To dive or not to dive..

First swim for this year..

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Elections’ night!

After voting tonight, people in Europe are cooking their favorite traditional meals and share their dishes online! I hope we all voted for the best! Happy elections’ night!

“Elections Night 2014:
Follow European Elections Night on 25 May here! All results, quotes, photos, atmosphere and reactions from all EU. Voters are on Facebook and they are cooking

Don’t know what to cook on elections night? For those who still haven’t done their grocery shopping for this evening, may we suggest a Bulgarian salad or a Lithuanian soup? These proved to be the most popular dishes in our “A Taste of Europe” app for Facebook. Our “I’m a Voter” app also proved a big hit with our Facebook fans. 

The applications encouraged nearly 1.5 million friends of the EP on Facebook to get involved with the elections, using cooking and a competition.

Using the “I’m a Voter” app, people could contact their Facebook friends in an unusual way: choosing a balloon from the gallery, attaching a personal vote message and sending it flying though Google maps.  Almost 10,000 balloons have been sent, with the longest chain reaching 261,404 kilometres, involving 22 participants.

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Shopska salad

“A Taste of Europe” app contains everything you need to organise a special dinner on elections night. It offers a toolkit to entertain guests and discover authentic European recipes, share them and post pictures of them on Instagram with the hashtag #TasteofEurope. The most popular dish is Bulgarian shopska salad with 19,123 votes.”

http://electionsnight2014.eu/post/86795569430/voters-are-on-facebook-and-they-are-cooking

The summer is here!

Dear friends,

The summer is finally here in Athens. Stay tuned!

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Gelato break..

In Athens for a week!

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Unusual Party..

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Unusual Party : a unique collaboration between Unusual Florence and Fabbrica Europa, held last Saturday at Spazio Alcatraz, Stazione Leopolda!

Music by the Parisian duo Nôze and the Tuscans  Celluloid Jam and Camillocromo Beat Band. Techno beats, electro-swing, pop, electronic and  folk, an amazing performance from all of them!

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Tuscany part 6 : Badia a Passignano – Montefioralle..

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Hi everyone! A few days ago with Thekli, Giorgos, Robert and Nikos we visited a small part of Chianti’s countryside!

We left the car 5km from Badia a Passignano and walked through the wonderful tuscan landscape, amazing hills full of vineyards and houses at the top of the hills that make you feel like you are living a dream.

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The Badia a Passignano is located on the road running from Greve in Chianti through Montefioralle towards San Donato and Sambuca, and in fact was probably built there because of the importance of this route in mediaeval times.

Badia a Passignano was founded in 1049 as a consequence of the Vallombrosan monastic reforms and consists of a more or less square fortified monastic complex with corner towers. Towards the middle of the 15 C, the Abbey was augmented by the addition of cloisters and a wall. The vineyards surrounding the Badia a Passignano were bought by Antinori, one of the big names in Chianti Classico wine production, in 1987 and Antinori have leased the Abbey cellars for use in aging their wines. La Bottega and L’Osteria are an Antinori wine outlet and restaurant respectively and are located very near the gate of the Badia a Passignano.  It is possible to visit Badia a Passignano at 3 pm on the last Sunday of the month if a monk is available to act as guide. (source)

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The village of Montefioralle is probably one of the most ancient in Chianti and is still today enclosed within its original walls. These were initially two circuits but houses now fill the space between the original structures. The walls were octagonal in outline, with four gates, modifications of which still exist. During the Middle Ages it was one of the largest military and administrative centres of the area. The first notice of the settlement is from 1085. It belonged to the families Ricasoli, Benci, Gherardini and Vespucci. In 1325 it was sacked by Castruccio Castracani. (source)

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Fresh strawberry muffins..

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Goodmorning everyone! Yesterday Thekli and Giorgos came to Florence, so I prepared for breakfast fresh strawberry muffins.. You have to try the recipe, they are delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1½ cup chopped strawberries
  • 3 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to sprinkle

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Tuscany part 5 : Castello Banfi..

Castello di Poggio alle Mura, also known as Castello Banfi, is located 15km from the city of Montalcino, at the confluence of the Orcia and Ombrone rivers. It houses a winery, a hotel, a restaurant, a wine bar and  the Bottle and Glass Museum “John F. Mariani”.

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Its position, and the ancient history of the surrounding territory, let us suppose that the origin can even go back to the time of the Long Beards, that probably erected here one of their watch towers. There are no proofs at documentation of this theory, even it is sure that the construction of the first fortified nucleus on this hill is antecedent to year 1000. The first great widening of the castle dates back to the second half of 13th century [just after the battle of Montaperti, 1260]. The written sources tell about Poggio alle Mura for the first time in 1377, indicating the castle between the properties of Francisco di Tommaso Colombini. After the above-mentioned reconstruction of 1438, Poggio alle Mura became one of the larger castles of the Sienese peasantry. Other works were carried on during 17th century. A wing of the castle was mined during the world war II and reconstructed within the recent magnificent restoration undertaken by the current property. (source

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About a year ago during an excursion to Tuscany, we had a stop for a glass of Brunello di Montalcino at the beautiful courtyard of Castello Banfi and then we visited the “John F. Mariani” museum.

The museum illustrates the various eras of glass production through history, from the 5th century BC to our current day. Within the historic walls, in the old stable and olive pressing room, which still holds equipment dating back to 1857, the display rooms have been attentively assembled to explain the history of glass and the evolution of the wine bottle. In these rooms you will find collections of antique wine bottles, ancient and modern glassware from Venice, including the stupendous “The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso.

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“The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso

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Museum interior, at the right you can see an old Winepress..

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The “Enoteca”

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

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