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Fell in Love with Italy

By Katherine Ortiz

A mutual friend introduced Sara and I shortly after my relocation to Chicago. Originally from the Windy City, Sara was then living in North Carolina after a stint in Italy.  During our first phone conversation we found we had more and more things in common and our hour on the phone was definitely not enough,…

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Traveling In Style

By Katherine Ortiz

by Noelle Cellini, mybest-footforward.com This week Allure Italia is happy to have Fashion Expert Noelle Cellini as a guest blogger. Noelle, founder and owner of My Best Foot Forward is an accomplished Personal Stylist. She’s helped women in Chicago “put their best foot forward” for over 10 years. Her goal is to make her clients’…

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Of Driving and Parking in Italy

By Katherine Ortiz

A car rental can be an excellent choice when visiting Italy. If you are planning a countryside vacation or a ski trip for example, a car is a necessity.  ; Likewise, when you are making a “home base” somewhere outside the main cities and want to  take day trips to explore the surrounding areas, a…

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Do You “Apericena”?

By Katherine Ortiz

In the ‘80s a new trend emerged in Italian social life: meeting friends and family for an “aperitivo” (aperitif). This idea of a pre-meal drink, consumed most often with company in a café’ has since then become the natural end of an evening stroll into town. It’s also a great way of filling the time…

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A World Without Nutella?

By Katherine Ortiz

The food history buffs will be pleased to know that Nutella was invented by Pietro Ferrero – master baker and founder of Ferrero, the chocolatier – in the early 40s. Due to WWII, cocoa and chocolate were in short supply in Italy. Using hazelnut (abundant in the Piedmont region) for Ferrero’s chocolate spread allowed Pietro…

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Food—The Italian Way

By Katherine Ortiz

Food and cuisine are such an integral part of the Italian culture that not talking about them would be a travesty. To be honest, I’ve never heard in Italy the “mangia, mangia” that seems to be such a standard expression in Italian-American families. BUT I’ve also never visited anybody’s home there and not have been…

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Cure your Winter Blues with Saffron

By Katherine Ortiz

It’s winter and it’s cold here in Chicago and it’s time for hearty dishes and comfort food. One of my comfort foods of choice is the Risotto alla Milanese. Despite the fact nobody in my family is from Milan, this dish has been a staple in my mother’s kitchen forever. Most probably because it’s a…

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Happy 2013!

By Katherine Ortiz

The holidays have come and gone and together with the Christmas decorations I’ve also put away all the Christmas cards we received this year from close friends and family. Quite a few of them enclosed a “letter” and given the amount of changes that the second part of 2012 brought to our family, we were…

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What I “re-learnt” about Italy

By Katherine Ortiz

I spent most of September in Italy working. I visited with trusted, long standing business partners and brainstormed new ideas. I learned about all their fantastic new offerings, (for example a full day trip from Florence to visit the Ferrari Factory & Museum near Modena) and forged new relationships with outstanding service providers such as…

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