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The year I graduated from college and moved to New York, I had a fall ticket series to the New York City Opera with a work friend. I didn’t know much about opera and still don’t, but seeing the magnificent performances of Madame Butterfly and Tosca at Lincoln Center are forever etched in my memory. […]

Brunch, Dessert, Lake Garda, Recipes, Travel

La Torta Paradiso (Paradise Cake)~Maria Callas Style

Paradise Cake

From drinking Prosecco in the vineyards of Valdobbiadene to boating through the Venetian lagoon, we experienced it all.  Prosecco was the theme of our trip and included many glasses of the sparkling wine, but we also dug a little deeper into this extraordinary region, northwest of Venice. We had an absolutely fantastic group of people who experienced first hand […]

Travel, Wine and Cocktails

Postcards from Prosecco


  My trip through the Venetian Lagoon was phenomenal and the stunning sites and scenery will be forever etched in my mind. Especially the food. And of course the Prosecco. When I see something wonderful to eat, my heart beats just a little bit faster. In the case of the sensational Fritto Misto (fried squid and shrimp) served on the boat, it […]

Dessert, Recipes, Travel

Esse Buranei and Bussolà (Cookies from Burano)

Esse Buranei or Bussola

First, a bit of Italian geography – the 57 mile long Sile River in northern Italy flows through beautiful countryside, the historical city of Treviso, and empties into the Venetian Lagoon. The Venetian Lagoon is an enclosed bay in the Adriatic Sea where the city of Venice is situated among 118 other islands and archipelagos. […]

Travel, Wine and Cocktails

A Day on the Venetian Lagoon

Fritto Misto

If you’re on Facebook and follow Ortensia Blu (you do, right?) you’ve seen lots of really nice photos and videos from my trip to the gorgeous Prosecco region earlier this month. And if you’re not on Facebook, I don’t want you to feel left out so I’ll catch you up on a few things. First of […]

Food Production, Travel, Wine and Cocktails

A Glass of Prosecco Awaits You

Le Volpere Prosecco

I really don’t know where to start talking about Limone, a charming village tucked away on the western shore of Lake Garda. We could begin with the beautiful, relaxed setting framed by the mountains towering above… Or I could tell you about the luscious, tangy, smooth, simple Tagliatelle al Limone I thoroughly enjoyed at a restaurant on the lakefront. […]

Lake Garda, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipes, Travel

Linguine with Lemon and Living Longer in Limone, Italy

Linguine with Lemon

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know about our planned five day October adventure to tour the stunning Lake Garda region of Italy. And if you’re on Facebook, you saw just a glimpse of this incredible trip with our group of nine adventurous and extraordinarily nice people. With almost 1,000 photos on my camera and […]

Lake Garda, Travel

Postcards from Lake Garda

Salò, Italy

I’ll never forget my first one. It was in springtime in Sienna. I’m a bit fuzzy on the year, but it was post lira and the dollar was 80¢ to the euro (far better than $1.38 today) so quite a few years ago. And I very clearly recall the beautiful Tod’s shoes I bought that […]

Food Production, Travel, Wine and Cocktails

10 Things to Know About Prosecco


It started as a Mom’s outing 13 years ago while the kids were at school.  We’d drop them off, then meet at Cathijo’s, piling into one car loaded with a cooler. Arthur Avenue in the Bronx was our destination – “The Real Little Italy”  as the neighborhood calls itself. Generations of family owned Italian bakeries, […]


Arthur Avenue – The Bronx

Arthur Avenue Sign

As much as I love to cook, there’s something about baking that makes my heart sing. Maybe it’s the warming scent of hot dough in the oven that I find so comforting. Perhaps it’s that with baking there’s always plenty for everyone and I enjoy sharing and feeding others. Possibly it’s because I’m a numbers person […]

Books, Dessert, Recipes, Travel

Ciambella all’Arancia (Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake)

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