Blue Hawaii

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A piece of my heart will be there for ever, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Last month I took a break from Italy for a short trip around the world. The first stop was NYC for some meetings and good food.
Then Seattle to visit my friend Peter Miller – more about this soon, also because he is moving the bookshop! – and before going to Tokyo I stopped in Hawai’i – the main reason was the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival.
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As soon as I landed in Kona I was confused and, weirdly, in a very bad mood. I mean, I was in Hawai’i, the place where I wanted to be since the last time I left, but…
So, I walked to the beach and, to match my mood, of course it was raining. I spent the afternoon next to a fisherman, trying to fill my lungs with ocean breeze. It started to rain harder and harder so I walked back to the hostel. I was really tired but I didn’t know yet my travel was going to turn in one of the most incredible experience of my life.

That night I met Aylin, a young German woman, who took a 5 month stop from her job to travel the world. She was sunburnt and after a few minutes she said “Well, you have a car, I have a plan for tomorrow.” And then Joel, he is dreaming about travelling the world and he did pretty well in the last year from Alaska to Hawai’i, before going back to run his business in Florida, a gym with an ocean view. Not bad!
He was a bit slow processing my payment and something from nothing made me smile. He said I was slap-happy and made fun of my Sicilian accent.
Then I met Emelia, half Italian half Chinese, 100% British, 100% funny, crazy enough to swim at night with mantas. Together with Sonia, Australian-Italian who warned me about the not-so-good coffee we had in the morning, compared to Italian standards.
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The day after with Aylin and Janik, a 22 yo guy from Switzerland, we drove south. Beach first, volcano then. Beach means reef and snorkeling.
After the first swim an enthusiastic Aylin pointed her hand to a school of dolphins. I was so much impressed an old Hawaiian man looked at me and said “What are you doing here? Get your diving mask and go!” Together with Janik we ran back into the ocean and we swam right after the reef. We waited. And yes, they came and it was just amazing. I grew up imaging a career as a marine biologist and always dreamt about that moment: swimming with dolphins!
Thanks old Hawaiian man, you made one of the best day of my life.

The volcano at sunset was great. I always get moved in front of the power of nature.
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And the Festival, oh I still think about the Hot Lava Hotter Cuisine dinner. In particular dishes from Chef Tae-Hwan Ryu from Ryunique – Seoul, Chef Michelle Bernstein from Seagrape – Miami, and Chef Nancy Silverton from Mozza – LA.

I’m glad I shared the table with Gayle and Barbara from Ke Ola Magazine. Su much fun for my last night in Big Island!
– Till next time.

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lauraBlue Hawaii

A cup of tea, please.

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August is the month when almost everyone in Italy is on holiday. Cities are empty and shops are closed. Working as a freelance allowed myself, for two years in a row, to enjoy Milan during this time of the year and travel when prices are a bit lower.

This year I decided to combine business and pleasure to visit New York during the Wine and Food Festival and my beloved archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for the incredible Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival.

Valentina joined me on the first part of this trip. And if a good beginning makes a good ending that’s the case. The Big Apple is famous to be the city that never sleeps, but we decided to take our time to explore the city our way: from the colourful Farmer’s Market in Union Square with Kristy to cozy and tiny tea shops to an aperitivo on a rooftop admiring the sun going down.

Before I packed my bag for this journey, Vichy reached me out for promoting their brand new Slow Âge cream and the beauty of taking life a bit slowly.

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We met Kristy, a talented food stylist I followed on instagram for a while, on our first day in NYC for breakfast. She recommended some of her favorite places and one of them took immediately our attention. It’s called Tè Company, located in the West Village. A nice and tiny little Tea House serving good quality oolong teas and some sweet treats. We got our green tea and this sandwich cookie with pineapple jam seasoned with lime zest and sea salt and just enjoyed the peace of that moment.
Appreciating single moments and some time for ourselves. Flowers. A cup of tea with a friend. A cookie. Slowing it down even in a crazy city like New York. Yes, you can do that!
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For their brand new product the Vichy laboratories put together in the recipe some allies of your skin: baicalin, an antioxidant root extract, a bifidus derived from probiotics and, of course, their mineralising Vichy Thermal Spa Water.
When I was young in Sicily I got sunburned and a Vichy aftersun saved my skin. There I realised how much UVA and UVB filters are important to protect yourself. Baicalin is one of the 50 fundamental plants used in the traditional Chinese Medicine for more than 2000 years with incredible antioxidant properties to fight pollution and protect from UV rays.
In case your skin is really sensitive – as mine is! – the bifidus reinforces the protective barrier. The volcanic thermal water is the icing on the cake to better complete the Slow Âge formula.

But before and after you put your daily cream on your skin, remember to smile and appreciate single moments in your life. Time is the most valuable asset we have. – Have a good day!

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This post is sponsored by Vichy and Slow Âge. All contents, photos and ideas are my own.

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lauraA cup of tea, please.

Saying goodbye to summer from the Aletsch Glacier

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Last August I met Marco for lunch. I was telling him how much I loved Finland and then he ask “Why don’t you come to visit Valais, in Switzerland, next September?”
My uncle Giovanni used to live in Basel. I have these beautiful memories of road tripping with my family to visit them every time we could. Switzerland is always a YES! to me. Incredible landscapes, good food and nice and polite people. That’s what you might expect if you travel there!
What I didn’t expect was the largest wine region in Switzerland as well as the largest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier.

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We traveled to Brig from Milan and our first stop was Visp and its vineyards on our way to Visperterminen.
The day after was the “alcoholic” one. A distillates taste in the morning in Martigny – after a good and rich breakfast! – and a beer tasting in the afternoon. With an intermezzo of some good local white wine. Cheers!
The afternoon was spent at Four Banal, a public bake oven opened in 1905 and now restored by the local community where they make bread 5/6 times a year to serve the entire town.
After this food coma a Michelin dinner at La Table d’Adrien in Verbier was waiting for us thanks to the talented chef Mirto Marchesi and his creativity. This is the view from their terrace at sunset.

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The third day was all about raclette and an unusual and traditional at the same time cow parade!
And luizet apricots, the last of the season.

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The last day was the tough one for me. I had to face my fear of heights while hiking the majestic Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but probably I just have to find myself on the Belalp-Riederalp bridge next time to face this fear.
Auf Wiedersehen Switzerland!dsc05308

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lauraSaying goodbye to summer from the Aletsch Glacier

Kipina Pop Up Restaurant, Kustavi – Finland

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The dinner I had at Kipina PopUp Restaurant in the island of Kustavi this summer is probably one of the best culinary experiences I had in the Finnish archipelago.

Kipina is an idea by Pekka Kuru and it’s both a restaurant and an art gallery. It’s open only few weeks during summer and it features different chefs every week. We had a dinner hosted by chef Petteri Luoto – chef and painter at the same time that week! – and we really enjoyed the mix of Finnish food and Mediterranean flavours. Surrounded by the forest. What else?

If you are planning a visit to Finland, or if you want an excuse to do that, check the Food and Fun Festival out in Turku this October!

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We flew from Milan and Chicago to Helsinki with Finnair and then we drove to Kustavi.
Check An islander in the Finnish Archipelago out for some recommendations and routes if you are considering a travel to Finland – or even if you are not 😉

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lauraKipina Pop Up Restaurant, Kustavi – Finland

Formentera

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Last May, my friend Francesca called me to ask if I wanted to join her and one of her friend for a 4 day vacation in Formentera. Luckily the flight was very cheap – considering everything else in the island is really expensive!

La isla is very small and even if it is one of the favorite places for people living in Milan, that was my very first time there.

We arrived in Ibiza at night, and from the airport we got our ferry tickets. Once in Formentera we rented a car and we try to reach our apartment asking locals where to drive. We stayed at Apartamentos Escandell: nice, clean and at a good price!

Because nothing else was opened that night we had dinner at 1am at Caterina, an Italian restaurant owned by two brothers from Milan – of course! One of them was really nice and recommended us a few places to stop by for aperitivo in the next days.

I personally recommend El Pirata bus and Blue Bar. Beaches are beautiful and waters are pristine everywhere. Take some time before sunset to enjoy the pinkish salt evaporation ponds. And if you are looking for some bocadillos for lunch be sure to check Mama Pan mini market. The lady is really nice – honestly, one of the few nice people on the island.

Looking forward to going back to the Balearic Islands… maybe Minorca next time!

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

formentera, spain

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lauraFormentera