New Year with music and entertainment. Piazza del Plebiscito will be filled by the concert of Gigi D'Alessio & Friends and followed by live TV Channel 5 and RTL. The long night will continue until 6 am with DJs who enliven the biggest club in Italy with four different locations in the picturesque waterfront city, installation of video mapping will be projected on Castel dell'Ovo and traditional fireworks light up the sky in via Partenope. Public transport in the city will be garanteed all night.
Italy’s antitrust authority has slapped a €500,000 fine on TripAdvisor for failing to do enough to prevent false reviews.
The move follows complaints from hoteliers of negative and, in some cases, defamatory reviews regarding their businesses. Italy is the world’s fifth largest destination for international tourism, with about 46m visitors in 2013.
The regulator said TripAdvisor, whose website allows readers to leave reviews of restaurants and hotels around the world, should stop “publishing misleading information about the sources of its reviews”, adding that the practice started in 2011. It gave the company 90 days to respond.
Nasdaq-listed TripAdvisor disputed the decision and vowed to appeal the ruling. It said it was a “force for good” and its systems were “extremely effective in protecting consumers from the small minority of people who try to cheat our system”.
But the decision was welcomed by Italian hoteliers.
“We are happy with the decision by the antitrust authority, which goes in the right direction to offer greater protection for consumers and businesses,” said Alessandro Nicara, director-general of Federalberghi, the trade association for Italy’s hotel owners.
TripAdvisor, which makes its revenues from click-based and display advertising and subscriptions, has faced a number of claims from around the world about fake reviews over recent years.
TripAdvisor is the latest travel website to find itself in trouble with regulators. Online travel agent booking.com earlier this month offered to scrap a practice preventing hotels from giving discounts to its rivals in a bid to appease competition authorities in France, Sweden and Italy.
In the third quarter TripAdvisor disappointed expectations, recording profit of $54m compared with $68m for the same period a year ago. Sales climbed 39 per cent to $354m.
Tell us what you think. Leave a comment
Christmas is the feast par excellence in Naples. Neapolitans do not have the privilege of enjoying a white Christmas. Often Christmas is not even very cold but the morning stroll calls for coats and scarves: everybody must appear "wintry" during the visits paid to relatives and friends to bring good wishes. Everyone is elegantly dressed, including children who, truth be told, would prefer to play with their new toys received from Santa Claus but who are lured out with promises of "centostelle" (fireworks) and their curiosity to meet friends and to find out what gifts they received.
An aperitif at an upmarket bar is an absolute must. Appointments are made for the forthcoming feast days to organise the jovial "tombola" get together – Neapolitan bingo, where during the year cabala, tradition and wisdom link events and objects to the lotto. Over Christmas this takes place at home for fun and with very low winnings.
There is no escape, at Christmas home is the place to stay. In the company of your family to eat, drink and play. Everything must be perfect, table setting takes on a livelier tone then that for Christmas eve; mistletoe, angels, coloured napkins and many many dishes. A proper tour de force filled with joy.
The first serving is vegeterian, the superb " minestra maritata" (married vegetable soup). This is a spectacular dish, full of flavour and tradition.
Neapolitans went from being "leaf eaters" to "macaroni eaters" and at Christmas this passage is celebrated by preparing dishes which combine the two. Neapolitan vegetable gardens are legendry, the volcanic element of Vesuvian land makes it very fertile. So much so that Romans called it the Campania Felix, and leafy vegetables are still a favourite amongst Neapolitans. Broccoli, endive, "torzelle" together with cereals are present on Neapolitan tables every week of the year.
The "minestra maritata" (married soup)
I have childhood memories of the bathtub being filled with food twice a year. The first time every July, when tomato sauces were prepared and the bath was filled with tomatoes which were then boiled, pureed and boiled again in glass bottles to then form the base of the Sunday meat sauce present in any Neapolitan home worthy of its name. And again at Christmas, when stacks of vegetables from the country are immerged in water for rinsing.
I recall terracotta glazed green speckled pots where at least 15 types of leafy vegetables were tied. My grandmother, a matriarch when it came to Christmas and to and cooking, explained to me the difference between black broccoli, Christmas white broccoli, green broccoli and olive leaf broccoli, bitter broccoli, chicory, "cicorione", "torzelle" curly and plain endive, borage, baby cardoon etc. while she rinsed them, peeled them and put them aside.
The vegetable soup is said to be "married" because the mixed vegetables are boiled and then "united" to their spouse, that is a selection of meats to enrich the broth. The list of ingredients is: a very rich stock made of carrot, onion, celery, whole grain pepper and a whole chicken, two pork trotters, pork ribs, a bone of ham, two pieces of pork skin, parmesan rinds, sausage, salami, spare ribs. Everything is placed in a pot and left to simmer all night and then finely skimmed from all fat. When done, the meat is taken out and the stock filtered. The vegetables are boiled in another pan until half cooked (3/4 minutes) and then strained and added to the meat stock until cooked through. The meat, which is now extremely tender after the slow cooking, is cut into small pieces and mixed with the vegetables in a deep dish; parmesan is grated on top to finish off this very rich Christmas dish.
Fusilli pasta with ricotta and meat sauce
– The pasta
Neapolitans' favourite pasta on Christmas day is very long fusilli. This is pasta which is hollow inside and twisted to resemble the curly hair of renaissance women. Of course, the best pasta is to be used, Gragnano pasta: bronze die, coarse, very coarse to passionately cling on to the sauce like a woman in love with her man, uniting the meat sauce to the ricotta while remaining firm and al dente without losing its flavour. The taste is complex, rich and a pleasure to the palate.
– The meat sauce
This is the typical Neapolitan tomato sauce made with a base of stir fried onion and a little celery, no carrot. Pork ribs, beef chop, red wine, to which once nicely browned tomato sauce is added (purists use tomato puree "a cunserva"). The sauce is left to simmer for hours, as they say in Naples "pippiare" that is cooking very slowly): for the holy Christmas lunch, the little bubbles must gently soothe the meat for at least six hours.
The result is a very dark translucent sauce which is served in a soup bowl and mixed hot but not boiling with the fresh ricotta bought on Christmas eve. The resulting brick red sauce results goes to colour the freshly cooked fusilli.
This is a very important dish because every year, under his plate, with great surprise, father finds a letter containing the Christmas poem which his child furtively places there during the switching of plates from the first to the second course. Surprised and happy, he listens to the child who in front of all the family recites the poem, often annoyed by some uncle who jokingly interrupts or exaggerates the rhymes or the accents to make the child's task harder. The child must concentrate on the father's gaze and carry on unperturbed without stopping. At the end, when upon the last line being read there is applause and a prize, a banknote from the father and sometimes, if the child is lucky, another from the grandparents.
Lunch goes on with countless types of baked meats. chicken, lamb, pork and, of course, a range of side dishes. Everybody ploughs on, through this food marathon to reach the last milestone, the dessert: Rococò, mustacciuoli, pollici di monaca, susamielli, raffioli, these are dry sweets that are purchased from the local confectionery, with chocolate and spicy aromas, splendid and rich in taste – a heavenly smell of Christmas. The hostess will surely have prepared the Struffoli covered with honey together with the diavolilli, a true Christmas glory: a large plate with a golden mountain of balls covered in multicoloured confetti and shiny honey. This is also why Naples is Christmas!
Tell us what you think. Leave a comment
The king of the original recipe of Limoncello is the yellow and wrinkled lemon skin. This is how limoncello is born, from a sober and genuine recipe, enriched by water, alcohol and spoons of sugar.
The preparation is easy but meticulous: if executed with accuracy, in a bit less than three months, the traditional yellow liquor will be ready to taste as an aperitif or digestive, before or after meals.
The history of the original recipe of limoncello bends through a series of anecdotes and legends. Its paternity is competed by Sorrentini, Amalfitani and Capresi. In small plots of kilometres, three populations boast of a production of limoncello passed on by various generations. In Capri, someone says that its origins are linked to the events of the family of the businessman Massimo Canale who, in 1988, registered the first trademark “Limoncello”.
The liquor was born at the beginning of 1900, in a small boarding house of the island Azzurra, where the lady Maria Antonia Farace took care of a rigorous garden of lemons and oranges. The nephew, during the post-war period, opened a bar near Alex Munte’s villa. The speciality of that bar was the lemon liquor made with nonna’s old recipe.
In 1988, the son Massimo Canale started a small handmade production of limoncello, registering the trademark. But really, Sorrento and Amalfi have some legends and stories on the production of the traditional yellow liquor.
On the coastal, for example, the story narrates that the big families of Sorrento, at the beginning of 1900, would always ensure that their illustrious guests would get a taste of limoncello, made according to the traditional recipe.
In Amalfi, there’s even who believes that the liquor has older origins, almost linked to the lemon cultivation. However, as it frequently happens in these circumstances, the truth is vague and the hypothesis are many and interesting.
Someone believes that limoncello was used in the morning by fishermen and countrymen to fight the cold, since the invasion periods. Others, instead, believe that the recipe was born inside a monastic convent to delight the monks from prayer to prayer. Maybe, we’ll never know the truth, except for the fact that the traditional yellow liquor has crossed the borders from decades, conquering the markets of half world. Bottles of limoncello are present on the shelves of overseas’ markets, and new important commercial sceneries are developing on the Asian markets.
So, limoncello, could really become a worldwide product like Bitter or Amaretto. And in order to defend itself from the imitations, it is run also to the shelters, reserving to the production of the characteristic “oval” sorrentino the denomination of geographic Indication protect (IGP).
The original lemon of Sorrento has to be produced in one of the town council of the territory that goes from Vico Equense to Massa Lubrense and the island of Capri.
The cultivation system is the typical and traditionally adopted in the area. The most used technique consists in cultivating the plants under a structure made out of chestnut poles higher than three metres. To ensure the ripeness of the fruits, the trunk is protected from the atmospheric conditions.
The harvest is usually carried out during the period from February to October: it’s hand done, because the direct contact of the lemons with the ground has to be prevented.
The main characteristics of the product go searched in the elliptic and symmetrical shape, in the medium-large dimensions, the colour of the yellow peel citron. And the main ingredient of the recipe of limoncello is just the peel: the rind is in fact rich of essential oils and has an aroma much deciding.
Once assessed the origin sorrentina of the lemon, can finally be proceeded to the preparation of the liqueur. With little healthy ingredients, the limoncello it can comfortably be prepared also from home. It takes around eighty days. In fact, according to the traditional prescription, limoncello must macerate more than two months.
In the choice of the lemons, those with much thicker peel are preferred. Just the Mediterranean climate of the Sorrento – Amalfi coast guarantees the increase of a lemon with large and perfumed peel.
The first step of the recipe of Limoncello previews the washing of the fruit in warm water and the brush in order to clean it from eventual residual of insecticides. Alcohol is poured in a water jug, and are then added pieces of aromatic rind gained from the peel.
The experts advise the use of good quality alcohol, also to avoid that the liqueur is transformed in ice in the freezer. With the arrangement of the water jug covered in a dark room or in a sideboard, the first phase of production is concluded. At environment temperature, in fact, the maceration of the peel will continue and the instilled will slowly assume the aroma and the yellow of the lemon.
After approximately a month of rest, the preparation continues with the adding of a small pot of water and sugar (boiled and then left to cool down) and other alcohol. The water jug goes then newly covered and put away in the cabinet for an other abundant month.
After forty days approximately, the instilled goes filtered in the bottles, discarding the peels. Then the bottles go in the freezer. From the unique taste and the aroma form, the liqueur goes therefore served, without the additives and colouring agents.
Limoncello is an excellent digestive if served cold. Someone prefers it to environment temperature, even stirred in tonic water or champagne. Lately, it is in vogue its utilisation on gelatos and fruit salad. In Campania, in the earth prince of its production, limoncello concludes above all lunch or supper: at this point it has become a social ritual nearly at the same height coffee.