30 September The 36th edition of the Masi Prize
We headed upstairs at the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona and were escorted to a private box overlooking the stage. I love these boxes: they offer leg room, and a brilliant view point for observing the audience as well as the stage. This years winner of the International Prize went to Rwandan author Yolanda Mukagasana.
27 September Off to the Carroarmato
Visitors from the U.K.. A good time was had by all. When you come to Verona you must visit the Osteria Carroarmato. Dogs and children are welcome…as is every sort of grownup.
September 8 In Venice for the day
We (Michael, Stanley and I) arrive in Venice for lunch with Michelle Lovric. She writes novels and poetry – and just wrote/ghosted a best seller about Milly Dowler -My Sister Milly. She said it was a shattering two years: talking to the family and interviewing police, etc. She has a very elegant writing style, it would be interesting to read the book.
Then off we go to the Lido for our pal Ugo’s prize giving ceremony. Each year Ugo organizes an alternative (to the official Venice Film Festival) award fest called the Golden Eel (as opposed to the Golden Lion). Stanley loved the day. He got ham at Michelle’s and eel skin at Ugo’s do. Who could ask for more? Here is a photo of Stanley making friends on the Lido.
Here is a link to a poem by Michelle (a work in progress).
And while we are talking about poetry, here is a link to a youtube of poet Glenn Shea reading “A Luddite Relents,” from the second book.
7 September – Off to the Mantova
We are here to listen to the delicious announcement of a new wine from Lake Garda: Spumante Garda DOC. The wine is fresh, fruity and lively and it is hoped it will offer consumers an alternative to the ubiquitous Prosecco. It is sure to find its niche: the wine is crisp and good, the volumes are significant and the prices seem reasonable.
The announcement was followed by a bang-up lunch at Mantova’s historic il Cigno restaurant. Top notch service, good food and delightful company. The Garda sparkling wine flowed freely!
The organizers had cleverly planned the event to coincide with the Mantua Book Fair and had procured tickets for some of the events for the assembled journalists.
We were treated to a very witty and amusing panel discussion (titled “Ironici malinconici” ) featuring Marco Malvaldi (who writes a mystery series that is translated in to English and published by Penguin) and Diego De Silva (who writes comic novels, which are also translated into English and published by various companies.) At one point the moderator asked for questions from the audience and a woman rose and grabbed the mic. She started in on a long rambling introduction that included the words: “I too am an author…” The collective groan from the 400 members of the audience was invigorating.
September 1 – 2 Off to Campania
Wine Lesson: The Aglianico grape variety has been called “The Barolo of the South”. Certainly, its versatility makes it one of the most important Southern red grapes in terms of wine production. It lends body and character to lively rosés; to fruity quaffing wines and to well-structured and velvety textured, long-lived reds. It is cultivated primarily in Campania, Basilicata, Puglia and Molise. Aglianico del Taburno is a DOCG wine whose production zone is located in the Province of Benevento.
It seems that the producers here are trying to solidify their wine’s identity and expand its visibility on the world stage. During my whirlwind visit to the zone I taste wines from two producers and was impressed by them both.
I will be tasting some samples next month and will write about the wines at that time.
What I am writing at the moment is a Holiday Season (December) article on Champagne cocktails for a Singapore magazine. The topic was my choice. The editor just said “Festive tipples”, and I was fed up with writing the “affordable alternatives to Champagne” article. For those interested: Kir Royale was sipped by Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story and a round of French 75s was ordered in Rick’s Bar in that Bogart classic Casablanca.