Tropea and its Red Onion

Calabria is one of the food bowls of Italy, producing large amounts of fresh produce for local and export markets. Olive oil, grains and citrus (they are the largest producer of Bergamot Oranges in Italy) are a few of a long list of foods grown in the region. The coastline is pristine and seafood is […]

Truffles – one of the treasures of the Italian table

Truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus, one of the many species of the genus Tuber. The name truffle actually comes from the Latin tuber, meaning ‘swelling’ or ‘lump’, this word giving rise to the various European terms: the well-known Italian – tartufo, or French – truffe, for example. The mycelia of […]

Il Sapore Siciliano (Typical Sicilian Food and Wine)

Surrounding this peaceful land of orange blossom and citrus fruit are seas full of swordfish and tuna, inspiration for many famous Sicilian dishes: tonno alla cipollata, tuna fried with large quantities of sliced onions; swordfish alla messinese, swordfish cooked in oil with tomatoes, onions, celery, capers and potatoes; and either, with caponata, the sweet-and-sour sauce […]

It’s Cold Outside – Tuscan Kale & Bean Soup Will Warm You Up!

I’m sitting here admiring the view from the dining table at my sister’s farm in Healesville Victoria. The trees are bare and masses of snowdrops and daffodils brighten up the view, a hint of the approaching spring. It’s cold outside, if you live in Victoria you would know what I’m talking about. I should be […]

Tiramisu – why we love it so much!

No Italian restaurant menu is truly complete without tiramisu. Literally meaning ‘pick me up’ in Italian, tiramisu certainly delivers on its namesake every time. Made with layers of coffee and liquor soaked sponge biscuits, mascarpone cream and cocoa or chocolate, tiramisu has the perfect combination of sweetness, creaminess and bitterness all rolled into a dessert […]


  Mandranova is situated in a magnificent part of Sicily not far removed from Agrigento and the UNESCO world heritage site of the Valley of the Temples.  This is a place of ancient history and Mediterranean beauty, where olive trees have been swaying restlessly for centuries, blown by the winds of the Sirocco and Maestrale. […]

VIN SANTO AND CANTUCCI – to dip or not to dip

Is there anything more satisfying at the end of an Italian meal than an almond-studded biscotto (or two  =  biscotti) and a glass of Vin Santo? Hard biscotti become sweet and moist after being dipped for a short period in the sweet late harvest wine.  It’s not dessert, not too filling and just right when […]


Christmas just has to include some sparkling wine don’t you think? The classic Italian sparkling wines of Prosecco, Moscato or Franciacorta are very much at home at the Christmas table. In Franciacorta, we love Bellavista, particularly their Cuvee Brut, recently re-christened ‘Alma’ and re-packaged in Hermes burnt orange. Franciacorta is to Italy what Champagne is […]

Porto Santo Stefano

Tuscany’s Secret

      You might think by now that we all know, or have a pretty good idea what Tuscany is all about.  Florence, Siena, Chianti Classico, the medieval towers of San Gimignano  -  we’ve seen it all ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, yes? But then, you may not have heard of the Argentario coast, in […]

Park Hotel

Park Hotel and Osteria alle Torre

One of our favourite destinations in Italy is Lake Garda, the largest of the six famous Italian lakes. (The others, in no particular order are: Como, Maggiore, Trasimeno, Iseo and Bolsena.) The Italian regions bordering Lake Garda are the Veneto, Alto-Adige and Lombardy, all regions famous for wine and other produce. Lake Garda covers 370 […]