Sant’Agata Feltria and The Old Theater


There are so many wonderful, magic places around the Marche and the Emilia-Romagna area. One day after being again at San Marino with a friend we decided to go back through the hinterland and happened to Sant’Agata Feltria. A tiny little place, not far from San Leo, and again a Medieval city… or how we say in Italy: borgo.


Sant’Agata Feltria is a little fortified town just a few kilometers west from San Marino. It is situated in the province of Rimini and since 2009 part of the region Emilia-Romagna. It is also connected the Montefeltro area and its history.

People lived in the area already before the Roman period. Legend tells us that a rock got loose from Mount Ercole and in its place the church of Sant’Agata was built. Around this religious place slowly a settlement developed.

Later the village was ruled under different feudal lords of the region like Malatesta, Montefeltro and Fregoso.


The village was restored in 1474 by Francesco di Giorgio Martini and the Fregoso ordered new constructions to be build in town. The Palazzone, in which we find today the theater, is from the 17th century and the Fregoso period.

During the golden era in the mid 17th century in this fortified city was born Angelo Berardi. He was one of the most important musicians of Italy. He was encouraged by the Fregoso family and became very famous for his works. There are thirteen collections of practical music and six theoretical treatises.


The little town has a few churches and monasteries which show the deep spiritual side of the place. There is the Colegiate church of the 10th century with a 7th century crypt, the Convento di San Girolamo built at 1560, the church of Madonna dei Cappuccini which was built on order of Marquise Lucrezia Vitelli Fregoso around 1574 and dedicated to St Anthony of Padua, and San Francesco della Rosa.


There are several fountains in Sant’Agata Feltria. They are modern artwork. The most notable is the snail, called Fontana della Chiocciola. It’s designed by Tonino Guerra and created by Marco Bravura and is part of the itinerary ‘The Places of Soul’. More than 300.000 mosaic tesserae were needed to build the fountain.


‘The Moon in the Well’ is also a masterpiece of the itinerary and I liked it a lot. ‘The Memory Footprints’ is another piece of the artworks.


Already entering the main piazza we saw the Angelo Mariani Theater, an impressive, red colored masterpiece of architecture. It is one of the oldest theaters in Italy and is built entirely in wood.

Before leaving the borgo we saw the doors open and had a look inside. An older man gave us a program for the season and invited us to see a play. At the really ridiculous fee of 5 €. He told us that the older people of the town are trying to keep alive the theater volunteering. That is amazing! One of the biggest supporter of the theater is Vittorio Gassman, famous Italian actor and director.


Originally the building was the ‘Palazzo della Ragione’ and commissioned by Orazio Fregoso in 1605. It was used as administrative office and provided space to the youth.

Unusual is the side-entrance.

Angelo Mariani, the name of the theater today, was an orchestral conductor and an interpreter of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas. On the 8th of September 1922 the performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto made the theater known everywhere.


The Rocca Fregoso is the castle which can be seen already from far. It is the symbol of the town. Originally it was built in the 12th century, later extended and used also as living space by the Fregoso family.

Between 1781 and 1820 Franciscan monks lived in the castle. It was abandoned later and only restored in the last mid century. Since 1974 it hosts the museum of the town.


The town has a few interesting events every year. In July there are some days dedicated to the medieval period with a lot of festivities. The white truffle fair is held every Sunday in October. The area is famous for its truffles, black and white ones. And every Sunday in December the town offers a Christmas market. I recommend it, they have really beautiful Christmas markets in Italy with a lot of handcrafts and not at all overloaded with food trucks.


Sant’Agata Feltria, Emiglia-Romagna/Italy:

For further information:
Proloco San Agata Feltria


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A Black Forest Cake for Mothers’ Day


Mothers’ Day…. I never made a cake for this particular day as I had never the possibility. My mother lived far away from where I lived and it was high season as I was a tourist guide. No chance to get off and go to see my mother.

This year I was invited for dinner to my boy-friend’s mother’s house. Oops… can’t go without bringing something though. I thought about a cake. This way I could eat also a treat after dinner. Like many people his parents are not familiar with the paleo or gluten-free diet and it’s always good to bring something. It takes away the panic: ‘What can I offer her?’ And normally everyone likes the cakes I prepare.

Unfortunately I had some advertisement about Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte on my Facebook time-line that gave me the idea of a cake for Mothers’ Day. And my boy-friend thought the idea is great, especially this particular cake. I never made it before and especially not in paleo version…

OK, now it was too late! I looked up the original recipe and just converted the ingredients into paleo friendly ones. And I think it worked out well. The only concern was that the sponge cake was a little too dry for my taste. I guess it came because of the no fat recipe. Next I try with olive/coconut oil or ghee (which will give the better taste).

If you don’t have fresh cherries use frozen cherries like I did. Or if you have cherry jam from last year, that works perfect as well.

The whipped cream I made from simple coconut milk, just the solid part after you let the can overnight in the fridge. To be sure that the whipped cream ‘stands’ also after an hour, I added some tapioca, just a little bit, not more than a teaspoon for two cans of coconut milk cream. It was perfect, nothing melted! I am always surprised that the coconut whipped cream with a little sweetener and vanilla has no coconut taste anymore. It becomes ‘neutral’ like milk whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy the cake, it is a great idea to bring with for a special event. My boy-friend’s parents liked the cake a lot.


Black Forest Cake
German Black Forest Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Black Forest Cake
German Black Forest Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Dry ingredients for the cake base
Wet ingredients for the cake base
Ingredients for the cherry filling:
For the whipped cream
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Prepare a round spring form pan with oil and flour to prevent the cake from sticking when baked. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Divide the eggs and beat the yolks with a fork.
  3. Beat the egg whites together with salt and half of the sugar until stiff.
  4. In a bowl mix all the remaining dry ingredients. Add the yolks and stir. Add the egg whites and slowly fold them in the flour-egg-mixture.
  5. Transfer the batter into the spring form pan and even with a pastry scraper. Slide into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Get the cake out before the toothpick comes out completely dry.
  6. While baking the cake base prepare the cherry filling. Just put all the ingredients (except a few cherries for decoration later) in a sauce pan and let them cook on low heat for about 15 - 20 minutes. Let the cherry mixture cool out.
  7. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then transfer the cake base on a cooling rack.
  8. When the cake base is cool, try to cut the base horizontally in two equal halves. Open the cake and on the bottom part spread the cherry mixture. If you want the cherry liquor then put that first.
  9. Close the cake with the upper part.
  10. Put the ingredients for the whipped cream in a bowl and beat the cream until stiff. If you are afraid it will not stay on the cake put some tapioca flour.
  11. Now decorate the cake with the whipped cream, the remaining cherries and the grated chocolate as you like.
  12. Store in the fridge until you serve.
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Some Nice Impressions of San Diego

Panorama to the north of San Diego

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During my last year stay in San Diego, California, I took some beautiful shots of the city and surroundings. I want to show you some of them.

Panorama to the south of San Diego

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Hippie hostel at Ocean Beach, San Diego

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San Diego seen from Point Loma

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Marina of San Diego

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Downtown San Diego seen from Coronado Bridge

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House seen at Coronado Island

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Hotel at Coronado Island

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Baywatch at Coronado Island

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Beach chairs at Coronado Island

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Sunset over San Diego

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Beach sunset at San Diego


San Diego, California/USA:

For further information:
San Diego official website


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Sweet, Sour and Spicy – A Seabuckthorn Chutney


Every time I come to Northern Germany a friend of mine and I go to buy some seabuckthorn juice, jam, honey or what we like to have. I buy all the time the juice as it’s the only one without added sugar. The honey is not my favorite as I think it’s perfect to take some wild flower honey and add the seabuckthorn juice and voilà I have the honey.

And of course we went again to buy some. But I was not in the mood to do jam as I don’t eat much during the year and I don’t like to throw it away in the end. So I thought about a chutney with seabuckthorn.


I mixed a few things together that came into my mind and used the juice, some apples (mainly as a thickener as they don’t have much taste), a mango, honey and spices. The chutney is super super fruity, all yellow and very spicy. The curry gave even a more yellowish color.

This chutney is perfect for white meat, fish and great as a dip for chips. Hope there is a possibility to get some seabuckthorn in your region to try this yummy chutney! Bon appétit!


mango chutney
Seabuckthorn Mango Chutney
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 jars 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 jars 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
mango chutney
Seabuckthorn Mango Chutney
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 jars 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 jars 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: jars
Instructions
  1. Take a middle seize pot and put all the ingredients, one after the other, into it. Omit the lemon mint leaves.
  2. Stir all well and bring it to boil. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir from time to time that nothing can burn on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Meanwhile prepare 4 medium seize jars with screw caps. Clean them with boiling hot water, let them dry, put them aside.
  4. When you feel the solid ingredients like mango, apple, onion and garlic are soft, turn off the heat. Add the lemon mint leaves and stir again.
  5. Fill the seabuckthorn chutney into the prepared glasses and close them well. Turn them upside down for 5 minutes and then back to the right side. Let them cool out well and store them in your pantry.
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For further information:
Wohlenberger Sanddorn Hofladen (in German)


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On Garden Tour in San Diego – from Beautiful to Amazing to OMG


Gardens – I love gardening and I love to see others’ gardens. They are oftentimes so much full of creativity and love for both the plants and the home. Some are more for ‘use’ with vegetables and fruits, others are just for beauty and again others are for fun.

Last weekend I have been on a garden tour in Clairemont in San Diego, Southern California. And it was really a tour from ‘beautiful’ to ‘amazing ideas’ to ‘oh my gosh!’

From morning to late afternoon private homes opened their front and back yards to show their passion for gardening. Many of them have amazing ideas, some live their hobby in the backyard, others want to create a place where to relax. The range is from succulent gardens that need nearly no water to a jungle like environment. Some have a lot of flowers and others play a lot with rocks of all colors. The variety is really amazing.

I personally prefer the more greener ones with lots of flowers and of course vegetables. Many yards are small but still transformed into creative beauties. Some are huge places where a vegetable garden is also possible, a green house, patios and lawns. Many times the houses themselves look great and are well maintained.

We saw all the gardens, 12 in all, had lunch after half of them, just to clear our minds and be ready to see more. I came home with new ideas but mainly with the knowledge of what is possible here in Southern California: everything if with a clever irrigating system.

The first garden was made mainly with succulents and was a real masterpiece on a small place.


The second offered a lot of ideas, space still to develop and was designed for entertaining friends with a huge kitchen outside.


The next one had a small backyard with a terrace and succulents around, many of them in pots. The front yard is special.


Here someone likes playing with trains and tracks. A wonderful landscape recalling old times, two trains running around, passing through tunnels and crossing rivers. Bushes that look like trees, small flowers that seem to be flowering bushes in the landscape. Very playful.


A big backyard opening to a canyon with an amazing view is already something. This has a balcony full of hanging succulents and tillandsias and a a few spots where to sit and enjoy the sunset. Chickens roaming around, plants in pots and a lot of pathways through little flower patches.


The sixth and the last one before lunch is amazingly green and full of hundreds of different flowers. Already the house is amazing, Mexican style painted in red-brown with blue-green accentuation. A colorful greenhouse made of old windows and doors, many places where to sit, a good composting system and an even better water collecting system.


We had lunch in a Thai restaurant with yummy Tom Yum Gai soup and fried rice before going to see the second half of the garden tour.


Our next garden to visit after lunch was again inspired by other succulent gardens. Very creative: they used old rain gutters painting them in vibrant colors and using them for also very colorful succulents. They are hanging along the fence of the backyard.


The eighth one transformed his front yard from an insignificant front lawn into a sloping front around a wonderful pepper tree. A dry river bed made with rocks, Mexican lobelia, rock rose, California sagebush and more. Very interesting design!


The next garden was beautiful but not that spectacular. The backyard is mainly a terrace with patches of flowers and vegetables, beautiful flowering trees and much place to hang around.


In this garden someone loves to relax Mediterranean style. Again a garden facing a canyon with a spectacular view, a covered balcony with lots of hanging flowers and plants and a view on a huge lawn surrounded by flowers. Really inviting: the deck chairs under a pergola.


The last ones are definitely much more our style: full of green and flowers, parts with sun and parts with shade. A beautiful trompe l’oeil on the wall, nice places were to sit and read a book, an inviting barbecue place and many, many flowers. Very nice: the many bird houses. They were even on sale.


The last garden of the garden tour is a kind of jungle. It was for me like entering some part of the Amazonian region. Full of palm trees on more levels, wooden bridges and pathways, lots of little details and really the feeling of being somewhere else than in the hot and dry San Diego.

I loved also the last one, amazing, OMG, wow, but thinking about it it would have to much shade for me. And in addition I like open spaces with lots of flowers and a vegetable garden. I got a lot of ideas but I now know that I can really do everything I want and it will grow the whole year. I just need a good irrigation system.


Clairemont, San Diego, California/USA:

For further information:
Garden Tour Clairemont


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