by SylviaItaly | Feb 5, 2023 | Italy, Veneto
The Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia) is different to carnivals which take place in The Netherlands for instance. It is one of the most famous carnivals around the world. The celebration takes place over 10 days. This year, the carnival in Venice will take place between February 4 and February 21.
Venetian costumes and masks
Many people use the Carnival as an opportunity to dress up in wonderful, colorful outfits. Most costumes are historical and handmade in the ateliers of the city Venice. There are costumes shops all over that rent costumes.
Each costume is one of a kind item, to guarantee its uniqueness. They are stylish, luxurious and noble.
It is not necessary to wear costumes at Venice Carnival. Many tourists opt for a mask. In Venice are many mask shops selling amazing Venetian masks during carnival and most visitors will buy one. Masks are part of the Venetian tradition. They have been used on many other occasions in the past.
Masks are made of papier-mâché, velvet and lace, decorated with gold and silver leaves, fabrics, jewels, colors, crystal and leather. There are different styles of masks in Venice:
- Bautta – the traditional Venetian Carnival mask –
- Moretta – a black mask worn by women –
- Gnaga – a mask traditionally worn by homosexual men –
Piazza San Marco
“Il salotto d’Europa a Venezia”. Piazza San Marco is one of the most fascinating salon in the world! Saint Mark’s Square is famous for its unique monuments, beautiful buildings and wonderful basilica.
Piazza San Marco is a great spot to view the Venice Carnival Costumes. There is also a daily parade featuring the best costumed participants. The parade in Saint Mark’s Square is a free event and ideal for photo opportunities.
Carnevale di Venezia is a unique experience. Venice is a magical lagoon city, a city of romance, beauty and historical importance. Venice is not like any other city in Italy. During the Carnival period the atmosphere creates glamorous costume balls, creative contests, regattas, water parades and feasts.
Caffè Florian in Piazza San Marco plays a central role in the Venice Carnival. It is the oldest caffè house in Europe and it attracts many visitors all over the world during the Venice Carnival. It is the place to be!
Carnival in Venice is not only masks and costumes, a big part of the celebration are the fried pastries, frittelle and the crostoli. During the Carnival, only at this time of the year, you can taste the typical Venetian goodies. This fried dish pairs excellent with the cold weather and the festive mood of Carnival.
And what wine is best to drink with frittelle? Prosecco! Prosecco Brut or Prosecco Extra Dry. The little sweetness works perfect with the frittelle. Cheers!
Available prosecco in our stock Toffoli Prosecco Superiore DOCG
My Carnival Experience in Venice
I have visited Venice during Carnival season multiple times. Venice is always breathtaking but during Carnival your view of culture and tradition will change. The extraordinary costumes and the elaborate masks make Venice’s Carnival a true Venetian experience. There is a huge amount to see and to do. For more information visit the website “Carnevale di Venezia“.
Happy Carnival everyone and buon Martedi Grasso (Mardi Grass) da Venezia!
by SylviaItaly | Nov 8, 2022 | Wine study
D6 is a different module in the WSET Level 4 program because you cannot prepare this exam. You aren’t actually studying as you would for a normal WSET exam.
The unit D6 Independent Research Assignment is a 3000 word research paper, not counting the references, bibliography and so on. You must answer the questions and focus on what they ask. Each question has assigned number off points, which is important to take into account.
Each year there are two wine-related topics. On August 1st two new topics are announced. One must be submitted on January 31st and the second end of July 31.
The topic for July 2022 was “Sustainability”.
Sustainability is a new winemaking trend, it is a popular topic in the wine industry. I found this subject interesting and I decided to writing about it. And I am very happy because I liked very much to find sources and read arguments about sustainability.
I had been collecting information through the internet, interviews and the book “Social Sustainability in the Global Wine Industry”. The internet was full of interesting sources talking about sustainability!
I kept the information, quotes, references and data in one place, which helped me a lot. After my research I combined the text and information together and created my paper.
I really learned something new. More winemakers are starting to embrace sustainable farming methods, besides organic. The sustainable wine bottle is becoming more popular!
Grade D6 exam
It took me a few months to write the final paper. It wasn’t easy at all. Some find it easier than the other parts of the Diploma exams.
But I am proud that my paper was good enough for a PASS grade. Happy me 🙂
Module D5 Fortified Wines
Now I am studying for the WSET D5 exam Fortified Wines. In November I go to Portugal to taste some fabulous port wines. I can’t wait to visit the Douro valley and some wineries: Graham’s Lodge and Quinta do Bomfim.
by SylviaItaly | Oct 24, 2022 | Running
Oslo is the capital of Norway and the country’s biggest city. It has a population around 700.000 inhabitants.
Last week I visited Oslo. I was there on a business trip. This was my first time in that city.
Scandinavian countries have always been unknown for me due to my life and situation in Italy. Now that I am back in Rotterdam I do lots of different work in the wine and running industry. In the Netherlands as well as abroad.
October is the ideal time of the year to enjoy the wonderful fall scenery in Oslo. It can be pretty cold but I had some gorgeous sunny days.
It’s time to celebrate the good life. Cheers!
The people are all friendly and welcoming to everyone. They are polite and speak English very well. I don’t speak Norwegian, some words sound much the same as Dutch but written a little differently. It is a Germanic language like German, English and Dutch.
For instance “damer” means dames (ladies) in Dutch, “danse” is dansen (dancing) and “du er min beste venn” says “je bent mijn beste vriend” (you are my best friend).
Just to mention a few examples of the Norwegian language.
The Royal Palace
The city is easy to travel thanks to Oslo’s public transportation system. It is pretty hard to get lost because everything is very simple to find.
And if you don’t prefer using the bus or tram, you can walk, run or bike like many locals do 🙂
Running in Oslo
Oslo is one of the most walkable -running- capitals of the world. It has many pedestrian-friendly areas.
I brought my running shoes and running gear with me to Oslo. In addition to working at the wine tasting event I wanted to discover the city as good as possible. My schedule was quite busy, so running early in the morning was my best option to explore new things.
I noticed that many people in Oslo enjoy their morning run. They love getting up early like me. Personally I don’t like to run full speed when I go outside on the streets. For me it’s important to learn about the place and appreciate the surroundings.
Running around helps me to build a better image of the city I am visiting. I can recommend it to everyone who loves running. Not only because you see more hidden gems, you feel great and energetic after the run. You’re motivated to start a new day!
Oslo has great places to spot. In the centre you find great museums, beautiful parks, modern architecture, historical buildings, galleries, harbor promenade, nice coffee bars and good restaurants.
I have discovered different running routes in the city centre of Oslo. It is a wonderful green city where you can run every day.
The wonderful Vigeland Park in the city Oslo is a top tourist attraction. Vigeland Park is within Frogner Park. It is a large sculpture park by a single artist “Gustav Vigeland”.
The sculptures in bronze, granite and iron represent the cycle of human life and all its emotions. Really worth visiting!
Harbour promenade Oslo
Oslo Opera House
Also walking up the roof of the Oslo Opera House provides wonderful views over the harbour and the city.
Enjoy your run in Oslo! And see you soon again, you’re wonderful.
Running routes by Sylvia
Running route 1 Wednesday October 19, 2022
Running route 2 Thursday October 20, 2022
Running route 3 Friday October 21, 2022
by SylviaItaly | May 24, 2022 | Wine tasting
Prowein in Düsseldorf is a hot spot full of “wine” inspiration. It is one of the most important wine and spirits fair in Central Europe. Prowein always takes place on 3 days from Sunday till Tuesday.
After two years of cancellation in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, ProWein returned to Düsseldorf on 15-17 May, 2022.
This year I have decided to visit the international wine fair again. I only had one day of the fair to spend. It was an intense day and perhaps not enough to do everything, but I enjoyed it very much.
Personally, Prowein gives me the opportunity to discover different wines and wineries of the world. For me, tasting as much as possible is fun and it the best way to learn about wines.
I started tasting wines from Trentino and I ended up with Tempranillo and Verdejo wines from Casilla y Léon. I cannot remember exactly how much different wines I have tasted but the ones I remember were wines from the New World, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.
Powerful dry wines with high tannin levels, high alcohol and fruit concentration such as Barolo and Médoc were one of my favorites!
And here are some of my favorite images I took while visiting ProWein:
Outstanding wines from Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons.
Interesting to try different California Chardonnay’s aged with oak chips in stainless steel. One Chardonnay tasted different from the next. From apples, lemons to something sweeter.
Having the opportunity to taste many Champagnes is amazing. Vintage Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006. A Champagne only made from Chardonnay grapes. Cheers!
Sicilian wines! Grillo is a widely planted Sicilian white grape. The grape is well suited to hot and dry climates. Grillo is used commonly in a variety of still white wines.
The Nero d’Avola instead is a renowned indigenous red grape variety in Sicily. The grape is also known as “Calabrese”. This grape loves heat as well, just like the Grillo. The wine has character. It is a strong and medium to full bodied red wine.
Wines from the PIWI grape varieties. Ever heard of it? I didn’t, until I met Enrico from Cantina Terre di Ger in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy. PIWI grapes are fungal resistant. The wines taste good or even excellent.
The Verdejo wines from Rueda in the Castilla Y León region (Spain) are popular white wines around the world. I explored some nice wines from an organic and unique bodega.
The atmosphere at ProWein is welcoming, personable and educative. It is a great opportunity to meet new people and to talk about wine and business.
See you next year!
by SylviaItaly | Feb 20, 2022 | Italian wines, Italy, Tuscany
We are at the end of the online course DipWSET4 – D1.
It were intense weeks with lots of posts, research, questions, wine tastings and group activities.
Many projects required a lot of effort!
In the first week of our course we needed to work alone on our vineyard establishment proposal. I choose for the wine area Bolgheri in Tuscany. This is my proposal I have submitted in the first week of our wine course.
I choose the territory of Bolgheri (Livorno) along the Etruscan coast, at the foot of the gentle Tuscan hills and a few miles from the sea.
The climate along the coast in Tuscany is more maritime than central Tuscany. The summers are dry, sunny and breezy. The weather is influenced by the sea. Temperatures in winter time are around 8-10 degrees, and reach rarely zero or less.
The sea and Apennine mountains moderate the temperatures in summer period. The driest months in Tuscany are July and August.
Bolgheri Rosso DOC
Bolgheri Rosso DOC is a blend of black grape varieties. The red wine can be made in different styles. I will plant the following grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese.
The black grape varieties need sunlight and heat to ripen fully. The grapes do not ripen at the same time. Merlot ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese for instance. The harvest of the grapes is spread out.
Vine training system black grape varieties: cane pruned (single guyot), cordon trained. The vine’s cane and shoots are tied to the trellis for light and air circulation. Summer pruning will hardly take place as the leaves protect the berries from sunburn in (warm) summer conditions.
The soil is calcareous and contains a mix of rocks. There is a good drainage, which is important for grape growing. The altitude of the vineyards are about 100 – 400 m above sea level and the slopes are facing southwest.
The wine is full bodied with ripe red and black fruits, medium-high tannin, high acidity and high alcohol. Long aftertaste.
Suited for aging.
Super Tuscan wines have gained popularity in Italy and abroad since the 20th century. Especially the red wines. The wines are prestigious and sometimes also very expensive.
The average price for this wine is Euro 25.00*.
*average price of Sylvia Italy’s Rosso wine – not available in my shop.
Bolgheri Rosato DOC
The black grape varieties used for the rosé are Syrah, Merlot and Sangiovese. This wine is a blend and pairs good with fish dishes. For example with the local cacciucco from Livorno.
Bolgheri Bianco DOC
For a white wine from the region I will plant Vermentino grapes. Vermentino is often vinified as a single variety but can also be blended with other white grape varieties such as Trebbiano Toscano.
The vine training system for the Vermentino grapes are cane pruned (guyot). The sea has a positive influence and gives Vermentino a mineral and aromatic character.
The Vermentino wine is an appetizer wine and pairs excellent with local fish dishes.
For both young wines the average price per bottle is Euro 13.00-15.00*.
*average price of Sylvia Italy’s Bianco wine – not available in my shop.
Super Tuscan wines are produced also in other places in Tuscany, but Bolgheri is the birthplace of this wonderful wine.