and sharing my top tips for throwing an Italian style soiree.  Read on below and watch the segment for some helpful insight on how to add a little bit of "dolce vita" style to your next gathering!

*   *   *   *   *


In relation to that mentioned in the video, check out some further options below to help you create the perfect Italian soiree!

Decor 

Italian Welcome Sign Benvenuti

Mangia Mangia Sign


Italian Cucina Sign



Tablescape

Malanzana Pasta Set 

Le Cadeaux Palermo Dish Set

Linen Tablecoth

Toscana Tablecloth

Limencello dish cloths



Drinks

Classic Aperol Spritz

Negroni


Food

Suppli - Rice croquettes

Grilled Italian vegetables

Charcuterie Board

Crostata


*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, 15 July 2019

A Twist on the Aperol Spritz

It's summer which means warm, sunny days and drinks on patios!

While there is an endless amount of refreshing beverages to sooth your pallet, one that is a must-try this summer is the classic Italian aperitivo, Aperol Spritz.  This drink, is not only pretty to look at with it's vibrant orange colour, but is wonderfully refreshing and light in alcohol content with Aperol containing only 11%.

While this drink has existed in Italy (northern Italy to be exact) since the 19th century, it remained for the most part a regional beverage preference.  However, due to Aperol's marketing efforts, it has become quite an international sensation.  According to Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau in their 2016 book, "Spritz: Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, With Recipes,"Aperol's success in exporting the Spritz all over Italy (and beyond) lies in the genius of translating the spritz culture of the north and the symbolism of the drink as a modern, tangible incarnation of the la dolce vita of the 1950s and 1960s...to a new generation." 

As such, young and old alike, are enjoying a spritz or two during these balmy summer days - and they have many different choices to choose from! The classic version of this drink is made with the simple ingredients of Prosecco (or white wine), Aperol, club soda, and a garnish of orange slices. Oh and don't forget the ice!  Aperol, as you may be wondering, is a bright, bitter-sweet liqueur infused with oranges, herbs and roots.  It's low alcohol content makes it a great selection for aperitivo time - a social gathering at the end of the workday where one enjoys a drink with some light snacks, also known as "cicchetti." 


Check out below for the classic Aperol Spritz recipe, and some fun modern versions as well! (N.B. until recently the classic recipe called for three parts wine, two parts Aperol and one part soda)



MODERN VERSIONS











Monday, 4 March 2019

MUSIC MONDAY ~ N.40

This music Monday, Viva la Dolce is excited to highlight an Italo-Canadian singer... ME!

In hopes of inspiring others in pursuing their passions, I decided to share my music with you all, as it is something very near and dear to my heart, and something that I have dedicated myself to my entire life.

As my mother tells me, I have been singing pretty much since I learned how to speak.  I remember as I little girl performing my favourite songs for friends and family; I would dress up Madonna style with white gloves and big bangle bracelets ready for my "show."  As I grew up, I performed in countless school productions and choirs, eventually writing and performing the graduation song for my class in high school.  Outside of school, I sang for a number of special events such as weddings, anniversaries, and national anthems, and continued to write my own songs.  Eventually, I was blessed with the most amazing experience - having a hit song on the radio!

The song, "Feel Alive," was considered a "summer hit," and landed on a dance album of the year.  It also led me to perform at a freestyle/dance concert being held by a local radio station, which was a lot of fun! It was truly an incredible experience, and one that I am so very thankful for.  I continued writing and performing, and was featured on a few more albums.  As I grew, so did my tastes in music and I began writing and performing music in different genres.  I got to work with so many wonderful and talented individuals, for which I am so thankful.

Over the years, I continued with my music, at times a little more and at times a little less.
However, it has always been there. When I worked in radio, my life was surrounded by music; while teaching language, I incorporate it into my lessons; when blogging, I highlight artists and new music.  No matter is going on in my life, I always feel a nudge to continue with my singing and love of music.

That's what passions do to us - they speak to us, they fuel us, they make us "feel alive."  It may not always be easy, but pursuing your passions is the greatest reward.  I hope you find the strength and courage to "take your passion and make it happen" in one form or another; do what makes you truly "FEEL ALIVE!"

Happy listening! :)

 

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